May 18, 2024
Boston Quincy Market

One-star Boston reviews can sometimes be helpful when planning a trip to Massachusetts in the United States, and sometimes they are just fun to read. 

The city of Boston has a great American history, from its founding by Puritan settlers from England in 1630 through the American Revolution and the city’s expansion as an educational and cultural center for the country.

Boston is the largest city in New England, the capital of the state of Massachusetts, and one of the most historic cities in the United States of America. It has many great museums and historical sights, as well as entertainment and restaurants, which helps explain why the city gets 16.3 million visitors a year, one of the ten most popular tourist locations in the country. 

If you walk the Freedom Trail during your visit Boston you will get a sense of this coastal city’s revolutionary spirit and history. But you can also explore some of Boston’s fine museums (like the Isabella Stewart Gardner or Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts ) and old neighborhoods (like the North End, Boston’s Little Italy). Boston is a walkable city, from historic downtown through the Back Bay.

However, Boston also has its challenges, from traffic and lack of parking to accessibility, as it is an old city with many small, winding roads in its oldest sections of the city.

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Boston - Copley Square
Boston – Copley Square

Boston One Star Reviews

There are some great websites to help prepare you for a visit to Boston, including this one from Culture Trip.  By getting good tips for your travels, and reading the one star reviews below, you should be able to better prepare yourself for what to expect when you get to Boston.

Most of the one star reviews of the city of Boston have to do with traffic and parking, and many discuss how the historic areas have turned into “tourist traps.”

Boston One Star Reviews on Yelp

There are over 140 reviews of the city of Boston on Yelp – with an average rating of 4.5.  Many of the best reviews talk about what an amazing city Boston is and all of its history.  But for some, other experiences or the traffic or lack of parking overshadow the great time that can be had.

Below are some of Boston’s one star reviews from Yelp

“Whoever designed this city must have had a little too much Irish whiskey, it takes twice as long to get where you need to be because the place was designed like an impossible maze.”

“I am very disappointed in the City of Boston.”

“Don’t ever park in Boston or frequent any businesses down there as you will get ticketed and towed if you park at a meter.”

“Where to start? Been here two days and already spent 200 in parking alone and had a phone stolen. That’s brought getting around the city of Boston to 1000$ so far and it’s only been two days with the 800$ for 5 days car rental. 25$ for fish and chips around Faneuil Hall.
The aquarium was fairly lackluster for 27.50$per adult. The parking close to the aquarium cost 40$ for more than 80 minutes.
The drivers are generally ridiculous.”

“By far the worst drivers and the most ignorant I’ve come across. I’ve been to many states. The drivers (most, not all) are just terrible.”

“Traffic sucks, even during non-rush hour and no one is kind enough to let you in, they just flip you off. thought my city was bad.”

“Long Wharf District…What a stench coming out on the side street of Legal Seafood !  Don’t they have sewers there ?… No way you can seat on a bench near that area. Very nauseating…”

“I can’t believe people actually like this town.  I mean people right reviews on how shitty the place is and it gets 5 stars…WTF?  Boston isn’t a city…’s a cesspool of people who think too much of themselves.”

“People here want u to think that they are smart and when in reality they are complete morons.  I really feel bad for the true Bostonians who have been pushed out of there city into areas like Billerica, Quincy, and Medford.”

“The food is subpar and really has no identitity.  What the hell is with all the crappy mid-easter owned pizza joints????  What the hell happened to italians and Pizza joints?  I hate to say it Boston but you really are just the bastard step-child of NYC.”

Boston Rowhouses
Boston Rowhouses

Boston One Star Reviews on Trip Advisor

The Trip Advisor website for the city of Boston is geared more towards booking hotels, sightseeing tours, restaurants and flights.  Reviews are now broken up into categories for tours, shopping, attractions, hotels and other bookings and can be searched by category or location.

There are over 700,000 reviews of Boston attractions, hotels, tours, etc. on Trip Advisor.  Their website is now divided into “discovering” the city, highlighting individual areas (with their own reviews) such as “Most photographed places in Boston,” “Popular things to do in Boston,” “Historic sites in Boston,” “Museums in Boston,” “Fine dining in Boston,” “Top attractions in Boston.”  Since each of these has their own reviews, there are no longer newer reviews of the city overall.

