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.
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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, you’re looking at paying
- The single fare is $2.40
- A daily pass for unlimited travel is $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 to 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. 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. What a life saver! We were able to 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.
Salem Witch Museum
The museum transported me back to Salem in 1692, during the infamous witch trials. 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.
- The 2nd level is the temperate waters gallery.
- Level 3 Freshwater gallery and tidepool where the kids can touch starfish 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. The main attractions start every 2 hours, but there are shows starting every 15-30 minutes in between. Make sure to plan according to what your family would most like to see. You can get on their website for showtimes.
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. Revere sold the home in 1800. It has been renovated as a candy store, cigar factory, bank, and 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.
The home is 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 haven’t watched many games as an adult, but I did enjoy Fenway Park on our Go tickets. It was along the way to some other attractions and had a lot of history. I think we all enjoyed the tour even though we aren’t baseball fans. 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 boy’s 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. I was surprised that I enjoyed it. 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.
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 including 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
The Louisa May Alcott House was built in the 1690s and it has been preserved to look exactly like it did when the Alcotts lived there. I remember reading Little Women growing up, so it was exciting walking through the Louisa May Alcott House. 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 Hancock-Clark House- Paul Reveres Destination. (1 Bedford St)
- Munroe Tavern-Museum of the redcoats (1332 Massachusetts Ave.)
- Battle Green- The shot heard around the world. The first shots were fired on April 19, 1775, starting the American Revolutionary War
Located at 36 Hancock St
The inside of Buckman Tavern looks exactly as it did when the Lexington militiamen were waiting for the British troops to arrive. I noticed the bullet hole that was made by a British musket in the front door, and I learned that John Buckman was the owner of the tavern. 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 with the gardens, to look out towards the Salem Harbor.
Don’t forget to visit Faneuil Hall Marketplace– here we enjoyed watching street performers and tried Clam Chowder.
Faneuil Hall was not only a public market, but also 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.
The Boston Go Card is a great way to see Boston on a budget.
With Covid, there are many closures but one way to save money, relax, and learn about our history all at the same time is by virtual tours. 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.
Best Time 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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