We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

1st timer to Boston...help please...

Westminster, CA
Level Contributor
1,017 posts
18 reviews
Save Topic
1st timer to Boston...help please...

Hello

I really don't know much about Boston.

I do know the first thing I plan to do is the Duck Tour.

I believe we fly into Boston airport (logan) from southern california, just me and hubby, ages 50 and 52, good health.

Where to stay? Hoping to not need a car.

I would like to see Salem (the witch museum--is that the one with all the carved pumpkins in oct?)

where is that in relation to everything? so far those are my top 2 must sees.

We will only be there a minimal amount of time, heading to NY via trian, then to DC via train, we have 2 wks roughly.

any suggestions/comments would be appreciated.

cant wait

~Mary

Mentioned in this post
Salem
Salem
Massachusetts
Liberty Fleet of Tall Ships
Boat Tours, Sightseeing Tours
Old Town Trolley Tours
Sightseeing Tours, City Tours, Historical & Heritage Tours, Hop-On Hop-Off Tours
Tuckamore Aviation
City Tours, Helicopter Tours, Adrenaline & Extreme Tours, Sightseeing Tours, Photography Tours
Boston Walking Tours
Sightseeing Tours, Walking Tours, Cultural Tours, Food Tours, City Tours
Boston, MA
Destination Expert
for Boston
Level Contributor
25,091 posts
66 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: 1st timer to Boston...help please...

When will you be here?

A car is more of a hindrance than a help in Boston

You can get to Salem via train or ferry from downtown Boston. Salem does turn itself into Halloween Central in Oct but I doubt you will see carved pumpkins at the witch museum.

Keene nh has a pumpkin event and in the past there has been one in Boston, but it is usually a 2-3 day event. Pumpkins rot.

As for where to stay, a lot of that will be determined by budget. Some times of the year are more expensive than others. Assuming you are here in October, you will find lodging prices high

Generally speaking convenient areas to stay include Back Bay, beacon Hill, Boston Common, Theater District, Notrh Station, Quincy Market and North End. The SeAport area is ok but it is a newer section of town and not close to many historical sites.

Beware of hotels with a "slash" location such as "Boston / Peabody". That means the hotel is actually in the city of Peabody which is 20+ miles from Boston with no convenient public transportation.

Please provide your EXACT dates and preferred nightly budget for the best advice

As for what else to see ... It depends on what you like. I suggest you get a guide book, read the suggestions and see what appeals to you.

Mentioned in this post
Salem
Salem
Massachusetts
Back Bay
Back Bay
430 Reviews
Boston, MA
Quincy Market
Quincy Market
2,844 Reviews
Boston, MA
Peabody
Peabody
Massachusetts
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
132 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: 1st timer to Boston...help please...

I visited Boston this past mid October, and I loved it! Autumn in Boston is so mesmerizing. I would also suggest staying in the areas forgotmypw suggested, as you will not need a car. You will absolutely enjoy the Freedom Trail. I loved Boston's "Little Italy" area called North End...beautiful neighborhood and an awesome atmosphere with great selections of restaurants.

Also, if you guys are sports fan, stop by the beautiful Fenway Park and my favorite, Gillette Stadium. (I'm a huge Patriots fan.)

Mentioned in this post
Freedom Trail
Freedom Trail
14,289 Reviews
Boston, MA
Tulum
1 post
1 review
Save Reply
3. Re: 1st timer to Boston...help please...

Boston is an awesome city all year long. You didn't mention when you plan to be there, but you might enjoy spending an overnight in Salem MA. You could easily take the train for the day, but there are a bunch of great restaurants and shops in addition to all the witch stuff. Also, it could save you a few bucks to stay outside of the city one night.

While you are in Boston, you might like to walk the Freedom Trail, which is a guided walk through the North End and the historic areas of the city; these walks are led by the national park service rangers. Be sure to allow time to have dinner in the North End if you like Italian.

Most people who visit Boston also go to Fanueil Hall and maybe the Aquarium. If you are here in summer, add on a whale watch or Boston Harbor cruise from that location too.

Looking for something to do at night? Try Blue Man Group, which started in Boston, although I know it's expanded now. Fenway Park also offers tours at some times during the year.

Have a great trip!

Mentioned in this post
Salem
Salem
Massachusetts
Freedom Trail
Freedom Trail
14,289 Reviews
Boston, MA
Westminster, CA
Level Contributor
1,017 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: 1st timer to Boston...help please...

wow thanks for all that info.!!!!

all sounds aweSOME

we are going in mid-Oct. possibly, wed. and Thurs., Oct. 8 and 9, cant wait for it to be MESMERIZING...YAY.

yea i think i heard a friend mention "italian food" in boston....

so glad I dont need a car. yay.

on my way to go research FREEDOM TRAIL...and NORTH END.

not interested in baseball so much...but thanks for all suggestions.

cant believe im finally doing this trip. dreamed of it for sooo long....

thanks to you all i sure appreciate it.

have a great evening...