For example, the Freedom Trail, perhaps Boston’s most famous landmark and thing to do in Boston, has the following one star reviews:

“Absolutely horrible! They cram too many people into tours and you can’t hear or see anything! We spent almost 45 minutes just in one graveyard so this wasn’t at all what they even advertised!! So disappointing.”

“The paid tours are not worth it. The guide spent too much in the cemetery. Better to do it on your own and do the entire trail.”

“My family and I love history, so we were really looking forward to doing the Freedom Trail tour and seeing the history that Boston had to offer about our great nation. However we were very disappointed as the tour guide interjected much of her own personal viewpoints and political thoughts into our nation’s history along the tour. Much of her deviation from our country’s history was highly skewed, if not completely false. The trail with the tour guide was a huge disappointment and we wished we had just done the walk without a guide.
Save your money and just buy a map.”

“I used to love roaming the freedom trail, well this year on a family reunion I learned how the city wants your bucks with little effort on their end.
They do no maintenance and now it is very overcrowded.”

“The Freedom Trail is just one big tourist trap consisting mostly of very old houses. It really isn’t worth your time and frankly, there’s very little to actually see.”

“If ever there was a dumbing-down this is it. I ask you – following painted markers in the pavement to guide you through the town? Whatever happened to guide books/maps/historical education?”

“We took a tour, and the guide was too political for us to enjoy it…With all of Boston’s history, we expected more. Part of our problem, too, was we didn’t like the city itself. Admittedly, we didn’t see too much. The crazy layout and horrible drivers made us leave half a day earlier than we’d planned. Other than Fenway, we won’t have a great memory of the visit.”

Boston - Freedom Trail
Boston – Freedom Trail

Another example is Boston’s North End:

“Not worth your time.  Those who like quality have nothing to do here! Restaurants are filthy, unclean, you are served anything no pride or integrity Trashy place for novices who heard about it and younger generation who is hot to show themselves and eat trash.”

“Over-priced tourist trap.  Read great reviews of local/popular restaurants (catch of the day, bakery across the street from them, Neptune Oyster to be exact) they are very expensive and just rush you out…for the price I am paying this should not have happened. The seafood was not out of this world…some was over cooked, some was ok…very disappointed, should have listened to a local man that warned us.”

“This was a complete waste of my time in Boston too crowded the food is not authentic Italian it’s more tourists food I’m sure it has its great finds but you don’t find them very easily.”

“The area is over crowded with nothing but restaurant after restaurant on the horizon. The Italian families unfortunately are gone. If you are walking the Freedom Trail, then, by all means, stop for lunch. But don’t go out of your way to eat here. It is pasta, pasta, and more pasta. Notice that all the “bakeries” sell standard cookies. Seriously, do they all use the same cookie cutters or are they factory made in Everett? And behind them all are alleys with dumpsters. Use your imagination re: what is in the alleyways.”

“This place is packed with tourists and fake paisans. Gridlock traffic and no parking. Any neighborhood has better Italian food.”

Boston - USS Constitution
Boston – USS Constitution

And as another example, the Boston Hop-on Hop-off Trolley Tour has the following one star reviews:

“We were never able to get on the bus. It was full at every stop. There were about 20-30 people at each stop who also weren’t able to get on. The buses were full. The driver told us they were trying to get more buses out, but they had no idea when they would be arriving. Some of the people with us had waited 45 minutes at the stop, only to be turned away.”

“They oversold tickets to the point that we would have had to wait for at least 45 minutes to get a seat on the trolley. The guides were ok, not too impressive.”

“We arrived in Boston on a Princess Cruise Ship. We, along with many other passengers, had to wait over an hour to board the trolley. After visiting a site, we attempted to reboard the trolley for our next designation. Each time the trolley came to pick up passengers, it was full and no one got off so no one was able to get on. One lady said she had been waiting over an hour to hop on. We ended up taking a cab which, of course, cost us extra money. We were extremely disappointed and frustrated as were many other passengers.”

“This was a terrible experience for everyone (and there were several hundred) who purchased tickets for this cluster f***.
Not enough buses; passengers were not disembarking the buses, so those who did use the service as it was intended were left standing for hours waiting for a couple of seats to be vacated.
We finally hailed a taxi to get us back to the ship for an additional cost.
This was an absolute farce. Never will I recommend this abortion to anyone.”

