Before she left BC, our former Staff Assistant (and LSOE MA grad) Toni Vicari did the tough work of checking out many of the local attractions and reviewing them for students who are new to the area. Thanks, Toni, for this great legacy! Her reviews are below. Prices were current in 2008-09.
While these reviews are extensive, they don't begin to cover all the interesting places to see in the Boston area. For an overview of entertainment, see Digital City, SearchBoston.com, Boston Metrolinks, or TripAdvisor.com.
Museum of Fine Arts (MFA): The best deal for BC students!
- Student Admission: $15
- Take the Green Line (E line) to the above-ground Museum stop.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum: Another great deal!
- Student Admission: $5
- Green Line (E line) to Museum, then walk past the museum, cross the street and it's on your left.
- Concerts are also offered here, and your entrance fee allows you to look around the museum before/after the concert.
Harvard Museum of Natural History: Yet another great deal for BC students.
- Student admission: $7
- Red Line to Harvard or bus #86 to Harvard Square. (This is a confusing museum to find, since it is in the middle of campus.)
- The best deal is if you have a friend who attends one of the Harvard schools — they can get one guest in FREE with their Harvard ID.
- It has an amazing glass flowers collection.
Longfellow House: Inexpensive guided tours.
- Red Line to Harvard — down Brattle Street about 5 blocks.
- The only way you can see the house is by taking one of the informative and interesting ranger-led tours, where you learn the history of the house (Washington lived in the house and had revolution meetings there) and about Longfellow's life and poetry.
- Closes over winter
- $3 with student ID
Museum of Science: Good but more expensive than others,
- It has AMAZING special exhibits (it once had one on ancient Egypt). The student rate is about $19.
- It also has IMAX movies.
- The highly acclaimed DUCK TOUR (a water and land view of Boston) also leaves from here.
- Admission: $20
- It also has IMAX movies.
- $9 to ride the elevator up to see what has been reported as a good view of Boston.
- There is also a restaurant at the top called "Top of the Hub" that gives you a view as well. You might want to just go up and get an appetizer/dessert to enjoy the view.
Freedom Trail: The cheapest and best way to get to know Boston.
- Start at the Park Street station (Green and Red Lines) which is on the Boston Common. The trail (a red painted/bricked line leading you to the historic sites) starts here with one of the first stops being the STATE HOUSE. There is a tourist information/ shop that gives away free Freedom Trail maps and sells a guidebook listing the historical significance of all the sights (about $6-7). Any of the other stops along the freedom trail generally have maps and guidebooks. Can be done in 1 day but can also sp read over a couple of days if want to spend a lot of time and see all the museums/exhibits
State House: Interior only open to the public during weekdays from 9-5. Tours are available — check the schedule.
Granary Burial Ground: Free and contains the remains of some interesting historical figures, including John Hancock, Paul Revere, the victims of the Boston Massacre, and Mother Goose.
Old State House: Has a great museum, the best of the trail, and it's only about $5 to get in. It's the site of the Boston Massacre and gives an overview of the history of Boston and its role in the revolution.
Old South Meeting House: Not a very good exhibit — just walk by and read exterior plaques.
Faneuil Hall: Good free ranger discussion.
- Hard to find entrance — on the back side of the building facing the Quincy Market entrance
- Times vary for talks — only about 15-20 minutes in length.
- You can either continue to follow the trail into the North End where Paul Revere's house is, or walk down to Aquarium docks, where there is a ferry that takes you over to Charlestown for about $2.50 round-trip, giving you a very picturesque view of the Boston skyline.
Paul Revere's House: Semi-interesting — it's only $2, and you can walk around the refurnished rooms for an idea of what it was like during his time.
- On Saturday, has costumed individuals explaining various aspects of life — games, sewing, etc.
Charlestown Naval Yard
- U.S.S. Constitution (Old Ironsides): There's a great FREE guided tours given of this ship, given by the naval crew.
- The Only drawback is having to wait in line to be screened by metal detector. It can be crowded in tourist season.
