Easy methods to get round in Boston

Packing unbelievable historical past, a thriving arts scene, and sufficient New England clam chowder to fulfill probably the most discerning foodies, Boston is a traveler’s deal with. Fortunately it is also geographically small and logistically manageable. The sights and actions of principal curiosity to vacationers are contained inside an space that’s solely about 1 mile huge by 3 miles lengthy.

This makes Boston a beautiful strolling or biking metropolis. In any other case, many of the major points of interest are accessible by subway. Some outlying websites require a bus experience. And some – particularly the Boston Harbor Islands – require a ship experience or two.

By the way, Boston is a waterside metropolis, and driving in boats is a part of the enjoyable. Water shuttles are a handy transportation choice for a couple of harborside locations, together with the airport.

Here is every little thing it’s essential to find out about getting round in Boston.

Boston’s bus system may be tough to grasp, however it offers a cost-effective solution to get across the metropolis © Pavel L Picture and Video / Shutterstock


In recent times, Boston has made huge enhancements in its infrastructure for cyclists, together with portray miles of bicycle lanes, upgrading bike amenities on and round public transportation, and implementing a wonderful bike-share program. Boston drivers are used to sharing the roads with their two-wheeled buddies (and they’re used to arriving after their two-wheeled buddies, who’re much less impeded by visitors snarls).

You may carry bikes on the T (subway), commuter trains, and most buses (these geared up with exterior bike racks) for no further fare. Bikes should not allowed on green-line trains, inside buses, or on any trains throughout rush hour (7am to 10am and 4pm to 7pm, Monday to Friday).

Boston’s bike-share program is Blue Bikes. There are 200 Blue Bikes stations round Boston, Cambridge, Brookline and Somerville, stocked with 1800 bikes which can be out there for short-term mortgage. Obtain the app or go to any bicycle kiosk to buy your go. Pay $2.50 per half-hour for bike use or buy a one-day Journey Cross for a vast variety of two-hour bike rides in 24 hours. Return the bike(s) to any station within the neighborhood of your vacation spot.

There are additionally a number of choices for bike rental in Boston. City AdvenTours rents highway bikes and mountain bikes, along with the usual hybrids. For an additional charge these guys will carry your bike to the doorstep in a BioBus powered by vegetable oil.

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Cambridge Bicycle is nice for biking alongside the Charles River. Leases are three-speed commuter bikes – nothing fancy, however stable for metropolis driving. Papa Wheelies is a well-established store additionally handy for the Charles River, catering to everybody from households to skilled cyclists. And the Bicycle Alternate is simply north of Porter Sq., handy to the Minuteman Bikeway.


The MBTA operates bus routes throughout the metropolis. These may be tough to determine for the short-term customer, however schedules are posted on the web site and at some bus stops alongside the routes. In case you’re transferring from the subway on a Charlie Card, the bus fare is free.

The silver line, a so-called “speedy” bus, begins at Downtown Crossing and runs alongside Washington St within the South Finish to Roxbury’s Dudley Sq.. One other route goes from South Station to the Seaport District, then below the harbor to Logan Worldwide Airport. This waterfront route prices $2.75 ($2.25 with a Charlie Card), as a substitute of the traditional bus fare.

The silver line is totally different from the common MBTA buses as a result of it drives in a chosen lane (supposedly decreasing journey time). Extra importantly, the silver line begins/terminates contained in the South Station or Downtown Crossing subway terminal, so you possibly can switch to/from the T with out buying a further ticket.


Whereas boats will seemingly not be your major technique of transportation, they’re helpful for a couple of locations, primarily the Boston Harbor Islands and Charlestown. Ferries to Provincetown and Salem present a pleasing transportation different for day journeys out of town. There may be additionally a water-shuttle service to the airport and water taxis that make stops at locations alongside the waterfront.

Boston Duck Tours
The Boston Duck Excursions, which makes use of amphibious buses of various colours, taking vacationers for a experience © Joseph M. Arseneau / Shutterstock

Subway (the T)

The MBTA operates the USA’s oldest subway, inbuilt 1897 and identified domestically because the “T.” It is the quickest and best solution to get to most locations, and runs from 5:30am or 6am till 1:30am. There are 4 traces – pink, blue, inexperienced and orange – that radiate from the principal downtown stations: Downtown Crossing, Authorities Heart, Park St and State. When touring away from any of those stations, you’re heading “outbound.”

