I hate to see anyone pay full price when you can save so much money with the Go Boston Discount Card.
Whether you want to see the underwater world at the New England Aquarium, cruise Boston Harbor, explore the city on a hop-on hop off trolley, visit Plimouth Plantation, or take a Duck Boat sightseeing tour around the city, Go Boston gives you free access.
But lots of people don't know about these cards...sometimes I think they're Boston's best-kept secret!
Top photo: Hop-on, hop-off trolley in Boston, (c) Boston Discovery Guide
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When you have a Go Boston Card, you get the city's biggest bargains:
- Free access to top Boston Attractions - Museums, the aquarium, whale watching cruises, tours, bike rentals, even famous destinations like Plimouth Plantation, the Salem Witch Museum, and Newport mansions
- Free transportation on the City View Hop-on Hop-off Trolley - Hop on and hop off at top Boston sights for up to 2 days (assuming you get a 2, 3, 5, or 7 day card)
- Skip-the-Line Access - The Go Boston card lets you save time as well as money, especially at the most popular attractions such as the New England Aquarium and Museum of Science
- Bonus Attraction - Free of admission to your choice of one of these premium attractions: Boston Duck Tour, New England Aquarium Whale Watch, Boston Red Sox Fenway Park Ticket, or Blue Man Group Ticket (assuming you get a 3, 5, or 7 day card)
Fenway Park tops the "favorite Boston destination" for many visitors, and the chance to get a Red Sox ticket for a home game (during the regular season - April through September) gives you an easy way to see one of these exciting events.
You'll get a ticket to the Outfield Grandstand, Bleachers, or Standing Room sections of the stadium. VIP access lets you enter the ballpark up to 2.5 hours before the game to watch batting practice or explore the Big Concourse.
But there's even more. The Go Boston card gives you special pricing in some restaurants, plus an easy to use free Boston tourist map.
Best of all, you get to choose the best time period for you - select a 1, 2, 3, 5, or 7 day card.
Get your Go Boston Discount Card
How to Use Your Go Boston Card to Plan Your Trip
Because the Go Boston card includes free access to just about everything you'll want to do during your Boston vacation, you can use it to plan your whole trip.
Here's a flavor of the 40+ different types of things you can do and see with it:
- Get around Boston: Hop-On, Hop-Off Sightseeing Trolley Tour - (up to 2 days) - get on and off at all the different stops, or stay on for the entire narrated tour
- Go on a tour: Boston Duck Tour, Fenway Park Tour, Harvard Walking Tour, Boston Movie Mile Walking Tour
- Have fun: Samuel Adams Brewery Tour, Swan Boats, HighFlyer Zipline at Foxwoods Resort Casino, New England Aquarium, USS Constitution Cruise, Charles River Cruise
- Explore Boston's Freedom Trail: Take a Freedom Trail Walking Tour, and visit Paul Revere House, Old State House Museum, Old South Meeting House
- Visit the best Boston and Cambridge Museums: Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Science, Institute of Contemporary Art, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, MIT Museum, Harvard Museum of Natural History, Mary Baker Eddy Library & Mapparium, Otis House Museum, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston Children's Museum
- Take a Hyannis Port Harbor Cruise and Cape Cod Canal Cruise
- Visit top sites in historic Lexington and Concord: Buckman Tavern, Liberty Ride, Concord Museum, Louisa May Alcott Orchard House
- Visit special historic re-creations near Boston: Plimouth Plantation and Old Sturbridge Village
- Spend a day in Salem and explore the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem Witch Museum, House of the Seven Gables
- Have fun with your kids at Six Flags New England, the Franklin Park Zoo, the Boston Children's Museum, and LEGOLAND Discovery Center
Remember, not all these attractions are in Boston.
If you buy a 1- or 2-day pass, you may want to focus on Boston locations as you'll find more than enough to fill your days here, plus a few attractions close as early as 4pm.
To include sights in Lexington/Concord, Salem, Six Flags (about 90 minutes from Boston), or on the Cape, consider getting a 3-day or longer pass.
Please note - Included attractions and savings may change without prior notice, some activities such as Plimouth Plantation are seasonal, and others such as cruises may not be available during our coldest winter weather.
Check complete Go Boston Discount Pass list
How Much Can You Save with Your Go Boston Discount Card?
Once you buy the Go Boston card, you pay no admission fees.
How much will you save? The company behind the card calculates 55%, compared with paying full-price admissions.
In addition to big savings, the Go Boston card also gives you convenience.
Once you're here in Boston and want to go to, say, the New England Aquarium ($27 adult admission without the card), a Whale Watch Cruise ($53 adult ticket) or the Boston Duck Tour ($43 without the card), you never have to reach for your wallet - you just show your card, go to the head of the line, and walk right in.
Now that feeling is priceless!
Find out more about the Go Boston Discount Card
What If You Have Time for Only a Couple of Attractions?
When time is limited, even a 1-day GoBoston discount card may be more than you need.
Alternately, if you're going to be in Boston for awhile, you may prefer to set your own pace and visit one attraction per week, or whatever.
To buy tickets in advance (and bypass most lines) from one online location, check out Get Your Guide's tickets for tours, cruises, museums, and attractions.
Planning Tips: How to Get the Most Value from Your Go Boston Card
Do these 5 easy planning steps before you leave home to maximize your Go Boston Card experience:
1. Look at the 40+ Go Boston attractions and identify the ones you'd like to see and do.
2. Check the schedule for each attraction on your list to make sure it's available when you're planning to be in Boston.
Want to go on a Swan Boat ride on the Lagoon in the Public Garden but you're visiting in January? You're out of luck. The Lagoon is frozen solid.
Visiting during a holiday period such as Thanksgiving? Some attractions may be closed and others may have holiday hours.
Check our monthly calendars to see if any major events such as the Boston Marathon or Duck Boat parades to celebrate sports victories such as Super Bowl or the World Series will be underway that might disrupt traffic.
If so, hop on/hop off trolleys along some routes, Duck Boat Tours, and other tours may be impacted, so plan different activities for that period.
Also read the cancellation policy: Passes are non-refundable. Occasionally extreme weather conditions such as a blizzard shut down the city.
So before you activate your pass, check the weather . . . just in case.
4. Maximize the number of attractions and activities you can fit into each day doing some advance planning.
Find the location plus opening/closing time for each place. Group your targeted attractions by location.
If you're planning to get around on the hop on/hop off bus, identify nearest bus stops for each location. Are some places open later than others? Schedule them for the end of the day.
5. Make a "Plan B." Boston weather is tricky; "events" such as thunderstorms with driving wind, torrential rain, and lightning can happen suddenly, especially during the summer.
Identify a few indoor attractions you'd like to see such as the New England Aquarium in case the harbor cruise and walking tour you'd hoped to do suddenly no longer seem so appealing.
More Articles on How to Save on Boston Travel
- Boston Discount Cards - Find out about the best way to save the most on museums, tours, and attractions
- GoBoston Card - How to save the most with this popular discount card
- Boston Events - Check what's happening each month
- Boston Red Sox Tickets - Where to find the best tickets at the best prices
- Inexpensive Boston Hotels - Where to find cheap and discounted hotel rates in the pricey Boston hotel market
Need a Boston Hotel or Apartment?
Use this handy map from Booking.com to find the perfect place to stay. Just enter your dates to find what's available, see the best rates, and make your reservations.