Whether you’re interested in food, sports, history, art, or architecture, Boston caters to a wide range of travelers and offers plenty to see and do. The Greater Boston area, which is home to world-renowned institutes such as Harvard and MIT, also attracts a sizeable student population that lends Boston a young and energetic vibe. To decide when to visit the city, you may want to look at not just the weather, but also the college terms and break schedules which may contribute to large crowds while visiting popular attractions.
From summer through fall, Boston hosts numerous festivals and events including Boston Pride, the Boston Film Festival, Boston Harborfest, and several other culinary and sports events. With average temperatures around 70 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit, June – October is a good time to visit Boston. Do note that in August – September the city sees a huge influx of student communities and their parents, who arrive just before the start of the new academic year. From November – February, the city is often covered in snow. If you don’t mind average temperatures of 40 – 50 degrees Fahrenheit, then visit Boston during this time and take advantage of the cheap hotel rates. You can also plan your visit around events such as the St. Patrick’s Day Parade or the Boston Marathon in March – April.
There is a wide choice of non-stop domestic flights from various U.S. destinations to Boston. You can choose from American Airlines, jetBlue, Cape Air, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, Virgin America, Penair, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and Tradewind Aviation.
Boston Logan International Airport, located in the East Boston neighborhood, is approximately 4 miles from Downtown Boston. There are several ways to get from the airport to the downtown area.
The Logan Express bus service is a convenient way to travel between the airport and Downtown Boston. The non-stop service drops off passengers at 2 Back Bay locations, Copley Square on St. James Avenue and the Hynes Convention Center. Buses leave from the airport every 20 minutes, and the one-way fare is $7.50 USD. Travel time is approximately 20 minutes.
Buses and subway
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) operates the Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit service to and from Downtown Boston. The Silver Line Route SL1 is the best way to reach South Station Rail and Bus Terminal, for further connections via commuter rail, Amtrak, local buses, and the subway. The SL1 service is free, and includes a free transfer to the Red Line. However, be aware that there is no room to store luggage on these buses.
MBTA run Blue Line Subway is another option to travel from the airport to State Street station in Downtown Boston. You’ll need to use the Massport operated free shuttle bus #22, #33, or #55 for transfers from the airport terminals to the MBTA Blue Line Airport Station. This ride takes approximately 8 – 10 minutes, while the ride from the Airport station to State Street station takes 5 minutes. The fare for the subways is $2.75 USD.
Shuttles, limousines and sedans
There are several private companies that operate from the airport and offer limousines or sedans for door-to-door drop off, or shuttle services to the neighboring counties.
Taxis are available at the curbside on the Arrivals Level of each terminal. Typical fares range from $18.00 USD – $28.00 USD depending on traffic. There is an $8.00 USD surcharge for rides originating from the airport. The ride to Downtown Boston takes 13 – 15 minutes.
MBTA operates Harbor Express water shuttles from the airport to Long Wharf in Downtown Boston. The ‘CharlieTicket’ costs $18.50 USD and the journey is 12 minutes. Use the Massport operated shuttle bus #66 for a free transfer from any airport terminal to the Logan Water Transportation Dock. The shuttle ride takes 5 minutes. There are a couple of private companies that offer water taxi services from the airport to Boston’s waterfront, including Rowes Wharf, Boston Inner Harbor, and Long Wharf. Based on the service provider you choose, one-way fares range from $12.00 USD – $20.00 USD per person, including luggage storage charges.
All rental car companies operate out of a consolidated Rental Car Center (RCC). You can also check online for deals on car rentals with momondo.
Boston’s downtown area is not just compact and walkable, but also quite scenic, especially along the waterfront. Many of the popular attractions are within a short distance of each other. To cover further distances, you can rely on the city’s excellent public transport network.
Boston’s public transport is run by MBTA, which operates a large and efficient network of buses, subways (called ‘T’), and water taxis. A single ride fare is $2.75 USD for subway rides and $2.00 USD for local buses. A day pass costing $12.00 USD allows unlimited travel on subways, buses, commuter rail in Zone 1A, and the Charlestown Ferry. Water Taxi fares range from $3.50 USD – $18.50 USD based on the route.
Taxis are widely available and can be flagged down in the street. Ride-share options such as Uber and Lyft are also easily available throughout Boston.
Boston’s bike-sharing program, Hubway, offers access to over 100 bike stations across the city. For a 24-hour pass that costs $8.00 USD you can enjoy unlimited 30-minute rides.
Boston’s beautiful blend of modern and traditional reflects in several aspects. Charming and historic mansions sit alongside glossy skyscrapers, tiny boutiques compete with massive shopping malls, and the vibrant and lively Theatre district offers a stark contrast from the chic and sophisticated Back Bay neighborhood.Here are a few suggestions on what to see and do when you visit Boston.
Invest in a Go Boston Card
The Go Boston Card offers an all-inclusive pass for 1, 2, 3, 5, or 7 days, which is worth considering when visiting Boston. The pass gives you significant savings on over 40 sights and attractions, and the price ranges from $57.00 USD for a 1-day pass, to $175.00 USD for a 7-day pass.
If possible, avoid driving within the city. The streets are narrow, traffic jams are common, and parking is both scarce and expensive. Instead, rely on the excellent MBTA operated public transport network, or your own 2 feet.