Monday, September 19, 2011

101 Things to Do in Boston Before You Graduate

Last year, I sent McCormick seniors a list found on BU's website describing 101 things to do in Boston before you graduate...the page is now defunct, but the list did exist at one time, promise.  Even though I did pass it along, I found it to be lacking in the sort of things that were more tailored to the MIT crowd---cheap eats, lots of culture and history, more randomness, less BU sporting events.  So, I decided to completely overhaul the list.  I didn't realize how hard it would be, but it really helped me learn more about my city, as well as give me a few more things to see around town!  Did you know that Boston has a giant Irish culture center?  Me neither.  I'm going to have to make a pilgrimage out there next summer, I think.  So, without further ado:

Restaurants and Food

1.  Do a cannoli tasting between Mike's Pastry, Modern Pastry, and Maria's Pastry in the North End.
2.  Go to afternoon tea at the Boston Harbor Hotel or have the original Boston Creme Pie at the Ommi-Parker Hotel in downtown Boston.
3.  Have cookies and drinks at Top of the Hub in the Prudential Center; be sure to go on a clear night to get the best view of Boston.
4.  Sample one of the 100+ beers on tap at Sunset Bar and Grill in Allston.
5.  Have dim sum in Chinatown (Hei La Moon is my favorite!).
6.  Drink hot chocolate at Burdick's in Harvard Square on a cold winter day. 
7.  Try hot pot (shabu shabu!) in Chinatown (Hot Pot Buffet).
8.  Try Ethiopian food at Asmara in Central Square, or Habsha in Malden.
9.  Eat a lobster roll at Neptune Oyster in the North End or B and G Oyster in Back Bay.
10.  Drink bubble tea either close by at Leisure Station in Kendall, Infusions Tea Spa in Allston, Dado Tea in Harvard Square (also has great Thai iced tea) or My Thai Vegan Cafe in Chinatown.
11.  Eat delicious ramen noodles at Blue Asia in Allston.
12.  Eat wonderful shawarma, fasulye piyaz and burnt milk pudding at Brookline Family Restaurant in Brookline.
13.  Try the famous celebrity-moniker burgers, sweet potato fries and a Lime Rickey at Bartleys Burgers in Harvard Square.
14.  Eat wonderful drunken noodle, pork belly or duck dishes at S and I Thai in Brighton.
15.  Try a crabcake at Legal Seafood in Kendall Square or Abe and Louie's in Back Bay.
16.  Eat the famous Bobby Flay-beating caramel rolls from Flour Bakery just down the street on Massachusetts Ave.
17.  Try a slice at Regina's Pizzeria in the North End.
18.  Walk to Inman Square and try the ice cream at Christina's.
19.  Try the pumpkin kaddo at Helmand in East Cambridge.
21.  Eat ice cream at local favorite Toscanini's in Central Square.
22.  Try a Cuban sandwich, fried plantains and a fruit smoothie at El Oriental de Cuba in Jamaica Plain (show your Charlie Card, get 10% off!).
23.  Eat a Chilean sandwich at Chacero's near Downtown Crossing.
24.  Take a quick road trip or bus out to Cabot's Ice Cream in Newton.
25.  Try the clam chowder at Legal Seafood in Kendall.
26.  Take the blue line out to Revere Beach and try the roast beef sandwich at Kelly's.
27.  Have an absolutely giant plate of pasta at La Famiglia Giorgio in the North End...there's a student discount!
28.  Go on a behind-the-scenes tour of Taza Chocolate in Somerville.
29.  Visit Haymarket for cheap produce (great for a fruit smoothie party, if I do say so myself!)
30.  Have ice cream at the original JP Licks in Jamaica Plain (the JP in JP Licks!).
31.  Go apple-picking and drink fresh apple cider and hot apple cider donuts (try Honey Pot Hill in Stow, Carlson Orchards in Harvard, or Autumn Hills Orchard in Groton).
32.  Eat ice cream and sponsor the Jimmy Fund for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at the annual Scooper Bowl at Government Center.
33.  Drive out to Groton, and buy some farm-fresh eggs and grass-fed meat from the fifth generation of butchers at EL Blood and Sons
34.  Tour a Boston brewery; Sam Adams in Jamaica Plain and Harpoon off the silver line near the airport are great fun!
35.  Have a cocktail at Drink near South Station (the bartenders are really nice, I promise!)
bonus (thanks Mary Kay!).  Try a three course lunch ($10!) at the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School in East Cambridge.

