Is the Go Boston Card worth it? Go Boston Card review 2017
Welcome to Boston, the heart of the Northeast, where you'll find thick accents, rich history, old buildings and great food. You'll also find that Boston, being one of the oldest and largest cities in the United States, also is home to a number of different attractions and activities including the New England Aquarium, Museum of Science and the Harvard Museum of Natural History.
With so many different attractions available, just visiting a few of them can send your overall trip cost through the roof. Luckily, there is a solution- the Go Boston Card. Designed to allow visitors the chance to visit many activities during their stay, the card helps to keep costs low by providing a flat rate to 41 different attractions. But will it work for you? We answer that and more below.
Go Boston Card prices for 2017
The Go Boston Card prices vary depending on your age and how many days you are purchasing. Ages 13 and up are considered adults and will pay more per card while those who are 3 through 12 receive a lower rate. If you are traveling with children under the age of 3, you won't have to purchase a card for them as they can get into any attraction for free.
- 1 Day Adult $54.00, 1 Day Child $37.00
- 2 Day Adult $75.00, 2 Day Child $55.00
- 3 Day Adult $109.00, 3 Day Child $75.00
- 5 Day Adult $145.00, 5 Day Adult $100.00
- 7 Day Adult $170.00, 7 Day Adult $115.00
It's helpful to know that there are frequent promotions and sales on the Go Boston Card, so it's usually not difficult to get lower prices than those above. They often have sales of up to 20% off, which obviously makes it a much better deal if you are trying to save money while sightseeing. If a promotional price is going right now, it's worth an extra look. If not, check back in a few days or a week and you might find a discount.
Top sights and attractions
Boston Duck Tour – $39.38
Available with the 3, 5, or 7 day card, the Boston Duck Tour is great for both kids and adults. Serving as a fun way to learn about the history of Boston, this amphibious tour takes you through the streets of Beantown and into the Charles River. Some sights that you'll see during the tour include the Holocaust Memorial, USS Constitution, the Prudential Center and the Trinity Church. When planning, keep in mind that this tour requires reservations.
New England Aquarium Whale Watch – $51.45
Another attraction that's only available with a 3, 5, or 7 day card, the New England Aquarium Whale Watch promises to show you a great time on the water. Here you'll cruise to the Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary which serves as a feeding ground for many different species of whales along with several dolphin pods. The cruise ship itself features 3 outdoor decks and an indoor cabin. Each tour takes about 4 hours and all are kid friendly. Keep in mind however, that reservations are required ahead of time.
Skywalk Observatory – $18.00
A very short attraction that only takes about 30 minutes, the Skywalk Observatory offers extraordinary views for the 50th floor of the Prudential. If the weather is in your favor, you'll see a view of New Hampshire. You can visit during the day or night, each offering a different skyline view. It's important to bring your camera to this attraction as it serves as the best location for pictures. It's also both kid and adult friendly, making for a fun and easy outing.
Museum of Fine Arts – $25.00
A large museum housing over 400,000 pieces of art, the Museum of Fine Arts is a great way to spend a few hours of your day learning about art from around the world. Here you'll find contemporary pieces alongside historic works of art from ancient Egypt and beyond. This attraction is kid friendly, but they should be monitored at all times.
Harvard Museum of Natural History – $12.00
Each ticket provides admission to the Harvard Museum of Natural History and the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, making this a 2 in 1 attraction. The Harvard Museum itself allows visitors the chance to explore while viewing over 12,000 natural specimens that have been brought in from around the globe. Some specimens include dinosaur bones, tiny insects and large whale skeletons. Some of the exhibits available are only temporary while others are permanent. Each visit should take about 2 hours or so and both museums are kid friendly.
Six Flags New England – $61.99
An amusement park that's fun for the whole family, Six Flags New England features over 100 shows, rides and attractions alongside a water park. Because of the size of the park, a trip here takes about 8 hours, making it a great day activity. Also available in the park are a few great dining options.
