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Boston Bus Tours | Which Are the Best?

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This post explains the reviews of the various Boston bus tours available to you, including hop-on-hop-off trolleys, amphibious vehicles, themed tours, and day trips. 

We also provide tips on discounts and value.

Disclosure: While our recommendations are always unbiased, we may receive a small share of sales through some of the links below at no cost to you. See the full text.


TIP: If you are considering a tourist discount pass for your time in Boston, be sure to read our guide to Boston tourist attraction passes.


This company offers 18 hop-on and hop-off stops where you can get on and off as often as you wish (within your ticket time period).

Tours operate from 9 am - 5 pm from April through October and 9 am - 4 pm from November through March.

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


Of all the trolley companies, Old Town Trolley is the best-reviewed company of all the 4 trolley companies in Boston, but it is also the most expensive.

Although there are a few negative comments here and there, this company has a 4 ½ out of 5 stars rating overall on TripAdvisor.

Reviews for their hop-on, hop-off service are generally favorable, with most passengers reporting that this is a very good deal.

A lot of guests enjoy the ability to hop off whenever they wish, exploring the city at their own pace.

Recommended for:  Those looking for a premium hop-on, hop-off Boston bus service.

Prices (as of May 2020):

The prices listed below are for advanced online purchases for either a 1-day hop-on, hop-off ticket, or a 2-day ticket.

If you purchase a ticket on board, the prices are slightly more expensive. 

1 Day ticket:

  • Adults - $57.75
  • Children (4-12) - $31.50
  • Children (under 4) - FREE

2 Day ticket:

  • Adults - $68.25
  • Children (4-12) - $36.75
  • Children (under 4) - FREE

Purchase your tickets here with 24-hour cancellation.


This hop on hop off company offers Boston tours year-round and their first stop is at Long Wharf Boston.

Depending on the season, they also offer a free 45-minute harbor cruise with the purchase of tickets. This is one of the more affordable options available to the visitor.

Cityview Trolley Tours Boston

It also doesn’t hurt that the company has a 4 ½ out of 5 stars rating on TripAdvisor and Get Your Guide (see some of the reviews).

Most reviews for this service are very favorable, with some guests indicating that they do a good job of staying on schedule.

Other comments suggest that this is a great way to discover the city before heading out on your own.

Prices (as of May 2020):

  • Adults (13 years or over)  $53.27
  • Children (4-12) - $27.20
  • Children (under 3) - Free
  • Purchase your tickets here with a 24-hour cancelation policy.


  • April to August: Daily. 9:30 am - 5:00 pm, Trolleys run at 10-15 minute frequency
  • September, October, November:  Daily, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm; Trolleys depart every 20-30 minutes
  • December:  Closed Tue, Wed & Thurs. * Daily Dec 26-Dec 31. 9:30 am to 3:30 am Trolleys depart every 20-30 minutes
  • January & February: Weekends Only; 9:30 am to 3:30 pm. Trolleys depart every 20-30 minutes
  • March: The 1st-15th Weekends only. Starting March 16-31 Daily. 9:30 am -3:30 pm. Trolleys depart every 20-30 minutes

Note: The free Harbor Cruise is only offered from March 16th through Nov 30, 7 days per week.


Offered by Gray Line, this company provides hop-on, hop-off tours year-round.

With a total of 20 stops, a full circuit takes approximately 90 minutes.

That being said, if you decide to hop off and enjoy the sites for a while, you could easily spend all day exploring some of the most notable locations in Boston! I

In addition, each ticket below includes a free 45 minute Boston Harbor cruise.

This is a great way to enjoy two different tours and see as much of the city as possible in a short amount of time. Their TripAdvisor reviews are average at best.

Recommended for those who are also looking for a harbor cruise and/or to save money.

Prices (as of May 2020):

1 Day Ticket:

  • Adults - $40
  • Children (3-12) - $18
  • Children (under 3) - Free

2 Day Ticket:

  • Adults - $47
  • Children (3-12) - $23
  • Children (under 3) - Free
  • You could purchase 2-day tickets directly here.


One of the most popular bus tours in this city is the famous Duck Tours of Boston.

This company uses WWII era amphibious landing vehicles, which work surprisingly well for touring, to take the guests on both a short city tour and a short water cruise on the Charles River.

The Duck Tours are not a hop-off/hop-on tour like many of the other bus tours in the area, but in 90 minutes they cover a lot of ground and the guides are usually very knowledgeable as well as entertaining.