Only in Boston

36. Stand on the B.U. Bridge. You’re now at the only place in America where, simultaneously, a plane may fly over a car driving over a train traveling over a boat.  (bonus points if you actually wait around for this to happen!)
37.  Walk the Freedom Trail in downtown Boston!
38.  Visit the Franklin Park Zoo in Dorchester.
39.  Buy a copy of Make Way for Ducklings and read it in the Boston Common (also a great Boston-based gift if you have young children in your life!).
40.  See an improv comedy show at Improv Boston.
41.  Watch the Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony in the Boston Common.
42.  Attend the St. Patrick's Day Parade in South Boston.
43.  Ride a swan boat in the Boston Common.
44.  Browse the homemade wares, vintage clothing, and antiques at the South End Open Market (SOWA)-- be sure to get something delicious from one of the food trucks or the farmer's market!
45.  See Boston on a Boston Duck Tour.
46.  Cheer on the runners of the Boston Marathon on Patriot's Day every April.
47.  Visit the Christian Science Center (especially for the calm reflection pools; easily accessible via the 1 bus).  Edit from a friend:  be sure to check out the Mapparium next door to see giant globe made of stained glass that you can actually walk inside!)
48.  Stand on the sidelines to watch the famous Running of the Brides for discounted wedding gowns sponsored by Filene's Basement.
49.  Follow the path of Paul Revere's ride to warn the colonists that the British were coming!  (there is a ride every year on Patriot's day as well!)
50.  Watch the Fourth of July Fireworks!
51.  Watch the races at the Boston Dragon Boat Festival on the Charles near Harvard.

Museums and Learning

52.  Visit the Museum of Fine Arts (off of the green line; tickets are free when you show your MIT ID).
53.  Go browse through the Harvard Library.
54.  Admire the cluttered chaos of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (also off the green line).
55.  Visit the Deer Island Sewage Treatment Plant!
56.  Go to the waterfront and enjoy the views and modern art at the Institute of Contemporary Art  (tickets are free when you show your MIT ID)
57.  Visit the Kennedy Library (JFK/UMass stop on the red line)
58.  Watch the reenactment of the Boston Massacre in March in downtown Boston.
59.  Visit the Bay State Model Railroad Museum--it's only open twice a year!  (take the orange line to Forest Hills)
60.  Sit in on one of the Science and Cooking Lectures at Harvard.
61.  Go to Salem and visit the Salem Witch Museum.
62.  Show your MIT ID to get into the Boston Museum of Science for free!  Edit:  If you want to do a very fun science scavenger hunt, search for the planets in the to-scale solar system anchored with the sun inside the Museum of Science---Pluto is all the way in Newton!
63.  Visit the William Hickling Prescott House, one of the only two houses on Beacon Hill open to the public.
64.  See the exhibits or attend one of the events at the French Cultural Center near the Boston Public Garden.
65.  Attend the free monthly stargazing event at the Harvard College Observatory.
66.  Visit the New England Aquarium  (tickets cost $10 through MITAC).
67.  Attend a reenactment of the Boston Tea Party.
68.  Browse around the Harvard Museum of Natural History.
69.  Visit the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House in Cambridge, a former house of ill repute and current museum full of Cambridge history.
70.  Browse through the stacks of the Boston Public Library in Copley Square (the first free city library in the United States).
71.  Visit the Irish Cultural Center in Canton (you'll need a car) to see a rugby game, traditional Irish musical and dance performances, or special events celebrating the Irish presence in Boston.

