Boston can have pricey hotels and Airbnbs, but its hostels are a lesser-known option for those looking to save money and/or socialize.
Whether staying in a private room or dorms, many of these Boston hostels offer activities to celebrate and engage with the surrounding city. And with over 50 colleges in the greater metropolitan area, Massachusetts’s capital is the perfect spot for nightlife and numerous communal activities. Plus, with so much history and compact streets, Boston makes for a top US bucket-list destination, and visitors can easily backpack around from any of these hostels.
HI Boston Hostel
HI Boston Hostel opened in 2012 and is designed for the modern hosteler | Courtesy of HI Boston Hostel / Hotels.com
By far your best bet for a superb hostel in Beantown, HI Boston is the top budget-friendly stay for travelers exploring the historic city. The hostel offers free daily tours of Boston, so you can get your knowledge in and still have cash to spend on going out. HI Boston’s free continental breakfast will also save you time and money. With a 24-hour reception desk and luggage storage available before check-in and after check-out, HI Boston makes it easy to travel at your own pace. It also offers laundry and bike storage, helping you feel like everything is taken care of while you’re free to explore. Centrally located Downtown on the edge of the city’s Chinatown neighborhood and just steps away from Boston Common, HI Boston opened in 2012 and is designed for the modern hosteler. Male, female and co-ed dorms with four or eight bunks as well as private rooms (with their own private bath) are available, each decked out in simple furnishings with a pop of color. Socialize with fellow guests in the kitchen and common areas (including a pool table and café), and get a good night’s sleep knowing this Boston hostel is actively eco-friendly.
What was once a local hang-out spot for Boston’s most notorious gangster, Whitey Bulger, is now a newly renovated hostel in South Boston (locally referred to simply as Southie). Opened in 2015, STRB Quarters on Broadway offers private rooms at an incredibly affordable rate. Updated furnishings and a minimalist aesthetic make this budget-savvy stay feel more like a homey apartment rental, but with the luxury of a daily cleaning service. Step outside into the streets of South Boston and stroll toward the nearby Seaport District where rooftop bars and Boston’s best breweries await you. The close proximity to everything that Beantown has to offer means no matter how long or short your stay, you’ll have plenty of places to explore.
Location, location, location. For first-timers to Boston, there’s no better place to stay to take in all the sights than Found Hotel Boston Common. Two or three blocks in any direction leads you to the city’s best attractions, including the Public Garden, the historic Theater District, the Freedom Trail and more. Originally built in 1877 as the Sumner Hotel by renowned architect Harris M Stephenson, Found Hotel Boston Common is one of the oldest continuously operated hotels in Downtown Boston. Old-world charm meets a modern aesthetic and urban atmosphere in Found’s shared and private rooms, with rich wood paneling and restored-to-original bathroom spaces for a classic yet stylish stay. Make sure to look around the common spaces for the original architecture touches that give Found Hotel Boston Common its historic charm. In addition to convenient options for luggage storage, lockers, safes and laundry, the hotel offers recommended itineraries for pub crawls, day trips, breweries, walking tours and more.
All aboard! For something a little out of the ordinary, stay in one of the city’s restored schooners, Liberty Clipper, a tall ship docked in Boston Harbor. While only a seasonal option for travelers visiting between June and mid-September when the tall ships are in town for the summer, you won’t want to miss out on this opportunity or location. Central to Boston’s North End and Faneuil Hall, you’ll get the best views of the city’s beautiful sunsets either aboard the ship or onshore at one of the incredible restaurants along the wharf. The schooner houses six cabins that feature bunk beds, a skylight and a private sink area, as well three shared bathrooms (also called heads while onboard). Ready to set sail?
Classic hostel meets Airbnb in this cozy stay located in Southie. Featuring both private rooms and dorms for two to four people in co-ed or female-only spaces, Boston Homestel takes great pride in the personal touches it provide guests. Perfect for solo travelers looking to meet people and explore the city, Boston Homestel is a home, hostel and community hub all in one, and is situated on a residential street with easy access to the Red Line T. If it’s particularly warm, grab your bathing suit and make your way to the beach just down the street. The hostel also offers a work exchange program for reduced or free rent for those looking to stay a month or longer.
Although situated just outside the city limits, Backpackers is a quick subway ride away from all that Downtown has to offer. Plus, if you’re driving from out of town, the parking here is extremely cheap compared to the various garages in the city center, so you can avoid the worst traffic in America and hop on the daily shuttle when you want to see the sights. With newly designed rooms, a pub, a computer room and superb marks for cleanliness and customer service, this family-owned hostel is the perfect place for travelers looking to save money during their visit.