Where to stay in Boston without a car: 6 Best areas and hotels

Wondering Where to stay in Boston without a car? In this post, I will help you to find the best areas and neighborhoods to stay in Boston without a car along with a helpful map. I’ll also share the best hotels in Boston for every budget traveler.

Boston is the capital city of Massachusetts and is one of the country’s oldest cities, founded in 1630 by English Puritan settlers. The city is known for its rich history, cultural heritage, and significant role in the American Revolution.

Boston played a crucial role in the American Revolutionary War. Events like the Boston Tea Party (1773) and the Battle of Bunker Hill (1775) took place here, leading to the city’s nickname, The Cradle of Liberty.

The city is renowned for being home of the iconic Harvard University, along with other prominent schools like MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Boston University.

Boston is passionate about sports, especially baseball and basketball. Boston’s Major League Baseball team is the Boston Red Sox, and their NBA team is the Boston Celtics.

Famous landmarks in Boston area the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile-long path that leads to 16 historically significant sites, such as the Massachusetts State House, Old North Church, and Faneuil Hall.

The city’s public transportation system, known as the “T,” offers subway, bus, and commuter rail services, making it relatively easy to get around the city and its surrounding areas.

How to get to and get around Boston?

Boston is served by Logan International Airport, located 3 miles northeast of downtown. It is one of the busiest airports in the United States with numerous domestic and international flights.

The city is also well-connected to Amtrak and regional commuter rail services, from/to South Station and North Station. Amtrak’s Acela Express and Northeast Regional lines are popular choices for travelers coming from New York, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia.

There are also several bus companies, such as Greyhound, Megabus, and BoltBus, that offer affordable transportation to Boston from various locations across the United States.

Getting around Boston is easy by public transportation. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) operates the “T,” which includes subway lines (red, orange, blue, and green lines), buses, and commuter trains.  

Additionally, Boston is a very walkable city, especially in the downtown and historic areas. Many attractions are within walking distance of each other, so walking can be an enjoyable way to explore the city.

You can also explore Boston by bike as the city has implemented bike lanes and bike-sharing programs like Bluebikes, making cycling a popular option for getting around the city.

Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are widely available in Boston. Traditional taxis can also be hailed in various parts of the city. It is great way to travel if you are with a group of friends.

Boston’s harbor offers water transportation options, including water taxis and ferries, which can be a unique and scenic way to travel.

While having a car in downtown Boston can be challenging due to traffic and limited parking, renting a car may be useful if you plan to explore areas outside the city.

Where to stay in Boston without a car?

The best areas to stay in Boston without a car are Downtown, Back Bay, Waterfront, Beacon Hill, North End, and Cambridge. They offer central locations, excellent connections to transportation, easy access to major attractions and a wide range of accommodations for all budgets.

I recommend booking your hotel near the subway (T) station or within walking distance of the attractions you want to visit. This way, you can easily explore the city without a car.

Additionally, rideshare services, taxis, and biking are readily available options for getting around Boston if needed.

During my trip to Boston, I stayed in at the Hyatt Centric Faneuil Hall Boston. It was a great mid-range hotel in the heart of Downtown Boston, close to everything. I was able to explore the city on foot and by public transport. My room was comfortable, and the staff was very friendly.

Map of areas and neighborhoods to stay in Boston without a car. You can scroll down to view the live map:

Map of Best areas to stay in Boston without a car
Map of Best areas to stay in Boston without a car

6 Best areas to stay in Boston without a car:

1. Downtown Boston

Downtown Boston is one of the best areas to stay in Boston without a car. The downtown is highly walkable and well-connected with public transportation options, making it convenient for visitors and residents alike to get around without a vehicle.

Downtown is a compact area with many attractions, restaurants, shops, and hotels located within walking distance of each other.

Downtown is home to major historical and cultural attractions, such as the Freedom Trail, Quincy Market, Boston Common, and New England Aquarium. These sites are easily accessible on foot or via public transportation.

The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile-long red-brick walking trail that passes through Downtown, connecting 16 historically significant sites related to the American Revolution. Some notable stops include the Massachusetts State House, Faneuil Hall, Paul Revere’s House, and Old North Church.

Boston Common is one of the oldest public parks in the United States, providing a green respite in the heart of the city. It’s a great spot for walking, picnicking, or relaxing.

Additionally, several subway lines converge in downtown, making it easy to explore other parts of the city. To reach downtown, you can take the Red Line from South Station to Park Street, Orange Line from Back Bay Station to Downtown Crossing, as well as both Orange and green lines from North Station.

