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How to Beat the Crowds in Boston

Escape the crowds with these advanced Boston travel tips.

A street view of Boston
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More than 12 million people visit Boston every year, keeping its American Revolution sites, seafaring attractions, and museums quite busy. Here’s how to avoid the main crowds, from prebooking admission tickets to exploring lower-profile sights.

Choose skip-the-line tickets

A woman buys a ticket. Photo: RossHelen / Shutterstock
A woman buys a ticket.Photo credit: RossHelen / Shutterstock

Plan in advance.

Many of Boston’s flagship attractions offer skip-the-line tickets that let you avoid long ticket lines. With fast-track entry, you breeze past the ticket booth lines and beat the rush.

Visit Boston in winter

Snow blankets Boston. Photo: S.Borisov / Shutterstock
Snow blankets Boston.Photo credit: S.Borisov / Shutterstock

Choose your season wisely.

Boston’s peak season is June to October, when visitors come to enjoy the warm weather—expect an average high of 80°F (26.6°C) in August—and the full gamut of the city’s attractions and cruises. For fewer people crowding the top spots, visit in early spring or winter. The weather might be cold (and possibly snowy), but Boston’s big-ticket museums, leisure attractions, and even select harbor cruises remain open and operating.

Buy a sightseeing pass

A man scans a ticket. Photo: Prostock-studio / Shutterstock
A man scans a ticket.Photo credit: Prostock-studio / Shutterstock

Streamline your city experience.

Purchasing a Boston sightseeing pass maximizes your freedom, letting you visit attractions when it suits you and allowing you to steer clear of the busiest times. Select Boston cards provide entry to multiple attractions over your choice of one, two, three, five, or seven consecutive days—you choose the time and length of your visit—while other city passes offer skip-the-line entry at top attractions so you can escape any long ticket queues.

Book ahead

A couple plans a trip from home. Photo: Rido / Shutterstock
A couple plans a trip from home.Photo credit: Rido / Shutterstock

Research before you go.

Take time before you travel to check out the opening times at Boston’s museums and attractions and purchase admission tickets in advance. Prebooking often enables you to pick time slots and departures that attract fewer visitors—such as early morning whale watching or harbor sightseeing cruises.

Go beyond downtown Boston

A quiet district of Boston. Photo: Marcio Jose Bastos Silva / Shutterstock
A quiet district of Boston.Photo credit: Marcio Jose Bastos Silva / Shutterstock

Take a walk on the wild side.

Boston boasts many tucked-away neighborhoods that feel light years away from its busy center. Escape the crowds of downtown on a food tour of the quieter North End or Beacon Hill districts; book a bike tour around tranquil green spaces such as the nine Emerald Necklace parks, or stroll around Harvard University’s campus when students are on vacation.

Opt for private tours

A plaque on the Freedom Trail in Boston. Photo: CO Leong / Shutterstock
A plaque on the Freedom Trail in Boston.Photo credit: CO Leong / Shutterstock

Go for a tailor-made experience.

Private tours of Boston’s top attractions are great ways to enjoy more elbow room. Consider exploring the must-see Freedom Trail in a private chauffeured vehicle or taking private walking tours with flexible itineraries—they enable you to skip any crowded spots at the last minute and enjoy a more personalized experience.

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