Skip to main content

Secondary navigation:

bucket list

The journey from Boston College to downtown Boston, according to the ever-optimistic Google Maps, takes 23 minutes by car or 50 on the subway. Even with parking or delays, it’s a quick trip. But between schoolwork, extracurriculars, and social life, many students don’t always take time to explore the city down the street.

Here’s a “bucket list” of things your student shouldn’t miss.

A city rich in history:

  • The Freedom Trail: Students can follow a 2.5-mile trail past 16 sites of importance in the American Revolution, including the Old North Church, Bunker Hill Monument, and the U.S.S. Constitution.
  • Swan Boats: Adjacent to the Boston Common, the iconic Swan Boats drift around the pond in the Public Garden between April and September. Visitors have been riding on the pedal-driven boats since 1877.
  • Harbor Islands: A short ferry ride from Long Wharf takes you out of the bustling financial district to quiet islands where you can camp or stroll through a Civil War-era fort.

Museum Visits: Any Boston College student can enter these world-class museums for free with a Boston College ID:

  • The Museum of Fine Arts: Boston’s largest art museum is home to a world-class permanent collection that ranges from the French impressionists to modern photography to the art of the ancient world as well as temporary, rotating exhibitions.
  • The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum: Steps away from the MFA, the collection of Isabella Stewart Gardner is housed in a replica of a 15th-century Venetian palace that surrounds a spectacular garden.  
  • The New England Aquarium: African penguins, massive sea turtles, and hammerhead sharks and more at one of the country’s best aquariums.
  • The Museum of Science: More than 700 permanent exhibits, ranging from lightning shows to an indoor butterfly garden.

Nights Out: As part of the new Campus Activities Board, student-run committee BC2Boston organizes excursions to cultural and athletic events in the city, providing students with subsidized prices to:

  • Sports Games: Boston is a sports town, and students shouldn’t miss the opportunity to see the Red Sox play in Fenway Park or experience a hockey or basketball game at TD Garden. Discounted tickets make it affordable for students to catch a game.
  • Broadway in Boston: BC2Boston offers tickets to see Broadway musicals like The Lion King and Wicked at the Opera House in Boston. Tickets have historically sold out within a day.
  • 21+ Events: The committee also organizes events for older students, including tours of the Sam Adams Brewery and Harpoon Brewery, pub nights, and restaurant dinners.

Vibrant campus life has many advantages. “The disadvantage,” says Mark Miceli, associate director of student engagement at the Office of Student Involvement, is that if you don’t leave campus, “you’re not experiencing the diverse, historic, cultural city that is Boston."

By John Shakespear