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What NOT To Do In Boston


by Binni Cotter



Welcome to the vibrant city of Boston, where history meets modernity and culture thrives at every corner. As you embark on your journey through the streets of Beantown, it’s important to familiarize yourself with some important travel tips to ensure a smooth and enjoyable visit. While there are plenty of things you should do in this vibrant city, it’s equally important to know what NOT to do. Avoiding common pitfalls can help you navigate the city like a seasoned local while respecting the local customs and etiquette. In this article, we will explore the top things to avoid doing in Boston to make the most of your visit.


Boston is known for its notorious traffic, so it’s no surprise that driving can be a challenge. The city’s narrow streets, confusing intersections, and aggressive drivers make it a less than ideal place for inexperienced drivers. While you may consider renting a car, it’s often more hassle than it’s worth. Instead, take advantage of the efficient public transportation system or explore the city on foot.


Parking in Boston can be a nightmare, especially in popular areas like downtown or the North End. Limited street parking and high fees for garages make it wise to explore alternative options. Consider using public parking lots or utilizing ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft to avoid the stress and frustration of searching for a parking spot.


Jaywalking may seem like a harmless act, but in Boston, it’s a big no-no. The city takes pedestrian safety seriously, and crossing the street outside of designated crosswalks can result in hefty fines. Follow traffic signals and be mindful of pedestrian-only areas to stay on the right side of the law.


The “T,” Boston’s subway system, is a convenient and efficient mode of transportation. However, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure a smooth ride. Avoid eating or drinking on the train, as it’s generally frowned upon and can result in a fine. Additionally, be mindful of rush hour etiquette, such as offering seats to those in need or refraining from loud conversations that could disturb fellow passengers.


Boston is known for its culinary delights, and the North End is a must-visit neighborhood for foodies. However, it’s important to practice moderation. The temptation to overindulge in delicious Italian cuisine is high, but be mindful of your limits. Pace yourself and save room for other culinary experiences throughout the city.


In Boston, sports are a way of life, and loyalty to the local teams runs deep. It’s best to avoid disrespecting or antagonizing fans of the Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, Boston Celtics, or Boston Bruins. Respect the passion and excitement, even if you’re a fan of a rival team, and engage in friendly banter rather than instigating confrontations.


As a visitor, people often ask for directions. If you’re not familiar with the area, it’s better to admit that you’re not sure rather than giving wrong directions. Misguiding someone can lead to unnecessary frustration and confusion. Don’t be afraid to suggest they seek assistance from a local or use a GPS device.


Boston is a city rich in history and boasts numerous historical sites that are worth exploring. Ignoring these landmarks would be a missed opportunity. Take the time to visit places like the Freedom Trail, the Paul Revere House, or the USS Constitution Museum to immerse yourself in the city’s fascinating past.


Boston’s neighborhoods are diverse, and each has its own unique atmosphere. While Bostonians are friendly, some neighborhoods, especially those with residential areas, value peace and quiet. Avoid being excessively loud or disruptive, especially during late hours, to show respect for the residents.


Last but not least, wearing Yankees apparel in Boston is a surefire way to stir up some passionate reactions from locals. The rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees is legendary, and showing up in Yankees gear is likely to attract some good-natured, although perhaps intense, teasing from Bostonians. It’s best to leave your Yankees gear at home if you want to avoid any potential encounters.



Driving in Boston can be quite challenging, even for the most experienced drivers. The city’s narrow streets, confusing intersection layouts, and heavy traffic can make it a daunting task. If you can avoid driving, it is highly recommended to do so. Instead, consider using the efficient public transportation system or exploring the city on foot.


However, if driving is necessary, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, be prepared for aggressive driving and impatient drivers. Bostonians are known for their assertive driving style, so it’s important to stay alert and confident behind the wheel. Be assertive when merging, changing lanes, and navigating through intersections.


It’s also important to be aware of the city’s numerous one-way streets. Pay close attention to signage and road markings to avoid unintended detours. GPS navigation systems can be helpful, but they may not always account for temporary road closures or construction, so it’s always a good idea to have a general understanding of your route before setting off.


Another challenge of driving in Boston is finding parking. Street parking can be limited and expensive, especially in popular areas like downtown or the North End. It’s best to familiarize yourself with parking regulations and consider using public parking garages or lots. If you do find street parking, be sure to read all signage carefully to avoid parking in restricted areas or during prohibited hours.


