where can i leave my luggage for the day in boston?
November 4, 2009 4:24 AM   Subscribe

please help me see boston for a day! (anyplace i can leave my luggage for a few hours?)

i fly into boston this afternoon. i will be having dinner with an acquaintance and then spending the night at his home. the next morning, we will part company. he will go to work and drop me off somewhere in boston (apparently he lives 10 minutes north). then i am meeting another friend at 6pm and we are driving up to maine.

so, between 8-ish am thursday morning and 6 pm that evening, i will be free, so i would like to see at least one historic tourist attraction.

the problem: i will be carless and will have my luggage - a heavy suitcase and a carry-on bag. is there *anywhere* i could leave my luggage for the day?

i know, poor planning on my part, but is it a lost cause?

so my question is essentially this: can anyone help me think of anywhere i can leave my stuff that is both 1) safe (for my luggage) and 2) very close to public transport? i would be willing to pay if necessary.

it wont be at all practical to leave my stuff at my friends place for the day.

oh, and also, havent had a chance yet to research public transport. any tips? where should i have my friend drop me off thursday morning? (i.e., maybe somewhere close to something really cool that is not too far from public transport?)

im not really coming up with any ideas, so it may not be realistic, but if the hive mind could help me i would be very grateful.

thanks so much!!
posted by gcat to Travel & Transportation around Boston, MA (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You know, the MFA has a free coat and bag check, and it's actually open until 9:45 PM on Thursdays. You could have your friend drop you off there, take your time at the MFA, walk across the street to the Isabella Stewart Garner Museum (which takes two hours max, and I believe you can get in free with an MFA ticket from the same day), then hop on the Green Line (inbound), get off at Arlington Station, walk east through the Public Garden and Boston Commons if you're into nature or turn around and go west on Newbury Street if you're into shopping. If you go through the Garden and the Commons, you'll end up being able to see the State House (located on top of historic Beacon Hill with a shiny golden dome), which you might be able to tour. Factor in stopping for lunch and coffee, and you've got a full day there. If your friend can't drive you back to the MFA to pick up your stuff (by the way: if the coat room you choose isn't outside the admissions desk, just show your ticket from earlier in the day and you can re-enter), get back on the Green Line at Arlington at Park Street. Make sure you get on an "E" train, get off at the Museum of Fine Arts stop, and there you go.

The subway (we call it the T) is pretty easy to use, but you might want to print out a map. If you start your day at the museums, you'll be taking the Green Line, which is a bit notorious for its WTF factor (it's not that bad, but don't expect it to be anywhere near as fast as the NYC subway system). The stretch of Green Line I'm recommending is partly above-ground, so you can see some of the city without even moving.
posted by oinopaponton at 5:08 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

The MFA is kind of far out. Perhaps check out the Omni Parker House which is located between Park Street Station and Government Center Station (so Red, Blue, and Green lines on the T). They have a luggage room.

It's right on the Freedom Trail, too, so you've got the biggest Boston touristy thing right at your toetips.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:25 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

You should give some of the hotels in the area a call -- if you explain that you're traveling through the area and would like to store your luggage while at a meeting, I bet they would accommodate you, and doubly so if you're a member of whatever their rewards program is.
posted by ellF at 5:41 AM on November 4, 2009

Seconding the hotel idea. I've had similar "need a place to keep these bags for a few hours" situations, and in both cases the hotel I had just checked out of let me check them... And they didn't ask for a receipt proving I had stayed there or anything, so depending on how devious you're feeling, you could probably just walk into a handy hotel and check your bags if you were nonchalant enough about it.
posted by usonian at 5:54 AM on November 4, 2009

Walk up to the bell counter at an upscale hotel and check your bags. They won't even ask if you are staying there. Lots of people will be in and out every day for conferences and meetings there that check there bags for a few hours to a day.

And if there is a hotel guests only policy, a $10 bill will take care of that.
posted by COD at 6:43 AM on November 4, 2009

If you decide to hang downtown, the Common is gorgeous right now! (I know because I walk through them every day to work!) The Garden, I'm sure is just as beautiful. Get yourself a coffee and wander around for an hour or so. Check out the Make Way for Duckling statues.

Then you can take your time walking up Newbury St from the garden all the way up to the Hynes Convention Center stop. I'm always amazed at the way Newbury St changes along the way ---- you have the Ritz and the Armani store at one end with all the people in their Burberry scarves and chic high heeled leather boots and at the other you have the Ben and Jerry's and Newbury Comics with the Berklee College of Music kids in their pseudo-hippy outfits, torn leather jackets, wild hair, and hackey sacks (yeah, hackey sacks!). Maybe it's just me, but I always find observing this gradual change from one end to the other truly fascinating.

And near the Hynes Convention Ctr end of Newbury is the Trident Bookstore and Cafe, which I adore and has sadly increased their prices. However, it's worth a stop, and it's a good place to eat by yourself --- can even get a glass of wine or beer there (not the best and definitely overpriced). I still love Trident, though. And you definitely get your money's worth on the smoothies and the fancy coffee drinks.

Then you can walk back and check out the old churches in Copley. Some of the rooms in the Boston Library are pretty neat --- there's an old maps room and an old instruments room that I have yet to see.

I recommend stopping in at Whittard of Chelsea along Newbury. They often have two teas for sampling and the tea sets and cups are really cool ---- and if you like tea, it's worth picking up some while you're there.

From Copley or Hynes, you can hop the T back to Government Center and check out Faneuil for awhile. Some of the street performers are still around. You could even take a tour with the guy dressed as Ben Franklin ---- they look like fun, if a bit touristy. Across from the Omni on Tremont St is the Granary Graveyard with the graves of Paul Revere, Sam Adams, John Hancock, and others.

Anyway, hope this helps you entertain yourself for a few hours! I'm never far from the Common during the workday, so if you get desperate (or think you will!), feel free to MeMail me and I'm sure I could sneak out for a cup of coffee.
posted by zizzle at 7:42 AM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Any Hostel has a bag check as well.. Usually free, or nearly free.

PS, if you have the day, why not just do the Freedom Trail? See all the major tourist spots in a couple hours. You'll really feel like you've done Boston then.

Oh, and on your way to Maine, stop at Bob's Clam Hut in Kittery, Maine. The best fried clams in the Northeast. Doesn't hurt that it's nearby beautiful Portsmouth New Hampshire and the excellent Harpoon brewery (which does a great tour).

Any other Qs, let me know..
posted by namewithhe1d at 8:26 AM on November 4, 2009

Just for future reference/thread posterity, Whittard of Chelsea on Newbury is closed, and the Harpoon Breweries are in Boston and Vermont, not Portsmouth.
posted by supramarginal at 7:10 PM on November 5, 2009

Response by poster: hey, thanks, everyone! just got back into town last night. sorry, i was only online with my phone the whole time.

i lucked out! it turns out my friend had a coworker who was able to store my luggage in his office in Back Bay, a couple blocks from the T - which *was* very easy to use.

i ended up doing a good chunk of the freedom trail, but it rained for a good part of the afternoon so it was kinda slow going, didnt get to finish. but thank you very much for that recommendation! it was exactly what i was looking for, considering my time constraints. (and coming from san diego, the boston common was *amazingly* beautiful.)

thanks again!
posted by gcat at 6:37 AM on November 12, 2009

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