Institute of Contemporary Art – $15.00
Another great art museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art offers exhibits and programs that allow you to truly learn about contemporary art as well as the artists behind the pieces. You'll also get to learn about the creative process it took to create each piece. After walking through the institute, you'll also get to take a walk along the waterfront where you'll find a bookstore, cafe, a media center and a performing arts theater. A stroll here will take about an hour and a half and children are welcome to tag along.
Charles River Cruise – $18.90
A seasonal cruise that's available from mid May through October, the Charles River Cruise is great for both adults and children and takes about an hour. Each cruise takes you around the Charles River Basin where you'll have to chance to view some pretty impressive historic sights. You'll also pass by Boston University, MIT and Harvard.
Boston Bike Rental – $40.00
A great way to explore the city on your own time, Boston Bike Rentals offers rentals that you can use until 6pm, giving you ample opportunity to explore your favorite sights. In addition to each bike, you'll also receive a bike lock, helmet and map of the area. This activity is a great option for all types of visitors, including those with children.
Is the Go Boston Card a good deal
When you purchase your particular card, you'll also receive a guidebook with descriptions of each attraction as well as a detailed attraction location map. As an added bonus you'll also find varying discounts for dining, shopping and entertainment.
But in the end, is the card a good deal? In hindsight, yes, but only if you use the card in the fashion it was intended for. If you plan to visit as many attractions as you can and make sure to fit in a few of the higher costing activities, then you'll find that the card will end up saving you a good chunk of change. If you only intend to visit a small number of attractions and purchase a 5 day card, then instead of saving money, you'll either break even, or possibly lose money.
To help, we've created a sample itinerary showing the difference in price between a 2 day card and the general admission prices.
- Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley $42.00 (valid for 2 days)
- Museum of Fine Arts $25.00
- Museum of Science $25.00
- New England Aquarium $26.95
- USS Constitution Cruise $21.99
- Plimoth Plantation/Plimo Grist Mill Combo $31.00
When all the numbers are tallied, the end cost of this particular 2 day itinerary is $171.94 compared to $75.00 for the adult card. In the end, the card saves a total of $96.94.
Along with the option of visiting some of the 51 attractions available, card holders also get to add on another option for free. You'll get the choice of the original Boston Duck Tour, Boston Red Sox Ticket with VIP early park access to a select game, a whale watching excursion or a Gray Line Boston tour.
Are all of the attractions covered with the Go Boston Card worth a visit
One simple answer- yes. Due to the number of different attractions available, every type of traveler will find a few activities that fit what they are looking for. If you love to learn while on vacation, you'll find lots of opportunities available with museums of all kinds. Those same museums will also offer the cultural enthusiast a bit of delight as they explore the city.
If you're traveling with a family, you'll also find lots of kid friendly activities that will have everyone leaving with a smile.
How not to use the Go Boston Card
Once again, in order to get the maximum savings out of your card, you'll need to plan a little and take care to visit higher priced attractions in conjunction with visiting as many of them as you can. You don't want to just visit the small attractions everyday.
You'll also want to research a little where each attraction is located. You don't want to end up on one side of the city with your next planned attraction on the other. Chances are, you won't make it in time or will have to cut out another planned activity that day.
One thing to keep in mind is the use of the hop-on, hop-off trolly that is included in your Go Card. This trolly is great for getting from point A to point B and can help knock off some travel time.
The bottom line
If you're planning on visiting 2 or more of the more expensive attractions in the same day and plan each attraction according to location, you'll find that the Go Boston Card will save you a good deal of money.
However, if you do the opposite and plan on visiting mostly secondary attractions ($15.00 or less), then you'll find that the card is probably not your best option.
Where do you purchase your Go Boston Card
There are a few different ways to receive your card- smartphone, printing out at home, snail mail and email. The most used way of receiving the card is via smartphone.