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Navigating Boston

Getting Around in Boston

Braving Boston¹s streets is always an adventure. But, with a few tips and good maps, you¹ll feel at home in no time. First rule: a car is both an unnecessary luxury and a parking headache. At least once during your trip, leave the car behind and walk or take the subway. What you¹ll discover is a great city that¹s even more enjoyable when you¹re not behind the wheel.

Boston is a fabulous walking city because it¹s so compact and, except for Beacon Hill, very flat. Observe the natives, take in some history, and stop for lunch along the way. If you get tired or lost, just flag down a cab or hop the subway (also known as the “T”). With so much to see, you can meander through the shops and neighborhoods all day. Plus, walking is a great way to work off all that fried seafood you¹ll be eating.

The easiest way to travel around Boston/Cambridge is to take the subway, which is clean, safe and easily accessible. Built in 1897, the “T” is hailed as America¹s first metropolitan subway system. Subway cars run above and below ground to convenient stations located in all of the hot spots. You can pick up a map for free at any station. Most fares range from $1.70 to $2.00, and trains run every five to fifteen minutes ranging from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m.

Access to the city from the outlying suburbs is easy by commuter rail. Commuter lines connect with the “T” at Back Bay, Porter Square, South and North Stations and run to most suburban schools. These comfortable trains run on a schedule that is available at the college admissions office or posted at the station. Bring  a newspaper and enjoy the ride.

Boston has a reputation for crazy drivers. In fact, they¹re not any more dangerous than your average motorist - just a bit more aggressive and impolite. The rule of the road seems to be “you snooze, you lose.” Just remember not to be intimidated, but do be courageous when you hit one of the many rotaries. To some extent, you can blame the chaos on the roads themselves. You see, downtown Boston was originally laid out by grazing cows 200 years ago. So, the streets meander, they don¹t necessarily make sense and are often one-way. This being said, there are a few other things you should keep in mind when motoring:

Avoid driving during rush hour if you can (7-9 a.m. and 4:00-6:30 p.m.).

Build in extra time for traffic, no matter what time of day you are traveling.

In Boston & Cambridge the meter maids are relentless, and tickets start at $25. Much of the parking is reserved for residents.

If you are traveling to the suburbs for a campus visit, take the car. When exploring the city, be sure to walk or take the subway. If money is no object, call a cab or car service.

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