So you have a 24-hour layover in Boston and you’re wondering what you can see and do in that amount of time? Thankfully, Boston’s Logan International Airport (BOS) is near the city; a 10-minute taxi ride or water taxi will get you downtown. And the city itself is a sprawling, well-connected knot of one-way streets and neighborhoods. So, can you explore the city in your 24-hour layover? The answer is a definite yes.
The Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts does have a number of conveniences at your service including salon and spa services, duty-free shops, and wireless Internet Access (Wi-Fi). The airport does not have luggage facilities, however, and you would need to find a different option to store your luggage. A good option would be storage at the water taxi terminal — this is the most excellent choice since water taxis are the fastest and most scenic route into the city. The Rowes Wharf Water Taxi company provides free storage of your luggage in a locked room. Hop on the Massport Route 66 free shuttle service from the airport terminal to the Logan Dock. From there, take a water taxi downtown.
Logan International Airport (BOS)
Address: Massachusetts Port Authority, One Harborside Drive, Suite 200S, East Boston, MA 02128
Access: Ride the MBTA: Silver Line (to all terminals), Blue Line (Airport Station). Hop on the Logan Express Shuttle at five convenient locations: Back Bay, Braintree, Framingham, Peabody, and Woburn
Contact: 1 800 23 LOGAN (56426)
Website: Logan International Airport
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1. Have breakfast at Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe
From the harbour at South End, make your way to 429 Columbus Avenue and follow the delicious smells and chatter of the crowd into the entrance of Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe. This small diner is something of an institution as it has been serving patrons in the neighbourhood since 1927. An authentic cross between a diner and a neighbourhood cafe, Charlie’s serves a classic breakfast of bacon, eggs, turkey hash, and an endless stream of coffee. Posted on its walls are pictures of some of its well-known customers including Sammy Davis, Jr. and Duke Ellington to Cab Calloway, Vice President Al Gore, and President Barack Obama.
Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe
Address: 429 Columbus Ave, Boston, MA 02116, b/t Pembroke St & Holyoke St Back Bay
Price: around 10 USD
Opening Hours: 7 am - 2 pm. Closed on Mondays.
Access: Take the MBTA to Prudential Station and walk about 6 minutes towards Columbus Ave.
Contact: 617 536 7669
2. Walk the Freedom Trail
After your hearty breakfast, it’s time for a walk. But not just any walk — the Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile (4 km) route that leads you through 16 historically significant sites, from museums and meetinghouses to churches and burying grounds. It is here that you will learn the history of the American Revolution and the brave people who shaped the nation. There are daily public tours that start at 11.00 a.m., 12.00 noon, and 1.00 p.m., that start from Boston Common Visitor Information Center. You should note, however, that the ticket does not include entry into the sites along the trail.
Address: Visitor Information Center, Boston Common, 139 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02111
Price: from 12 USD
Duration: 90 minutes
Access: To reach the beginning of the Freedom Trail at the Boston Common Visitor Center, take the Red or Green Line to Park Street Station. Exit the station and the Visitor Information Center is 100 yards down the street, in the Boston Common
Contact: 617 357 8300
Website: The Freedom Trail
3. Visit the Museum of Fine Arts
From the Freedom Trail Tour, hop on another train to the Museum of Fine Arts. The fourth largest museum in the United States houses more than 450,000 works of art, making it one of the most comprehensive collections in the Americas.
Museum of Fine Arts
Address: Avenue of the Arts, 465 Huntington Avenue Boston, Massachusetts 02115
Price: from 25 USD
Opening Hours: Monday and Tuesday 10 am–5 pm; Wednesday–Friday 10 am–10 pm; Saturday and Sunday 10 am–5 pm
Duration: 1-2 hours
Access: Take the Green Line E train to the Museum of Fine Arts stop, or the Orange Line train to the Ruggles stop.
Contact: 617 267 9300
Website: Museum of Fine Arts Boston
4. Boston Symphony Orchestra
After half a day of walking and exploring the city’s sights, in the evening, relax to the sound of symphonies at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. BSO is one of the five major symphony orchestras in America, known as the “Big Five.” There are several shows a day at the Symphony Hall — visit their site to find out showtimes.
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Address: 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
Price: from 12.50 USD
Duration: around 2-3 hours required.
Access: Take the Heath Street/Brigham Circle “E” Green Line train to the Symphony stop.
Contact: 617 266 1492
Website: Boston Symphony Orchestra
5. Groove at a nightclub
To end your 24 hours in Boston in a big way, check out the thriving Boston nightlife. The city has plenty of great clubs and bars for dancing, drinking, and live music, favourited by locals and visitors alike. A good selection of bars can be found on Landsdowne Street, notably including Game On!, Cask and Flaggon, Boston BeerWorks, and Bleacher Bar. If you’d like to go really big, head to Royale on Tremont Street, also known as The Roxy. It’s Boston’s largest entertainment venue, a multi-level mega-club, featuring nightlife and concerts by guest DJs and bands. Their website has more details about upcoming events.
Address: 279 Tremont St Boston, MA 02116
Opening Hours: From 10 pm
Access: Take I-93 South to Purchase Street exit (Exit 20B). Follow Surface Rd. for three blocks and take a right onto Kneeland Street. Go down Kneeland Street for 5 lights until you see the W Hotel. Take a left here onto Tremont Street. Travel down Tremont Street for ½ block and the Royale Boston is on the right-hand side.
Contact: 617 338 7699
Website: Royale Boston
6. Alternative: wander the North End
Alternatively, if you’d like to experience the city without trying to do too much in between or the hassle of getting from one place to another, you could choose to spend your day at North End. This is Boston’s oldest residential neighbourhood with a community that has lived here since its first settlement in the 1630s. This particular thread of history has made it a neighbourhood rich with history and culture, which often translates itself into the specialty bakeries, arts and crafts, butchers and fish markets here. A portion of the North End is Little Italy, so if taking a leisurely walk on its cobblestone streets, eating at its restaurants, and having coffee at the cafes sounds good to you, skip the rest of the activities and head on straight to the North End.
Address: North End, Boston, MA
Access: To get to the North End, you could take the water taxi downtown for about $10, or take the MBTA to Long Wharf.
City of Neighbourhoods
With its sprawling mix of neighborhoods, interesting historical trails, and quintessential American diners, Boston’s streets are well worth exploring. So even if all you have is a short layover, get out of the airport and start exploring the City of Neighborhoods!
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