Getting Around Boston

Written: The Top Thing Staff | June 5, 2023

Public Transportation Options in Boston

Subway system (MBTA)

If you’re visiting Boston and looking for an efficient way to get around, the subway system, known as the MBTA or the “T,” is an excellent option. With four different lines covering various parts of the city, you can easily navigate to popular destinations, such as Fenway Park or Harvard Square. The subway operates from early morning until midnight, making it convenient for both tourists and locals.

Bus network

For a more flexible mode of transportation, Boston’s bus network is a great choice. The bus system covers the entire city and offers a wide range of routes, making it easy to reach neighborhoods and attractions not serviced by the subway. The buses generally run from early morning until late evening, providing convenient options for commuting and exploring the city.

Commuter rail

Commuter rail is perfect for getting to Boston from the suburbs or touring beyond the city. Boston is connected to nearby cities by a comfortable and efficient rail network. Scheduled commuter rail runs throughout weekday rush hours and minimal service on weekends.

Boston’s public transportation—subways, buses, and commuter rail—is convenient and affordable. You can explore Boston’s colorful neighborhoods, prominent buildings, and cultural and historical richness with a broad network and regular service. So get on board and enjoy Boston!

Navigating Boston by Foot

When it comes to exploring the vibrant city of Boston, there’s no better way to immerse yourself in its unique charm than by navigating its lively streets on foot. Walking is not only a great way to soak up the history and character of the city, but it also allows you to conveniently access many popular neighborhoods, landmarks, and attractions. Here are some tips to help you get around Boston on foot.

Walking-friendly neighborhoods

  1. Back Bay: Known for its beautiful Victorian brownstone buildings, Back Bay is a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood with tree-lined streets. Don’t miss strolling along Newbury Street, which is lined with trendy shops and restaurants.
  2. Beacon Hill: Step back in time as you walk the cobblestone streets of Beacon Hill. This historic neighborhood boasts picturesque row houses, gas lamps, and charming boutiques.

Landmarks and attractions within walking distance

Boston is home to a wealth of landmarks and attractions that are conveniently within walking distance of each other. Here are a few must-visit spots:

  1. The Freedom Trail: Follow the red-brick trail to explore 16 historically significant sites, including the Massachusetts State House, Paul Revere’s House, and the Old North Church.
  2. Fenway Park: Baseball fans won’t want to miss a visit to Fenway Park, the oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball. Take a stroll around the area and soak up the atmosphere.

Exploring Boston by foot allows you to experience its rich history, stunning architecture, and lively neighborhoods up close. So put on your walking shoes and immerse yourself in the wonders that Boston has to offer!

Biking in Boston

Bike-friendly infrastructure

Boston is a city that encourages and supports biking as a means of transportation. With numerous bike lanes, bike-friendly roads, and dedicated bike paths such as the Emerald Necklace and the Charles River Path, getting around on a bike has never been easier. The city also offers bike racks and bike-sharing stations at convenient locations, making it convenient to park or rent a bike when needed.

Renting a bike

If you don’t have your own bike, renting one is a great option. Boston has several bike-sharing programs like Bluebikes, which allows you to rent a bike for a short period of time. All you need to do is sign up for a membership, grab a bike from one of the many stations, and return it to any station when you’re done. It’s a convenient and affordable way to explore the city on two wheels.

Safety tips and regulations

When biking in Boston, it’s important to prioritize safety. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Always wear a helmet to protect yourself in case of accidents.
  2. Obey traffic laws and signals, just like any other vehicle on the road.
  3. Be aware of your surroundings and watch out for pedestrians, cars, and other cyclists.
  4. Use hand signals when turning or changing lanes to communicate your intentions to others.
  5. Stay visible by wearing bright and reflective clothing, especially at night.
  6. Lock your bike securely when parking it to prevent theft.

By following these guidelines and utilizing the bike-friendly infrastructure available in Boston, you can enjoy a safe and convenient biking experience while exploring the city. So grab a bike, soak in the sights, and enjoy all that Boston has to offer on two wheels.

Ride-Sharing and Taxis

Popular ride-sharing services in Boston

If you’re looking for a convenient and affordable way to get around Boston, ride-sharing services are a great option. Uber and Lyft are the most popular ride-sharing platforms in the city, offering affordable fares and quick pick-up times. With just a few taps on your smartphone, you can request a ride and be on your way to your destination.

Traditional taxi options

If you prefer a more traditional mode of transportation, Boston also has a number of taxi options available. Companies like Boston Cab and Metro Cab have been serving the city for years, providing reliable and convenient transportation services.

Remember to always prioritize your safety when using ride-sharing services or taxis. Share your trip details with a friend or family member and trust your instincts if anything feels off.

Getting around Boston has never been easier with the convenience of ride-sharing services and the reliability of traditional taxis. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy exploring the city!

Car Rental and Driving in Boston

Renting a car in Boston

If you’re visiting Boston and want the flexibility to explore the city and its surroundings at your own pace, renting a car is a great option. There are several car rental agencies available both at the airport and downtown. Make sure to compare prices and book in advance to get the best deals.

Navigating the city streets

Driving in Boston can be challenging, especially if you’re not familiar with the city’s intricate road system. Here are a few tips to help you navigate the city streets:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the major landmarks and neighborhoods to get a better sense of the city’s layout.
  2. Use GPS or navigation apps to plan your routes and avoid getting lost.
  3. Be prepared for heavy traffic, especially during rush hours. Allow extra time for your journeys.
  4. Boston has many one-way streets, so pay attention to signs and follow the flow of traffic.
  5. Be cautious of pedestrians and cyclists, as they are common on Boston’s streets.

Boston’s Water Transportation

Ferry services

If you’re looking for a convenient and scenic way to travel across Boston, the city offers a fantastic ferry service. These passenger boats provide a unique mode of transportation, allowing you to avoid traffic and enjoy the beautiful views of Boston Harbor. From downtown Boston to various destinations like Charlestown, Hingham, and Quincy, the ferry services are a popular choice for both tourists and locals. With frequent departures and comfortable seating, it’s an enjoyable alternative to traditional transportation options.

Water taxis

Another great option for getting around Boston’s waterfront is by taking a water taxi. These smaller boats operate like a taxi service, picking up passengers at designated stops and taking them to their desired destinations. Whether you need to get to a restaurant, hotel, or tourist attraction, water taxis offer a convenient and efficient way to travel. Not only will you avoid traffic, but you’ll also get to experience the thrill of cruising on the water, taking in the sights along the way.

Scenic harbor cruises

Scenic harbor cruises are ideal for peaceful Boston Harbor exploration. These boat cruises let you relax and see the city’s skyline and shoreline. Harbor cruises are memorable, whether you choose a narrated tour to learn about Boston’s history or a sunset cruise to see the sights. It’s also perfect for entertaining out-of-town friends and special occasions.

Boston’s water transportation offers a unique and entertaining way to explore the city and its harbor, regardless of the option. Take a ferry, water taxi, or harbor cruise next time you’re in Boston to improve your vacation.

Tips for Getting Around Efficiently

Navigating a bustling city like Boston can be overwhelming, but fear not! We’ve got some great tips to help you get around efficiently and make the most of your time in the city.

Best times to travel

To avoid rush hour traffic and crowded public transportation, plan your travels outside of peak hours. In general, aim to travel during the late morning or early afternoon, or after 7 PM in the evening. This will give you a smoother journey and more space to navigate the city.