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World Travel Guide > Guides > North America > United States of America > Massachusetts > Boston

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14°C

Local time Boston

Currency

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Travel to Boston

Flying to Boston

Major US and European airlines offer direct flights to Boston and they include American Airlines, British Airways, Delta, Iberia, KLM, Norwegian, and United. The period between January to March is often cheaper, while fares tend to be at their highest in July and August.

Flight times

From London - 7 hours 25 minutes; New York - 1 hour 15 minutes; Los Angeles - 5 hours 35 minutes; Toronto - 1 hour 35 minutes; Sydney - 20 hours 30 minutes (including stopover).

Travel by road

In Boston, driving is on the right and the minimum driving age is 16 years. The speed limit on most major highways is 88kph (55mph). On sections of the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90), the speed limit is 104kph (65mph). Elsewhere, limits range from 32 to 80kph (20 to 50mph). It is possible to turn right at a red traffic light after stopping, unless otherwise indicated. Technically overtaking should only be done on the outside lane, although, in reality, cars on a five-lane highway regularly pass on both sides. At crossroads without traffic lights, the four-way stop system means that it is first-come first-served; the car to the right proceeds first.

While most non-US driving licences are acceptable, some car hire companies may require an International Driving Permit, especially if your licence isn't in English. Third-party insurance is mandatory. The American Automobile Association (tel: +1 800 222 4357; www.aaa.com) can provide information, and may offer reciprocal benefits to members of automobile clubs in other countries.

Emergency breakdown services

AAA (tel: +1 800 222 4357).

Routes

There are two main road arteries leading into Boston. The I-93 (often called the 'Central Artery') cuts through central Downtown running north-south and keeping close to the waterfront. The I-90, known locally as the 'Masspike' (the Massachusetts Turnpike), comes into the city centre travelling west-east. These two roads meet the ring road arc of the I-95 (known locally as Route 128). Access to the downtown area from the northeast and the airport is via road tunnels. The Callahan Tunnel (no toll) is outgoing, but there is an incoming toll for the Sumner and Ted Williams tunnels.

Coaches

South Station, on the junction of Summer Street and Atlantic Avenue, is the central coach station. Greyhound (tel: +1 800 231 2222; www.greyhound.com) operates services throughout the USA. Peter Pan Bus Lines (tel: +1 800 343 9999; www.peterpanbus.com) goes all over New England and down to New York. Plymouth & Brockton Street Railway buses (tel: +1 508 746 0378; www.p-b.com) goes to the South Shore and Cape Cod.

Time to city

From Hartford - 1 hour 40 minutes; Albany - 3 hours; New York City - 4 hours; Montreal - 5 hours.

Travel by Rail

Services

Amtrak uses Boston's South Station at the junction of Summer Street and Atlantic Avenue, and Back Bay Station, at 145 Dartmouth Street. Although Amtrak services are notoriously slow and often subject to delays, the Acela Express service between Boston, New York and Washington, DC is fast and more reliable.

Operators

Amtrak (tel: +1 800 872 7245; www.amtrak.com) is the USA's national rail operator. The Northeast Regional service travels from Boston to Virginia Beach via New York and Washington, DC. The Lakeshore Limited service goes from Boston eastwards to Chicago via Albany. Amtrak's high-speed train service, the Acela Express, is the fastest way to reach New York and Washington, DC, but tickets tend to be more expensive.

Journey times

From New York - 3 hours 40 minutes; Washington, DC - 7 hours; Chicago - 21 hours 25 minutes.

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City Highlight: Boston

Bursting with American history and overflowing with city pride, Boston’s grit and old-school charm are sure to rub off on its visitors

Featured Hotels

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The Liberty Hotel

Prison chic is made a reality in the Liberty Hotel. For 120 years, the Charles Street Jail held some of Boston's most infamous criminals but in 2001, Liberty designers converted the building into a classy, unique hotel. Much of the décor mirrors the building's 20th-century charms, including The Clink restaurant which features authentic cell bars and the main lobby that reveals the inner atrium of the original prison. Far from being prison-like, this upscale hotel boasts all the necessary 21st-century amenities along with stunning views of the Charles River and the Boston skyline.

Mandarin Oriental

Located in the cosy Back Bay the Mandarin Oriental combines comfort and style to produce one of Boston's most luxurious and trendy hotels. Rooms resonate with classic oriental styles with a modern flare and boast beautiful views of the Back Bay cityscape. After a long day of touring and shopping enjoy a soak in the oversized Jacuzzi baths or indulge in a massage at the Mandarin Oriental's five-star spa. Perfect for a business retreat or a relaxing holiday the Mandarin Oriental will not disappoint.

Harding House

This classic, baby blue Victorian guesthouse has fourteen handsome rooms decked out in all-American style with quilts, patterned rugs and dark hardwood furniture. The period character of the house gives the place a warm, homely atmosphere which is reinforced by the freely available cakes and coffee, Thursday evening wine tastings and the generous home-cooked breakfast, which is included in the price.

Liberty Clipper

Between June and September only, board one of Boston's elegant tall ships for an alternative, budget accommodation option. Moored in the historic waterfront district of Boston, a block from the North End and Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market, you will be offered a choice of one of six cabins all featuring a skylight, hot/cold water, three shared bathrooms and three shared showers. This is definitely an experience.

Oasis Guest House

This modest 30-room guesthouse is located in one of Boston’s best neighbourhoods and offers simple but comfortable accommodation in a series of attractive brick-fronted buildings. Rooms are simply furnished with queen beds, armchairs, TVs and generic prints. The price includes free internet access, use of the kitchen facilities and a complimentary breakfast.

HI Boston

This cheap and cheerful hostel offers 481 beds in total, and is niftily located in the Theater District/Chinatown area. There is a games room, cafe bar, internet access and laundry facilities. If you're not a member of Hostelling International, you have to pay a daily $3 charge, but this is still one of the cheapest, centrally located accommodation options around.