Lastly, be cautious of pedestrians and cyclists. Boston is a highly walkable and bike-friendly city, and it’s crucial to respect their right of way. Yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and be mindful of cyclists sharing the road with you. Stay alert, especially in busy areas, and always double-check blind spots before making turns or changing lanes.


By being cautious, confident, and attentive while driving in Boston, you can navigate the city’s streets with greater ease and peace of mind. However, keep in mind that alternate modes of transportation such as the subway or walking are often more convenient and stress-free, allowing you to truly experience the charm and character of this historic city.



Parking in Boston can be a challenge, especially in popular areas where space is limited and demand is high. To avoid unnecessary stress and frustration, it’s important to plan ahead and consider alternative parking options.


Street parking in Boston can be difficult to find and is often subject to strict parking regulations. It’s crucial to pay close attention to signage and restrictions to avoid parking in prohibited areas or during restricted hours. Many streets have resident-only parking zones, and violating these regulations can result in tickets or even having your vehicle towed.


If you do manage to find street parking, be prepared to pay high meter rates. Parking meters are often found throughout the city and require payment during specified hours. It’s important to have the correct change or utilize mobile parking payment apps to avoid any fines or tickets.


Alternatively, public parking garages or lots are a more convenient option for parking in Boston. These parking facilities are scattered throughout the city and provide a safe and secure place to leave your vehicle. While they may be more expensive than street parking, they offer the peace of mind of knowing your car is in a designated parking spot.


When choosing a parking facility, be sure to consider its proximity to your destination. Areas like downtown and popular neighborhoods tend to have higher parking fees, so it may be more cost-effective to utilize park-and-ride options or public transportation if available.


Another popular option for parking in Boston is utilizing ride-sharing services such as Uber or Lyft. These services allow you to be dropped off at your desired location without the hassle of finding parking. Additionally, if you’re staying in a hotel, inquire about their parking options as some hotels offer valet or discounted parking rates for guests.


To make your parking experience in Boston more efficient, consider using parking apps or websites that provide real-time information about available parking spaces and rates. These tools can save you time and help you find the most affordable and convenient parking options.


Remember to always read and follow parking regulations, be mindful of restricted areas, and allow yourself enough time to find parking before your scheduled activities. By planning ahead and considering alternative parking options, you can avoid unnecessary stress and focus on enjoying your time exploring the vibrant city of Boston.



In Boston, jaywalking is not only illegal but also considered a serious offense. Jaywalking refers to crossing the street outside of designated crosswalks or against traffic signals. Engaging in this behavior can result in fines and put you at risk of accidents, as it disrupts the flow of traffic and compromises pedestrian safety.


As a visitor to Boston, it’s important to respect and follow pedestrian laws. The city is known for its busy streets and heavy traffic, so crossing the street safely is crucial. Always make use of marked crosswalks and wait for the pedestrian signal to indicate that it’s safe to cross. Many intersections in Boston have dedicated crosswalks with pedestrian signals, making it easy and safe to navigate the streets.


When crossing in areas without designated crosswalks, ensure that it’s safe by looking for breaks in traffic and making eye contact with drivers to ensure they see you. It’s essential to remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings, especially in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic, such as around universities or popular attractions.


Avoid the temptation to jaywalk, even if it seems convenient or quicker, as it can not only result in fines but also compromise your safety and the safety of others. Boston takes pedestrian safety seriously, and law enforcement officers actively enforce jaywalking violations. Violators can be subject to fines, which can range from a few dollars to over a hundred dollars depending on the severity of the offense.


To ensure a pleasant experience while navigating the busy streets of Boston, it’s best to adhere to traffic rules and pedestrian laws. By using designated crosswalks, obeying traffic signals, and remaining aware of your surroundings, you can safely explore the city while also respecting the local customs and regulations. Remember, your safety and the safety of others should always come first!


Messing with the “T”

Boston’s subway system, known as the “T,” is a highly efficient and popular mode of transportation for both locals and visitors. When using the T, it’s important to be mindful of certain rules and guidelines to ensure a smooth and pleasant experience for everyone.


One important rule to remember is not to eat or drink on the T. While it may be tempting to have a quick snack or sip your morning coffee during your commute, it’s generally frowned upon and not allowed. This rule helps maintain cleanliness and hygiene in the train cars and ensures the comfort of all passengers. If you need to eat or drink, it’s best to do so before or after your T ride.


During rush hour, the T can get crowded, especially on certain lines or at major transit hubs. It’s important to be aware of rush hour etiquette and follow common courtesies. If you have a seat and notice a pregnant woman, elderly person, or someone with mobility issues standing, it’s considered polite to offer your seat to them. Additionally, avoid loud conversations or playing music without headphones, as it can disturb fellow passengers trying to relax or work during their commute.


