Where would be a good place to park in Boston to walk around and see the sites?
The best place; New Hampshire.
Seriously, parking in Boston can be a nightmare.
I lived in Boston twenty years. The entire time I lived there I always claimed I'd rather have to drive in mid-town Manhattan five days a week, than in downtown Boston one day. Many an out-of-town visitor came to regret not heeding my advice, Don't Drive Downtown. I owned two cars while I lived there, and I never drove into the city if I could help it.
The parking garages downtown are often overpriced or inconvenient. If there is a sporting event, or something else taking place that day, garage prices are usually inflated to an obscene level.
Also, I've had some pretty bad experiences in garages where an attendant parks your vehicle for you. Aside from dents and an additional 40+ miles on my odometer, I've also received summons from a time I knew damn well I had left my car in a garage. It turns out if an attendant needs to retrieve a car blocked by others, they simply pull those other cars out into the street, leaving them wherever they please. During that time, your car gets ticketed. If your thinking, "Ah-ha! Then they're liable", think again. I fought it. It's clearly printed on you parking stub (providing you can read micro dot) that by using their facility you absolve them of all responsibility. Not only did I still have to pay the ticket, but I was further sued by the garage for their court costs! Now, mind you, this wasn't in Boston, but still...
Oh, by the way. I your car is broken into or vandalized while it's in their garage, guess who's libel for that. I'll give you a hint; it's not them!
Parking on the street can also be frustrating and costly. While I lived there it was a common practice to take a parking ticket off the windshield of someone's car, place it on your own, then park illegally in the belief the police would see you car was already ticketed, and wouldn't do so a second time. I don't know if this worked, but I did have a ticket removed from my car this way. Bad enough to be ticketed when you thought you were legally parked; worse still to discover you have additional fines added for not responding to the ticket in a timely manner.
So what do you do?
One of the best thing about Boston is its public transportation system. Their subway/trolley system (known locally as the "T") is excellent. It's convenient and covers most of the city; especially the sights most visitors want to see. It's easy to navigate for those not use to using a subway, unlike New York's, London's or Paris'. It's also quicker and more cost effective than driving and parking. You see, it's very likely you'll be taking public transit anyway, depending on what you want to see.
What the T doesn't cover is usually serviced by an extensive bus system. Finally, places you may wish to see outside the city itself may be covered by an equally extensive commuter rail system.
Here is a link to the entire public transit system.
www.mbta.com They've got all the information you'll need for your visit.
If you're not staying in the city, you can still drive to one of the outlying stations and park there. Wonderland, Oak Grove, Alewife, Braintree and all the commuter rail stations have parking available. You may need exact change at some of them, but they're all far less expensive than parking downtown, and parking on the outskirts and using public is much easier on the psyche.
Still, if you're hell bent on driving into town you might try these suggestions.
Park in a residential neighborhood in Brookline and take the trolley into town. Just pay attention to the signs on the street. If it isn't baseball season, there are a number of lot near Fenway Park with more supply than demand. If you're there on a Sunday, the Financial District is often deserted, but again, watch the signs.
I hope you do visit Boston soon. I also hope you'll love it the way I do. Just remember, Don't Drive Downtown.
For an easy/affordable option, I recommend parking at one of the T stations. If you're from outside of the city, these tend to work well. Coming from the North, I used to park at Sullivan Square and hop on the orange line to State Street. There are also numerous options in Cambridge, and it's easy to hop on the red line. From there, you can get off at the Charles St/MGH Station and walk near Beacon Hill , up and around to the Boston Common and even to the Back Bay.
If price isn't an issue, there's parking all over. Try Copley Square or the Boston Common . Have fun!
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The Boston Common garage puts you right in the middle of everything. You can easily walk through the Back Bay, Beacon Hill, down to the waterfront, or over to the Esplanade.
If you're in town on a Sunday, meters are free and you can leave the car there all day. Technically, you're only allowed 2 hours, but that's never enforced.
The Boston Common garage is about as central as things get - huge underground facility directly under Boston Common. Easy walk to Beacon Hill (5 minutes), Public Garden (5 minutes), Back Bay/Comm Ave/Newbury Street (10 minutes), Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market (15 minutes), Theatre District (10 minutes), North End (20 minutes), Esplanade/Charles River (15 minutes).
I would suggest parking outside the city and then taking the T into the city to either North Station, State, or Downtown Crossing.
I live just north of the city near the Orange Line and I can park at Assembly Row for free and get on their new T station.
Downtown boston is walkable, so near the boston common, or in Newbury St, or Quincy Market will be OK
I would not bother with a car at all. If flying in, catch the T at Boston Logan International Airport and you can be anywhere in the city in no time, including Cambridge (Massachusetts), Somervilleand all the great things that everyone wants to see.
This great town is very European, walkable and bikeable. Eat in the North End for fine Italian food, walk Freedom Trail, visit the museums in Boston and Cambridge and walk around Harvard Universityand MIT,
If you are driving in, get your lodging near the T and use the trains to get around. It is fun and you will be glad you did.
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