Top 10 Value Travel Destinations in 2012
As one of the nation's oldest cities, the largest city in Massachusetts, and the home of several colleges and universities, Boston is a blend of history and emerging urban culture. Walk the Freedom Trail or cobblestone streets and historic red brick buildings of Beacon Hill and Charles Street, or take advantage of Boston's new bike sharing program and ride to the fourth largest Chinatown in the nation. Boston's many museums, attractions, and events have already made it one of the country's most popular tourist cities, but 2012 should be a particularly interesting year to visit, with commemorative events surrounding Fenway Park and the War of 1812. Plus, it's becoming even easier to reach Boston by train and bus.
What’s New in 2012
The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum is scheduled to reopen in June 2012 after a multimillion-dollar renovation. Boston is among seven port cities participating in Operation Sail 2012, which will commemorate the War of 1812 and the writing of the Star Spangled Banner with sailing events, tall ships, and an air show (in Boston from June 30 to July 5). And good news for sports fans: The Red Sox ownership will not be raising prices for the 2012 centennial season in Fenway Park, the first major league baseball park in the U.S. to reach its 100th birthday. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum will open its beautifully restored Tapestry Room and new Renzo Piano-designed wing in January, with three new exhibitions slated.
Where to Stay
Best Western hotels in the area (including Best Western Plus Hotel Tria and Best Western Terrace Inn) offer promotions tailored to various itineraries. At Best Western Plus Hotel Tria, for example, show your ticket from any sports event to take advantage of their Boston Fanatic Package and receive a rate of $109 a night for four people, including breakfast. This promotion is only valid if you stay the same night as the game. In May 2012 Hostelling International Boston (HI-Boston) will relocate to its new $42 million location at the Dill Building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. The country’s first LEED-certified hostel will be within walking distance of many of Boston's major sites. Private rooms start at around $100 a night.
Megabus now connects Boston to other New England cities – as well as New York, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. – for as little as $1 each way when booked far in advance. More travelers are riding cross-country to Boston via the Amtrak Downeaster line, whose $38 million expansion to Freeport, NY and Brunswick, Maine is on track to be completed in Fall 2012. Spirit, American, United, JetBlue, and Southwest all fly nonstop to the city.
Check out the City of Boston’s Free (and almost free) Things to Do list, which includes walking the Freedom and JFK Trails, touring the USS Constitution, visiting many museums, and exploring the city’s vibrant public art scene. The Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau also sells a Family-Friendly ValuePASS, which offers discounts on restaurants, shops, museums, and attractions.