1 Day Itineraries for "Best of Boston" Sightseeing
by Sarah Ginns
Whale spotted during a Boston whale watching tour
We are only afforded about 6 hours before our flight leaves back to the UK and want to see the best of Boston. We have to store our luggage too which is a pain, but what can you recommend for us to be the easiest and cheapest way to see and get about Boston. Thanks, Sarah!
You can get a wonderful and unique view of Boston in just 6 hours, and as a bonus, there's a free and easy way to deal with your luggage along the way.
Let's start with your luggage. As you've probably already discovered, Boston Logan Airport doesn't have storage lockers, but there are several other good options for storing luggage in Boston. Due to your time constraints, the one that will probably work best for you is to take the Rowes Wharf water taxi from the airport to downtown (about an 8 minute trip) and take advantage of the free locked luggage storage area that they offer to their passengers. Be sure to ask the Dispatcher at the water taxi wharf at the airport for Rowes Wharf, because as far as I'm aware, the other water taxis don't offer the luggage storage option.
Now, since you mentioned seeing the "best of Boston," I'm going to guess that you haven't been here before and would like an introduction to the city as well as some special sights - so in 6 hours, you can pack in a lot of sightseeing. For logistical and time conservation purposes, I'm going to a couple of options that will keep you reasonably close to the waterfront, which includes some of the oldest and most historic parts of the city as well as the waterfront itself.
The cheapest way to go on tours, cruises, and visit attractions, especially if you have a high energy level and want to pack in as much as possible, is to get a Boston sightseeing pass. Here is a 1-day Boston sightseeing itinerary based on using the GoBoston Discount Card that focuses on sights convenient to the waterfront:
- Freedom Trail Walk into History Tour - See 11 of Boston's most historic sites and learn about the events behind them from the costumed guides during this 90 minute walking tour. Great way to see the modern city too. Tour begins on Boston Common, an easy walk (less than 10 minutes) from the waterfront. I believe it ends at Faneuil Hall Marketplace, just across from the waterfront.
- Whale Watching Cruise - This 3-hour cruise on a high-speed catamaran whisks you out to a protected marine feeding ground where you'll see various kinds of whales, dolphins, sea birds, and other marine life. Because we had a mild winter and spring, whale sightings have been especially numerous this year. My 13 year old went on one of these cruises last week and couldn't believe how many whales they saw (that's one of her photos at the top). You'll see lots of the Boston Harbor Islands including the famous Brewer Lighthouse, and also gorgeous views of the city skyline. Departs from a wharf close to Rowes Wharf.
- New England Aquarium - With your remaining time before heading back to the airport, pop in here for an hour or so (when you see the lines, you'll be glad you have the GoBoston card, because you can go right to the front and then go in). It's one of the best aquariums in the country. Rowes Wharf is about a 4-5 minute walk away.
I'm not including any time for lunch - but you can grab snacks along the way.
The 1-day GoBoston card runs about $60 for adults and $40 for children, so you'll save about $17 (adult) compared with individual admissions with this itinerary and also you get the equally big benefit of not having to wait in lines.
A cheaper option would be to tour the Freedom Trail yourself. You can pick up a map at the visitors' center on Boston Common, and then just follow the red line to get to all the sites. Linger along the way, do some shopping, have lunch, and the 6 hours will fly by! Since you may spend more on food and possibly shopping, I can't tell you this is NO cost - but it's a different use of your money.
Still another option is to pick just one option - perhaps the Freedom Trail Walking Tour - and spend the rest of the time exploring on your own. If you decide to do that, don't get the GoBoston Card, as you won't get your money's worth if you use it just for the tour. You can normally join a tour at the Visitor's Center on Boston Common, which is where the tours start. Tickets typically run around $20 or more, depending on the tour length, etc. There's also a free tour given by Park Rangers but they're not quite as colorful.
Once your time in Boston is up, just head back to Rowes Wharf, get your luggage, and take the water taxi back to Logan Airport.
Hope this helps! Have a wonderful time in Boston, and stay longer the next time you come!