Boston on a budget
Boston is a top tourist destination in the United States. It offers history, culture, sports, and even shopping opportunities for visitors to explore.
Boston is a city with a lot of sites to see. There are plenty of things to do in Boston.
The Freedom Trail is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Boston. It’s a 2-mile walking path that takes visitors by 16 historically significant sites in downtown Boston, including:
– The Massachusetts State House, – The Old South Meeting House, and – Samuel Adams Statue.
There are plenty of other sites to visit in Boston such as:
– Fenway Park and – Faneuil Hall Marketplace.
Plan Your Trip and Save Money by Booking Early
The earlier the better when it comes to booking a trip. The closer you are to your travel date, the more expensive everything will be.
If you know that you’ll be taking a vacation in three months, for example, then start looking for tickets and booking hotels now. You may want to sign up for travel newsletters from airlines and hotels so that you can receive alerts from them when deals become available.
How to get around
Boston is a great city to visit, but it also has its downsides. Tourists might experience long lines, high prices, and lack of transportation. But there are ways to get around Boston without any of those problems.
We did not rent a car. And what a relief! After a few of our tours, we learned that parking would have broken the bank. Parking could cost $40+ a day. Walking or taking the T was easy and practically stress-free because we didn’t have to worry about navigating a car or the parking.
The best way to get around Boston is by using the subway system. The MBTA or the T. It provides an easy way for tourists to travel from one side of the city to the other. The subway system in Boston is comparatively simple and straightforward as compared with other major cities like New York City or Washington D.C., making it easy for tourists who are new at this type of traveling method in America’s big cities.
You can buy tickets for single or multiple rides at vending-type machines located at most of the stations.
As of the date of this post your looking at paying
- The single fare is $2.40
- A daily pass for unlimited travel $12.75
- Local Bus
- Silver Line
- Commuter Rail Zone 1A
- Charlestown Ferry
- A weekly pass covers the same as the daily except you have unlimited travel for 7 days $22.50
If you get a Charlie Card you can load them with money for cash-free transportation.
The subway system runs all the time. I don’t think we waited more than 5 or 10 min at any time. You can find the subway map and schedule here.
The MBTA is free for trips leaving the Boston Logan Airport. We hoped on that straight out to our hotel. For more information about free T rides from the airport go Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority- Logan Airport
If you decide to go to outer cities like Plymouth that the T doesn’t cover then renting a car might be an option.
Where to eat
One of the major reasons why people come to Boston is to eat. There are tons of great restaurants here, and a lot of them are actually cheaper than in other parts of the world.
The reason for this is simple: Boston has a very high cost-of-living. Rent in Boston is very high, and so are the prices in grocery stores. This means that you can find amazing $25 burgers at upscale food trucks or get a fresh lobster roll at a restaurant on the water for less than $10.
But there’s more than just food to do in Boston! There’s plenty of free things to do as well! You can see all sorts of historic sites, take walking tours around town, or enjoy music festivals like Folk Fest or First Night.
Boston is a historic city with thousands of free cultural attractions. The museums and attractions vary by the type of art they offer, with many focusing on photography, modern and contemporary art, and architecture.
Visiting museums in Boston is a great way to take in a variety of fine artwork pieces for free. They are also a relaxing way to spend an afternoon. The diversity of Boston’s museums allows you to visit something new every day.
Do more for less
One of my ultimate favorite trips was to Boston. I knew before, that I wanted to visit many of the popular attractions while I was there. As I was doing some research I realized that it could be an expensive adventure. It was important to find a great deal beforehand. That’s when I stumbled upon the Boston Go Card! Bingo…Boston on a budget! This little card is absolutely amazing, and it saved me quite a bit of money! There are a few different options available.
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There are forty-two attractions on the all-inclusive Boston Go Card list and I purchased the three-day pass for $119. The pass can be printed out or I downloaded the free Go City card app on my phone. This way I wouldn’t lose it.
Here are the exciting places that I went to with the help of this fabulous little card:
Hop On Hop Off Bus
My Boston Go Card included a ticket for the Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Bus. This was a lifesaver, we could get off and on as much as we wanted. I couldn’t tell you how many steps this saved me!! Hey, Boston is a huge city!
