Driving in Boston isn’t for sissies. Streets in the oldest parts of the city were laid out during colonial times when Puritans carved lanes around rock outcroppings, hills, and coves to bring their cattle to market in the heart of town, now known as Boston Common. The cows are gone but many narrow, winding streets remain. Add chronic congestion, heavy (jaywalking) pedestrian traffic and death-defying rotaries and you’ve got a recipe for messing up a car, and a perfectly good vacation or business trip along with it.
At Newbury Guest House, our advice about driving in Boston is don’t, if you can avoid it. But if you are driving into Boston, why not reduce road angst by staying at our boutique hotel. You can arrange parking in advance and then virtually abandon your car – you’ll be perfectly situated to get almost anywhere you want to be without getting behind the wheel.
Boston built the nation’s first subway system in 1897 and today the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority operates the city’s vast public transport system, which includes buses, trolleys, ferries, commuter rail and most famously, the ‘T’ – the Boston subway. The T has four lines that run throughout Boston, into Cambridge and nearby suburbs with stops near every destination that brings both tourists and business travelers to the city. Just look for the big circular T signs to find a stop. You’ll find several Green Line T stops just blocks from our lobby and you can connect from there with other lines and busses that chauffeur you throughout the city; they run frequently, and late into the night. Commuter rail trains are great for those heading outside of Boston.
Besides being ultra-convenient, taking public transportation saves money much better spent on Sox tickets, seafood and Newbury Street, the Back Bay’s premier shopping and dining district, and home to Newbury Guest House. A single-ride T fare is $2.75 but if you pick up a reloadable ‘Charlie Card’ the one-way fare is just $2.25. If you’re staying for more than a couple days, we recommend picking up a 7-day, flat fee Charlie Card for $22.50 – it’s good for unlimited trips on the T, local busses, commuter rail and ferries.
If you want to explore the city on your own schedule, stop by our front desk and purchase a Trolley Tours Hop On-Hop Off card. The routes offer frequent pickups at 18 of Boston’s most important historical and popular tourist sites, along with commentary by humorous and informative guides. You can hop off at any time to explore a site in more detail and hop back on when you feel like it. Visiting the most famous sites in Boston is a great experience – parking at each one of them is not.
And when you consider that downtown street parking is scarce, expensive and comes with a strictly enforced two-hour limit; and that public parking garage rates average $40 for two hours, ditching the car makes even more sense. And there are even more alternatives.
You could take a cab, but Boston has the highest cab fares of any major city in North America. Instead, consider your own two feet. Boston’s big-city appearance is deceptive; you can actually walk across the heart of it in about an hour, enjoying amazing views of the Charles River, abundant urban parks, the city skyline, and scenic Cambridge. Or rent a bike – it’s a fun, environmentally friendly, and low-cost way to breeze through the city on its numerous bike paths. Boston’s Bluebikes program has 400 stations and charges just $2.95 for the first 30 minutes and $4 for each additional 30 minutes, and there are dozens of rental businesses offering bikes 24/7.
Uber and Lyft are another alternative and have large fleets serving Boston. And Lyft has good news for those coming in from the airport: They’re rolling out a feature to make the trip more convenient and less angst-inducing. You’ll soon have the option to pre-order a ride that will be there as soon as you exit the airport (it even accounts for time needed to get your luggage from baggage claim).
Parking (and then forgetting!) your car at Newbury Guest House is the perfect way to put the brakes on stress and explore the city. You’ll make discoveries you’d miss from behind the windshield, not to mention spontaneous connections and new friends with the thousands of locals who use subways, trains, feet, and bikes as their primary way to get around town.
Newbury Guest House offers on-site parking adjacent to our hotel, and guests who book directly with us receive priority for securing a space. You’ll need to do so in advance, but it’s easy: Once you book your room, you’ll be prompted to request on-site parking if needed; we suggest doing so promptly so we can hold a space for you (spaces are limited and reserved on a first-come, first-served basis). From there, our staff is here to help with public transport tips, maps, directions, and connections – it’s your license to relax and enjoy Boston.