For some, the rapid drop in temperatures and rush of autumn air marks the end of their favorite season; no longer can they relish in the warm weather, day trips to the beach or easiness of vacation. The summer months come to a bitter close as students cram their suitcases with school supplies and begrudgingly prepare for class. Others, however, view the new semester as an opportunity. When students return to campus, they once again unite with friends and rediscover their favorite college town.
Boston is no exception. Welcoming thousands of students back into its borders, the city provides a dynamic landscape to investigate, experience, and enjoy. We go beyond your typical Boston finds below as we list some of the best unknown adventures the city has to offer. Whether you're a seasoned senior or an incoming freshman, our Back to Boston guide has something for everyone. Check it out and see how you can spend your first weekend back in Beantown.
Although Boston is brimming with bookstores, none quite match the reputation and selection of Brattle Bookshop. The store first opened in 1825 and has since become one of the oldest and largest antiquarian bookshops in the country. Its shelves are stocked with over 250,000 literary works, composed of used and out-of-print books, magazines, maps and more. Brattle especially prides itself on its collection of first-edition books, which are stored on the top level of the three-story building. While rare books might be out of budget for many undergraduates, students can instead check out Brattle’s bargain books. During this outdoor sale, open year-round in accordance with the weather, the shops select various works to sell for $1, $3, or $5. Not limited to a specific genre or time period, book lovers can find literature from the early seventeenth century all the way to the best contemporary works of the last decade.
Nicknamed “The Fens,” this intricate system of parks and trails is located in the Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood. It was originally established in 1879, and has since grown into a collection of community gardens, historical sites and sports fields. While it may take hours to explore this urban wild, we encourage students to specifically check out the Kelleher Rose Garden. This park section offers charming views of the greenery and allows outdoor lovers to take full advantage of the early fall months. For BC students either looking for a peaceful place in the city or a break from their studies, be sure to check out the Fens before it closes on November 1st.
As one of the largest parks in New England, the deCordova Sculpture Museum offers an experience that goes beyond the world of art. The exhibit spans 30 acres of land and guests are immersed in a sculptural landscape which features a variety of themes and mediums. The park includes approximately 60 sculptures that are kept in rotation throughout the year, along with the museum’s permanent indoor collection. Remember to download the deCordova app, where visitors can take a guided tour of the grounds or register for artist talks and workshops. Aside from this whimsical experience, the museum also offers outdoor yoga classes, picnics in the park, scavenger hunts, and much more. Find the perfect way for you and all your friends to spend your weekend at the deCordova museum this fall.
When Gilli Rozynek (BC ‘20) arrived in Spain for a semester study abroad, she immediately saw an unrealized potential for the Boston food industry. The city offers a variety of eats for any Boston native, yet many restaurants forget a delicious and prominent part of European cuisine: charcuterie. Reaching back to 15th century France, charcuterie refers to an informal meal consisting of cured meats, cheeses, bread and fruits. Rozynek admired charcuterie’s ability to bring people together and provide simple and quality products to the public. Using her time during the pandemic, Rozynek capitalized on this overlooked aspect of dining and created one of the first charcuterie-centered shops in Boston. Kured is now open in Beacon Hill and provides its customers with personalized charcuterie boards, boxes or cups. For BC students looking to support a local alum and entrepreneur, be sure to grab a bite to eat at Kured this semester.
Every Sunday until October, SoWa welcomes over one hundred vendors to its market. This shopping paradise entices many Boston residents, in which a curated selection of local makers showcase their best handmade goods. Ranging from clothing to artwork, the sale has something special for the everyday window shopper. The SoWa Market offers even more opportunities for its customers, who can also buy organic groceries for the upcoming week. Local farmers are specifically invited to sell their fresh produce, meats, and bakery goods to the Boston public. Shoppers can also look at the number of food trucks and rotating DJs in attendance, striking the perfect balance between casual dining and entertainment. The SoWa Market ultimately becomes the perfect medley, as it combines the arts, retail, food, and so much more.
Boston is home to some of the finest restaurants in New England. Just take a stroll in the city and you can find classic dining anywhere from the Seaport District to Chestnut Hill. For those looking for some unique entertainment with their meal, however, we recommend you make a stop at Verses. This arcade bar, located near Downtown Crossing, is one of the first places in Boston to combine the aesthetic of retro gaming with dinner. Verses was specifically inspired by 80’s pop culture and offers a wide variety of arcade classics to play while you enjoy your food and drink. Every element of the restaurant is curated to the theme, including the neon art murals and LED lighting, making the ordinary act of eating into something more fantastical. This one-of-a-kind establishment offers everything, from a fun night with friends to the perfect icebreaker for a first date. To get the full Verses experience, try one of their specialty drinks named after video game characters like the Princess Peach or Raphael’s Retro Mule.
Just a short T ride away from the Boston College campus, the Clayroom provides a fun and affordable exercise in creativity. This shop, situated in the center of Coolidge Corner, allows individuals to paint their own pottery, learn how to use the potter’s wheel, and even host a private event for small groups. For a base price of $20, customers can choose an item from the wide selection of pottery and begin the painting process. The Clayroom staff will then collect the piece to be fired and glazed, and have your masterpiece ready for pickup in just five days. Since the store is also BYOB on all days, customers are welcome to enjoy a glass while they create their artwork to get their creative juices flowing. Students can ultimately find the perfect opportunity to make lasting memories with friends and unique dorm decorations during their next trip to the Clayroom.