We know that planning a family vacation can get a bit pricey in a hurry – airfare, hotel, attractions & dining adds up quickly.
Boston is a great choice for budget-minded travelers, especially when you use a Go Boston Card, which makes visiting Boston on a budget a breeze.
When the weather is warm, you can enjoy walks along the waterfront and the Charles River, where you can often catch outdoor performances and street food to keep your costs down while experiencing some of the real flavor of Beantown.
Save on Admission to Tourist Attractions
Admission to many of these Boston tourist attractions and are included on the Go Boston Card.
Go Boston Cards give you the flexibility to choose as you go from dozens of top attractions to create a vacation tailored to your family’s interests.
See all available passes, attractions & prices – Learn more.
A few of the attractions include:
- The New England Aquarium
- Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour
- The Skywalk Observatory
- Boston Duck Tours
- And more!
Top Attractions to Visit for a Budget Friendly Trip
The New England Aquarium
The organization behind the exhibits at the New England Aquarium are a team of scientists involved in research and rescue efforts for local marine life, and the friendly staff loves to share their in-depth knowledge with visitors.
Here you can pet a sting ray, watch harbor seals frolic and see an incredible coral reef.
The aquarium’s location on the waterfront blurs the line between natural and manmade habitats for a truly immersive experience with the fascinating creatures that populate the oceans. The aquarium also offers amazing trips out into the harbor for whale sightings as well.
Getting In: New England Aquarium tickets are included on the Go Boston Card.
Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Tour
Boston is a wonderful walking city, but sometimes you just need a little break.
Hop on the CityView trolley at any one of its convenient stops along the Freedom Trail to easily get to even more great destinations like the New England Aquarium, the Boston Children’s Museum and the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum.
The trolley can get you almost anywhere you need to go, and you’ll learn more about Boston’s past, present and future along the way, thanks to your friendly guide and driver.
The open-air touring trolley is the perfect way to catch a summer breeze while giving your feet some much-needed rest.
Getting In: Hop On Hop Off Boston Trolley tickets are included on the Go Boston Card.
The Skywalk Observatory
Enjoy the stunning views from atop Boston’s second-tallest building when you visit the Skywalk Observatory in the Prudential Tower.
After you enjoy the amazing sights, then turn your attention to the Dreams of Freedom Museum, which is dedicated to interpreting the immigrant experience in Boston and highlighting the city’s incredible diversity.
The accompanying audio tour offers unique insights onto the may languages and cultures of the Boston area and should not be missed!
Getting In: Skywalk Observatory Boston tickets are included on the Go Boston Card.
Boston Duck Tours
One if by land or two if by sea? When you are aboard the original Boston Duck Tours, you can do both!
Ride these brightly-painted amphibious vehicles around the city to get your bearings, then enjoy a dip in the Charles River for a whole different perspective on Boston and Cambridge.
ConDUCKtors offer an unforgettable look at Boston and its people, and you might even get to ride in a duck boat used by one of Boston’s championship teams in their victory parades — look for player signatures and numbers on the walls and ceilings!
Getting In: Boston Duck Tour tickets are included as an option on 3, 5, and 7-Day Go Boston Cards.
The Museum of Science
Kids and adults alike will love the hands-on fun at the Museum of Science.
Whether you go to see the dinosaurs or prefer to check out today’s living creatures, there’s guaranteed to be something here that ignites your imagination.
Test the laws of physics, have a hair-raising experience with electricity or see an incredible film about one of nature’s wonders in the enormous IMAX theater.
No matter what, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to explore both inside and outdoors.
Getting In: Boston Museum of Science tickets are included on the Go Boston Card.
Fun Options to Visit During Your Trip:
If you’re looking for more great things to do in Boston, there’s something here for everyone, including history buffs, sports fans and art lovers.
Add one — or more! — of these stops to your intinerary, which are included on the Go Boston Card.
The New England Aquarium Whale Watch – If you can’t get enough of the creatures of the deep, be sure to nab a seat on the New England Aquarium Whale Watch to see a variety of majestic whales in their natural habitat — whale sightings are guaranteed!
The Fenway Park Tour – You don’t have to be a Red Sox fan to enjoy a game at America’s oldest ballpark, but you’re sure to gain a better appreciation of what makes this city tick when you take the official Fenway Park Tour.
The Freedom Trail Walking Tour – The Freedom Trail Walking Tour is the best way to watch history come to life as your Colonial Boston guide explains how the city led the way to Revolution — it’s about so much more than just the price of tea!
The Museum of Fine Arts – With a glorious new wing devoted to the art of the Americas, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts is one of the city’s most beloved cultural institutions — and a perfect place to while away a rainy afternoon.
The Hahvahd Tour – The cheekily-named Hahvahd Tour is a fun way to learn all about the oldest university in the country while strolling lovely Cambridge and being entertained by some truly unique Harvard University students.
Free Activities for a Budget Friendly Vacation
If you’re worried about your wallet taking a hit while visiting Boston, relax. The city is filled with wonderful freebies that will get you in the spirit of the place. Try some of these free activities on for size:
The Boston Common and Public Garden – The Boston Common is America’s oldest public park, and it stands directly opposite the Public Garden, where you can enjoy Victorian-era landscaping and ride — or just watch! — the famous Swan Boats glide along the water.
The Samuel Adams Brewery Tour – Get to the Samuel Adams brewery in Jamaica Plain early for the “Morning Mash In Tour,” which is totally free and even offers a specialty tasting when you’re done seeing how New England’s favorite beer is made.
The Charles River Esplanade – Stroll, pedal or paddle through the Charles River Esplanade for a shady respite from the bustle of the city, or spread out a blanket for a quiet picnic along the banks of the sparkling river.
The Bunker Hill Monument – Get your workout in by climbing all 294 steps to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown for incredible views of the entire area, along with the history of the scrappy Massachusetts militia men who got the Revolutionary War underway.
Fanueil Hall Marketplace – When you get hungry and need cheap eats fast, the Faneuil Hall Marketplace offers a wide range of dining options for short money, and you can walk off your meal with some serious window shopping when you’re done.
Let’s Recap on Visiting Boston on a Budget
There you go – a few great recommendations for things to do when visiting Boston on a budget.
Remember, many of these great budget friendly attraction options and more are included on the Go Boston Card, where you can save up to 55% on combined admission vs paying at the gate.
So when you are planning your trip, consider including some of these options to your Boston vacation itinerary.