How to Get Around in Boston
With its extensive public transportation network and patchwork of eminently walkable neighborhoods, Boston is easy to explore without a rental car. Take advantage of the “T” subway and hop-on hop-off trolley tours; join walking tours along the historical Freedom Trail; or hop on a bike, bus, or boat to sightsee. Here are your options.
Boston’s public transportation system is comprehensive and spans the subway—usually referred to as the “T”—buses, trolleys, commuter trains, and boats. The network covers all the city’s attractions, including outer areas such as Cambridge. The easiest way to pay for subway and bus fares is via a CharlieCard—a smart card that’s loaded with cash value or passes—or a paper CharlieTicket, loadable with subway, bus, rail, and ferry passes and tickets.
Walking and Biking Tours
Boston is relatively compact and thus easy to explore on foot or bike. The city also puts walking at its heart through its Freedom Trail—a marked path that leads to its main historical sites. Walking tours along the trail are popular for viewing and learning about the city’s revolutionary history in particular, and include self-guided audio options. Other guided walks focus on districts such as the North End, with townhouse- and cafe-lined cobbled lanes perfect for strolling. Bike tours and bike rentals also are easily available if you prefer two wheels or want to cover more ground quickly.
Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley Tours
One of the easiest ways to get your bearings and round up Boston’s landmarks is on a hop-on hop-off trolley tour. Modeled on vintage trams, the trolleys trundle around the sights, including the historic USS Constitution, Fenway Park, and Boston Common. Stay aboard for the full loop to discover each sight’s past via the onboard commentary, or hop out at the designated stops to explore at your own pace.
Ferries, Cruises, and “Duck” Tours
Round-trip ferries circle Boston Harbor before sailing to nearby Spectacle Island or Georges Island. Join a narrated harbor cruise to view Boston’s skyline and waterfront attractions such as the Boston Tea Party ships and USS Constitution. Other popular options include whale watching cruises and “duck” tours—where an amphibious vehicle transports you around the landmarks before cruising along the Charles River.