By Mark Chesnut
Hate driving around in unfamiliar cities or getting caught in a pricey taxi during a traffic jam? In spite of our nation’s love affair with the automobile, several cities offer viable mass transit options that whisk visitors from airports to downtown without having to pay a single taxi fare. Here are a few of the best places to hop on board, and hotels close to mass transit.
Atlanta: Georgia’s largest city is home to MARTA, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority. Both the Red and Gold Line links the Atlanta airport to downtown, where conveniently located hotels include the Fairfield Inn & Suites Atlanta Downtown, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites – Atlanta Downtown and the Sheraton Atlanta. The Holiday Inn Atlanta Capitol Conference Center offers a free shuttle within a three-mile-radius that can be used for MARTA connections.
Boston: A free Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit takes visitors from all Logan Airport terminals to South Station in downtown Boston, while the Silver Line and Blue Line Subway also offer easy and fast connections. Business-friendly hotels near State Street Station (reached by the Blue Line) include the Omni Parker House, Nine Zero, a Kimpton Hotel and The Langham, Boston.
Chicago: The ‘L’ offers direct service into the Windy City from both O’Hare and Midway airports for $2.25 (less if you buy an unlimited ride pass). Taking the Blue Line from O’Hare takes visitors right to the heart of downtown, where they can check in at hotels including the Burnham, a Kimpton Hotel, the Renaissance Blackstone Chicago Hotel and The James Hotel Chicago.
San Francisco: Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) makes the trip from San Francisco International Airport a rather smooth affair, at a cost of $8.25. Hotels near the city’s mass transit hubs include the Renoir Hotel, the W San Francisco, the Parc 55 Wyndham San Fransisco – Union Square, and Hotel Nikko San Francisco.
Washington, D.C.: The clean and efficient Metro system (the Red and Blue Lines, to be specific) links Washington’s Reagan National Airport with various points in the city—making it easy to reach centrally located hotels including the Washington Marriott at Metro Center and Carlyle Suites Hotel.
Mark Chesnut is a travel writer, editor and publisher of LatinFlyer.com, which focuses on travel to Latin America. He doesn’t own a car.