Boston Visitor Guide

Boston Visitor Guide

Welcome to Boston on Budget’s Boston Visitor Guide. If you are a visitor looking to stay on budget when touring Boston, you came to the right place! Trip Advisor ranked Boston the 3rd Most Expensive U.S. city to visit, and below you’ll find some tips, resources, and ways to save money when visiting Boston! Please make sure you do your due-diligence and research the companies and tips on the list, as not every travel option and budget-friendly suggestion is for every traveler.

Explore Boston on a Budget

Below are some article links, tips, resources and more of ways to explore Boston on a Budget. There are so many free and inexpensive things to do in the city that you shouldn’t get bored!

Cheap Boston Hotel Options

Sometimes a little creativity needs to happen to meet your budget, needs, and ideal location when it comes to finding a place to stay in or around Boston, especially if you are visiting during peak time! Here’s a few suggestions beyond the traditional hotel room and booking. Please make sure you book through a reputable source when booking a rental, and if it seems to good to be true, it probably is! *One thing to note is that Boston hotels are definitely not cheap. However, parking and transportation in Boston is really expensive too. If you are considering staying outside the city and renting a car to save on hotel costs, you may end up spending more, so make sure you do the math correctly. Parking is typically $40 (or more) a night in Boston plus rental costs, gas, tolls, and other fees. Also, driving in Boston is a nightmare and Boston is easy enough to get around without a car, especially if your hotel is in a good location.

  • LMT has a lot of great deals for Boston hotels, and although you receive a lower discount rate since the hotel is hidden, there is so many photos and information, it’s easy to figure out what hotel it is before you bid. Also, despite the name, there are a lot of great hotel deals far in advance too.
  • Priceline: If you are looking for a place to sleep a night at a great rate, check out Priceline. Back Bay is one of my favorite locations, but there’s also many other great areas in Boston to stay (Tip: Check out beforehand to see if you can figure out the hotel before you bid)
  • VRBO: A vacation rental site by owners is a great way to save on a hotel, especially if you are staying for an extended time or have a big family!
  • Homeaway: Stay at a vacation rental to save money on a hotel room which is perfect for a unique experience or a big family!
  • Airbnb: A website that connects travelers to hosts that have a spare space to stay for travelers and get a free $20-$40 credit when you spend $75 or more! (My experience with Airbnb)

Cheap Boston Transportation Options

Boston is a great city for innovation, which means there are some creative and new transportation options in the city! Definitely follow some of these companies on social media too as they often share promo codes for credit, and even free rides!

  • MBTA Charlie Card: Taking the “T” to get around the city is a great and cheap option. A ride is $2.65 for the subway, but with the Charlie card plastic card, it is $2.10 per ride. *Charlie Cards can be found at large stations like North Station, South Station, Downtown Crossing, Back Bay Station and more*
  • Free Transportation from Logan Airport: If you are arriving to Boston from Logan Airport, the MBTA is free. Get on the Silver Line at the Airport which will connect you to the red line and more options for free.
  • Lyft: A car-sharing app which is usually cheaper than a taxi + free credit for new users
  • Uber: An app that connects you with a driver. UberX is the cheapest option and is usually cheaper than a taxi + use promo code UberBostonBudget for a free credit for new users!
  • ZipCar: A car-sharing service, an alternative to car ownership or car rental, great for short trips (sign up and use within 30 days to get a free $25 credit)
  • SpotHero: Want to reserve and pay for your parking spot through your smartphone? Head here for a free $5 promo code to put towards cheap Boston parking!
  • Boston Best Parking Guide: If you have to bring a car during your visit, check out this helpful map before you leave to help find a cheap parking garage. However, if possible, it is better not to bring a car since parking can be expensive and Boston is a great walking city!

Boston Cheap Eats

If you are not staying at a spot with a kitchen or a free breakfast, eating three meals out can add up quickly. Sometimes when I travel, I’ll have two meals, and then pack some snacks or enjoy some “happy hour” deals to hold me over. Although technically “Happy Hours” are illegal in Massachusetts, there are many specials for food instead of cocktails. Also, there are still drink specials in Boston, they just run all the time instead of particular times of the day. Check out the Boston on Budget’s Cheap Eats (and drinks) page for a complete list of specials. Here are a few more resources to help save on eating out:

  • A great place to buy restaurant vouchers at an affordable price, typically for local restaurants. Just make sure you read the terms for each individual restaurant (ex: doesn’t include alcohol, must spend a minimum amount, etc). Also, is easy to use with great customer service where you can easily exchange a gift certificate if needed. (They also often have promo codes, so keep an eye out for those!)
  • Reserve a table at your favorite Boston restaurant in advance, and you can earn points for dining out
  • Local coupons and offers (available on mobile too) for local restaurants in and around the city
  • Daily Deal sites like Groupon, LivingSocial, and more offer discount vouchers on local restaurants

Boston Attractions

Although I have a page dedicated to Discount Boston Attractions and Free Things to Do in Boston, I wanted to highlight a few if you want some quick info!

  • Wednesday Nights after 4pm: Suggested Donation to the MFA (also free the first weekend of every month for BoA cardholders)
  • Thursday Nights from 5-7pm: Free Admission to the Institute of Contemporary Art. (The ICA is also free for families with children 12 and under the last Saturday of every month, except December and always free for Youth 17 and under)
  • Friday Nights from 5-9pm: $1 Admission to Boston Children’s Museum
  • Museum of Science and New England Aquarium is free (with advanced reservation) for Boston Public Library Cardholders and Mass residents can apply for a BPL card
  • The Freedom Trail is a red brick trail throughout Boston that connects to 16 historic sites. The Freedom trail is free and can easily be a self-guided tour, although some attractions on the Freedom Trail may cost a few dollars to get into.
  • Faneuil Hall is a great place to shop, hang out, watch street performers and people watch! It’s also free (unless you shop or grab a bite to eat)
  • Boston Duck Tour discounted tickets start at $24, with many different options available!
  • Looking for an awesome view of the city from the Prudential Tower? Head to the restaurant Top of the Hub (before 8pm) and grab a drink at the bar and take in the views!
  • Free Tour (donations encouraged) and Tasting of Sam Adams Brewery (or pay $5 for the Harpoon Brewery, which is easier to get to)

Hopefully you found some tips and resources to help save during your first/next visit to Boston! If you have any budget-friendly tips for visiting Boston, please share them in the comments. It’s also nice to hear another perceptive of someone who is visiting the city!

If you have any specific questions about Boston that I didn’t answer in my blog, feel free to leave a comment below or e-mail me at Kate {at} and I can see if I can help! Enjoy Boston if you do visit!!

I am an affiliate partner with some of the sites mentioned above, please read my disclosure policy here if you have any questions.


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