I use Amtrak and the Acela to come to Boston. Its pricy compared to driving but as gas goes up its more and more worth it. Especially with special features like the quiet car you can really just throw on the bose and zone out. Add that the much increased speed on the New York to Boston part of the Acela's run and it is a nice not very long ride.
When I went to college one of of my many options for visiting home was taking the train. I ruled out taking the train, Amtrak, because it was expensive. After researching the Amtrak New York City to Boston routes recently, I realized that its still expensive and also takes just as much time as driving to Boston. The cheapest trains from NYC to Boston will run you about $108 for a regular train and over $200 for the Acela trains and taking the train isn't any quicker than driving, it still takes anywhere from 3.5 to nearly 4 hours. Taking the train isn't a very cost effective mode of transportation from NYC to Boston for an individual or a family.
For our trip out of town to Salem, we headed over to the North Station to catch the train. It was a breeze getting tickets and the monitors inside, as well as an anouncement over the loudspeaker let you know which track to go to.
Check out the website for train schedules.
Fortunately, arriving at Boston by train does not require one to negotiate something as sinister as Logan Airport. It does, however, mean you'll have to negotiate the notorious (but, at least in the Northeast, improving tremendously) Amtrak. Unlike Logan Airport, South Station is a beautiful, turn of the century Boston landmark among the towers of the financial district. Some trains also stop at Back Bay Station, which will be your best bet if you're staying at a Back Bay hotel. You can walk to most hotels from either station, but with heavy bags I wouldn't recommend it. Additionally, Boston's huge construction project, the Big Dig, has besieged the station, and pedestrians must negotiate somewhat of a maze to leave. Both stations do, however, also serve simultaneously as subway stops, South Station on the Red Line and Back Bay on the Orange Line.
Acela Express service is now availible on the Northeast Corridor! You can travel to Boston in class on Amtrak's new high-speed train, at 150mph, from Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York. European and Japanese innovations are finally reaching the United States! Discounts offered by Amtrak have lowered the fare to a mere $99.
I like riding trains. It takes me 4 hours to get from New York to Boston on the way there we're passing by many places with great views. The sits are very comfortable, actually much more comfortable than in airplanes.
We took Amtrak up from New York City. Getting there was not a big deal. Getting home was a nightmare (read 8 hour train ride!) because of a derailment but in general, the rail system is a good way to get up and down the east coast.
On foot! We never left the Back Bay area in two and a half days and still didn't put a dent in the number of resturants and things to do.
If you can, the Amtrak trains are a cheap way to travel into Boston.
Take the T! Also known in other places as the subway, undergrand, metro, etc... The number '1' bus is the most convenient for getting in between Boston and Cambridge.
Boston is served by several stations operating Amtrak trains. The North station operates the Downeaster up to Brunswick in Maine. The Acela high speed express to Washington D.C. runs from South Station through Back Bay, as does the slower Northeast Regional which passes through Providence, New York, Washington D.C. before finishing in Norfolk, Virginia. It also runs the Lake Shore Limited to Chicago.
Amtrak trains don't run as often as European trains, nor to as many destinations and typically at slower speeds. But they are comfortable, clean, safe reliable and reasonably priced. They are better than buses and on, short hops, better than a plane. It very often passes through some very beautiful scenery.
One thing Amtrak has that European trains don't have is Red Hats. These are staff members at stations, dressed obviously in Red Uniforms, who will help you get your luggage on board. They are particularly useful for people with disabilities or young children as they can help you get to the train early and to the best seat and carriage. They are a free service provided by Amtrak, although its customary to tip.
To get to Boston, I took the Downeaster from Portland ME to Boston. I thought the cars were very modern, and the crew onboard was great. There were many stops along the way, in ME, NH, and MA. Still, it was not like a commuter train, and I would reccomend it to all Mainers, and those who live in any of the "stop towns." Once you get to Boston, you can T around just fine. By the way, although you arrive at North Station, and North Station is the name of a T stop, you must get to a different building to get to the T's North Station. Just follow the signs, and whatch out for any maniacs that would be on the streets of Boston. (I think I saw one or maybe two or three while there)
We arrived by Amtrak at South Station. Fly into Logan or you can drive.
Be sure to use the subway - it's really pretty easy to navigate.