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Getting Around Boston

The best way to get around in Boston is by walking. And when your itinerary takes you out of the city center, the second best mode is the efficient "T" subway system, which includes subways, trains and trolleys along five separate lines. You can easily take the Blue Line from Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) to downtown Boston. Cabs are another excellent option: Boston isn't a huge taxi town, but you can find them at several cabstands throughout the city and lining up outside of major hotels. Ride-hailing apps, such as Uber and Lyft, are also popular options. However, we do not suggest renting a car and driving yourself: Narrow, one-way roads and expensive parking make driving an avoidable hassle.

On Foot A self-proclaimed walking city, Boston encourages pedestrians. And its charming streets, historic sites and interesting shops will inspire them. If you bring a sturdy pair of walking shoes (that are comfortable enough for strolling along cobblestone streets and long promenades), Boston's streets are easy to navigate on your own two feet.
The "T"

The "T" is the name for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's system of subway trains, buses, trolleys and ferries. The most efficient of these means is the five-line, color-coded subway trains. Before taking the train, plot out your trip by looking closely at the subway map to orient yourself and figure out whether you'll need to hop on an inbound or outbound train to reach your desired destination. The fare cost for a single subway ride (no matter the distance traveled) on the T will cost you $2.75, but if you use a free reloadable CharlieCard, the fare is only $2.25 per ride. (Children 11 and younger ride for free when traveling with an adult.) CharlieCards can be picked up at most T stations, select retailers and the CharlieCard Store at the Downtown Crossing station.

For travelers who decide not to get a CharlieCard, paper CharlieTickets can be purchased at participating retail stores and CharlieCard vending machines. Most above-ground T stops do not have ticket vending machines, so if you do not have a ticket when departing from one of these stations, bring cash to pay onboard. One-day and weekly passes, which can be loaded onto CharlieTickets or CharlieCards, are also available for $12 or $21.25. All CharlieCards and CharlieTickets can be used on buses in addition to subway trains. Operating hours will vary depending on the line, but most subway trains run between 5 and 1 a.m. All lines are not available until 5:30 or 6 a.m. on Sundays. Subway trains depart every 5 to 26 minutes, depending on the date and time of day.


Though Boston's bus network can be a bit more complicated to figure out than the "T," local buses are a more affordable (albeit slower) form of public transportation. Almost 200 bus routes operate throughout the city; some useful routes for getting around downtown include the Nos. 4, 15, 39, 47, 57, 352 and 354 buses. Most buses run between 4:30 and 1 a.m.

Cash, CharlieTickets and CharlieCards can be used to pay for bus rides. A $2 fee applies for passengers paying with cash or a CharlieTicket; travelers with a CharlieCard will be charged $1.70 per one-way ride. All children 11 and younger ride for free when accompanied by an adult. And like the T, one-day and one-week passes can be loaded onto CharlieTickets and CharlieCards for bus rides.

Water Taxi

Water taxis can be a scenic option for exploring the waterfront's hot spots, such as Long Wharf and Shipyard Park. One-way tickets start at $12. You'll find stops along Boston Harbor and also at the airport. Most water taxis are available for hire between 6:30 or 7 a.m. and 8 or 10 p.m. daily.


Taxis can be tricky to track down, but you shouldn't have a problem flagging one outside of the airport, major hotels and popular attractions. The fare starts at $2.60 for the first 1/7 mile, plus an additional $0.40 for each additional 1/7 mile. For any ride to or from the airport, an additional $2.70 or $2.25 charge applies. If you're planning to call a cab while in town, be sure to use a trusted company like Boston Cab, Metro Cab of Boston or the Independent Taxi Operators Association. The Uber and Lyft ride-hailing services also operate in Boston.


Having a car is really more of a burden than a help, as narrow, one-way roads and too-few (and expensive!) parking spaces seem tailor-made for hassle-prone experiences. If you must have one, you can rent one at the airport. But we suggest you leave it parked at your hotel, and take the "T" or rock the heel-toe step to get around.

Explore More of Boston

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