The Go Boston Card is an attractions pass where you pay ahead for discounts on attractions. There’s also an all-inclusive pass. I was gifted an all-inclusive pass by Smart Destinations to facilitate this post, but all opinions are my own. Also, this post contains affiliate links which provide me a small commission (at no cost to you) if you decide to purchase a pass after reading this.
The first winter we were in Maine, I decided that school winter vacation week was the perfect time for a quick trip to Boston to explore. So in a particularly snowy part of February, the kids and I headed south to Boston. That winter, Boston — and much of New England — had received record amounts of snowfall. The snowbanks were so high, we couldn’t see around them in places. It was incredible.
Despite that, we had a great time. So great, in fact, that we’ve done it again nearly every February we’ve been here.
When we went last month, we were also armed with an all-inclusive Go Boston Card, so we decided to see how many sites we could pack into our visit.
New England Aquarium
We love the New England Aquarium, so we go nearly every visit. The penguins and giant aquarium are always a favorite.
Old South Meeting House
Despite having stayed in the vicinity of Old South Meeting House several times, this was our first time dropping in. As with other historic meeting houses, the details were incredible. While we were there, my daughter did a scavenger hunt that got her to really pay attention to the historical information on the displays.
Old State House
How many times have I walked by the Old State House? This was our first visit in, and I was humbled to be looking out windows and standing in rooms that were used by the people who helped make Boston and this country what it is hundreds of years ago. We also learned a lot about food, building practices and history while we were there.
While we’ve been to the Skywalk Observatory before, it was fun to go again. The views are absolutely incredible.
That’s not all!
Not pictured: Our CityView Boston Trolley Sightseeing Tour, which was an awesome way to see even more parts of the city than we have in the past. It was a dreary, drizzly day though, so we didn’t take advantage of the hop on/hop off privileges and I didn’t get any pictures.
We also had plans to go to Cambridge for a few museums there that interested us, but didn’t make it. Other attractions included on the all-inclusive card are the Museum of Science, Fenway Park Tour, Paul Revere House, Sam Adams Brewery Tour, Boston Children’s Museum and so much more. There are 41 attractions covered — plus a few more premium ones, depending on which package you choose.
About the Go Boston Card
The Go Boston Card is an attraction pass that you pay ahead for. Many attractions in Boston accept it, and it’s a great way to save money while traveling. Here’s some info about what I love — and don’t love — about it.
Pros: It’s so convenient and easy to use. Plus, there are so many sites in Boston and greater Boston included. There’s even some in Salem (though we didn’t make it there). With the Go Boston Card, we’re able to visit many sites and sometimes even skip entrance lines. We save money on the sites we see — regardless of which card options we choose — and it’s easy to budget for all the places you want to visit when you’re prepaying. Plus, I love the app, which you can load your passes onto. Then, when you arrive at an attraction, they can scan your phone for each of them. It means I never have to worry about losing tickets or misplacing emails.
Cons: Make sure the card lets you into the sites you want to see, particularly if you are going with the all-inclusive option. I loved it, but we did end up taking a different Boston tour than we planned as a result. Also, some of the really great perks are seasonal only (like the duck boat tour). And one more thing: A limitation wee ran into was attraction hours. Many of the attractions shut down at 5pm, so you really need to be up and going early if you want to make the most of it.
Cost: The cost varies based on what options you choose. On our most recent trip, we were gifted 3-day all-inclusive passes by the company, which is great if you want to see a lot of sites like we did. In the past, I have purchased an Explorer pass with three options and really appreciated the cost savings of that too. The all-inclusive starts at $59 for adults and $37 for kids, for one day. There are discounts for multiple days, and if you get a 3-day pass or longer, there are also premium inclusions.
To Buy: Visit the Smart Destinations/Go Boston Card site for more details and to purchase.
Verdict: I am a big believer in passes like the Go Boston Card for families that travel like we do. When we visit historic cities like Boston, we want to see the historic sites, museums and more. This allows us to do that at a fixed cost — I love that. Plus, having used the Go Boston Card a few times, I can attest to its convenience and reliability.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.