Let me begin by saying that there are several choices of hop on hop off trolley tours in Boston. Our hotel recommended Old Town Trolley and I am familiar with them having taken their tour in Savannah. The reason we chose Beantown Trolley was that they went to the Museum of Fine Arts and none of the other tours did. I would recommend Beantown if you plan to visit the Museum but otherwise the tour itself is about two hours to make the round and that is longer than it needs to be.
Most of the tours have kiosk at Long Wharf. Beantown is behind the other tours facing Legal Seafood. We bought a two day ticket for $35 and it included a free Boston Harbor Tour (which I will describe in a separate entry). The Harbor Cruise is included May-October, otherwise you get free entrance to the Maparium. We took the 12:30pm Harbor Tour and were back to get on the Trolley at 1:30pm.
You get a receipt that is a register tape so be careful to hang on to it, you need to show it every time you get on and off. The tour heads out of Long Wharf and into the North End. Our first driver was not very interesting as a tour guide, he sounded bored and it was pretty much by rote. In spite of this we enjoyed our first views of the area. We then crossed over the Charles River to visit Charlestown where the USS Constitution and the USS Cassin Young are docked. This is also the stop for the Bunker Hill Monument and the Park Department film “Whites of their eyes”. We got off at this stop on our second day of touring to see the film.
Coming back across the river to Boston the next stop will allow you to visit Faneuil Hall Market Place, Quincy Market, The Old State House and the site of the Boston Massacre. Needless to say this is a very popular stop. Be sure to keep you trolley tour map close at hand it will tell you everything you need to know about each of the stops.
One thing I was hoping was that taking the tour was going to familiarize me with the city and it did in some areas but in others we seemed to weave in and out of streets that made no sense what so ever to me.
Stop 7 is the beginning of the Freedom Trail right across the street from the State House. We decided to visit the Otis House on Saturday and this is best reached from stop 8 which is right down the hill from the house.
The trolley crosses the Charles River again at this point and goes over into Cambridge. It doesn’t go to Harvard or Harvard Square but it does take you on a loop through MIT.
Stop 10 is the Back Bay Hilton and it is an 8 minute stop allowing for a bathroom break if you can find the bathroom in the Hilton (Which we did but not without difficulty and it is a very small bathroom). On Saturday we got off here and walked to the Mary Baker Eddy Center to visit the Maparium.
The trolley goes to the Fine Arts Museum if anyone wants to go there otherwise it has a couple of stops in the Back Bay mostly at hotels, go figure. We headed back up Atlantic Ave and returned to where we had started. On our second day we had three tour guides who were much more enthusiastic and actually deserved the tips they so blatantly ask for.