This stop is in the heart of East Boston, which is the neighborhood that includes Logan Airport and its surrounding area. East Boston is largely residential, but the square around the station is packed with small shops and restaurants. Walk down from the station to Lewis Mall Harbor Park for what is (in my opinion) the best view of the downtown skyline and Charlestown anywhere.
How to get there: Take the Green Line C/D from Kenmore, inbound to Government Center. Change to the Blue Line, outbound to Maverick.
This one’s much closer to BU (and on a nice day is actually pretty walkable). Kendall Square is buzzing with stores and restaurants, and the architecture (in true MIT fashion) is interesting. The station has big chimes in between the tracks, and they clang together to play music if you turn a lever on the platform.
How to get there: Take the Green Line B from anywhere on Comm. Ave. (or the C/D from Kenmore), inbound to Park Street. Change to the Red Line, inbound to Kendall/MIT.
- Forest Hills
It’s a bit of a ride to the southern end of the Orange Line — but Forest Hills is worth the trek for its proximity to the Arnold Arboretum, a massive and beautiful park/nature center owned by Harvard. Spend a couple hours walking the trails, then head up South Street until you hit the commercial core of Jamaica Plain. Restaurants are abundant and the houses are beautiful.
How to get there: Take the Green Line B from anywhere on Comm. Ave. (or the C/D from Kenmore), inbound to Park Street. Walk through the underground concourse to Downtown Crossing. Change to the Orange Line, outbound to Forest Hills.
If you haven’t spent time in the Seaport neighborhood, you’re missing out (ever been to the Lawn on D? That’s in the Seaport). The neighborhood quite literally gets larger every day with constant construction, but there’s a ton of stores and restaurants already well open for business. Head over to the waterfront and check out the massive federal courthouse building, as well as a view of the financial district and ferry terminals.
How to get there: Green Line B from anywhere on Comm. Ave. (or the C/D from Kenmore), inbound to Park Street. Change to the Red Line (toward Ashmont or Braintree), outbound to South Station. Change to the Silver Line (1/2), outbound to Courthouse.
For decades, Boston has been known as one of the nation’s best music city’s. From its thriving DIY scene, to the talent which flows out of Berklee College of Music, and to some of the most historically great venues around Beantown has all you can want musically. As a musician, this was obviously a huge factor in selecting Boston as my new home for four years. Living in Allston, about a mile away from BU’s Central Campus, has allowed me to become ingrained with its thriving music culture in its local bars and sweaty basements. For many, the Allston DIY lifestyle is not for them, in fact, many BU students simply want to see a concert or two every semester from some of their favorite artists. Luckily, Boston has some of the coolest spots to see live music which go above and beyond the DIY ethos of Allston Rat City.
5. House of Blues
Located right across the street from Fenway Park, the House of Blues Boston provides your standard General Admission experience. The venue is perfectly situated for those East Campus folk who don’t feel like dropping gobs of money on transportation. The House of Blues hosts some bigger names then the rest of the venues on this list—the types of artists that are right between playing TD Garden and the Royale. I have seen some excellent shows here as the sound and ambience is consistently on point.
4. Brighton Music Hall
Brighton Music Hall is a smaller, unimposing venue right down Brighton Ave. in Allston. With this being said, it’s probably the largest venue in Rat City you can go to outside of Paradise Rock Club (not a fan). Although I have only seen one show here, BMH holds a tremendous amount of real estate in my heart because it was where I saw my first concert as a BU student, in fact, it was the first show I attended in Boston, period. My memory is a little fuzzy on what the space looks like, but the sound was fantastic and plenty of local talent rolls through. This is the perfect place to go if you are looking to see an act that you have never seen before.
3. The Middle East
Amid some sexual assault allegations on one the Middle East’s promoters, I have not been to this venue in a very long time. If it weren’t for said allegations, the Cambridge restaurant and nightclub would probably occupy the #1 spot on this list. Fortunately, I believe the assailant has been removed from the venue and I have seen more and more artists that I have liked reappearing on bills there. The Middle East may be known for its great Middle Eastern fair, but it also serves as a fantastic venue by night. Three rooms designated for shows occupy the building: the Upstairs, the Downstairs, and Sonia, a newer space which is really what makes this venue so great. The Middle East Upstairs is a much tighter knit venue, but holds some pretty solid smaller acts, while Downstairs holds larger shows equivalent to that of the Sinclair. Sonia is a middle ground between the two and has the best sound and layout for some really killer shows!