In Boston, the duck tours leave at three different locations: one on the waterfront behind Faneuil Hall, another in the Back Bay behind the Prudential Center, and a third in Cambridge at the Museum of Science.

Recommended for: families

The reviews for Boston Duck Tours are pretty good, and the company has received an accumulated rating of 4 ½ stars on TripAdvisor. 

Prices (as of May 2020)

Additionally, if you are on a cruise ship for a quick stopover in Boston, this company has a dock at the Black Falcon Terminal.

They will shuttle you to our tour meeting sites and will take you back to the Terminal when it is time to return to your cruise ship.



If you’re looking for a more spooky experience in Beantown, perhaps a haunted bus tour is in order.

Hear about Boston’s dark side on this 90-minute ghost bus tour with numerous costumed guides.

Tour takes place at 7 pm from April 2nd – November 15th.

The tour covers 4 different haunted locations, which includes walks through two of the city’s oldest graveyards and sights related to the Boston Strangler.

Discover some of the grisly history of this city on a fun and hair-raising bus trip. 

Recommended for:  Families with kids over 6.

Almost all of the reviews for this service are very positive, which has lead to the 4 ½ star rating that Ghosts and Gravestones Bus Tours has received on TripAdvisor.

Many guests have said that the cast of tour guides on this trip are very entertaining and informative.

Other comments suggest that this may, in fact, be the best tour in Boston, and that might be true if you’re interested in the haunted history of the city.

Prices (as of May 2020):


On-Location Tours offers a "Boston Movie Mile" Walking Tour from April to October. It is approximately 90 minutes long and covers over 30 TV shows & movie locales. 

The tour starts at Old Town Trolley Stop store and heads through beautiful Beacon Hill, the most filmed area of Boston.

Sites include locales from The Thomas Crown Affair, Good Will Hunting, Parent Trap, The Real World, The Departed, and more.

The tour concludes at that place where 'everybody knows your name' -- the original Cheers™

Prices (as of May 2020)


There are a lot of exciting activities and interesting historic locations both in and around the Boston area.

If you’ve ever wanted to visit Martha’s Vineyard or get a good look at Cape Cod, a day trip from Beantown is an excellent idea. 


This company offers excursions out to Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod, Newport, Concord, and several other locations around Boston.

If you’ve got the time, their variety of excellent day trips are perfect for either locals or visitors from out of town. Prices are more than reasonable, ranging from $50-$90.

Tours listed and prices as of May 2020:

Cape Cod Excursion – Take a trip to the bay and enjoy a cruise for only $95 per Adult and $58 per Child (3-11).

Plymouth – Walk the Pilgrim’s path and watch history come to life for $89 per Adult and $48 per Child (3-11).

Fabulous Newport – Discover the mansions of Newport and enjoy a free Trolley tour for $115 per Adult and $82 per Child (3-11).

Salem and Marblehead – Uncover the birthplace of the U.S. Navy for $58 per Adult and $34 per Child (3-11).

Fall Foliage Spectacular – Take in the sights and sounds of New England in the fall for $115 per Adult and $65 per Child (3-11).


If you’re looking to partake in more than one tour during your visit to Beantown, a combo package could save you a lot of money.

There are a variety of combo packages and discounts available for various attractions and tours.

Here are a few options you might want to consider before booking two or more individual trips in and around the Boston area.


If you’re going to be spending more than a few days in Boston, this could be an excellent opportunity to save money and experience a lot of the attractions and tours available in the area.

The Go Boston Card offers an All-Inclusive Pass, an Explorer Pass, and a Build Your Own Pass with plenty of different tours and activities to enjoy.

If you want to combine a Duck Tour or a Trolley Tour with tickets to one of the many wonderful locations in Beantown, consider picking up one of these passes!

Be sure to read our post, which compares all the different tourist attraction discount passes available in Boston.

Here are the Bus and Trolley tours available with the Go Boston Card:

Boston Duck Tour – Included with the 3, 5, and 7-day All-Inclusive pass, Explorer pass, and Build Your Own Pass.

Cityview Trolley Tour – Included with every All-Inclusive pass, Explorer Pass, and Build Your Own Pass.

Liberty Ride Trolley Tour – Only included with the All-Inclusive pass.

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About The Author

Brian Burgess

Brian was born in Cambridge and has been living in the Boston area all his life. He is a graduate of Boston's Emerson College with a degree in communications with a journalism/history focus. He has been leading tours for Free Tours By Foot Boston since it was started in the city of Boston in 2012, and enjoys sharing his knowledge of Boston's rich history with not only the guests on his tours, but with everyone he meets.
Updated: October 14th, 2021
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