“After Paying $230.80 for five adults and 2 infants for 1 day pass, we were utterly disappointed. The buses were always crowded and had to wait for the fourth bus to get in. We were able to get 2 rides on the bus. We could have easily taken a Uber/public transportation and gotten a better deal. What a waste of money and time!!!”

“We only stay on for half the stops, got off and finished our own tour walking.
Examples of the problems:
(1) The stop for the original Cheers. The driver mentions the location, does not point it out and proceeds to play the theme music.
(2) At one location the driver is talking about a location on the right side. After she is done, I asked about the impressive building on the left. She tells me that they talk about the first one and she doesn’t know much about the other!
(3) At the Omni Parker House (which again is mention, but not pointed out) the driver recites her paragraph of information. When finished she immediately recites the SAME entire thing again. Snickers on the bus naturally.
(4) Most of the tour time is spent, talking about the cost to live in Boston, the construction being done, adhering to the rules of the bus and way tickets are folded.
There was nothing welcoming, inviting about the tour. No amusing tidbits of information. This was not really a tour, it was more of public transportation.”

“Thought this would be a great way to see Boston – however the tour was clearly over booked. Waited at same stops if you can find them for multiple trolleys just so two of us could board. Eventually gave up and just walked or took an Uber.”

“We were told it was like a hop on/hop off bus good for the day. We had to wait about 30 minutes to board the bus at the ticket office and there were still people behind us in line. At every stop we made, there were multiple people waiting to board who were angry and said several trolleys had already passed them by. Most guests on the trolley with us did what we did – they never got off because we thought we would never get back on. The driver told us down that street is such and such (eg Harvard, Fenway), but we couldn’t actually see things because they were a few blocks off from the tour route. It took close to 3 hours to make the loop around the city due to horrible traffic. I could have walked faster. This was a a disappointing waste of time in Boston – highly do NOT recommend and avoid it.”

Some of the older reviews of the city itself are located here.   A majority of the positive reviews talk about the city’s beauty, it’s history, that it is very walkable and you can have a lot of fun in Boston.

The one star reviews mostly complain about the traffic and high costs.

Below are some of the one star reviews for Boston from Trip Advisor:

“Heavy traffic in BIG city. Rude drivers. Move as fast as you can when the traffic light turns green, otherwise drivers behind would honk the horns like crazy! Be more careful when you are parking, because there are many restrictions ,e.g. resident only, 2 hr limit.”

“Spent five days here – the traffic, driving and standard of the roads is appalling. Road signs are not helpful either.”

“If you plan to tour that area of New England consider flying to Portland instead. It is much easier to get in and out and one does not have to worry about getting lost in a bad neighborhood.”

“First visit to Boston. Beware! This is a VERY expensive city!! Food is expensive, and serious lack of nice mid priced eateries – either chain stores we have in the UK (ie Macdonalds) or high end extremely expensive restaurants. Shopping hugely disappointing, non existent as far as I am concerned, as I am a mid price and not designer shopper – most of the shops we have in the UK (Borders – books more expensive than ours – Starbucks – TJ Maxx – messier and more expensive than ours). Total absence of ‘diners’ as in NYC, no refills of coffee or soft drinks, and unfriendly curt staff in shops our general experience this week. Boston thinks it is Milan or Paris so if you are going for an American experience from the UK choose another US destination. An extremely expensive and disappointing experience.”

“The full of beans town”

“Driving around is a nightmare times 10.
People are rude and crass.
Will NEVER visit Boston again ! ! ! !”

“Too many one-way streets in Boston, and too few that were marked with street signs. Came off the Mass Turnpike and tried to drive to the Commons…………….it took well over an hour. The trolley that we took was a zip, zip zip tour and by the time he pointed something out we were already well past it.”

“The traffic was worse than NYC because of the drivers; very nasty and impatient. We witnessed a tense argument on the subway because of the same impatience. The subway cars were littered with trash (food , papers, you name it).”

Have you been to the city of Boston?  Are any of the above one-star comments reflective of your experience?  And even if you haven’t yet been to Boston, what do you think of these comments?  Please share your thoughts below.


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