When is the best time to visit?
Boston's coastal location makes for a moderate climate. Spring and autumn are pleasant and mild seasons, winters are cold and summers are warm and sunny. Rain falls throughout the year. Watch out for the "Northeasters", coastal storms that bring most of the rain and snow. Expect snow between December and March.
The best time to fly to Boston is during the spring and autumn months. The weather is perfect, the city is in full swing and most of the tourists have gone home. You might not get the cheapest flight to Boston during this time, but you'll be experiencing the city at its best. Find flights to Boston in the autumn so you can take a drive through New England and watch the colours change. In the spring flights are generally more expensive as the tourist season is ramping up. If you're looking for cheap flights to Boston, travelling in the winter is your best bet.
Attracting over 60,000 every year, celebrating St Patrick’s Day in Boston is a remarkable and unforgettable experience. From parades to pub crawls, to parties to Irish cooking lessons, there is something to tickle everyone’s taste buds at the second largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in America.
The Boston Marathon is an annual event that is held on Patriots Day, the third Monday of April. Ranked as the world’s oldest marathon, its reputation as one of the best-known road racing events attracts around 500,000 spectators yearly. The track covers 26 miles of the city creating an enthusiastic, buzzing and united atmosphere, however results in major road closures and disruptions to travel.
Boston Film Festival (September)
For 30 years, visitors and locals have been gathering in Boston to watch an array of creative film categories such as short films, animation and documentaries at Boston Film Festival. The event showcases a variety of talents from up-and-coming artists to renowned filmmakers. Alongside enjoying the films, attendees are invited to join a discussion and Q&A session with many of the producers, directors and actors.
Historic sites from the time of the Revolutionary War; modern skyscrapers; a leading medical, high-tech, and financial centre; museums and performance arts; more than 40 institutions of higher learning; and great shopping; Boston has it all. It also has a long list of the nation’s firsts; the first publicly supported library, public school, subway system, and the citywide First Night (New Year’s Eve) celebration to name a few. Founded in 1630, Boston is one of the oldest cities in the US and it thrives on diversity and being first as much as possible.
Everywhere you go in Boston there’s history. Colonial buildings in the centre, brownstones in Back Bay and Beacon Hill, 19th-century mansions, and historic buildings adapted for reuse to house businesses and shops. There are walking tours, trolley tours, Duck tours, and to choose from or you can visit the Prudential Center Skywalk Observatory and enjoy the 360 degree views of the city.
Many famous American historical events, such as the Boston Tea Party and the ride of Paul Revere, happened here. Walking the Freedom Trail takes you to 16 historic sites (only a few of which charge admission), including the site of the Boston Massacre, Paul Revere House, Black Heritage Trail, Old North Church, and USS Constitution. The two and a half-mile walk can be done as a self-guided tour or with a tour guide dressed in period costume. The Old State House is particularly important as it’s the first place the Declaration of Independence was read out to the public. The Black Heritage Trail is another excellent and important walk, all about the history of black people and slavery in the USA.
Getting around Boston
Boston has plenty of ways to get around, including the world’s oldest subway system, buses, trolley buses, ferries and commuter rail. The quickest, easiest and safest way to travel around Boston and Cambridge is the subway, the “T.” The subway will get you almost anywhere, and while the bus is cheaper, it can be much more confusing. Both the bus and subway run from early morning to late evening. A Night Owl bus service runs until 2:30am on Friday and Saturday nights. It’s easiest to get a travel pass for getting around, since different types of transportation require different tokens. Taxis are easy to find but can be costly. Don’t bother renting a car, unless you’re planning to go outside the city. Traffic can be a nightmare. Most rental agencies rent to drivers age 25 and up. Those drivers ages 21 to 24 will have to pay a surcharge.
Getting to the city
Logan International Airport (BOS) is served by an express bus service which, depending on traffic, takes between 30 and 45 minutes to get to the city. The ‘T’ also operates around the airport area as are local buses but for the most enjoyable way to reach your destination, take a water taxi or a water shuttle.
Boston insider information
- The Boston Common (the Common) is the anchor for the Emerald Necklace, five parks spread over 1000 acres and five miles. The Necklace is the only remaining intact linear park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. Next to the Common is the Public Garden, the country’s first public botanical garden. It’s also home to the bronze statues of Mrs. Mallard and her children from Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey.
- Bostonians are fervent and passionate sports fans. With the Red Sox, New England Patriots, Celtics, Bruins, and Revolution, there’s always a game somewhere. Some consider catching the Sox at a night game at Fenway Park to be a spiritual experience. If you plan to go to a game while you’re in town, it’s a good idea to get your tickets online before you arrive.
- A Boston CityPass will get you to the head of the line at several of the more popular attractions, and, if you’re planning on using the T, a Boston Visitor Pass may save you money too. Another option is the comprehensive Go Boston Card that includes attraction, transportation, dining, and shopping discounts. You can purchase the passes online or at several Boston locations.