Downtown offers a diverse range of dining options, from trendy restaurants to historic pubs. There are several theaters and cultural venues, such as the Boston Opera House, the Wang Theatre, and the Orpheum Theatre, where you can easily enjoy live performances and concerts.

Downtown Boston houses the Financial District, a hub for various financial institutions and businesses, including major banks, law firms, and investment companies.

You’ll have easy access to Boston’s waterfront, providing opportunities for leisurely strolls and beautiful views of the harbor.

Parking can be expensive and limited in downtown areas, so not having a car can save you money and the hassle of finding parking spaces.

Best places to stay in Downtown Boston without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): The Langham, Boston, 5-star hotel, former Federal Reserve Bank, located in downtown Boston, offering views of Norman B. Leventhal Park. It offers easy access to the Faneuil Hall Marketplace, New England Aquarium, and Freedom Trail Foundation.
  • Mid-range ($$): Club Quarters Hotel Faneuil Hall, Boston, 4-star hotel, located in the Financial District, great base for exploring the city on foot and by subway. Close to Post Office Square, Orpheum Theater, and the Crossing Market.
  • Budget ($): Harborside Inn, great 3-star hotel, located in Boston’s waterfront district, within walking distance from the Aquarium Subway Station, Freedom Trail, and Paul Revere House.

2. Back Bay

Back Bay is often known as the best place in Boston for those traveling without a car due to their central locations, safety, great public transportation, and wide range of shopping and dining. 

Back Bay is well-connected to various public transportation options, including the T system. The Back Bay station is a major transportation hub, making it easy to get around the city and beyond.

Additionally, Back Bay is a highly walkable neighborhood, with many of Boston’s popular sites within walking distance. You can easily explore places like the Boston Public Garden, the Prudential Center, Copley Square, and the Newbury Street shopping district on foot.

Back Bay offers a wide range of dining options, from casual eateries to upscale restaurants. Newbury Street, in particular, is famous for its boutique shops, art galleries, and trendy cafés.

The Prudential Center, often referred to as “The Pru,” is a large shopping complex and office tower that stands tall in the Back Bay skyline. It’s a hub for shopping, dining, and entertainment.

Back Bay is home to several cultural attractions, such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall and the iconic Trinity Church.

Back Bay is adjacent to the Charles River, and the Esplanade, a scenic park along the riverbank, offers walking and biking paths, as well as beautiful views of the water and the Boston skyline.

Best places to stay in Back Bay without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): Fairmont Copley Plaza, 5-star historic hotel located in Back Bay, easy walk from Copley Square, Boston Public Library, Trinity Church, Newbury shopping Street, and Copley Place mall.
  • Mid-range ($$): Boston Marriott Copley Place, 4-star hotel connected to Copley Place Mall, The Shops at Prudential Center and Hynes Convention center via skywalk.
  • Budget ($): Inn at St. Botolph, 3-star hotel, set in Boston’s historic Back Bay, one block from the Shops at Prudential Center and subway station 

3. Waterfront

The Waterfront area is one of the most desirable neighborhoods to stay in for many visitors. This area boasts beautiful views of the Boston Harbor and skyline, providing a picturesque setting.

Stretching from Charlestown to the North End and down to the Seaport District, it is conveniently located near popular attractions like the New England Aquarium, Quincy Market, and the Boston Harborwalk.

Part of the waterfront neighborhood contains numerous historical sites and landmarks, including the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum, Boston Children’s Museum, and Institute of Contemporary Art.

The area offers a variety of restaurants, bars, and entertainment options, making it a lively place to stay.

The Waterfront is well-connected to public transportation, making it easy to explore other parts of the city. You can enjoy various water-based activities, such as harbor cruises or water taxis.

However, it’s worth noting that the Waterfront area can be relatively expensive, especially during peak tourist seasons. Overall, the Waterfront  is a great base for waterfront views and easy access to downtown.

Best places to stay in  Boston in Waterfront:


4. Beacon Hill

Beacon Hill is a historic neighborhood located in the heart of Boston It is known for its charming cobblestone streets, elegant townhouses, and historical significance. 

The neighborhood is situated just north of the Boston Common and the Massachusetts State House, making it one of the most desirable and affluent areas in the city.

Beacon Hill is famous for its Federal-style and Victorian-era architecture. The neighborhood’s red-brick townhouses, many of which were built in the 19th century, add to its distinct charm. 

The main thoroughfare of Beacon Hill is Charles Street, which is lined with boutique shops, cafes, restaurants, and antique stores. It’s a popular destination for residents and visitors alike.

One of the most photographed streets in Boston, Acorn Street, is a narrow, cobblestone-lined lane that exemplifies the neighborhood’s historic character.

Beacon Hill is home to several historic sites, including the Massachusetts State House, which houses the government of Massachusetts, and the Park Street Church, a significant religious landmark. 

