The iconic New England city of Boston, Massachusetts, is 215 miles northeast of New York City. Boston has a population of more than 690,000 and is one of the oldest cities in America. To get from New York City to Boston, there are several transportation options. Consider the pros and cons of each to choose the best transportation option for you. Advanced booking of many of these options can offer additional savings.
Although flying is considered the quickest option for getting from New York to Boston (with flight times of around an hour), flights can be pricy, and when you factor in time spent getting to the airport, going through security, and waiting for your flight, flying doesn't save that much time. Buses are often affordable, but trips can be lengthy—sometimes more than five hours once you've accounted for traffic. Driving can take just under four hours on a good day without traffic, but renting a car can be troublesome for visitors, especially since both Boston and New York City have robust and easy-to-use options for public transportation.
How to Get from New York to Boston
- Train: 3 hours, 40 minutes, from $98 (Acela) or 4 hours, 20 minutes, from $56 (Amtrak)
- Flight: 1 hour, from $98 (fastest)
- Bus: 4 hours, 30 minutes, from $12 (budget-friendly)
- Car: 3 hours, 50 minutes, 220 miles (354 kilometers)
Traveling by train to and from Boston and New York City is a quick, low-stress option. Trains go from Penn Station in Manhattan to Boston's South Station. The route is serviced by Amtrak, which offers the Acela service, a higher-speed train with costlier tickets, and regional Amtrak service on a train that makes more frequent stops. The latter can take up to five hours and include 15-20 stops, but tickets are less expensive—sometimes starting as low as $56 oneway. Meanwhile, the Acela can cost upwards of $98 oneway. These trains also offer Wi-Fi service.
Bus service to and from New York City and Boston is an easy, affordable option. Trips can take four hours and up, depending on the traffic. The Greyhound buses depart from Port Authority Bus Terminal, while other bus services, like the Bolt Bus and Mega Bus, depart curbside, primarily from the west side of Manhattan. There are also different bus services, like Peter Pan, Lucky Star, and Flix Bus, that run this route. Each bus company offers many departures daily, sometimes hourly. A ticket per person can cost from $5 to $40 each way, making bus travel from New York to Boston one of the cheapest ways to travel.
The most significant advantage of bus travel is that it is cheap and has frequent departures. Most of the buses offer Wi-Fi service. The most significant disadvantage is that traffic can sometimes be unpredictable and it is not as comfortable as the train.
You can drive to and from Boston and New York City—the most direct route takes you through Connecticut on I-84 E to I-90 E in Massachusetts and is about 215 miles. The drive passes through New Haven or Hartford, Connecticut, both of which can be troublesome with traffic during rush hour or weekends. For most visitors to the region, it does not make a lot of sense to rent a car since you might not need a car in either city, and parking can be difficult and expensive. Plan on about five hours of travel time, though stops and traffic will add to the overall trip. Visitors to New York City can rent cars in Manhattan, although rates at the airports tend to be cheaper, if less convenient.
The biggest advantage to travel via car is that it can be a good value if you are traveling with a group or children, and there is no schedule to adhere to. Disadvantages include a pricey car rental, traffic and parking in either city can be a hassle. A day trip to Boston from New York City can be ambitious since car travel can take up to five hours, but it is doable. To make travel worthwhile and to enable you to get a seafood-packed bite or a hint of the rich history in Boston, an overnight trip might be a better idea.
Flying to and from Boston is the fastest way to travel. The flight takes about an hour, but that does not include time spent getting to and from the airport, checking bags, or clearing security. That said, some shuttle flights to and from New York City and Boston can be cheaper than the train and run frequently. Most major carriers, including JetBlue, Delta, United, and American Airlines, service the route, with one-way fares usually around $98—but sometimes even lower. Boston Logan International Airport is the closest and most convenient airport to downtown Boston and the T train runs from the airport to downtown.
Travel by plane can be an advantage because it is fast, and can be less expensive than the train. Often the biggest disadvantages are dealing with airport hassles and factoring in the time, energy, and cost of getting to and from the airport.
What to See in Boston
More than 28 million people head to Boston each year, eager to explore this historical city. Boston played an essential role in the American Revolution, which can be explored by walking the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail, of which a self-guided tour can cover many of the famous landmarks. Other popular Boston attractions include Quincy Market, the Boston Museum of Science, and Fenway Park. Predictably, the city is well-known for excellent seafood, such as lobster rolls and clam chowder, and also has excellent Italian food.