Subway to Boston from where?
January 6, 2009 10:50 AM   Subscribe

Place to stay on the outskirts of Boston?

We're looking for a place to stay in Boston for a night or two this summer. We'd like to avoid crazy traffic and stay somewhere we could subway into the city. Any recommendations for specific places or areas?

Extra points if it has some nice walks/neighborhoods/etc. around it. (Is the Harvard/Cambridge area a good way to go?)
posted by starman to Travel & Transportation around Boston, MA (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Brookline represent! Lovely town, steps from Boston proper, many T lines run thru it.
posted by tristeza at 11:00 AM on January 6, 2009

It's unclear to me whether you're driving or not (care about traffic but want to take the subway)...anyway, Harvard Square area is nice enough for walking but is expensive and has terrible traffic. Do you have a price range in mind?
posted by phoenixy at 11:08 AM on January 6, 2009

Stay somewhere near Route 2 and you can drive into Alewife (red line). Alternately, the green line runs out to Newton / Route 128, and there's a hotel (a generic Marriott-type) right there on the Charles. The hotel isn't much, but the river is pretty, and you're near both the T and commuter rail (just over the line in Waltham).

Personally, I'd pick the Route 2 to Alewife option, and stay somewhere around Lincoln, Concord, or Lexington.
posted by zippy at 11:13 AM on January 6, 2009

If you're looking for a cheap place, Braintree is the last stop on the red line. There are a bunch of Holiday Inn type hotels. Even one that is a castle!
posted by ginagina at 11:13 AM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

If your budget is higher, the Inn at Harvard is at a great location and has clean (but very small) rooms. It's just across the street from Harvard Yard, and a short walk from the Harvard Sq. T stop. Lots of things to do in that neighborhood. If it's still there, go to Cafe Pamplona. It's a little underground cafe - they've got good coffee and espresso and are open pretty late.
posted by zippy at 11:16 AM on January 6, 2009

Basically, any of the inner suburbs (Medford, Somerville, Cambridge, Allston, Brighton, Roxbury) may fall into your definition of "crazy traffic" Even some of the closer in sections of Brookline (near Longwood, Fenway, BU, etc.) have traffic dense periods and spots.

With that said, whenever my parents visit, they love staying in Brookline. The area around Coolidge Corner has a lot of nicely walkeable neighborhoods and the Green Line C and D trains give you rather easy access to the city. If you're just going to drive in and park, and if you minimize your time on Harvard Ave., Comm Ave. or Boylston, then the traffic shouldn't be too terrible.

That said, if you really are just going to drive and park, then why not just stay in a Back Bay hotel and take the T around during your stay? The hotels on Boylston and Huntington are all pretty close to the off-ramps for the Mass Pike; and they give you really access to the Beacon Hill and South End neighborhoods, which make for the most quintessentially Bostonian walking experiences.

If you are adamant about not dealing with traffic at all, then the next suburb out -- Newton is pretty chill, though more suburban than urban.
posted by bl1nk at 11:17 AM on January 6, 2009

Best answer: I second the Newton suggestion. All of the inner suburbs have traffic... and IMO Boston driving is some of the most hectic in the country (intersection of Harvard Ave. and Comm Ave anyone?). Newton has a small college campus, nice suburbs with lots of green (it's really beautiful in the summer), and it's on the D line which offers subway access to wherever you want to go. As an added bonus, being on the Green line (which most of the afore mentioned suburbs are) gives you a direct shot to Fenway park... a must see in Boston.
posted by teabag at 11:35 AM on January 6, 2009

To follow up, on Beacon St. in Brookline there are several nice Bed and Breakfasts. Maybe that's a nice compromise.
posted by teabag at 11:36 AM on January 6, 2009

I vote Cambridge or Brookline...both have traffic, but once you arrive you won't need to use your car again until you leave- you can just walk and ride the T the whole time. I vote against Braintree or rte 2, just because you'd still have to drive to get to a desirable walking neighborhood or T stop. Concord and Lexington are very pretty, but more of a rural New England than a cool, close to Boston type destination.
posted by emd3737 at 11:38 AM on January 6, 2009

It's all a trade-off of course. The problem is that many of the 'nice' places (ie Brookline) in the near burbs will end up costing an arm and a leg for the limited lodging choices available, so if you want to make Boston the focus of your trip you could just stay on Beacon Hill or the Back Bay for the same budget.

If you would be happy with a day trip into Boston to do some sight seeing, and you are travelling in the summer....I would recommend staying further afield to get a little beach & New England small town summer flavor as well. Newburyport would fit the bill, or Manchester-by-the-Sea, for walkability, sights, beach access, as well as train access into Boston.
posted by anelsewhere at 12:16 PM on January 6, 2009

posted by cocoagirl at 1:16 PM on January 6, 2009

As I recall there's a (relatively) cheap Holiday Inn near Somerville. The Inn at Harvard is great and Harvard sq is always my preferred location, but Davis Sq, Porter Sq, Central Sq, Kenmore Sq-- those are all not bad and right on the subway.

Have fun while you're there. You really should check out Harvard Sq at least for a moment.

Oh, also, the Divinity School at Harvard (on Brattle) often has cheap rooms to rent.
posted by big open mouth at 1:22 PM on January 6, 2009

Yes, the Harvard area is good. We love The Charles Hotel in Cambridge.
posted by Zambrano at 2:06 PM on January 6, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for all the great info so far. Yes, driving in but want to leave the car and go subway. We can deal with some heavy traffic in and out, I think. I'm going to digest some of this.. any other suggestions (especially for specific places) is also appreciated!
posted by starman at 2:32 PM on January 6, 2009

starman, really, if it's in your budget, I would definitely consider eating the initial frustration of driving in and out of the city, and finding some place around Beacon Hill, Park Street or the Back Bay. If you're planning on taking the T around and shuttling between Cambridge and Boston, then Park St. will be the hub of your travels and the closer you are to that T station, then the less time will be wasted on transit.

As much as I loved living in Brookline, the need to take the C or D lines all the way into Park St. to switch to a Red Line train to cross the river into Cambridge is a very definite drawback if you expect to spend a lot of time touring around, say, Harvard or Davis Square.
posted by bl1nk at 3:19 PM on January 6, 2009

I stayed at A Friendly Inn at Harvard about a year ago, very nice place just a few minutes from Harvard and the Red Line (down the block from the Peabody Museum). There are a bunch of great B&Bs around Boston and Cambridge, and you'll probably pay as much as a Holiday Inn in Braintree, making it a no-brainer. Just be sure to book early.
posted by The Michael The at 4:59 PM on January 6, 2009

Brookline Brookline Brookline.
posted by nunoidia at 10:56 AM on January 7, 2009

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