When using escalators in the T stations, it’s important to stand on the right-hand side and leave the left-hand side free for people who want to walk up or down the stairs. This helps maintain a smooth flow of traffic and prevent congestion. If you’re in a hurry and prefer to walk up or down the escalator, make sure to keep to the left side.


Another aspect to be mindful of while using the T is to be aware of your surroundings and keep your belongings secure. Like any public transportation system, there is a possibility of pickpocketing or theft. Keep your bags and personal belongings close to you and be cautious of suspicious individuals or activities. If you notice any concerning behavior, don’t hesitate to report it to the transit staff or authorities.


Lastly, be sure to adhere to the T’s posted schedules and announcements. Pay attention to any service disruptions or delays, which can occur due to maintenance work or other unforeseen circumstances. The T provides real-time updates and alerts via their website, mobile apps, and at the stations, so it’s always a good idea to stay informed and plan your journey accordingly.


By following these guidelines and being considerate of others, you can make your T experience more enjoyable and contribute to a positive and harmonious public transportation environment. The T is a convenient and efficient way to get around Boston, and by respecting the rules and etiquette, you can make the most out of your travel experience in this bustling city.


Overeating at the North End

The North End neighborhood in Boston is a culinary paradise, known for its delectable Italian cuisine and charming cafes. With countless restaurants, bakeries, and gelaterias lining the streets, it’s easy to get carried away by the temptation to indulge in a gastronomic feast. However, it’s important to practice moderation and avoid overeating during your visit to the North End.


One of the challenges of dining in the North End is the portion sizes. Italian cuisine is often hearty and filling, with generous servings of pasta, pizzas, and rich sauces. While it’s tempting to sample everything in sight, it’s important to pace yourself and listen to your body’s cues. Overeating can leave you feeling uncomfortable and sluggish, which may hinder your ability to fully enjoy the rest of your day.


Instead of trying to tackle multiple restaurants in a single visit, consider spreading out your culinary adventures over multiple meals or visits to the neighborhood. Embrace the concept of “dolce far niente” – the sweetness of doing nothing – and take your time savoring each dish. By enjoying a few select items and leaving room for exploration on future visits, you’ll be able to fully appreciate the diverse flavors and culinary offerings of the North End.


Additionally, don’t forget to save room for dessert! The North End is famous for its bakeries and pastry shops, offering delicious cannoli, tiramisu, and other sweet treats. However, eating too many sugary delights in one sitting can leave you feeling overwhelmed and overly full. Plan your dessert indulgence wisely or consider taking some treats to enjoy later.


While visiting the North End, it’s also important to explore beyond the culinary scene. The neighborhood has a rich history and is home to several historical sites, such as the Paul Revere House and the Old North Church. By balancing your food adventures with cultural experiences, you can make the most of your time in this vibrant neighborhood.


Lastly, remember to hydrate and stay hydrated. With all the delicious food and drinks available, it’s easy to forget about the importance of water. Staying properly hydrated will not only support digestion but also keep you feeling refreshed and energized throughout your explorations.


In summary, while it may be difficult to resist the temptation of overeating in Boston’s North End, it’s important to practice moderation and mindful eating. By savoring and enjoying each culinary experience, pacing yourself, and balancing your indulgences with other activities, you can fully embrace the flavors of this vibrant neighborhood without overdoing it. Happy eating and exploring!


Disrespecting Boston Sports Teams

Boston is a city known for its passionate sports culture, and its residents take their sports teams very seriously. When visiting Boston, it’s important to be respectful and mindful of the local sports culture, especially when it comes to the city’s beloved teams.


Boston is home to several iconic sports franchises, including the Boston Red Sox in baseball, the New England Patriots in football, the Boston Celtics in basketball, and the Boston Bruins in hockey. These teams have a storied history and a dedicated fan base that is fiercely loyal and supportive.


Disrespecting Boston’s sports teams, especially in public spaces or conversations, can lead to intense reactions from locals. Tensions can run high, especially during matchups against rival teams. Avoid making derogatory comments or taunting fans of Boston sports teams. Rather, engage in friendly banter and show appreciation for the love and passion that Bostonians have for their teams.


The rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees in baseball is particularly renowned. Wearing Yankees apparel or openly supporting the team in Boston can elicit strong reactions from locals. It’s best to be mindful of this rivalry and avoid wearing rival team gear when attending games or sporting events in Boston.


