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How to Get Around Boston (With or Without a Car)

Road indicator plates in Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, the city of history, academia, and lively culture, is an exciting destination. Whether you’re a new-to-town local or a tourist, understanding the intricacies of getting around Boston can significantly enhance your experience.

Navigating through the city’s winding streets and dense traffic can be quite daunting for the uninitiated. Before I moved to Boston, I was very wary of how I would be able to get around. Thankfully, it did not take long for me to learn the ropes of how to get around Boston, both with and without my car.

This is where Boston’s impressive public transportation system comes into play – a network that connects every corner of the city. No matter what time of year you’re visiting Boston, the public transit system is ready for you. This comes in handy during the winter when those roads get icy!

Now, I’ll be sharing my best tips and tricks so you, too, can navigate through downtown Boston and beyond.

How To Get Around Boston With A Car

Road indicator plates in Boston, Massachusetts
Roman Babakin / Adobe Stock

You know how New York City’s streets are all easily numbered, and the city is mapped out in a gorgeous grid system? Well, Boston is nothing like that. Surrounded by the Charles River and the Massachusetts Bay, Boston’s peninsula-like shape lends itself to many curved roads and more one-way streets than you can count.

Street map to show how to get around boston in a car
netsign / Adobe Stock

Driving through downtown Boston is…an experience. There are plenty of self-imposed nicknames for Massachusetts drivers that you’ll hear pretty much immediately, and that should give you an idea of what driving around Boston is like.

The major highways you can see on the map above are I-93 (North/South) and I-90 (East/West). Storrow Drive follows the south banks of the Charles River.

If you plan on renting a car in Boston, either at Boston Logan International Airport or somewhere in the city, you’ll find that street parking is few and far between. There are plenty of parking garages, but this will quickly eat up your budget, and we’re all about exploring Beantown smarter, not harder.

How To Get Around Boston Without A Car

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

T map of Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Lesniewski / Adobe Stock

The public transportation system is run by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, aka the MBTA, and it’s easily the best way to avoid Boston traffic.

Boston has a commuter rail, subway lines, buses, and ferries to help you navigate streets and waterways….

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