Freedom Trail Walking Tour
The Freedom Trail is 2.5-miles-long through downtown Boston. It passes by 16 locations historical destinations of the United States. Most of these destinations are free. Print out a free map of the Freedom Trail.
Begin your journey at 139 Tremont Street at the Boston Common Visitor Information center and end at the USS Consitution in Charlestown.
Freedom Trail covers
- Boston Common -Free
- Massachusetts State House– Free
- Park Street Church– Free
- Granary Burying Ground– Free
- Kings Chapel and Kings Chapel Burying Ground– Free
- Boston Latin School/Ben Franklin Statue– Free
- Old Corner Bookstore– Free
- Old South Meeting House– $15 adults, $14 Seniors 65+, $14 Students, $8 children under 12, Free with Boston City Pass or Boston Go Pass
- Old State House– $15 adults, $14 Seniors 65+, $14 Students, $8 children under 12, Free with Boston City Pass or Boston Go Pass
- Boston Massacre Site– Free
- Faneuil Hall– Free
- Paul Revere House– Adults $6, Seniors and College Students $5.50, Children ages(5-17) $1- Free with Boston Go Card or City Pass
- Old North Church– $5
- Copp’s Hill Burying Ground– Free
- USS Constitution– The ship is free to visit but they suggest a $10-15 adults and $5-$10 for children
- Bunker Hill Monument-Free
USS Constitution Cruise
The USS Constitution was launched in Boston in 1797 and earned the nickname “Old Ironsides” during the War of 1812. She is the oldest commissioned warship afloat.
The cruise out to visit her takes forty-five minutes to complete. It took us right up to the USS Constitution. I was able to tour the ship and the Naval Museum before heading back.
During my trip, I also saw the Bunker Hill Monument and the Boston Tea Party Boat.
Salem Witch Museum
This museum took me back to 1692 when the witch trials were held in Salem. The museum is full of exhibits that include information about what a witch was, pagan midwives, and the entire history of the infamous witch hunt.
Old State House
The Old State House has many historic rooms that are filled with artifacts and art. We even had the opportunity to sit in the Royal Governor’s chair within the King’s Council Chamber! Some of my favorite items within this attraction include the red velvet coat worn by John Hancock.
The New England Aquarium
The aquarium has three floors. Level 1 holds the seals, penguins and the shark and ray touch tank. Level 2 is the temperate waters gallery. Level 3 Freshwater gallery and tidepool where the kids can touch star fish and sea urchins. In the middle of the building is a massive aquarium that extends from the bottom floor to the top. At the top, level 4 is the giant ocean tank and one could look down into it. I saw humongous turtles and fish swimming around.
The aquarium has different presentations and shows to check out. Most start every 15 min-30 min. but the main attraction shows start every 2 hours. Make sure to plan according to what your family would most like to see. You can get on their website for show times.
Paul Revere House
Paul Revere left this home on the night of April 18, 1775 for his famous ride to share the news that the British were coming. During my visit, I learned that Revere had sold the home in 1800. It has been renovated as a candy store, cigar factory, bank, and a fruit and vegetable business. In 1902 his great-grandson bought the property and restored it back into the family home. The home is a rare example of 17th century urban architecture. The Paul Revere House is a self-guided tour.
Home located at 19 North Square Boston, MA 02113 in the North End
Home of the Boston Redsox. We are not even really baseball fans. I grew up keeping score on Saturdays for our church baseball team, and my boys played on a team. I do enjoy watching but just haven’t taken much time as an adult to watch games. However, Fenway Park was on our Go tickets and it was along the way to some other attractions so we thought we would stop. There was so much history in it and I think we all enjoyed this tour even though we aren’t baseball fanatics. I can say that for me this was actually one of my top favorites. I was fascinated the whole time. My boys even loved it. I definitely want to go back and watch a game here. It is going on my bucket list to do.
The MIT museum was one of the top things on my boys list to see. It was not something I wanted to do so thank goodness it was on our Go Card and kept my Boston on a budget actually in my budget. There was so much to see and do within the MIT Museum.