Most know the Royale as a nightclub, but the space actually holds some of the best shows that I have been to in Boston. I have seen a number of acts at this downtown location and it never ceases to amaze me how well the venue runs its shows. The sound and lights have been perfect at every show I’ve seen at the Royale. The venue always hosts great acts, too. I’m always finding myself clicking the “Interested” button on Facebook events held at the Royale. If there is any venue that hosts mid-sized to bordering on the larger side acts, the Royale is above and beyond the best. My only gripe is that the middle of the GA section is raised due the fact that its main room is often used as a clubbing space.
Finally, we have reached #1, and yes it is The Sinclair. The Sinclair is a mid-size to smaller size venue which hosts acts of all kinds. It is located right in Harvard Square, which makes it a little difficult to get to, but the venue itself is incredibly ideal. I have only seen great shows here with fantastic crowds. The lighting and sound are on par with the Royale, but the smaller size is much comfier without feeling too small. Similarly to Brighton Music Hall, plenty of local acts play here. It’s another space perfect for seeing artists that you may have never seen before, while also hosting plenty of household names.
Listen. I’m not a sports fan. Not at all. Ask me to name almost any player… I can’t. But, sports have provided me with some of my favorite moments in college and in Boston. I mean, we are in the City of Champions after all.
It was freshman year that I rushed over to the hockey games with my friends to cheer on the BU players. Just yesterday my friends and I were reflecting that going to these games were some of our favorite times freshman year. We didn’t care as much for the hockey as the being together and being part of BU. I’ll keep those memories with me a long time. The Beanpot is highly recommend for all BU students to go at least once.
Sophomore year the Pats won the Super Bowl and the city went wild (let’s not discuss what happened last year). I was gathered around a screen with my closest friends. We watched tense and filled with snacks we had all contributed. And, when they won (YES!!) we cleared our schedules to go to the Patriots Parade. It was freezing and pouring at the parade but I have never felt so much a part of Boston as during those few hours.
I’ve watched the marathon every year I’ve been in Boston and every time I tear up. I cheer on strangers, and sometimes friends (shout out CA Rachel), as they run through all kinds of weather to achieve a lifelong dream. I mean, Marmon is one of the best days of the year. If nothing else, we get class off for people to run through the city.
While studying abroad in London over the summer I watched every game that England played from the comfort of an overcrowded pub pretending to be a local. Watching in those hot, crowded pubs were some of the best moments of my life. CA Megan and I got so invest in the games we learned all the songs and cheers. We even picked our favorite players. Shout out to Harry Kane, the fourth best Harry in England.
And, this year the Sox are in the World Series! I’ve had the pleasure to watch a few games in Fenway, I can hear the crowds from my apartment, and I cheer them on in every game. I love seeing the city like this. Everyone is feeling the love for Bean Town. It’s lovely, and exciting, and bustling.
Boston, I love you so much and occasionally I really like your sports too.
Storytelling. It’s our brand, our livelihoods, and the basis of our education. Beyond the mediums of print, television, film, etc., the best stories transcend words on a page or images on a screen. They engulf our thoughts, and pull at our heart strings.
Massachusetts, and more specifically Boston, is the location of thousands of movie and television scenes. It is home to centuries of history, love, triumph, and wisdom; a true calling ground for narratives of every design. So while you’re living here in Boston, why not sightsee the inspiration behind some of film and television’s most iconic scenes?
Here are my 5 recommendations to experience Hollywood magic in the City of Champions:
- Boston Public Garden Bench - “Good Will Hunting”
Who doesn’t love a classic Boston movie? The Good Will Hunting bench at the Boston Public Garden was home to Matt Damon and Robin Williams’ famous conversation scene (pictured above) in the 1997 Oscar-winning film.
Visit on a sunny day, sit on the bench, and watch the swans float by as you ponder life. “Your move, Chief.”
2. Bull and Finch Pub "Cheers"
The Bull and Finch Pub, an iconic Boston landmark, was the inspiration behind NBC’s Cheers (1982-1993). Located directly across from the Boston Public Garden on Beacon Street, the bar’s exterior was used in the television series’ exterior shots. Fans may also visit an exact replica of the set, as well as the Cheers gift shop at Faneuil Hall.
