Boston on a Budget: How to Do a Weekend for $300
If you have even an inkling of curiosity in American history, you have to visit Boston once in your life. The so-called American Cradle of Liberty is rife with impeccably preserved its historical attractions, from Faneuil Hall to the Paul Revere Home to the Old North Church (of "One if By Land, Two if By Sea" fame). But what if you need to do Boston on a budget?
The truth is that Boston is not a cheap town. But you can see it for a reasonable price, if you follow this guide to seeing the city on a budget of about $300:
Hotel: around $200
Beantown may not be as expensive as NYC, but it's not easy to find cheap Boston hotels. For your best chance, browse our deals on hotel rooms in Boston, or check to the prices on accommodations listed below:
- Extended Stay America - Boston, a comfy hotel that's a doable drive to downtown Boston. (starting at $105/night).
- Doubletree by Hilton - Boston - Bedford Glen (starting at $109/night) puts you in a charming suburb, not far from the Lexington Battle Green.
Courtyard by Marriott Boston Natick, a suburban hotel that's a quick drive into downtown Boston (starting at $119/night).
Food & Drink: about $55
As a culinary destination, Boston competes with cities twice its size. Tourists tend to gravitate towards three Beantown classics: New England clam chowder, the Boston Cream Pie at the Omni Parker House (where it was invented), and cannolis from Boston's Italian neighborhood, the North End. After trying those snacks, check out our deals at Boston restaurants, or just follow the itinerary below to stick to your budget:
Lunch on Day 1: $10 for Mediterranean omelettes at Angora Cafe (use 30% cash-back deal)
Dinner on Day 1: $19 for pub food inside the centuries-old tavern at The Red Hat
Brunch on Day 2: $12 for brunch in downtown Boston at The Point
Dinner on Day 2: $14 for gourmet ramen and hot pots at Shabu & Mein in Cambridge
Walk the Freedom Trail: free
Perhaps America's best historical tour is completely free; all you have to do is follow the red-brick route. The Freedom Trail is an essential activity if you want to do Boston on a budget, as it takes you to 16 different stops along 2.5 miles, starting in Boston Common–America's oldest city park–and ending at the USS Constitution (aka "Old Ironsides") in Charlestown.
Along the way, you'll stop at Faneuil Hall, a mid-18th century marketplace that still acts as a market today. Be sure to take the stairs up the 2nd-floor auditorium, where Sam Adams and other revolutionaries made stirring speeches.
Read our guide to the Freedom Trail for more information.
Guided Tour: $20 or less
After you've walked the Freedom Trail, you'll have the choice to continue delving into Boston history or taking a different course of action. Either way, the city offers a wealth of guided tours to lead the way. Take a peek at our list of best tours in Boston, or stick to your budget by buying one of these deals:
Cityview Trolley Tour, a hop-on, hop-off trolley that stops at all of the popular tourist sites, including Chinatown, Quincy Market, and the Central Burying Ground ($19 for one person).
Boston Movie Mile Tours. Drink at the original Cheers, sit at the park bench from Good Will Hunting, and walk past the charming homes in the Beacon Hill neighborhood ($18 for one person).
Scavenger Hunt from Operation City Quest. This smartphone-led tour makes a game out of exploring the city, leading you to some of the Boston's best attractions via scavenger hunt ($19 for two).
"Hahvard" campus walking tour, a cheeky, playful look at one of the country's most-prestigious universities, led by a current Harvard student ($11 for one person).
Other Activities: $30 or less
Still have some time left in your weekend getaway? Fill it with one of these activities, or browse our deals for cheap things to do in Boston.
Sunset cruise: Want a romantic end to a perfect weekend? Take a cruise at dusk in the bay with Massachusetts Bay Cruises ($28 for two people).
Kayak Mystic River: Rent a kayak from Blessing of the Bay Boathouse in nearby Somerville, and you can explore seven scenic miles of Mystic River and the Boston skyline ($30 for one rental).
The Old State House: One of the oldest buildings you'll find in America, now a museum with a number of colonial-era artifacts ($12 for two admissions).
Red Sox game: If it's baseball season, check to see if we're running deals for a game at Fenway Park (prices vary; starting at $12 per ticket).