When attending games or watching sports in public settings, be respectful of the fans around you. Cheer and support your own team, but avoid excessive heckling or disrespectful behavior toward opposing fans. Sports events are meant to be an enjoyable and inclusive experience, so let’s promote a positive and friendly atmosphere.


It’s also important to recognize and appreciate the achievements and history of Boston’s sports teams. Take the time to learn about the accomplishments of these franchises and show respect when discussing their legacies. Engaging in conversations about memorable games or players from Boston history can further enhance your sports experience in the city.


Remember that sports are a key part of Boston’s identity and culture. By respecting the local sports teams and their fans, you’ll be able to fully immerse yourself in the spirit of Boston sports and enjoy the camaraderie and excitement that comes with it. So, cheer on the home teams, engage in friendly banter, and appreciate the passion that Bostonians have for their beloved franchises.


Giving the Wrong Directions

As a visitor in a new city, it’s common to rely on the help of locals for directions and guidance. In Boston, where the streets can be confusing and the layout is intricate, giving the wrong directions can cause unnecessary confusion and frustration for both locals and tourists alike. It’s important to provide accurate information or admit if you’re unsure rather than leading someone astray.


If someone asks for directions and you are not familiar with the area, it’s best to be honest and inform them that you are not sure. Rather than guessing or pointing them in the wrong direction, suggest they ask someone else or consult a map or GPS device. Providing inaccurate directions can lead to wasted time, frustration, and potentially getting lost in an unfamiliar neighborhood.


While giving directions, it’s essential to clarify landmark names and street names to avoid any misunderstandings. Some streets in Boston may have similar names or there may be multiple places with similar landmarks. Taking a moment to double-check the information or confirming the landmarks will help ensure accuracy.


If you are familiar with the area and comfortable giving directions, provide clear and concise instructions. Use recognizable landmarks, major intersections, or notable buildings as reference points. Mention any potential road closures or construction sites that may affect the route. Providing complete, accurate, and up-to-date information will greatly assist those seeking directions.


In cases where language or communication barriers exist, try your best to assist, but also be aware that misunderstandings can occur more easily. Consider using visual aids, such as maps or pointing to specific locations on a smartphone or paper map, to help overcome any language barriers and ensure clearer communication.


In Boston, locals often appreciate it when visitors take the time to learn about the city’s transportation system. Familiarizing yourself with the major subway lines, bus routes, and other public transportation options can allow you to provide more informed and helpful directions to others. Encouraging the use of public transportation when appropriate can also help relieve congestion and reduce the city’s carbon footprint.


If you are unsure about the safety of a particular area or if you have concerns regarding a specific route, it’s important to voice your reservations and suggest alternative options or detours. The safety and well-being of those seeking directions should always be a priority.


By being honest, clear, and cautious when giving directions in Boston, you can make a positive and helpful impact on others’ experiences in the city. Whether guiding locals or fellow tourists, accurate and reliable directions contribute to a more enjoyable and seamless exploration of Boston’s vibrant neighborhoods and attractions.


Ignoring Historical Sites

Boston is a city rich in history, with a plethora of historical sites that tell the story of the city’s past. From the Freedom Trail to the Paul Revere House, these landmarks offer a glimpse into the events that shaped Boston and the United States as a whole. However, it is important to note that overlooking these historical sites means missing out on a significant part of the city’s charm and cultural heritage.


When visiting Boston, make it a priority to explore the historical sites and immerse yourself in the city’s rich history. The Freedom Trail is a must-do experience. It is a 2.5-mile-long trail that connects 16 significant historical sites, including the Massachusetts State House, the Old North Church, and the USS Constitution Museum. Following the red-brick trail, you can walk in the footsteps of American patriots and learn about the events leading up to the American Revolution.


The Paul Revere House, located in the North End, is another notable site that should not be missed. It was the home of Paul Revere, a key figure in the American Revolution, and is now a museum that offers insights into his life and the times in which he lived.


Boston is also home to various museums that showcase its historical significance. The Museum of Fine Arts features an extensive collection of artwork and artifacts, including American masterpieces and ancient Egyptian artifacts. The Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum provides an immersive experience, allowing you to relive the events of the historically significant Boston Tea Party. The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum honors the legacy of the 35th president of the United States and offers insights into his life and presidency.


By ignoring these historical sites, you are missing the opportunity to connect with the city’s past and gain a deeper understanding of its cultural significance. Beyond the educational value, these sites also offer unique architectural beauty and scenic surroundings. Whether you are a history enthusiast or simply interested in exploring the city’s roots, exploring Boston’s historical sites will undoubtedly enhance your visit.