One of the fun things we learned was that the graduating students usually do a prank at the end of the year. One year they took apart a car and then rebuilt it on the top of the school.
You will find the ground floor with the current MIT research and the second floor with high-tech artifacts, kinetic sculptures, underwater robotics, holograms, and more. There was so much to learn, and I felt that my brain was full of useful and mind-boggling information by the time I left.
MIT museum is located at 265 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge, MA 02139
Mary Baker Eddy Library and Mapparium
Mary Baker Eddy Library and Mapparium is located at 200 Massachusetts Ave Boston, MA 02115. My favorite part of this space was the three-story stained glass Mapparium globe, which contains a 3D global map of the world in 1935. This space is full of special effects. Lights illuminated, music played, and stories were told of how ideas have changed our borders and our world. The library was a little more low-key with artifacts, letters, and other documents.
We were able to fit the Concord in our budget in Boston because it was one of the options on our go card. American history comes to life inside the Concord Museum. I was amazed as I walked past American Revolution artifacts that included one of the lanterns that hung outside the Old North Church during Paul Revere’s infamous ride. I spent quite a bit of time viewing the furniture, art, clocks, textiles, and more from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, but I was very impressed when I found the collection that focused on Henry D. Thoreau.
Louisa May Alcott House
I remember reading Little Women as I was growing up, so I was super excited to walk through and see the Louisa May Alcott House. This house was built in 1690 and it has been preserved to look exactly like it did when the Alcotts lived there. I could almost hear the characters of Little Women come to life as I saw where the family put on their little shows.
Lexington was the place the American Revolution began. Here you will find the
- Buckman Tavern, which is the Militia Headquarters. (36 Hancock St)
- The Hacock-Clark House- Paul Reveres Destination. (1 Bedford St)
- Munroe Taver-Museum of the redcoats (1332 Massachusetts Ave.)
- Battle Green- The shot heard round the world. The first shots were fired on April 19, 1775, starting the American Revolutionary War
Located at 36 Hancock St
The inside of the Buckman Tavern looks exactly as it did when the Lexington militiamen were there waiting for the British troops to arrive. I noticed the bullet hole that was made by a British musket in the front door as soon as I arrived, and I quickly learned that John Buckman was the owner of this tavern on that fateful day. His picture hangs on a wall inside the tavern today.
House of Seven Gables
The Nathaniel Hawthorne summer house is a wooden mansion constructed back in 1668. You will find it on 115 Derby Street Salem, Massachusetts 01970. The inside is beautiful, my favorite part was climbing up the secret staircase. Don’t leave without taking a stroll along the gardens, to look out towards the Salem Harbor.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Boston, but I know that if I hadn’t found the Boston Go Card, I wouldn’t have been able to experience all that I did. If I were to see all these attractions without the Boston Go Card, I would’ve spent at least double what I ended up paying!
Don’t forget to visit Faneuil Hall Marketplace– here we enjoyed watching street performers and tried Clam Chowder.
Faneuil Hall was a public market that also served as a meeting space for local colonials to hold political meetings, speeches, and swearing in ceremonies. Today it continues to hold historic history as a frequent backdrop for debates and speeches. Visitors around the world come to taste the historic food in Quincy market and shop the local stores and live entertainment.
If you are planning a trip to Boston anytime soon, I highly recommend getting the Boston Go Card. The Boston Go Card really helps you see so much of Boston on a budget.
With Covid there are many closures but there are many virtual tours. I guess that is one way to save money, relax, and enjoy learning about our history all at the same time. Check out a few Virtual Tours Here.
What has been your biggest help to save money on trips?
The things I included in my 3 prong folder
Boston Go card Free Guidebook – It has all the numbers, times, subways, and information to use your Go Card, conveniently in one place. I printed this off and stuck it in my folder.
When to go to Boston
I think the shoulder season is the best time to visit. April-May and September-October offer nice weather without the crowds. Accommodation is cheaper too. Just pack a sweater for those cool mornings and evenings.
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