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Boston is a compact city and easy to get around by public transportation, on foot, tour bus or taxi. If you decide to drive your car here be prepared to navigate roadways that are jumbled and once you get to your destination be ready to pay dearly for parking!
If there are some specific things outside the city that you want to see or visit, you may consider renting a car to get there, although just about every notable attraction can be accessed via some form of public transit**. If so, read the Inside sections on taxis and rental cars.
The first thing you should know about getting around Boston is that the public transportation system is excellent—use it! It’s known to locals as the "T "- short for MBTA, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. (www.mbta.com)
At Logan Airport, take your pick: Free buses stop at all terminals and take you right to the Blue Line Airport T station ($2 from there). Or, there is the new T "Silver Line". For $2, its buses pick you up right at your terminal, and take you on their own track into downtown and the Red Line T's South Station. That $2 - per trip - gets you virtually everywhere in Boston. The T has now converted to the "Charlie System" and no longer uses tokens. Electronic Fare Vending Machines can be found at nearly all subway stations. There vending machines allow you to get around using either a paper CharlieTicket, which the machine will give you, or a plastic CharlieCard, which you can obtain at various local stores, through the MBTA's website, or at a select few T stations. If you are able to get your hands on a CharlieCard, you are given discounts individual fares which you do not get using the CharlieTicket. Subway trips cost $2 with a CharlieTicket (or cash on board) and $1.70 with a CharlieCard. Similarily, buses cost $1.50 with the CharlieTicket (or cash on board) and $1.25 with the CharlieCard. Both CharlieTickets and CharlieCards can be used multiple times and can be recharged at the Fare Vending Machines.
Speaking of South Station: You’re arriving or departing by train? An escalator or elevator connects between the railroad and the T at any of Boston’s major train stations - South Station, North Station, Back Bay. South Station also has Boston’s main inter-city bus station.
The T is an excellent way to get from central Boston to destinations in surrounding cities and neighborhoods. For example, the best route to the Museum of Fine Arts is the E branch of the Green Line. The T's Red Line is the best way to get to the attractions of Cambridge, such as Harvard, Harvard Square, and MIT. A good way to see these places is to use the T for the longer hauls, then plan walks between destinations in the same general area, such as Harvard University, the Harvard museums, and the shopping, dining, and people-watching mecca of Harvard Square. You can even get to the beach on the Blue Line.
The subway is not the only way to get around town - the MBTA also has an extensive system of buses that can get you to the areas where the Subway doesn't. A ride on the bus is $1.50 with a CharlieTicket, $1.25 with a CharlieCard (see above paragraph for more details). If using a CharlieCard, there is a free transfer from the T to local bus routes and a discounted subway fare ($0.45) when going from the bus to the T.
**The commuter rail lines radiate out as far as Rockport, Newburyport, Fitchburg, Worcester, Providence, the South Shore and many lesser-known suburbs. Nearer, commuter rail will take you on a relaxing ride to beaches and seaside towns such as Gloucester, Rockport, and Manchester, and to the historic towns of Concord, Plymouth, and Salem. The lines run on a set schedule with more frequent trips during the rush hours.The price will be $1.70-$7.75, one-way.
Once you're in town, Bostonians' best advice is to get a map,some good walking shoes and walk it! Boston proper is not a huge city by any stretch and all of the main tourist attractions are within walking distance of each other. Distances are so short between destinations within central Boston that it is often faster to walk than to take the T. Plus, if you're spending all your time underground on the subway, you'll miss some of the natural beauty of Boston such as The Public Garden, Boston Common, historic Beacon Hill and Back Bay, the Esplanade and the waterfront. Newbury Street (Boston's "High Street"), which runs from the Public Garden all the way down to Mass Ave., is a great place to walk, shop, and sit at a cafe in good weather.
There is another way to get your bearings that does not involve a car. Try one of the commercial sightseeing tour buses. They stop at, or near, most of the hotels. For a reasonable fee, you can ride around the city, getting a feel for the layout and those areas you would like to explore. Simply hop off at one of the stops and put those walking shoes to work. Reboard at any stop and continue. You control where you spend your time and the amount of walking you want to do, while still benefiting from a driver’s humorous overview of the city. One of the popular tours is the Duck Tour, where you can see the city by land and water in amphibious vehicles, the drivers will always give you a chuckle, most with their distintive Boston accent. From there you have an idea of the places you want to visit. Duck Tours depart from Huntington Avenue by the Copley Place Mall, and the Science Museum.
Lastly, there are always taxis around town particularly in the tourist areas, by hotels, and venus such as Fenway Park and TD Garden. Just raise your arm to flag the taxi to stop. There are many taxis on the streets at all hours, and taximeters are required by law. For taxi fare estimates, try TaxiFareFinder - Boston.