Boston’s overnight accommodations are not for the feint of heart or the light of wallet (just check out our guide to the very best hotels in Boston). It’s an expensive town to a live in and an even more expensive town to visit, but bargains can be found—it just requires some sleuthing. We’ve scoured the local landscape to locate 12 best cheap hotels in Boston, each providing easy access to the best Boston attractions without triggering budgetary panic. (Save those pennies for the best restaurants in town and other treats).
Best cheap hotels in Boston
The newest kid on the block is also one of the city’s most exciting boutique hotel openings in recent memory. What was once an unremarkable Best Western has morphed into a modern, bright and budget-friendly boutique hotel, with locally sourced art and amenities like free Wi-Fi and bath slippers. Its North Cambridge location provides visitors easy walking access to historic across-the-river landmarks and the ability to hop on public transportation to head downtown. And you needn’t even leave the premises to sample some of the city’s most exciting food: Freepoint Restaurant & Cocktails comes from celebrated chef Matthew Gaudet and features global comfort fare like whiskey-cured salmon in sambal date sauce.
One of the city’s best-kept lodging secrets, the College Club is the country’s oldest women’s club that just also happens to be an 11-bedroom bed and breakfast (open to men and women alike). Situated inside a stunning Back Bay brownstone, the hotel’s rooms are each named after a regional college and uniquely decorated by a different local designer (all 11 rooms were renovated in the last few years). The double rooms feature private bathrooms and decorative fireplaces; the three shared bathrooms for the singles also underwent a recent refresh. Sitting on the lower end of the historic Commonwealth Avenue, the club puts you within walking distance of every great Boston attraction, from the Public Gardens to Newbury Street to the Charles River.
Another hidden gem in a historic neighborhood, the John Jeffries House was once a boarding house for nurses before morphing into a 46-room boutique hotel. The studio rooms are the bargains here, but even they feature river views and unique architectural details. (Some of the larger rooms also include kitchenettes, allowing guests to save money on meals.) The courtyard garden is a lovely place to start your day with some coffee before you begin wandering the cobblestoned streets of historic Beacon Hill to explore its retail shops and antique stores.
The suburbs aren’t so bad when the hotels are this glamorous. Hotel Indigo gives you a four-star experience at a more manageable price owing to its slightly out-of-the-way location. The boutique hotel includes an award-winning restaurant, top-flight gym and glamorous pool scene (oh, those cabanas). The rooms are modern and bright, with extra-plush bedding, and are also pet-friendly. Most Boston attractions are a 12-mile drive away, but hotel parking is free, and there’s also an MBTA stop a few minute’s walk away if you prefer to go the public transit route (it’s about a 40-minute ride into town).
Step into the Buckminster and you step into history. Located smack in the center of Kenmore Square, with Fenway Park just a home run shot away, the brownstone hotel recalls an earlier era of brandy-soaked dinners and backroom deals (fun fact: The Black Sox Scandal of 1919 was first hatched in this hotel). Today it’s a cozy, centrally located spot with comfortable if Spartan rooms, a tiny gym and a laundry room downstairs in case you spill on your favorite traveling outfit. You’re also steps away from Kenmore Square’s reinvigorated dining scene and a few minutes’ stroll to the top of Newbury Street.
For those seeking Cambridge lodging (college hunting perhaps?), this modern, 56-room boutique hotel is a terrific recent addition to the area’s rather limited lodging options. The sleek, marble-heavy lobby gives way to rooms that are stylish, modern and light-filled thanks to the oversized windows. Porter Square is the forgotten child among Cambridge and Somerville’s more celebrated squares (Harvard, Davis), but the eclectic area boasts a full range of dining options, including some of the city’s most celebrated restaurants (Shepard and Giulia are two musts). Keep an eye out for the hotel’s soon-to-open steak restaurant, Porter Square Grill, which will honor the cattle yards that once flanked the square more than a century ago.
A home away from home, this Victorian B&B provides an oasis of tranquility in the middle of the city. Set in a residential area and decorated in a country style, each room booking includes a hearty continental breakfast (including bagels from one of the best Jewish bakeries in town), afternoon cookies, and, if requested, free parking. Its Brookline location places you within walking distance of many shopping and dining options, but you’re also just a few T stops away from Boston proper and all of its attendant attractions. Be sure to ask about special deals--the guest house frequently offers seasonal and long-term discounts on its already beyond-reasonable room rates.
If Bunker Hill sits atop your Boston to-do list, Constitution Inn is the ideal bunking spot. Rooms are spare and the decor somewhat dated, but the location cannot be beat: smack in the middle of the Charlestown Navy Yard and at the head of the Freedom Trail, which means you can walk Boston’s historic path at your leisure. You’re also just a few minutes away from excellent waterside dining. Fitness fiends will be pleasantly surprised to find that the inn shares a building with the local YMCA, giving guests access to a pool and ample gym equipment.
Okay, yes, it’s a hostel, but as hostels go, 40 Berkeley is a treat. For starters, it just underwent an extensive renovation, resulting in greater amenities and refreshed rooms. And the location is ideal: in the South End on the cusp of the Back Bay, giving guests walking access to the city’s two most exciting shopping and dining areas. And the hostel’s courtyard is the perfect place to savor your morning latte from one of the nearby cafés as you plot out your day. Just be prepared to share a bathroom unless you spring for one of the larger suites, designed to accommodate four guests.
A hotel that especially caters to families traveling to Boston for medical care, the Inn at Longwood Medical distinguishes itself with kindly customer service and kid-friendly amenities (kids actually receive a complimentary teddy bear upon check-in and eat for free at the hotel’s restaurant). A short distance away from Fenway Park, the hotel is also perfect for large groups in town to take in a Red Sox game (or series). Rooms are spacious, bedding is plush and the city views are sweeping; the suites also come with kitchenettes.
The new Marriott hotel “lifestyle” conceit provides relief to strapped travelers, and this Medford entry is especially welcome to traveling families. Guest rooms are moody and modern, with sizeable bathroom suites, and some even have water views. There’s a surprisingly robust breakfast buffet, but for dinner your best bet is to head to Assembly Row, less than a mile away, to sample the outdoor mall’s array of indie restaurants (plus a few mini-chains).
If you seek a taste of city living, you can’t do better than the Charlesmark. The narrow hotel sits on a busy stretch of commercial Boylston Street in the Back Bay and almost feels like a small condo complex. Rooms are small and a tad dated (those are some old TV units), but you’ll be spending most of your time out on the town given your proximity to, well, everything. The hotel sits across the street from the historic Boston Public Library and a block away from the famed shopping and dining of Newbury Street; the Copley MBTA stop is also less than 50 yards away, which means you can easily travel to anywhere in the city without fear of parking or cab fees.