Stop by and snap a picture of the place where “everyone knows your name” (and check out their Norm Burger Challenge).
4. The Castle "Ghostbusters (2016)"
The castle from the opening scene of Ghostbusters (2016) may seem a little familiar to you… in fact it should, because it was filmed at Boston University’s very own Dahod Family Alumni Center, aka “the Castle.”
On your way to class, stop by to tour the newly renovated space, and later, for dinner, go to Kaze Shabu Shabu, a restaurant in Chinatown, to see the inspiration behind the Ghostbusters’ headquarters.
5. 4 Ocean Avenue, Salem, MA - "Hocus Pocus
Since it’s the month of October, take a day trip to Salem and visit this quaint beachfront home, Max and Dani’s house, in the Halloween classic, “Hocus Pocus”.
One of the best parts about living in a city like Boston is all of the beautiful spots perfect for photographing! Here are 5 spots in bean town that you are sure to love and likely to make it on your next Instagram post.
1. Piers Park | 95 Marginal St, Boston, MA 02128
How to get there:
Take a Green Line train Inbound from Kenmore (C or D) to Government Center (6 stops)
At Government Center, change to the Blue Line (Wonderland) (3 stops)
Get off at Maverick stop
Walk to Piers Park, head southeast until you find Marginal Street
Piers Park was actually one of the first places I visited on my own without my parents since I got to BU! My friend Jack looked it up online before and really wanted to check it out so we did the first Saturday. It was a ton of fun, and you can get some really great photos with the city skyline in the background.
2. Acorn Street | Acorn St, Boston, MA 02108
How to get there:
Take a Green Line train Inbound to Boylston
Walk across the Boston Common (Away from Tremont, along Charles, towards Beacon)
Find Spruce Street after crossing Beacon Street
Turn left on Chestnut Street
Turn right on Willow Street
Turn left on Acorn Street
Acorn Street currently holds the title of “Most Photographed Street in America”. It is a stop on every Boston tour, so you’ll always see handfuls of tourists passing by, as well as senior portrait photographers and wedding photographers doing shoots. Getting the perfect photo can be hard sometimes with so many frequenters but you just have to be smart about your angle and timing!
3. Berkshire Bank Sign @ Government Center
Photo from Twitter
How to get there:
Take a Green Line train Inbound to Park Street
At Park Street, change to any train to take you one further stop to Government Center
Although not always up, these huge letters spelling Boston are a great way for you to show your Boston pride! If you happen to see the letters while you’re in the area, stop for a pic! They’re not always up. However, over the winter they put up a gorgeous skating rink, so if that’s more your style, all power to you!
4. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum | 25 Evans Way, Boston, MA 02115
How to get there:
Although accessible via the T, it takes way longer than walking
Turn away from the Charles on St. Mary’s Street
Turn left onto Mountfort Street
Follow Park Drive (slight right, and then slight left)
Turn right onto Brookline Avenue
Turn left onto Fenway
Turn right onto Evans Way
An absolutely picturesque gem, the Gardner Museum is not only free for BU students, but a great spot to enjoy both nature and art. Fun fact- the largest art theft in history is still an ongoing investigation for the 13 art pieces, worth up to $500 million, stolen from the Gardner museum in 1990. As part of Isabella Stewart Gardner’s will, none of the paintings in the museum can be replaced, so take a look into the different rooms–you’ll notice there are empty frames awaiting the stolen paintings’ return home!
5. The Boston University Bridge | Boston, MA 02215
How to get there:
Heading westward on Commonwealth Avenue, take a right when you hit the bridge. You’ll pass the GSU and the Boston University Academy
Unexpected, but the BU bridge actually gives you this great overall view of the skyline of Boston! On a sunny day, you can get an amazing photo with the buildings in the background. Plus, it’s so close to campus, you barely have to travel to get there!
Seeing as this is college decision time for high school seniors, I thought I might share my experience.
I went to school and spent most of my time in Noblesville, Indiana, just north of Indianapolis. Noblesville (and all of Indiana, really) is a lot like Sacramento is described in Lady Bird. It was a great place to grow up, I made some of my closest friends, and I learned a lot. But for much of my life, it also felt like a cage and left me feeling like I was missing out on the world and life, while many of my classmates were completely settled on the idea of staying there their whole lives.
