Getting Around Boston

Travel Channel gives you the best ways to make your trip to Boston pleasant by offering suggestions about how to get around Beantown with ease.

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Photo by: Fiona Wong, flickr

Fiona Wong, flickr

Most visitors to Boston have heard the rumors: The city is notorious for its 1-way streets, aggressive drivers, and confusing layout. Don’t let those concerns stop you from exploring Beantown. The key to success? Take advantage of the city’s extensive public transportation system to navigate the Hub like a native Bostonian -- accent and Red Sox hat optional.

Boston from Logan Airport
Once you’ve landed at Boston’s Logan International Airport, you have a variety of options to get into town. The easiest -- and priciest -- is to take a taxi: follow signs for “Ground Transportation” outside each terminal to find the queue. A cab from the airport to downtown Boston typically costs between $25 and $35 and should take about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on traffic.

If you want to save some cash, opt for public transportation. For just $1.70 the “SL1” Silver Line bus stops at all of Logan’s terminals, runs every 10 to 15 minutes, and will take you to South Station which is on the Boston subway’s Red Line. To streamline your trip and review all possible transportation options, visit the website for the Massachusetts Port Authority where you can use Massport’s “GetUthere” app or download a detailed brochure, or call (800) 23-LOGAN.

Known by locals as the “T”, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority oversees most aspects of Boston’s public transportation system including the subway, bus lines, commuter rail, and ferries. Purchase a reusable, recharchable CharlieTicket at a fare vending machine (located at most MBTA stations) and the city—and many of its suburbs—is your oyster. Want to catch a Red Sox game? Take the Green Line to Kenmore or Fenway. Planning a day in Harvard Square? Hop on the Red Line. The T can even bring you across the harbor to view the U.S.S. Constitution (via ferry) or north to historic Salem (via the extensive commuter rail). To get from South Station to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, visitors should take the Silver Line’s SL1, SL2, or SL3 bus from South Station on the Red Line, or take SL1 directly from Logan Airport to the World Trade Center stop. For additional options, visit the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority's website.

If you’re planning to visit Boston for longer than a few days, consider getting a CharlieCard. These reusable plastic cards are available at Back Bay, Downtown Crossing, Harvard, North Station, and South Station stops and are a more affordable option than CharlieTickets, which include a surcharge in addition to standard T fare. To view maps and schedules, order CharlieCards, download smart phone apps, and plan your trip, visit the MTBA or call (800) 392-6100.

When you want to get to your destination quickly without driving Boston’s streets yourself, it may be worth it to take a cab. While it’s possible to hail a cab in some of the city’s more popular areas such as Fenway and around Boston Common, you’re often better calling a taxi company in advance to ask for a pick-up. The city of Boston authorizes 7 cab companies: Top Cab, Boston Cab, City Cab, Metro Cab, I.T.O.A. Cab, Tunnel Taxi, and 617TaxiCab. Look for the “Boston Licensed Cab” medallion, or visit the City of Boston's website for full contact information. Your driver should charge $2.60 for the first 1/7 of a mile and 40¢ for each additional 1/7 of a mile (tolls will cost extra). For a touristy but fun ride, try a pedicab. These pedal-powered rickshaws provide an eco-friendly alternative to traditional cabs and can be found in a growing number of locations, including Copley Square. Contact Boston Pedicab or call 617-266-2005 for more information.

Boston may have a reputation as a walking and driving city, but government initiatives are making it increasingly bike-friendly, too. The latest addition: the New Balance Hubway, a bicycle-sharing system that allows users to rent 1 of 600 bikes from 60 stations throughout Beantown during spring, summer and fall. Pay $5 for a 24-hour membership or $12 for a 3-day membership (additional fees apply if you ride longer than 30 minutes at a time). Bring your own helmet, or pick one up for just $7.99 at local stores. For more details, including station maps, a list of helmet-buying locations, and safety tips, visit or call (855) 4HUBWAY. Getting around Boston doesn’t have to be intimidating. With some advance planning, you can take the stress out of travel and keep your focus on all the city has to offer.

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