Getting Around Boston and Cambridge
One has only to look down to discover Boston’s most efficient, economical, and environmentally friendly transport system: a pair of feet in comfortable shoes. With its compact historic core, Boston is America’s premier walking city. While it’s true the seventheenth-century city planners were cows, a map will readily enable you not only to find convention venues, but also to enjoy Boston’s beautiful neighborhoods as they were meant to be seen.
The seven-day LinkPass in your registration packet allows unlimited travel on all public transport. You’ll be making most frequent use of the subway system known locally as the “T.” There are five color-coded lines. Inboundalways means toward downtown (i.e., the Park Street, Downtown Crossing, Government Center, or South Station stops). The Green Line, America’s first rapid transit system, is subdivided by routes B through E. Choose carefully among clearly marked trains. Note that at Copley Square, the stop closest to the Marriott, there are separate stations for inbound and outbound service, the former by Boston Public Library, the latter by Old South Church. The T operates daily from 6:00 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.
As a pedestrian, be aware that normally friendly Bostonians undergo a transformation behind the wheel that evaporates their better judgment and patience. Consumed by envy of pedestrians for reaching their destinations sooner, drivers resort to sounding their horns unnecessarily con gusto. Use of turn signals becomes tantamount to divulging information to the enemy. Not to be outdone, local pedestrians provoke drivers by blithely stepping into oncoming traffic, treating Don’t Walk signals as a suggestion in a dangerous game of dare. Set a good example by waiting on the curb until you have the light, wait a second more, then look both ways before crossing, as you would in London if you’re alive to read this. A bicyclist or worse may be coming the wrong way.
Boston is a safe city, but exercise the common sense advisable in any urban environment. Stay alert. Be aware of your surroundings and the location of your belongings at all times. Do your best to pass as a local by tucking away your convention badge when out and about. On the T, don’t let distraction make you a target: take off earphones and put away electronic devices. If the T is exceptionally crowded, move your purses and wallets around front. Always stand to one side and wait for alighting passengers to disembark before boarding. If passengers have congregated around the doors when there is clearly room within, insinuate yourself onboard rather than be left behind unnecessarily. It’s the done thing.
Remember that the concierge at the Marriot is an important resource, as are AGO hospitality volunteers. Barnes & Noble in the adjoining Prudential Center mall offers a comprehensive selection of guidebooks. Above all, when in doubt, ask. While the thousands of college students who give Boston its unique character will be largely absent during your stay—meaning you may be asking directions of another tourist—locals are proud of their city and hope visitors appreciate it as much as they do. Indulge yourself in pleasant detours: a stroll down the Commonwealth Avenue mall through the Public Garden, sussing out Louisburg Square and Acorn Street, ducking into the magnificent interior of Boston Public Library and its tranquil courtyard, or testing your knowledge of the Green Line by visiting our world-class Museum of Fine Arts. We promise you’ll leave wanting to return.