The Arts

72.  Attend one of the Bach Cantata masses at Emmanuel Church on Newbury Street or one of their special concerts (John Harbison, MIT faculty, is the conductor of the ensemble)
73.  Go see a classic film at the Harvard Film Archive.
74.  See the Boston Pops Orchestra in concert (the holiday concerts are really fun).
75.  Attend a free concert at King's Chapel near Park Street
76.  See the Boston Symphony Orchestra---as an MIT student, you are given a free college card, which gives you a free ticket to many performances throughout the year (Symphony Hall is right off the 1 bus).
77.  See one of the many films at Coolidge Corner Theater in Coolidge Corner (classic, art, silent, and everything inbetween!).
78.  See a performance at the Boston Ballet (seeing the Nutracker Ballet during the Christmas season is a particularly traditional choice).
79.  Watch a performance of the Boston Lyric Opera.


80.  See a Bruins game at TD Garden (North Station).
81.  See the Boston Red Sox play at Fenway Park.
82.  See a Celtics game at TD Garden (North Station).
83.  Attend one of the harder-to-get-to Boston sporting events:  see the New England Patriots (football), the Boston Blazers (lacrosse), or the New England Revolution (soccer).

The Great Outdoors

84.  Have a picnic lunch at Corey Hill Park in Brookline.
85.  Spend a summer night attending Shakespeare in the Park in Boston Common.
86.  Take the blue line out to Revere Beach, America's first public beach (there's a great sand sculpting event there every year, too!).
87.  Go ice skating on the pond in Boston Common (McCormick has ice skates you can check out for free!).
88.  Visit the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain  (Lilac Sunday in May is a beautiful time to walk around).
89.  Take a Boston Harbor Cruise to visit one of the many islands in the Boston Harbor.
90.  Have a picnic in the secret garden of Kendall Square.
91.  Go for a long meandering walk on the Cochituate and Sudbury Aqueducts (go to the Newton Center stop on the green line).
92.  Cheer on the racers at the Head of the Charles, an international regatta held on the Charles River each October.
93.  Walk along the Emerald Necklace.
94.  Go whale-watching!  ($35 through MITAC).
95.  Bike the Minuteman Trail.

Only at MIT

96.  Take a hacking tour.
97.  Learn how to sail at the free lessons given through the Sailing Pavilion.
98.  Wander through the MIT Museum (tickets are free for you and a guest when you show your MIT ID).
99.  Take a glass-blowing class (and if you can't get into the class, be sure to watch some of the classes behind the glass windows in the basement of the Infinite Corridor).
100.  On a day you need some peace and quiet or need to make a decision, go visit the MIT chapel to think. 
101.  Take the free MIT/Wellesley bus to Wellesley College and wander around the campus (do this in the fall, it's a gorgeous way to see the autumn colors of New England!)


Mary Kay said...

Thanks for this great list of things to do in Boston. I went to the "Science and Cooking" lecture at Harvard last night and it was amazing. I look forward to trying more of your suggestions!

Bridget said...

Glad you enjoyed it! It's funny, I realized I'm only about halfway through the list---which means I have many fun things to look forward to!

Mary Kay said...

Bridget, I'm having a good time working my way through your list. One thing that I can add is that Sara and I had a really tasty 3 course lunch for $10 at Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Cambridge. Sara was less than impressed on her first visit but said that it was much better the second time around. Oh! Just to let you know - your link for Bartley's Burgers goes to a place called Asmara.

Bridget said...

Fixed! Thanks for the suggestion, Mary Kay!

Emma Cay said...

Thanks for sharing. I would love to try these things to see and do in Boston. I love traveling and seeing new places and meeting new people. I think Boston would be an amazing place to visit.

Jennifer Clark said...
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