When visiting historical sites, it’s important to respect the rules and guidelines set by the respective institutions. Some sites may have restrictions on photography or require entrance fees. Be sure to check the operating hours and any COVID-19 related restrictions before your visit.


Take the time to appreciate the historical significance and the stories that these sites hold. Allow yourself to be transported back in time, imagining the events and people who played a pivotal role in shaping the city of Boston and the nation as a whole.


Incorporating visits to these historical sites into your Boston itinerary will provide you with a deeper understanding of the city’s heritage and enrich your overall travel experience. Immerse yourself in the history, architecture, and stories that have made Boston the fascinating and vibrant city it is today.


Being Loud in Quiet Neighborhoods

Boston is a city of diverse neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and atmosphere. While some neighborhoods are vibrant and bustling, others are known for their quieter, residential streets. When visiting these peaceful neighborhoods, it’s important to be mindful of the local community and practice respectful behavior, which means avoiding being loud or disruptive.


Residential areas in Boston are cherished by the people who call them home, and peace and tranquility are highly valued. Being excessively loud or causing disturbances can disrupt the harmony of these neighborhoods and inconvenience the residents. To show respect for the local community, try to keep noise levels to a minimum, especially during late hours or in the early morning.


If you are traveling with a group or having a gathering in a residential neighborhood, be considerate of those around you. Keep conversations and music at a reasonable volume, avoid shouting or engaging in rowdy behavior, and adhere to any noise restrictions that may be in place. Being aware of your surroundings and adjusting your behavior accordingly will ensure a positive experience for everyone involved.


It’s important to be mindful of noise not just in the streets, but also in accommodations such as hotels or vacation rentals. Be conscious of the noise you generate in shared spaces and respect the quiet hours to allow others to rest and enjoy their stay.


Furthermore, when exploring residential neighborhoods, take note of any signs or regulations related to noise, littering, or public disturbances. Many areas have specific rules in place to preserve the peaceful environment and uphold the quality of life for residents. Respect these guidelines to maintain the charm and character of these neighborhoods.


In contrast, if you find yourself in livelier areas with bustling nightlife or bustling commercial streets, the atmosphere may be more tolerant of noise and activity. However, it’s still important to exercise good judgment and be respectful of others, even in these more lively surroundings. Being mindful of your surroundings and considerate of those around you can contribute to a positive and harmonious environment for residents and visitors alike.


By being aware of your noise levels, respecting local regulations, and being considerate of the community, you can ensure a positive experience in Boston’s quieter neighborhoods. Whether you’re strolling through tree-lined streets or enjoying a relaxing meal at a local cafe, embracing a peaceful and respectful mindset will help foster a positive connection with the city and its residents.


Wearing Yankees Apparel

Boston is a city known for its passionate sports culture, and nowhere is the rivalry more intense than between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. When it comes to wearing Yankees apparel in Boston, it’s important to be aware of the strong emotions it can stir up and the potential reactions from locals.


The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees have a historic and storied rivalry that spans generations. This rivalry runs deep and is ingrained in the culture of the city. Bostonians are fiercely loyal to their home team and take pride in their unwavering support. As a result, donning Yankees apparel can be seen as disrespectful or even provocative to the locals.


Wearing Yankees attire, whether intentionally or unknowingly, can attract attention and elicit strong reactions from Boston fans. This can range from playful banter and friendly teasing to more intense confrontations. If you choose to wear Yankees apparel, it’s important to be prepared for reactions from passionate Red Sox fans and engage in friendly banter rather than having heated arguments.


To avoid potential confrontations or uncomfortable situations, it may be best to leave your Yankees gear at home when visiting Boston. Rather than wearing rival team apparel, consider embracing the local sports culture and opting for Red Sox or other Boston team merchandise. Not only will this help you blend in with the local atmosphere, but it will also show respect for the city’s teams and their fans.


While the rivalry between the Red Sox and Yankees is strong, it’s worth noting that Boston is a city that welcomes visitors from all parts of the world. Most Bostonians are friendly and open, and they are more than willing to engage in friendly conversations about sports. Share your love for the game, discuss memorable moments, and appreciate the passion that Bostonians have for their home teams.


At the end of the day, it’s all about fostering a positive and respectful atmosphere. Embrace the local sports culture, show appreciation for the city’s teams, and engage in friendly banter while respecting the emotions and the sentiments of Boston sports fans. By doing so, you can have an enjoyable and memorable experience in the city, whether you’re a fan of the Red Sox, the Yankees, or any other team.