Travel Tips for Boston, MA

My son and I are coming up on a one week Spring break from school and work. He'd love to travel far away, while I am happy to explore our state of CA. However, I have always been curious about visiting Boston. Is it expensive? Does anyone have any good, inexpensive suggestions of places to stay and visit that won't cost an arm and a leg? We'll be taking our trip between March 31-April 7. My son will also be celebrating his 17th birthday during that week, so anything special in that area might be a neat bonus for him. Thanks for your suggestions.

d. napolitan from San Diego

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February 11, 20070 found this helpful

You could try looking at Craig's List; being in Southern CA, I'm sure that someone here would be interested in swapping space for your stay. This area is relatively expensive, but if you plan on staying in the suburbs away from the city proper, it will cost less. The public transportation system will be very useful, and affordable, to travel about the city and to and from the suburbs. There are many interesting and fun things to see and do, so I hope you are able to follow through and visit!

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February 12, 20070 found this helpful

I lived in Boston for many years. I'd say it is a bit more expensive than San Diego, but shouldn't be too bad. Boston is a great place to go if you are interested in history, museums, or schools. There is plenty of great shopping and there are lots of regional attractions as well.

The Freedom Trail in downtown Boston is a good place to start. It walks you past the Boston Commons, public gardens, cemeteries and churches from revolutionary times, and the site of the Boston Massacre. The area around the trail includes some of Boston's best shopping opportunities including Downtown Crossing, Fanieul Hall, and Quincy Market. From the public gardens you can walk down Newbury Street (a street with many funky shops) to Copley Square at the base of the Prudential building where Trinity Church sits opposite the main branch of the Boston Public Library.

Boston is home to several great museums including the Museum of Fine Arts (which can eat up an entire day by itself), the Gardener Museum, the Science Museum, and many museums at the various colleges. if you head over into Cambridge you can visit the campus of M.I.T. The M.i.T. museum is small, but has a great collection of holograms (and slide rules). Further up Mass. Ave. you'll find Harvard Square, both a great shopping destination and a great place place to see the historic campus. Boston University is located back over in Boston and is right near the big Citgo sign and Fenway Park.

It's easy to get around Boston on the T. The subway can take you to most of the places I've mentioned. I think you can buy a 3 or 7 day visitor pass so you can ride the subway as much as you want during your visit. It's also great to walk down near the Charles River and over all the bridges.

If you rent a car you can drive out to Lexington and Concorde to see Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and Walden Pond. Salem is just up North and Plymouth is just to the South. Further out you can go to Cape Cod, Nantucket, or Martha's Vineyard. The states are really small compared to those in the West so you can also take day trips to Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, or Connecticut.

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February 12, 20070 found this helpful

Everyones tips are good. But having lived in both Boston and San Diego(my favorite place) I thought maybe you should be warned that the weather in Boston in March/April may be quite cooler than SD.

Also, I'm sure the citiy of Boston has free tourist pamphlets,etc. to send you. Try looking up Boston Chamber of Commerce( or maybe it "tourism" now )online. Have a good time!

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February 12, 20070 found this helpful

Boston is an awesome town. We celebrated our daughter's 18th birthday in Boston and we took her to "Cheers!" It was very fun and memorable for her. The food was your average "bar fare" but it was the atmosphere we were seeking. We did "walk" the Freedom Trail (different points of of interest to stop at along the walk like churches, cementaries, etc.; climbed up to Bunker Hill (monument with lots and lots of steps- all this is free) you can pick up guided maps. My husband travels so we never have to pay for hotels/cars/air because of all the points he accumulates; so we stayed in the Holiday Inn. It was right by Whole Foods. I would not recommend staying in this hotel. It is the worst hotel we have ever stayed in. Never enough towels, maids only cleaned 1/2 the rooms and then left the emptied trash cans in the door ways - so when we returned we tripped over them, etc. We complained, but nothing was done about it. . . . and they really acted like they couldn't care less.

Have fun. Boston is a cool town, but then we love San Diego too! Lots and lots of history in Boston.

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February 13, 20070 found this helpful

If you are a member of AAA or know of someone who is a member, go to the AAA office and ask for a travel book and map of Boston.The book will give you information on where to stay,eat and things of interest.The book and map is free if you are a AAA member.

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March 22, 20070 found this helpful

You will have a great time. I've both visited and lived near Boston. There is so much history there that you can have a great time walking around. The graveyard right downtown and the Trinity Church are some of my favorite attractions. Be sure to go to Harvard Square, it is amazing. Just don't make eye contact with all the panhandlers! Also, I found that people were very nice in private but seemed very rude in public. Don't take it personally if your smiles are not returned and if everyone is in a hurry.

A couple of places I'd recommend to eat would be Legal Seafood (they are a good local chain) and Vinnytesta's (great Italian food). Neither are extremely pricey and good. Get a grinder while you are there, like a Philly Cheesesteak but Boston style. Starbucks has bought out most of the local coffee places and Dunkin' Donuts is it's biggest coffee rival (if you like your coffee black, make sure to say so. Regular automatically has cream and sugar)

The post about the weather is so true. The wind can be very raw, especially if you are walking over the rivers. Pack as if you were going to winter weather and maybe you will trick the weather into being nice. You may see giant piles of snow in parking lots from the snowplows. Take the T if at all possible. If you want to go farther out, the commuter rail or Amtrak is an affordable option.

I would highly recommend taking a day and going to Cape Cod. If you can do it, try to go and see the sunrise. I lived on the West Coast most of my life but will always treasure the morning I managed to get up in time to see the sun rise over the Atlantic. Be warned, it is very early indeed. This time of year is off season so you can see the charm of the Cape without the crowds. Of course, a lot of the tourist places are closed up this time of year but the lighthouses and beaches can't close. Plus, just drive around and look at the houses. At the very end of the Cape is Providencetown, which is a funky artist's retreat, very different from the rest of Cape Cod.

Have a great time. Oh, and when you fly in, it looks like you are landing in the water but it is just because of where the airport is. Don't worry!

Jess in Portland

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