But luckily, I found a way out early on. My mom was a BU grad, and told me a lot of her experience going to school here, of all the people she met, great things she learned and did that she could never have in the small city outside of St. Louis she grew up in. From the first time I heard of it, I knew BU was where I wanted to be. So as trapped as I felt, I always had a way out in sight.
About a year and a half ago, as I began to decide which schools to apply to, I only visited two colleges: BU, and DePaul in Chicago. To comfort my parents and guidance counselor, I applied to a couple other schools, of course, but anyone who knew me knew where I wanted to be.
Now, I arrive at the present. My gamble paid off, and I now have nearly a year under my belt at the school I’ve wanted to go to since I was 4. BU has been all I hoped it would be. I’ve gotten to meet amazing people from all over (the best ones being in COM, obviously), experienced great things, and learned a lot about myself.
Looking back, this entire story and experience that occurred across 15 years of my life taught me some of the most valuable lessons I have ever learned and will be invaluable to me as I continue my college career.
First, trust your heart. It knows what you want and where you want to go, even when you don’t. I just knew deep down in my gut that BU was the right place for me, and would get me where I wanted to go in life. My heart knew it, so I never questioned it. College involves making a lot of decisions, and it can be extremely stressful trying to figure everything out, and it can be difficult to see what you truly want. But even if you don’t know, your heart does. Try listening.
Second, remember where you came from. I know I just spent this article ripping apart my home state, but its true. As I said, I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many people this year at BU from all over the world, and have learned a lot from them. But that's what you have to remember, just as you learn a lot by meeting all these great people, they also have a lot to learn from you. Where you come from shaped you and made you who you are. Embrace it. In the end, where you came from and how you grew from there is what will set you apart in college, and later, the world.
I feel like I can adequately call myself a “city girl now” I’ll be honest; when I first moved to Boston from my hometown of Boise, Idaho (which is tiny, mind you), I had no idea if I would adjust to the city life. I definitely had a bit of culture shock initially. But, as my first semester unfolded, I checked off places on my “Places to See” list, I slowly gained the Bostonian status. Here are 5 signs that you have, too.
- You no longer have to check the T maps to know what stop is next on the Green Line Inbound.
Kenmore, Hynes, Copley, Arlington, Boylston, then Park Street. After you take the T enough times, you’ll start to know exactly what stop you’re getting off at and not have to consistently stand next to the map or check the LED sign religiously. An extra bonus: you can give people directions if they look lost! (Also, @MBTA, when are you going to fix the fact that you can’t change directions at Copley and have to go all the way to Arlington?)
Next stop: Boylston. No smoking, please.
2) City Target becomes more impractical than fun.
Now, no hate, because the City Target is the bomb.com, but it’s the worst feeling when you realize you forgot to grab something on the third floor and are heading to the checkout on the second floor. Tip: section off your shopping list by floor so you don’t have to go back to the third floor a second time!
Moment of appreciation for the beautiful lights and luxurious apartment buildings on the way from the BU Campus to Target, though.
3) Jaywalking at Kenmore Square does not phase you.
Crossing the street when the light is actually green? What’s that? Besides mumbling “hit me, I dare you” under your breath half-jokingly, you’ll start to realize that it’s completely irrational to wait to cross because there can either be so much traffic that it is standstill, or no cars at all.
STILL LOOK BEFORE YOU CROSS THOUGH. Both ways, twice! Safety is #1.
4) You begin to venture outside of the city during the weekend.
Obviously, living in Boston is amazing. But eventually, you’ll branch out and explore places outside of Boston– in close proximity like Cambridge or Somerville, and a bit further, like Salem or the Cape. And lucky for us, MBTA offer direct transportation to places like Newburyport and Salem, so there’s almost no excuse to get out of the immediate Boston area.
Make sure you book bus or train tickets in advance if you are planning on going somewhere during three day weekends! Prices may skyrocket.
5) You never leave for the day without packing an umbrella or rain jacket.
Boston can always be unexpectedly hit with downpours, and you don’t want to be left unprepared and drenched on your walk from class to class. Rain jackets are awesome if you don’t want the bulk of an umbrella and take up barely any space in your bag when folded up. However, if you want more full coverage from the rain without wearing a hood, an umbrella is your best option! Lots of stores sell smaller, compact umbrellas perfect for college students!
So, do you think you’ve met the criteria for being a true Bostonian?
If so, congrats! And hey, if not quite yet, no worries. You still got a few years to go, so what’s the rush?