Boston is a historic city, with old colonial buildings, a long history, and a strong link to the founding of the country. Bostonians are very proud of their city and show their Boston pride any chance they can. I grew up in this city and even with all my world travels, Boston is still one of my favorite cities in the world. Though one of the biggest cities in the country, it has more of a large town feel to it than that of a metropolis. In this college town, you’ll find friendly locals, die-hard sports fans, great bars, good restaurants, and a ton of American history. Don’t miss out.
Hostel prices – Hostels in America aren’t cheap, and Boston is no exception. For the downtown hostels, expect to pay $40 USD or more per night for a dorm room. A private double room will cost around $80 USD per night.
Budget hotel prices – The budget hotels are located outside the city center, and many are near the train. Most low-end hotels will charge around $100-140 USD per night for a double room, but you can find lower if you do some searching.
Average cost of food – Eating at restaurants you should expect to pay around $15-$20 USD for a meal with drinks. But, you can always find some local spots for cheap pizza and sandwiches to stay around $5-8 USD. Cooking for yourself will cost around $50 USD per week. Since Boston is a big college town, you’ll find cheap restaurants and to-go places throughout the city. If you want to eat at the higher end places, look for main courses to start around $20 USD and go up from there.
Transportation costs – Boston is said to be a walkable city, so no matter where you stay, you’ll be able to get around easily. The subway is also very easy to use. The “T” will costs $2.65 USD per trip.
Money Saving Tips
Eat at Quincy Market – The Quincy market food colonnade offers a wide range of food at low prices.
Take the walking tours – Because Boston is such a historical area, you are able to take advantage of plenty of free walking tours including the most famous, The Freedom Trail.
Drink outside downtown – Experience Boston nightlife in Brighton or Allston for cheaper drinks and a more relaxed environment.
Enjoy the free parks – You can experience nature for free at the Arnold Arboretum. Here you can find more than 260 acres of free public space, open from sunrise to sunset. There are running trails, gardens, open lawns, and lots of flowers from all over the world. Relax among the plants and take a step back from the fast pace of the city.
Enjoy free concerts – During the summer, you can enjoy free concerts on the Charles River.
Top Things to See and Do in Boston
Walk Boston’s Freedom Trail – Spend a day outdoors – put on comfortable shoes, and walk this 2.5 mile route full of historical information. This trail takes you to all the must see historical sites throughout the city.
Visit Coit Observatory at Boston University – You can pick out your favorite constellation at the Coit Observatory. They offer free stargazing Wednesdays after 8:30 pm throughout the spring and the summer, pending clear skies, of course.
See Bunker Hill Monument – There are 249 steps to the top of Bunker Hill Monument. I’m certain that this is the best view of the Boston skyline.
Drink at Sam Adams Brewery – The Sam Adams Brewery offers tours of the facility and insight into how founder Jim Koch brews the beer. Tours and tastings are held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from noon until 5:30 pm, and Saturdays from 11 am – 3 pm , with tours starting every half hour.
Stroll the Museum of Fine Art – This museum is worth visiting, and even has a number of free admission days throughout the year. You also get in for free on your birthday, or after 4 pm on Wednesday.
Take in a game at Fenway Park – Boston Red Sox players and fans call this home. It is one of the smallest and oldest baseball parks in the major leagues. Built in 1912, this park still has real grass on the field as well as the famed Green Monster. Guided tours are offered year round as well.
Enjoy a picnic at Boston Common – One of the nation’s oldest existing parks, Boston Common is nearly 50 acres and was once used as pasture land by Puritan settlers.
Shop or eat on Newbury Street – Newbury Street is Boston’s classy shopping street. Here’s you’ll find expensive designers mixed with great boutiques. It’s not a cheap place to shop. But it is a delicious place to eat. Great restaurants and cafes line this street at an affordable price.
Hang out at Fanueil Hall – Fanueil Hall is a popular place for locals to hang out. During the day, a lot of people go shopping. At night, the restaurants are filled with people and the spot is one of the big bar destinations in the city. The cheap Irish pubs that fill the area are widely popular. Make sure you eat at Quincy Market, an indoor food hall with over 20 types of food.
Visit Harvard University – Harvard University was the first school in the country. The campus offers tours through the grounds and buildings. Afterwards, go grab a coffee and people watch in the alternative and arty Harvard Square.
Check out Beacon Hill – This is a neighborhood that’s filled with history. This area was home to the likes of John Adams and John Hancock, and resembles parts of historic Philadelphia. You can also find the statehouse building here.
Visit Castle Island – Castle Island is located in South Boston, and is famous for the fort located on it. The island extends into the harbor and has excellent beaches as well as running trails that are popular with the locals. There is a picnic area here, and you can explore the old fort for free.
Hang out in Copley Square – Copley Square is a great little park where you can buy discount theater tickets, listen to musicians, and gaze up at the Hancock Tower. You can also go into Boston’s Trinity Church, which is one of Boston’s oldest and I think most beautiful.