AAA Travel Tips / Budget Friendly Boston

Budget Friendly Boston

AAA/Maria White
By AAA Travel Editor Patricia Miller
May 29, 2018
When you’re looking for things to do and see in Boston, one of the country’s best vacation spots, you can get a lot of bang for your buck while soaking up tons of American history. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the low cost of visiting these attractions in this historically important city, with admission ranging from free to 10 dollars.
Swan boat ride in Boston Common public park in Boston, Massachusetts
AAA/Inspector 46
Boston Common
139 Tremont St.
(617) 357-8300
The Boston Common’s 48 acres of greenspace are the place to be for fun in the sun. In warm months, pedal a swan boat, frolic on the playground, take a spin on the carousel or just spread a blanket on the lawn and take a nap. Cross Charles Street to pose for a selfie with the beloved “Make Way for Ducklings” statues at the Public Garden, a AAA GEM® attraction. When the weather cools off, put on some skates and practice your spins on Frog Pond. Admission is free; there’s a fee for skate rental.
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Arches and flags outside Boston Public Library in Boston Massachusetts
gregobagel/iStockphoto.com
Boston Public Library
700 Boylston St.
(617) 536-5400
The Boston Public Library comprises two buildings that are a study in contrasts: one a Philip Johnson modernist structure, built 1967-71, and the other a Renaissance Revival style designed by by Charles Follen McKim. When the stunning McKim building opened in 1895, it was called “a palace for the people,” still a fitting description. Wander inside to see some major artwork, including two supersized lion sculptures, as well as rooms covered in breathtaking murals by Daniel Chester French and John Singer Sargent. A lovely courtyard in the style of a 16th-century Roman palace separates the buildings.
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Bunker Hill Monument
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Bunker Hill Monument
Monument Square
(617) 242-7275
The last stop on the Freedom Trail, the Bunker Hill Monument, a AAA GEM® attraction, is a 221-foot-tall granite obelisk that pays homage to one of the most important conflicts of the American Revolution. Challenge yourself to climb up the 294-step spiral staircase to reach the observation deck—it’s worth it for the sweeping city views. Cross the street and check out the Battle of Bunker Hill Museum, where you can see a 360-degree cyclorama painting that portrays the battle in great detail. Admission to the monument and museum is free.
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Bill of Rights at Commonwealth Museum in Boston, Massachusetts
Wikimedia Commons / CC0/Daderot
Commonwealth Museum
220 Morrissey Blvd.
(617) 727-9268
A must-see for history buffs, this museum houses a small but very important collection of rare documents, including one of 14 original copies of the Declaration of Independence, signed by John Hancock, and one of 14 original copies of the Bill of Rights, signed by John Adams. The 1629 Massachusetts Bay Colony Charter, 1780 Massachusetts Constitution and a copper-plate etching of the Boston Massacre by Paul Revere also are on display. Admission is free.
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Faneuil Hall Marketplace with Marriott Custom House in Boston, MA
AAA/Maria White
Faneuil Hall Marketplace
4 S. Market St.
(617) 523-1300
Shoppers from the world over unite at this gathering place that swarms with tourists no matter the time of year. Foodies will delight in the abundance of budget-priced eateries that line both sides of Quincy Market, although crowds sometimes fill it up quickly and move slowly. Watch buskers from acrobats and dance troupes to knife jugglers and escape artists perform in the marketplace’s pedestrian malls.
replica of mapparium at The Mary Baker Eddy Library
AAA/Patricia Miller
The Mary Baker Eddy Library
200 Massachusetts Ave.
(617) 450-7000
The true standout of the Mary Baker Eddy Library, the Mapparium is a room that literally puts you in the middle of the world as you step inside (via a bisecting bridge) a dazzling three-story globe made of multicolored stained glass. The room’s acoustics account for cool sound effects; for example, if you stand at one end of the room and whisper, someone at the other end will hear you. Adult admission is $6.
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Old State House in Boston Massachusetts
AAA/Maria White
Old State House
206 Washington St.
(617) 720-1713
If you need a refresher course on Colonial history, especially when it comes to the events leading up to the American Revolution, this AAA GEM® attraction should be a stop on your trip. An enthusiastic tour guide will fill you in on how the major players— John Adams, John Hancock, George Washington—and lesser-known but equally important men and women figured into the founding of the United States. Admission is $10 per adult.
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