Loaded with important history, great culture, food, sports and scenery, Boston is a popular tourist destination in the US for good reason. Here’s a quick look at some important details for planning your visit to Boston!
Get In/ Get Out
Massachusetts’ capital city of Boston is served by one major international airport, but there are numerous highways and other land routes available too.
Logan International: Located 3 miles from downtown, on the Eastern end of Boston, Logan International Airport (BOS) serves as the area’s most popular air travel hub for both domestic and international flights. The is fully equipped with all the amenities and facilities necessary to its passengers, even a Kidport for kids to be entertained while waiting. Transportation into town is made possible through the airport’s operator, MassPort, or you can get into town by means of water taxis, subways, buses and free shuttle service to the ferry dock.
There are three main routes that will take any visitor into Boston. These are the I-90 Massachusetts Turnpike from the West, the I-95 from the North and South and the I-93 which extends from the north and South also.
There is the availability of Amtrak services which extend from locations of the Northeast passageway, such as New York, into Boston city. The usual trip from new York to Boston is approximately 3 & 1/2 hours aboard the Acela Express, and 4 hours otherwise.
The three main stops into Boston via Amtrak include:
- Route 128, which is the ideal stop for those wishing to visit the western or southern Bostonian suburbs.
- Back Bay Station, where most people hop off for hotel destinations in the Southern end, or to simply branch off via the Orange Line Subway.
- The train’s final stop is at the convenient South Station. This stop is optimum for those who seek to stay at hotels located on the coastal areas and in the theater district.
If you plan to travel to Boston by bus, the Greyhound and Peter Pan line of buses offer transport to the Boston region at the South Station, Downtown. And if you’re looking to get out of Boston to New Hampshire, Rhode Island, NYC or even Connecticut, then these bus choices are your best bet!
Getting Around Boston
Boston has a reputation for being a walkable city, especially for many of the tourist sights. Besides walking, visitors can get from point A to B by bus, train, driving, taxis, boats or even cycling. It is recommended that you use the MBTA’s public transport system to get around town because traffic can be bad…and parking is very expensive. It’s best to save yourself all the hassle (and money) and hop aboard the subway!
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), provides transport for the Boston public community. Their website & apps help with planning tools, alerts and transit data for specific routes. Transportation is accessible at an affordable rate to the public, and commuters have the option to purchase mTickets or CharlieCards.
For information on fares/pricing and routes, please visit http://www.mbta.com/fares_and_passes/
Ferry rides are available to take you to some of the popular Boston sights, thanks to the MBTA. The water taxis provide transit routes to East Boston and other areas such as Charlestown. To top it off, riding one of these ferries promises a spectacular view of the Boston skyline.
To obtain further details such as fare structures, routes, schedules and guidelines, you may visit http://www.mbta.com/schedules_and_maps/boats/
Boston’s taxi system is operated and regulated under the Police Department’s Hackney Carriage Unit. Just purchase your non-expiry coupon and you’re set to go! Please visit the proceeding link for additional information on the Boston Taxi Unit http://bpdnews.com/hackney-carriage-unit/
Safety for Tourists
As we all know, it can be quite complicated and frustrating being in an unfamiliar destination. Hence, precaution is a must! If driving around town, be sure to be prepared for an adventurous journey as many of Boston’s streets have no visible signs, making it difficult to decipher your route. Be aware that parking-meter spots transform into residents-only parking stations at certain times of night.
Though it is quite unlikely and irregular for violent activities to occur within Boston, it is still helpful that visitors are alarmed and aware on their surroundings, and keep personal belongings in check. Also as a reminder, when taking taxis, look for the medallion and licensed plates that are marked “Boston Licensed Taxi.”
Climate in Boston
Boston’s weather is constantly changing and there is no telling what it will be like next (you know the saying “just wait five minutes and it will change…”). Spring and Fall are generally the best time to visit, and so it’s popular for tourists to plan their trips at these times.
Fall is ideal for experiencing the vivacious foliage colors, and is perfect for mid-afternoon strolls in cool, crisp air. Everyone knows winter in Boston can be drastically cold and snowy from December through to March. Spring, the recommended time to visits if you want to see the city in full bloom. Summer is very hot and sticky, but in late afternoons its get a bit more pleasant.
Still, the weather can be unpredictable so it may be best to walk with an umbrella as afternoon showers or thunderstorms are frequent surprises.
There is a variety of events and festivities that take place in Massachusetts, specifically Boston.
The Boston Marathon is one of the world’s major marathons, which is held in mid April of each year. It’s the oldest known marathon ever to be held, beginning in 1897, and has maintained its rank on the world’s list of most reputable races. The event is a major tourist attraction, as over half a million foreigners flock to part-take or watch and cheer on the runners as they go by.
Held in late September at the Boston Brewery, the Harpoon Oktoberfest is all about fun, food, laughter and BEER! This is the event to experience live lederhosen dressed musicians, keg bowling contests and more. If you love to waltz, then join in on the dance floor!
Boston Wine Expo
The Boston Wine Expo is another tourist attraction. It is held in the middle of February of each year at Seaport World Trade Center. Grab your wine glasses and let’s go tasting over 2000 of the world’s best wines!
Boston Dragon Boat Festival
Just as the Boston Marathon, the Boston Dragon Boat Festival is one of the country’s most popular. Not only does it entail a boating competition but there’s an infusion of Asian arts, craft, music and cuisine available to suit your taste. It is a favorite of many Boston locals and tourists alike.
This event is hosted in July and is considered a first part of two events in the 4th of July celebrations. The Boston Harborfest is held for six consecutive days, and features the heritage of the American Revolution, and Boston’s historic part in it. There are over 200 activities to do on site and it is quite a popular event for visitors.
Major Tourist Neighborhoods/Tourist Districts
The Fenway neighborhood is one of Boston’s main tourist sites. Following the Fenway Road, you will be able see that it’s home to a few of the city’s main attractions. These include the Fenway Park/Stadium (home of the Red Sox), the Museum of Fine Arts (one of the world’s great art museums), a few universities and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
If you just want to get lost wandering in the mid-afternoon breeze, then this is the perfect neighborhood for you. Just like others, Back Bay is a popular tourist area. While wandering you may get caught staring in awe at the many boutiques and architectonic features it is lined with.
South Boston Waterfront/Seaport District
The South Boston Waterfront is home to numerous tourist attraction sites such as the infamous Fish Pier, Boston’s Children’s Museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art and more. It is also located close to the Fort Point neighborhood, which itself is another attraction for the many visitors of Boston.
Faneuil Hall Marketplace
This area always has visitors going yum! Why? Because this Faneuil Hall Marketplace is home to Boston’s best dessert diners, such as Mike’s Pastry. Though it may always be a hubbub, it is worth the visit, to experience the many specialty shops, bars and Faneuil Hall itself.
The Waterfront has been transformed from an old warehousing area to a popular and beautiful inner harbor site, decked with marinas and fine condominiums. What draws tourists to this area? The New England Aquarium is located right on the waterfront, where visitors go to experience the under water world of many sea critters. Additionally, the Waterfront is the main passageway for cruises on the harbor and the renowned whale watching expeditions.
Things to Do in Boston
There are many awesome activities available in Boston. Start planning your visit by checking out some of the most popular things to do in Boston below, and reserve your tickets!