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. One of the oldest cities in the US, Boston thrives on diversity and being first as much as possible.
Everywhere you go in Boston there’s history. Colonial buildings downtown, brownstones in Back Bay and Beacon Hill, 19th-century mansions, and historic buildings adapted for reuse to house businesses and shops. To help you see Boston's attractions book at tour when booking your Boston flight. There are walking tours, trolley tours, Duck tours, and to choose from or visit the Prudential Center Skywalk Observatory and enjoy the 360 degree views of the city.
The first thing travellers coming off their Boston flights notice is just how much this compact city has to offer. On the high end, Boston is nearly as expensive as New York, but you can explore the city and dine on a student’s budget.
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Boston's coastal location makes for a moderate climate. Spring and autumn are pleasant, 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.
When to fly to Boston
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 because the tourist season is ramping up. If you're looking for cheap flights to Boston, travelling in the winter is your best bet.
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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 5am to 12:30am. A Night Owl bus service now 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 an extra surcharge.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Finding a Boston address is no easy task; there’s no pattern to the layout of the streets, too few street signs, and, if the address is downtown, Big Dig detours. The best solution is to call and get directions. If the directions are for the subway, make sure to ask which exit to take as most stations have multiple exits that send you off in different directions.
- 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 Boston locations specified on the respective website.