Prepping for Commencement: a BU Online guide for your Boston trip

Editor’s Note: Boston is a resilient and strong city that has weathered many tragic events and struggles over time. This blog entry was meant to be posted in the context of excitement and hope that accompanies graduation. And until Monday April 15th, that context was fully intact. Although this may now be a time of grieving and healing for Boston, our graduates’ journeys through their degree programs and to the Boston University campus only reinforce and illustrate our solidarity and toughness in such times. We trust that a month from now, Boston will be fully on its feet and ready to embrace you and your loved ones who come to visit its many points of interest and take in all it has to offer. We thank all of those in our vast BU online community who have reached out with words of comfort and concern.

Planning on coming to campus for Commencement next month? Student Services Coordinators Emily and Laura have some tips for your Boston visit.

First stop: campus! For those of you who haven’t visited BU before, we recommend taking a campus tour.  Did you know BU has a “beach”? Find out why it’s called that and maybe catch some rays at this urban greenspace. Drop by the BU Pub for a signature sandwich and a pint. No campus visit would be complete without a trip to the BU Barnes and Noble to get your Terrier gear!

Laura and Emily show off their Terrier pride at the BU Bookstore. Go BU!

Near campus is the home of the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park. Even if you’re not a Sox fan (which we’ll forgive), the Park tours are a fun way to experience America’s oldest ballpark. There are also loads of sports bars and restaurants in the area, too. We personally love Bleacher Bar, which has one of the best sports views in the city: sip your drink while you look out onto the field!

Lansdowne Street: home of the Boston Red Sox since 1912

If tours are your thing, we also recommend the Freedom Trail. This self-guided walking tour of Boston takes you through the history of our city and its place in American history. For an awesome aerial view, visit the top of the Prudential Center and take a ticketed tour at the Skywalk Observatory. There’s also a restaurant and bar at the Top of the Hub, which is a great alternative because you can get a drink and walk around, seeing the whole city below without buying a ticket! As an added incentive, Top of the Hub has live jazz on Friday nights.

 

360 city views from the Top of the Hub

Another notable tour is the fleet of Duck Boats that takes sightseers through the city and onto the water! As the locals would say, they’re “wicked fun.”

May tends to be a sunny, warm month in Boston, so we have some suggestions for outdoor activities. The Boston Public Garden is a beautiful place to spend an afternoon. The Swan Boats give short rides  (perfect for kids!) that take you around the Garden’s lagoon.

 

Swan boats and flowers in the Public Garden at Boston Common

The Esplanade and the Emerald Necklace are both great places for a walk, run, or picnic. The Boston Common is at the head of the Emerald Necklace and is a fun place to spend an afternoon: check out the street vendors and performers and maybe play a game of ultimate frisbee! The State House is located nearby, and you can request a tour of the Capitol Building.

The Esplanade offers biking and running trails as well as great views of the city.

If you want a little more adventure outside the city proper, the Boston Harbor Islands are a perfect day trip destination. Hop on the ferry and hike, swim, fish, picnic or just enjoy the scenery.

Don’t forget the more standard attractions of any city: museums! Boston has some great ones which are geared toward kids. If you’re bringing little ones, check out the Museum of Science, the Children’s Museum, or the New England Aquarium. The MFA and the Gardner Museum also have activities for kids you can ask about. And of course, all are a good time for adults, too.

If your trip is more grown-up-centered, we recommend checking out tours (and beer tastings) at the Samuel Adams and Harpoon Brewery. Swing by the North End (Little Italy), not just for the amazing food, but also for some laughs at the Improv Asylum.

Getting around Boston is pretty easy. (It’s one of the US’s most walkable cities!) The MBTA is your best bet for cheap transportation with its system of subway cars and buses. BU has three Green line T stops on campus and the #57 bus runs through as well. For a fun, different way to get around, grab a pedi cab. Enjoy the fresh air and banter with your biker. You can pick these up around the city – just like hailing a regular cab, but much more fun! Another alternative to the usual taxi are the water taxis on the Boston Harbor. And, of course, you can grab the BUS — BU’s shuttle — when you’re on campus.

Laura at Hynes Convention Center T-stop. All aboard the B-line!

If you’re looking for places to shop, we’ve got you covered.  Newbury Street is Boston’s premier shopping destination. From designer shops to a mix of upscale and casual restaurants, it’s a great place to window shop, grab a bite and people watch. Copley Square is a street over and hosts the Prudential Center.  Faneuil Hall Marketplace is another fun destination for shopping, food and sights. There are always street performers around, which makes the experience new and interesting every time.

Emily on Newbury Street, outside one of our favorite bookstore/cafes.

Last but certainly not least, here are some of our top choices for food and drink in the city. Because graduation weekend can be very busy (Boston is home to more than 60 colleges and universities, after all!), we recommend making dinner reservations.

Sunset Cantina (BU Campus) $$

T’s Pub (BU Campus) $$

Angora Cafe is an office favorite for sandwiches and salads (BU Campus) $

Espresso Royale Caffe is a hot study spot with yummy sandwiches and coffee (BU Campus) $

OTTO Pizza (BU Campus) $$

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Eastern Standard has a speakeasy vibe and amazing menu choices (Kenmore Square) $$$

Cornwall’s (Kenmore Square) $$

Le Petit Robert (Kenmore Square) $$

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Reagle Beagle (Coolidge Corner) $$

Paris Creperie (Coolidge Corner)  $

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Legal Sea Foods Harborside (Waterfront/Seaport District)  $$$

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Fiore has a rooftop bar! (North End) $$$

Mike’s Pastries is a great spot for Italian pastries, but be sure to bring cash! (North End) $

Ernesto’s is famous for their authentic Italian pizza (North End) $

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The Beehive has live music and delicious cocktails (South End)  $$$

No trip would be complete without some good eats!

We hope you enjoy your visit to Boston. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions: eheff@bu.edu or lmhannon@bu.edu.

Congratulations on graduating!

 

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