The African Meeting House, a historic church and one of the oldest Black churches in the United States, is also located in the neighborhood.

The neighborhood offers access to several parks, including the Boston Common, the Public Garden, and the Charles River Esplanade, providing residents with opportunities for outdoor activities and recreation.

Conveniently located close to popular Downtown and Back Bay, making Beacon Hill is one of the best areas to stay in Boston without a car. You can easily access major attractions on foot and by public transport.

Best places to stay in Beacon Hill without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): The Whitney Hotel Boston, 5-star hotel in central Boston, easy access to King’s Chapel and Burying Ground, Boston North Station and TD Garden. 
  • Luxury ($$$): The Liberty, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Boston, 5-star hotel, in Boston city center, Overlooking the Charles River. It has easy access to the Museum of Science and Kendall Square, Faneuil Hall, and the historic harbor area.
  • Budget ($): 94 Charles Street by Thatch, self-catering accommodation, short walk from Boston Common and Charles River Esplanade.

5. North End

North End is one of the oldest and most historic neighborhoods in the city, often referred to as Boston’s “Little Italy” due to its rich Italian-American heritage. The neighborhood is bordered by the waterfront to the north and west, the Greenway to the south, and the Charlestown neighborhood to the northeast.

The North End is renowned for its excellent Italian restaurants, cafes, and pastry shops. Visitors can enjoy authentic pizza, pasta, cannoli, and other Italian delicacies.

The Freedom Trail, a red-brick path, passes through the North End, making it a significant historical site. Tourists can follow this trail to visit 16 historically significant locations related to the American Revolution.

Paul Revere House is the oldest surviving structure in downtown Boston and is a popular historic site. It was once the home of Paul Revere, an American patriot who played a crucial role in the American Revolution.

Old North Church, also known as Christ Church, is famous for being the location where Paul Revere’s “One if by land, two if by sea” signal was sent during his midnight ride.

The main thoroughfare in the North End, Hanover Street is bustling with restaurants, shops, and markets. It’s a great place to explore and experience the neighborhood’s lively atmosphere.

Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park and the Rose Kennedy Greenway offer places to relax, take a stroll, or enjoy scenic views of the waterfront.

North End is well-served by North Station, one of the three main Amtrak stations in Boston. Itonly serves the Downeaster, which connects Boston with Brunswick, Maine, via Portland. 

Additionally, North Station also serves MBTA commuter rail, and the T’s Green and Orange Lines, making North End one of the best places to stay in Boston without a car. 

Best places to stay in  North End without a car:

  • Mid-range ($$): Battery Wharf Hotel, Boston Waterfront, 4-star hotel, located in the North End by Boston Harbor, short walk from the New England Aquarium, providing private water taxi to Logan Airport. 
  • Mid-range ($$): Bricco Suites , great apartments, located a short distance from Paul Revere House in the historic North End, and the Old North Church.  
  • Budget ($): Courtyard Boston Downtown/North Station , 3-star hotel, located an easy walk from Boston North Station and TD Garden, where you can find Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins. 

6. Cambridge

Cambridge is situated just across the Charles River from Boston and is considered part of the Greater Boston metropolitan area. Cambridge is known for its prestigious universities, including Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The public transportation system, including buses and the “T” subway system, facilitates easy travel between Cambridge and various neighborhoods in Boston.

Additionally, many areas in Cambridge are pedestrian-friendly, and biking is a popular mode of transportation. The city has bike lanes and paths that make it easy to get around without a car.

Cambridge has diverse neighborhoods with their own unique characteristics. Whether you prefer a lively urban atmosphere or a more tranquil residential area, there’s likely a neighborhood in Cambridge that suits your preferences.

Best places to stay in  Boston in Cambridge:

  • Mid-range ($$): Sheraton Commander Hotel, 4-star hotel located in the Harvard Square district in Cambridge, short distance from Central Square and Brattle Theatre.  
  • Mid-range ($$): Hotel Veritas, great 4-star hotel set in Cambridge and near Harvard University.
  • Budget ($): Irving House at Harvard , charming guest house, located close to the famed Harvard University and in the heart of Harvard Square.

See more:

In conclusion, Downtown, Back Bay, Waterfront, Beacon Hill, North End, and Cambridge are the best places to stay in Boston without a car. They offer prime locations and are well-connected to public transportation, making it them great bases to explore the city on foot and by trains/ buses.

Personally, I recommend Downtown as the best base for car-free travelers as it is the most central location, offer easy access to historical attractions. You can consider Back Bay, which also offers central locations, and has more shopping and dining options. 

I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful. If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

Leave a Comment