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Boston’s Logan Airport is a major international transportation center handling hundreds of flights every day. Boston is also home to superb public transportation and accessible by train, bus and car.
The Logan Airport has four major terminals connected by new people-mover-equipped bridge tunnels that criss-cross the central parking garage.
While Logan International Airport (BOS) is the largest and most well-known of the local airports, other options that could be cheaper include T.F. Green Airport (PVD) in Providence, Rhode Island, and Manchester Airport (MHT), in Manchester, New Hampshire. There is no direct public transit from either airport into Boston. Each is about an hour from Boston by car.
Amtrak runs trains from most East Coast cities into Boston. South Station and Back Bay Station serve trains from the cities to the south, while North Station serves points north. However, fares tend to be on the expensive side, and Amtrak is notorious for delays and inefficiency. To get the best deal, buy your ticket online at least three days before your travel date.
Several long-haul bus lines offer service to Boston. The Hampton Jitney serves Long Island, Fung Wah offers inexpensive service from Chinatown in New York City to Chinatown in Boston, and Greyhound and Peter Pan serve the East Coast and beyond. Most buses drop off at South Station, where you can catch the Red Line and Silver Line "T", or some commuter trains.
At the higher end, LimoLiner operates vans between Boston and NY downtowns with airplane-type seats, internet connections and attendants. With Boston's huge student population, trains and buses can be crowded, especially during holidays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, so try to reserve a seat ahead of time.
Driving, there are three main ways to Boston: Northeast on the original Route 1A for getting to the northeast and the North Shore. Go west through the original parallel Sumner and Callaghan Tunnels to and from downtown and to reach northbound I-93. And there is the new Ted Williams Tunnel for getting to the Southeast Expressway, the South Shore, Cape Cod and other points south (I-93 south to Route 3 and I-95). Use the Ted Williams also to get to I-90 (the Massachusetts Turnpike) and to the Seaport District and the southern end of downtown. The tunnels and the Mass Pike charge tolls.
Boston’s roadways can be difficult to navigate if you’re not familiar with them. With traffic hassles and the high cost of parking, driving is not recommended.
From Logan Airport, free buses stop at all terminals and take you right to the Blue Line Airport T station. The "Silver Line" has buses that pick up at the terminal and ride downtown on a track. The fare for each is $2 per trip, which will get you virtually everywhere in Boston.
Electronic Fare Vending Machines can be found at nearly all subway stations. Vending machines allow you to get around using either a paper CharlieTicket, which the machine will dispense, or a plastic CharlieCard, which you can obtain at local stores, through the MBTA's website, or at a select few T stations. The CharlieCard offers discount fares that are not available to users of the CharlieTicket
Taxi stands are by the arrivals level at each terminal, managed by airport personnel. Service is prompt most hours, unless several large flights have arrived at the same time. Pending traffic and route, it will take approximately 15 minutes to arrive downtown and can cost about $35.
Check your hotel’s shuttle service because many area hotels offer free shuttle service from the airport.
There are several car rentals agencies operating out of Logan, but car rental is not recommended if you plan to spend your time in downtown Boston. Instead, opt for the efficient and inexpensive public transit, walk or take a cab. 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
Boston is a compact city and easy to get around by public transportation, on foot, tour bus or taxi.
Once you're in town, Bostonians' best advice is to get a map, good walking shoes and start walking. Boston is a small city and all of the main tourist attractions are within walking distance of one another. Distances are so short between destinations within central Boston that it is often faster to walk than to take public transportation (the T).
“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.
A ride on the bus is $1.50 with a CharlieTicket or $1.25 with a CharlieCard. If you’re using a CharlieCard, there is a free transfer from the T to local bus routes and a discounted subway fare (45 cents) when going from the bus to the T. The CharlieCard is a plastic, reloadable card for transportation. For more information on how both the CharlieCard and a CharlieTicket work, check out MBTA’s official site.
Try one of the commercial sightseeing tour buses. They stop at, or near, most of the hotels. For a fee starting at $30, 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 distinctive 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. The cost is approximately $35.
Lastly, there are always taxis around town particularly in the tourist areas, by hotels, and popular tourist venues such as Fenway Park and TD Garden. Just raise your arm to flag the taxi to stop. Fare will be more expensive than public transportation, approximately $2 per mile. Enter your destination into TaxiFareFinder to calculate the estimated cost.