At night time, the final red-line trains go by way of Park St round 12:40am (relying on the path), however all T stations and contours are totally different: examine the posting on the station.


The MBTA  commuter rail companies locations within the metropolitan Boston space. Trains heading west and north of town, together with to Harmony and Salem, go away from bustling North Station on Causeway St. Trains heading south, together with to Plymouth and TF Inexperienced Airport in Windfall, go away from South Station.


It isn’t straightforward and never essential to drive in Boston. Understand that Boston is infamous for counter-intuitive visitors patterns, sudden one-way streets, impatient drivers, impromptu U-turns and the nerve-rattling “Boston left.” (The latter refers back to the transfer the place a driver shoots out into an intersection and turns left as quickly as the sunshine turns inexperienced, as a substitute of yielding to oncoming visitors.) And did we point out the dearth of parking?

Most significantly, it is usually faster and simpler to succeed in your vacation spot by public transportation or by bike than by automotive. Even in case you drive your automotive to Boston, you would possibly as nicely give it a relaxation if you are within the metropolis (although it might come in useful for day journeys out of city).


Cabs are plentiful however costly. Charges are decided by the meter, which calculates miles. Anticipate to pay about $15 to $20 between most vacationer factors throughout the metropolis limits, with out a lot visitors. When you have bother hailing a cab, head to any close by resort, the place they congregate.

Cabbie’s Cab provides $35 flat-fee airport transfers from Cambridge. Chill Out First Class Taxi Car Service additionally provides flat-rate airport transfers from all elements of Boston and Cambridge; name 617-212-3763.

A Boston street scene
Boston avenue scene together with Polcari’s espresso, a historic small enterprise opened in 1932 © Web page Mild Studios / Shutterstock

Transport passes

The MBTA named its Charlie Card after a fictional character from the Kingston Trio hit tune Charlie on the MTA. Charlie’s unhappy story was that he couldn’t get off the Boston T (then generally known as the Metropolitan Transit Authority) as a result of he didn’t have the exit fare.

The plastic playing cards can be found from the attendant at designated T stations. After getting a card, you possibly can add cash on the automated fare machines; on the turnstile you may be charged $2.25 per subway experience.

The system is designed to favor commuters and cardholders. If you don’t request a Charlie Card, you should buy a paper fare card from the machine, however the subway turnstile will cost you $2.75 per experience. Equally, Charlie Card–holders pay $1.70 to experience the bus, however for these paying money it is $2.

Vacationer passes with limitless journey (on subway, bus or water shuttle) can be found for intervals of in the future ($12) or one week ($21.25). Youngsters 11 and below experience without cost. Passes could also be bought from merchandising machines in most T stations and at MBTA sales outlets citywide. For longer stays, you should buy a month-to-month go permitting limitless use of the subway and native buses ($84.50).

Harvard Yard
Harvard Yard is accessible, although the historic buildings is probably not © Jannis Tobias Werner / Shutterstock

Accessible transportation in Boston

Boston makes an attempt to cater to residents and guests with disabilities by offering reduce curbs, accessible restrooms and ramps on public buildings; however outdated streets, sidewalks and buildings imply that amenities should not all the time as much as snuff. Obtain Lonely Planet’s free Accessible Travel guides for extra data. 

Most main museums are accessible to wheelchairs, whereas the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Museum of Positive Arts and the Museum of Science provide particular applications and excursions for vacationers with disabilities.

Many excursions use automobiles which can be wheelchair accessible, together with Boston Duck Excursions and New England Aquarium Whale Watch. Strolling excursions such because the Freedom Path and the scholar tour of Harvard Yard are additionally accessible, although the historic buildings is probably not.

MBTA buses and commuter trains are accessible, though not all subway trains and stations are. See MBTA’s website for extra data. Ferries to the Boston Harbor Islands, Provincetown and Salem are all accessible.

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