Best Boston Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley Tours

Boston is a multicultural city, full of historic sites, top-brand stores, shopping markets and lots of nightlife. A tour on a tour bus is a great way to get to know it.

Ivana Nazareno

Ivana Nazareno

6 min read

Best Boston Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley Tours

Buses in Boston | ©Lê Minh

A great way to get to know everything there is to see and do in Boston are the different tourist buses that through the classic system of stops you will be able to visit all the attractions of the city.

The city is located very close to Cape Cod and the famous Martha's Vineyard Island and you will be able to enjoy incredible boat rides, gastronomic and beach tourism. In addition, Boston is one of the American cities with more history, so there will be no shortage of places to visit.

Best tour buses for touring Boston

Tourist Bus Tour| ©Márcio Cabral de Moura
Tourist Bus Tour| ©Márcio Cabral de Moura

During your stay in the city you will see various types of tourist buses everywhere and especially around the main attractions and historical neighborhoods of the city.

They can be considered partly a means of transportation and partly an authentic sightseeing tour, as the colorful cars will offer you a lot of fun and provide you with the easiest way to tour Boston at your own pace.

The drivers entertain passengers with many stories about famous landmarks and local characters as they drive through the legendary historic areas of the city.

See interesting places you want to explore along the way?
Just hop off and tour the site at your leisure, then hop back on the trolley for a new destination.

Book your tour bus in Boston

1. Old Town Trolley

Old Town Trolley Tours bus| ©MKT Transport
Old Town Trolley Tours bus| ©MKT Transport

These tourist buses have 18 stops where you can get on and off as many times as you prefer, always respecting the schedule of your ticket.

Arriving on a cruise ship?

Old Town Trolley Tours offers a stop at Seaport, near the port of call of most cruise ships.

If this is the case, I advise you to make the first stop nearby to visit the Tea Party Museum, one of the best museums in Boston.

When is the tour available?

Tours start at 9 am and run until 5 pm from April to October and from 9 am to 4 pm from November to March.

What will you be able to see?

Stops are made at major tourist attractions such as the USS Constitution, Cheers Bar, Fenway Park, Boston Convention Center and more.

Among all the possibilities of tour bus companies, Old Town Trolley is the one with the best reviews from tourists, but its price is one of the highest of the different options you will have to choose from.

Recommended for... all tourists who aim to enjoy a top quality Boston bus service.

How much do they cost?

Ticket prices are always for advance online purchases. Prices are always approximate because they may change or undergo modifications.

Remember that you can buy your ticket directly on site, but prices are a little more expensive so it is better to buy online.

  • 1 day pass: adults pay about 50 dollars, children between 4 and 12 years old, about 30 dollars and children under 4 years old get in free.
  • 2-day pass: about $75 for adults, $45 for children between 4 and 12 years old and free for children under 4 years old.

Book your visit to the Tea Party Museum in Boston

2. City View Trolley

City View Trolley Tours| ©Gerard Donnelly
City View Trolley Tours| ©Gerard Donnelly

These hop on hop off tour buses offer tours of Boston throughout the year and their first stop is at Long Wharf Boston. The company's total number of stops is 17 points of tourist interest.

Depending on the season, they also offer a 45-minute harbor cruise with the purchase of tickets.

This is one of the most affordable options available to travelers and one of the most chosen for the price-quality of service.

Book your tour bus in Boston

When is the tour available?

Trolleybuses operate throughout the year, although schedules change according to the season.

  • April to August: if you are visiting Boston in the summer, you can use this bus
    you can use this bus every day between 9:30 am and 5:00 pm. The streetcars run every 10 to 15 minutes.
  • September, October, November: Daily from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Streetcars depart every 20-30 minutes.

What will you see?

The first stop for this company is at the New England Aquarium, near Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall.

Then you can visit Paul Revere's house (one of the places you will visit if you decide to take a historical tour of Boston) and Little Italy, which is part of the best food tours in the city.

The Constitution Museum, USS Cassin Young, Bunker Hill Monument and more attractive sites are options to get off and discover on foot.

Book a history tour in Boston

How much do they cost?

Although prices are approximate and can always vary, this information is sure to be very useful for planning your travel budget to Boston.

  • Day Pass: Adults (13 and over) - $38; Seniors (62+) - $36; Children (5-12) - $15; Children (under 4) - Free
  • Trolley Tour + Cruise: Adults (13 and older) - $56; seniors (62+) - $54; children (5-12) - $31; children (under age 4) - Free

3. Beantown Trolley

Beantown Trolley| ©Owen Smithers
Beantown Trolley| ©Owen Smithers

With a total of 20 stops, this trolley takes you around the best tourist sites in a complete circuit that lasts approximately 90 minutes.

If you choose to get off at each stop and enjoy the highlights, you could easily spend the entire day exploring some of Boston's most notable sights!

Plus, you can add a 45-minute Boston Harbor cruise for about $12 extra.

This is a great way to enjoy two different tours and experience the city from every possible angle.

Recommended for... anyone who is also looking for a harbor cruise and/or to save money.

When is the tour available?

Tour bus service is available year-round. Includes stops at Freedom Trail, Beacon Hill, Quincy Market, USS Constitution and more.

How much do they cost?

  • 1-day tickets: Adults - $40; children (3-12) - $18; children under 3 - free.
  • 2-Day Tickets: Adults - $47; children (3-12) - $23; children under 3 - Free

Boston Duck Tours

Boston Ducks| ©Tony Hisgett
Boston Ducks| ©Tony Hisgett

Every tourist arriving in Boston waits for the most well-known and popular tour. Boston's fun Duck Tours

This company offers the option of discovering the charms of Boston in a particular and very entertaining way.

You will get on one of the incredible amphibious boats of the fleet. Its name comes from the shape of these large boats that date back to World War II and were reconditioned so you can see the whole city from the famous Charles River.

The Duck Tours are not a tour with free stops, but they will give you 90 minutes of guaranteed fun and you will also get to know many aspects of the city.

The guides are very knowledgeable about the highlights of Boston and are very entertaining to listen to!

In Boston, the Duck tours start from three different locations:

How much do they cost?

  • Adults - $53
  • Children (3-11) - $37
  • Infants (0-2) - $11
  • Seniors - $44

Also, if you are on a cruise and have a quick stopover in Boston, this company has a dock at the Black Falcon Terminal.

So it's a perfect option to discover the charms of Boston in a short time.

Book your Boston Duck Tour

What to take on your Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

Comfortable Shoes| ©Bran Sodre
Comfortable Shoes| ©Bran Sodre

Don't worry about carrying a map, open Google maps or geolocation apps because the trolley driver is also an indispensable guide to the best places and monuments to visit in Boston.

He will also offer you a brochure at every stop with information on all the attractions to explore around each stop.

My advice is not to forget to bring the following items:

  • Sunscreen: the Boston sun can be strong and there is plenty to explore on foot near each stop so staying protected from the sun in the midday hours is very necessary.
  • Water bottle: especially if you are visiting in the summer, stay hydrated as there is plenty of walking and sightseeing.
  • Umbrella: Boston's weather can change faster than you expect and what may seem like a sunny day can suddenly turn into a thunderstorm. Be prepared! Of course, if you get caught in a severe storm without an umbrella, you can remain comfortably in the vehicle until the rain stops.
  • Comfortable walking shoes: many interesting attractions, including several of the Freedom Trail sites such as the historic cemeteries, are within 2 or 3 blocks of where the streetcars can stop, as Boston's narrow, winding streets in the older historic areas do not allow them to reach everywhere. In Boston you will walk a lot every day and a comfortable shoe is a must.