- You can also just look around the ship on your own, but you still have to wait in line.
- U.S.S. Constitution Museum: free and has a few interesting exhibits and free movies.
Bunker Hill: Actually it's Breed's Hill.
- You can climb up the monument's 300 steps for a great FREE view of the city.
- Has a free exhibit.
- Also has free musket demonstrations.
Boston Ballet: SUCH a great deal for an amazing ballet and theater!
- Boylston Green Line T stop — walk south (opposite way from the Common) and Wang Theatre is on your right 1 block down.
- Student Rush tickets: $20; available two hours before the performance
A.R.T. (American Repertory Theatre): Some good, some just strange experimental plays.
- Another great deal that can include your friends who are NOT students. Have a student pass that you can buy either on line or from the theater for $60. This gives you 5 tickets that can be used several ways: you can use them just for you for 5 different shows, you could get 2 tickets for 1 show and bring a friend, or you could use all 5 for 1 show. If you run out, there is a possibility that you can buy another $60 season pass — contact the box office to see if there are some still available.
- WARNING — It's best to get tickets ahead of performance time (several days to even weeks in advance) because sometimes the shows sell out.
Huntington Theatre: Great theater for an excellent price
- Green Line, Symphony T stop (really close to theater), or you can walk down several blocks from the Green Line's Hynes Convention Center/Mass Avenue stop if you don't want to change trains.
- Has student tickets for $12.50 — best seats available — on the day of the performance, you might want to get to ticket office a little before the show (15-20 minutes has been sufficient in the past).
FREE events on the Common/Esplanade
- Had performances of Carmen by the opera company — get there WAY early if you want a decent seat.
- Most of these events are well advertised on the T and around town.
Blue Man Group: Get a group together and usher for a night and get FREE admission!
- Student Rush: $25; available on the day of the performance
- Rush Tickets: $9; hours that rush tickets are available vary from day to day.
- Cheap seats are otherwise $29-30.
Boston Lyric Opera: $34 ticket price
- Just off Washington/Cambridge Street in Allston — a few blocks up from the Harvard Street Green Line (B line) stop.
- Fun group activity, they have private rooms with big-screen TVs and even a disco ball, about $10 per person in a group.
The Brattle Theatre: Cambridge film theater showing classic, cutting-edge, and world cinema, with a different double feature almost every day: Red Line to Harvard Square, theater is on Brattle Street, under Algiers restaurant.
The Harvard Film Archive: one of the only venues in New England committed to preserving and exhibiting a diverse range of independent, international, and silent films. Red Line to Harvard Square; theater is on Quincy Street.
Coolidge Corner Moviehouse: great foreign films, Human Rights Film Festival — Green Line (C line) to Coolidge Corner stop, about 1 block north on Harvard Street.
MFA: Theater that shows documentaries, foreign, and other special-interest films.
- Green Line (E line) to Museum stop
- Green Line, Kenmore stop, or Green Line (D line) to Fenway. (You'll have to walk a few blocks with either one.)
- It was rumored that you can get $10-15 bleacher seats. (Of course, that was before they won the pennant.)
- At the Fleet Center, just off the Green Line's North Station T stop.
- You can get a discount for a group of 8 — about $15 a ticket.
The huge Crew races that can be watched all along the banks of the Charles River, with teams from all over the U.S. and some international teams.
Part of the course goes right past the Boston College Campus Main Gate.
One of the oldest cemeteries in the nation, is FREE, and has some of the most beautiful views of the New England fall colors.
Red Line to Harvard, then walk down Mount Auburn Street for many blocks (about a 20-minute walk). It will be on your left.
Bean Pot Championship
The very competitive ice hockey tournament that takes place during winter semester and features participation by all of the local Boston universities.
There's a huge celebration with LOTS of free events along the Freedom Trail, including the reading of the Declaration of Independence from the Customs House, Old Ironsides making a short gun shooting voyage, and a free esplanade concert with the Boston Pops.