Logo   Driving in Boston, Massachusetts
It's not wise for a visitor to drive much in Boston. Its colonial layout of narrow streets (said to follow cattlepaths) is confusing enough on foot, let alone in a car.

George Washington statue, Public Garden, Boston MA
George Washington
statue, Public Garden,
Boston MA




Boston drivers, once famous throughout the USA for their careless maneuvers, have improved somewhat over the last few decades.

Now the major sin is commited by the guy behind you who honks his horn because you didn't do what he wanted you to do—usually get out of his way....

Parking in Boston is difficult to find and often expensive when you find it.

Arriving in Boston by Car

The easiest and fastest way to enter Boston by car from the west is via the Massachusetts Turnpike ("Mass Pike," Interstate 90), which goes right through Back Bay to the center of the city, all the way to Logan Airport via the Ted Williams Tunnel.

You may approach Boston from the south on MA Route 3 (the Southeast Expressway) as it comes up from the South Shore (Cape Cod and Plymouth). It's the main commuter route from everywhere south of Boston, and is traveled very heavily. At morning and evening rush hours there are frequent traffic jams.

From the north, the approach to Boston is by Interstate 93, which crosses the Charles River before going underground.

Two divided highways skirt the Charles River toward Cambridge, the faster and busier one being Storrow Drive on the southern bank, the more scenic being Memorial Drive in Cambridge on the northern bank of the Charles. Take either one to go between Boston and Harvard Square, and go all the way to the Larz Andersen Bridge and Cambridge's John F. Kennedy Street, then turn right (north) for Harvard Square.

Once downtown, Boston's warren of winding, confusing streets, many of them one-way, will try your patience, but once you make your way to a hotel, park the car and try to forget it for the rest of your visit. Driving downtown makes little sense, and driving to Harvard Square even less sense (the parking problem there is worse).

Take the car out for an excursion around Boston—to go to Lexington, Concord, the North Shore, the South Shore or Cape Cod, but otherwise leave it parked.

If you make an excursion to Cambridge, you should take a Red Line subway train, not your car. You can even bike.

For places around Boston such as Concord, Salem , Rockport and Plymouth, a car can make sense, although there are suburban trains and buses to these towns and several others.

—by Tom Brosnahan

Parking in Boston


City Bus


Commuter Rail

Boston Transportation

Finding Your Way in Boston

Boston Hotels

Boston Restaurants

What to See & Do in Boston

About Boston

Around Boston

New York City <—> Boston Travel


Paris Girls Secret Society, the new novel by Tom Brosnahan


Storrow Drive, Boston MA

Storrow Drive. When I think of out-of-town drivers' first encounter with Boston traffic, I weep.



FTP on Facebook    
Pinterest    Twitter