My wife and mother-in-law plan to come to Boston's Logan airport later next month in the morning. They will be picked up by relatives that evening, and stay with them overnight.
They wish to do some sightseeing during the daytime. However, they do not want to rent a car.
What is the most cost-effective way to do the sightseeing? The questions relate to how to go from the airport to downtown in the most cost-effective way, and then do sightseeing on either a sightseeing bus tour, or a hop-on, hop-off bus tour (they would prefer the latter). Finally, could they store their baggage/luggage at the airport, while they went out sightseeing.
May 29, 10, 5:14 pm
What is the most cost-effective way to do the sightseeing?
I would advise taking the T from Logan into the city if cost is a concern. I would start by taking the Silver Line to South station. Weather permitting, I would get off at South Station and walk along the Rose Kennedy Greenway/Atlantic Ave for about half a mile towards the aquarium and Quincy market. It's a short walk from Quincy market to the Massachusetts state house, Boston Common, and public garden.
Consider doing the Freedom trail. Here's a link to a map
If they plan on venturing towards Newbury St and Copley Place for shopping consider taking the Massport shuttle to Blue line, connect with any greenline train and exit at Copley or Arlington.
I haven't done any of the tours in years but they are fairly pricey IMHO. Old Town Trolley has a good reputation in BOS.
$38/person ($34 if purchased online)
Finally, could they store their baggage/luggage at the airport, while they went out sightseeing.
Luggage storage is not available in the airport terminals. I would advise contacting either the Hyatt Harborside or Hilton Logan Airport and inquire with the bell staff about storing your luggage. Assuming they are okay leaving their belongings at the hotel, and offer to pay a nominal fee and tip you should be okay but definitely call first.
May 30, 10, 4:30 am
The most cost effective way of touring Boston is a self-guided tour on the Freedom Trail: it's completely free. It does, however, require a lot of walking.
Here is what I would propose: rather than taking the Silver Line, which is relatively easy but takes you to South Station, which is not the best place from which to start, have your wife and MIL take the free MassPort shuttle bus to the MBTA subway station. Outside of baggage claim, they will find concrete pillars painted with blue stripes, where they will wait for a blue-and-white bus number 22, 33 or 55 for the 5-minute ride to the subway station. At the subway station, they can purchase a single ride ticket to Boston.
Tell them to follow the signs for the Boston-bound trains (they have to go through the turnstyle, up the escalator, across, and then down the escalator) for two stops to the Aquarium station. When they come upstairs (following the signs to the Aquarium), they will be very close to the Marriott Long Wharf hotel. This would be a great place for them to leave their bags (virtually any doorman at virtually any tourist hotel would be happy to check a bag for an appropriate tip) and to be picked up later in the day.
From the Marriott, they can either purchase a ticket to one of the tour buses (there are several that stop within a block of the Marriott), or can walk a couple of blocks towards the North End to pick up the Freedom Trail. (I'm sure the concierge at the Marriott can direct them; it's quite easy.)
May 30, 10, 11:59 am
Did the trolley bus tour many years ago as we had an extra day in BOS (plane went tech) and really enjoyed it. I think the prices have gone up a bit since then.
May 30, 10, 12:26 pm
Agree with a lot of the above, esp about taking the blue line instead of the silver line.
If your wife/ MIL are young at heart, they may enjoy a 'duck tour' which, although no longer unique, originated in Boston I believe. However, may need to book in advance, since tickets on the day sell out very early.
May 31, 10, 9:03 pm
Another vote for the shuttle to the Blue Line instead of the Silver Line. Just the other day, I took the Silver Line from the airport, and it took close to 45 minutes to get to South Station from when I started waiting.
The Freedom Trail is great, but as has been said, it is a lot of walking. Some alternative ideas are to take a walk along the harbor. This is one of my favorite areas of the city. It has great views of the city and the various landmarks on the water, like the courthouse or the World Trade Center.
They could also take the Red Line to Harvard Sq, which IMO, is a pretty neat area. From shopping to eating to viewing the campus, it's all pretty fun.
Another thing I tell people to do is take the E Green train to Prudential and check out the observatory on the 50th floor of the Prudential Center (or 'The Pru'). It costs $12, but the views cannot be beat, and you could spend a long time up there checking out the great history of the city (they give you devices). On the ground level, there is a lot of (indoor -- mall type) shopping here.
The ship yard in Charlestown is also neat. It houses USS Constitution and another ship. Tours are available I believe.
If tours are what they want, the Boston Duck Tour is something that I've only done once (and a long time ago), but I do remember that it was fun, and educational. They use authentic WWII amphibian vehicles that give a tour of the city on wheels, and the they take a dip into the Charles River.
There is a lot to do in the city. Out of all of them though, one of my favorites is simply walking around, without a certain destination in mind. They don't call it The Walking City for nothing!
Jun 1, 10, 8:11 am
It's more expensive than the Blue Line (or Silver Line) but they might enjoy taking a water shuttle from the airport across Boston Harbor. There's a free bus to the dock and the boats run to Rowe's Wharf. (There is also a boat to Quincy, by the way, which has a number of sites of interest if you're a fan of John Adams, but is more of a destination for people who already know Boston itself.)
Jun 12, 10, 3:00 pm
Are there any sightseeing bus tours originating at airport hotels?
Then they can take the hotel shuttle between the airport and hotel (both directions?), check the bags with the bell captain?, and take a bus (not necessarily hop-on, hop-off) offering a guided sightseeing tour of Boston.
Jun 17, 10, 1:14 pm
There is only one airport hotel AFAIK and the airport is across the harbor form the city (where you would want to do tours). I would take the advise about going to the Long Wharf Marriott via water taxi or blue line if you need to drop bags. It is not far from the airport at all.
Once there, there are plenty of people hocking trolley tours, boat tours, etc you can hop on. There are even segway tours, which is actually a lot more fun then it sounds (not that I would know :o. If they dont mind walking though, I would recommend just exploring the city by foot.
If they want to go shopping though, it might be worth a quick T or cab ride to back bay as AAerSTL suggested.
Jun 17, 10, 1:24 pm
There is only one airport hotel AFAIK ....Well, it all depends on how you define an "airport hotel," but there are two hotels on the airport grounds, a Hilton and a Hyatt, and several other hotels that certainly consider themselves to be "airport hotels" (i.e., their raison d'Ítre is to service airport passengers) even though they're not right on the airport grounds.