~Mary

Mentioned in this post
Freedom Trail
Freedom Trail
14,289 Reviews
Boston, MA
Westminster, CA
Level Contributor
1,017 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: 1st timer to Boston...help please...

uh luv Italian!

k i just checked freedom trail...not sure on that yet...but..NORTH END..looks so awesome i think i need to stay longer in Boston! (sorta looks like new orleans without the ...rifraf?!)

How much time do i need for freedom trail and north end? can i do duck tour at 8:30 am, then trail and north end? or skip duck?

my dates are still open in oct. i havent booked anything yet, but im anxious to get them for best prices.

anyone can suggest comments on my itinerary, does it sound ok, or should i do stuff different?

fly into BOS from LAX, probably wont arrive until late wed eve.10/8.

we could stay til fri and head out for head out sat. a.m. what do u think.

we are heading to NYC via train for a few days, then train to DC for at least 5 days.

(we have 2 weeks vacation days give or take a few)

Can we hit gettysburg on the way to DC from NYC?just to save time not backtracking?

any comments would be appreciated.

thanks for all your help, so ---excited.

Mentioned in this post
Hollis, New...
Level Contributor
4,675 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: 1st timer to Boston...help please...

Gettysburg is a very significant detour from the normal NYC-to-DC route, and I don't know whether you can even get a train there. Even if you did, you'd need a car or some tour to see the battlefields. It's a great place to see, but not realistic for your circumstances.

I don't know how long the Duck Tours last, but I'm sure you could find out on their Web site. It's not possible to tell you how long you need for the Freedom Trail and the North End, because it all depends on how often and for how long something induces you to stop or wander off course. Doing both a Duck Tour and a moderate treatment of the Freedom Trail (you don't have to do the whole thing, and you don't have to stop at every site) would make a pretty full day. Add in extra time in the North End, and it's a very full day. If I were in your place, I think I'd skip the DT and plan on a full day's pleasant meander with indulgent stops for refreshment.

Did you find Salem on the map? You can get there in an hour or so by train or by boat from Boston.

Mentioned in this post
Boston Duck Tours
Boston Duck Tours
6,063 Reviews
Boston, MA
Freedom Trail
Freedom Trail
14,289 Reviews
Boston, MA
Salem
Salem
Massachusetts
Westminster, CA
Level Contributor
1,017 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: 1st timer to Boston...help please...

thanks WPS!

really wanting to see do the duck tour so I think I will plan for a flight that arrives in Boston early enough in the day to do the duck tour (although i think the boats stop at around 4:30 so it may not be possible the first day)

we will plan for freedom trail and north end for one day and Salem via boat the next day.

feeling better with your help, thanks.

~M

Mentioned in this post
Salem
Salem
Massachusetts
North Shore, MA
Destination Expert
for Salem
Level Contributor
5,808 posts
181 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: 1st timer to Boston...help please...

Two days isn't really very much time for Boston, so in some ways, it seems a shame to use one of those days for a day-trip to Salem. On the other hand, it sounds like you are looking for the Salem Halloween experience, and with a trip in October, you can certainly have that! On Friday, the Halloween crowd will really grow from late afternoon into evening so stick around for that (but if you want to see Salem without big crowds, go on Thursday instead). Here is a link to the Haunted Happenings website, which will be helpful in planning your day (it will get updated as we get closer to October):

http://hauntedhappenings.org/

Salem has much to offer beyond the Halloween activities, so here's another website to look at for ideas:

http://salem.org/

Mentioned in this post
Salem
Salem
Massachusetts
Boston, MA
Destination Expert
for Boston
Level Contributor
25,091 posts
66 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: 1st timer to Boston...help please...

Since your dates are not set yet, I suggest you avoid the oct 17-20. The 18th and 19th are the dates of a huge rowing race called Head of the Charles Regatta. It creates a huge demand for hotel reservations and can drive up prices.

Westminster, CA
Level Contributor
1,017 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: 1st timer to Boston...help please...

thanks route and forgot

route--- i did see that halloweenhappenings site, and the salem.org site....i think it was only partially updated or something...for events anyway.

we could easily skip salem...but ....is Boston really that interesting (than new york?) why so appealing?

safer? cleaner? doubt its cheaper?! more historical sites???

thanks for the info tho because again, i want to book soon to get best prices, im afraid im starting to see that Boston is really really cool...

forgot---good to avoid the regatta race, but I think there is also a 5k in the area i thought i read somewhere earlier in the month i think..not sure...

i got a hold of a travel agent at auto club today, i doubt will actually book anything thru them cause its probably cheaper thru the web....but hoping to get more insight.....and recommendations....for hotels, etc.

thanks forgot

have a great day!

~Mary