When you need a place to warm your heart and soul, check out these lovely spots in and around Boston. You’ll definitely need a getaway once midterm season rolls in...and that’s sooner than you think.
The Harvard COOP (1400 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge):
Photo courtesy of librarything.com
Sometimes all you need is a good book, and since the Borders near downtown crossing has closed down, I have found that this place is an excellent alternative. Not to disrespect the BC Bookstore, but the selection of books we have on campus doesn’t even compare to Harvard’s multiple floors and in-house coffee shop. There are tons of random chairs and little corners for you to sit and escape in a book. And if you’re more of a magazine reader, COOP sells every mag you can think of. It’s nice to be surrounded by bookshelves that are not intimidating like the ones at O’Neil every once in a while. COOP is definitely worth checking out.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (280 Fenway):
Photo courtesy of benedante.blogspot.com
If you haven’t been to this museum yet, put it on your to-do list. The Isabella Gardner collection is one of the most impressive collections of artwork that I’ve ever seen. You don’t just appreciate the artwork, but the architecture, furniture, and textiles are a part of the exhibit as well. Everything in here is a masterpiece, which gives it a different, more comforting vibe than the stark white halls of the MFA. The courtyard is absolutely gorgeous, and sometimes there is live music. This gem is one of the best places to unwind and spend time in Boston.
The Middle East (72-480 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge):
Photo courtesy of 52perfectdays.com
I will save you some time and money. Don’t come here for the food - it is not good at all. BUT it is one of my favorite venues to check out local bands and the occasional semi-well-known artist that comes through. There’s four parts to this place: Upstairs, Zuzu, The Corner, and my favorite, Downstairs. I know most people wouldn’t call this place necessarily “cozy”, but it definitely more relaxed and welcoming than the House of Blues when it comes to concert venues. Coming here is always an intimate experience, and not just because it gets packed fairly quickly. Experiencing live music is something that BC students don’t do often, due to the lack of clubs like this one close by. So if you’re searching for that local music scene vibe, The Middle East is the place to go. Check out who’s playing and event age restrictions (some are 21+) on their website. Who knows, maybe you’ll find your new favorite band?
The Public Garden:
Obligatory “I’m standing in the middle of the pond” selfie. Bernadette Deron / Gavel Media
It’s winter, I know. But who cares? When it happens to be above 30 degrees outside, why not go into the city and stop by the Public Garden? The pond is frozen right now, which is awesome because you can slide around and feel silly. There’s a sign that says “Skate At Your Own Risk”, but trust me, the ice is solid as a rock. Even if you’re not brave enough to take the ice, it’s nice to see a kid and his dad playing hockey or a random girl figure skating - and it’s all in the heart of the city. What’s better than that? Just make sure to dress accordingly, my ears almost froze off when I was there on Wednesday.
L.A. Burdick (220 Clarendon St):
If you’re a chocoholic like me, you will fall in love with this place. The place looks like a little cottage from the outside which is adorable, and has the best chocolate selection in town. You can also warm your soul with a cup of hot cocoa (they have dark, milk, and white chocolate versions), or a delicious espresso. This is the perfect spot to stop when you’re in the middle of a shopping excursion on Newbury, or if you’re just exploring Back Bay. I can’t recommend L.A. Burdick enough.
Photo courtesy of Yelp
All of Charles Street:
Beacon Hill is such a treasure of Boston, and this neighborhood’s main street, Charles Street, is as cute as it gets. Simply walking on old brick streets makes me feel like I’m in a magical little land of pure charm and grace. The blocks are lines with endless antique shops, cozy cafes, bistros, and local businesses. Even the Starbucks here is cozier than most. You can explore the little side streets that lead to the river, and flow up and down the infamous hills. Charles Street is easily accessible via Red Line at Charles/MGH, and extends down all the way to the commons.
Tapeo (266 Newbury St):
Photo courtesy of littlewordbites.com
Hands down my favorite place for traditional Spanish-style food. The paella is to die for, and they have awesome tapas. If you don't know what tapas are, they’re small appetizer plates that are fairly common in Spain. The best part about tapas is that you can order a bunch of different things and split them among your friends. This restaurant’s atmosphere is very European, comforting and rustic. It feels like you’re eating at your pretend-grandma’s home in Spain, complete with fireplace. It’s not a big space, so they recommend that you make reservations in advance. Also, they serve sangria on tap. So clutch.
Photo courtesy of Yelp
Aaaaaand last but not least...
I know I said that this was a list of spots to get away to, but why not make your room the coziest spot you know? So put up some posters or magazine clippings, get an extra pillow or two to make your bed more couch-like, put up those cool little firefly lights they have at Urban Outfitters, or even one of those funny DIY letter signs. You owe it to yourself, especially since we’ve been spending so much time indoors because of the bitter cold. Make your room the escape that you need from class, work and the library. And if you need to escape further, check out some of the places above!