I really have ruminated on what this next blog post should be, and, to be honest, I struggled with the incredibly frustrating process of using my brain to be creative. However, while doing this, I had the chance to reflect on these past 3 semesters I’ve spent in Boston and all the cool things I’ve done. (No, I didn’t just sit in my dorm like a hermit, though I have been known to do that.) But I really have an incredible opportunity to move to Boston and explore this amazing city!
So here’s my list, in no particular order, of my top 10 favorite things I’ve done in Boston since moving here in my first year.
1. The Lawn on D
When relatives visited me during the weekend of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, I spent a lot of time at their hotel in Seaport. We were walking back from the bus station and we passed this HUGE AstroTurf lawn with people and games scattered across it.
When we walked around to the front, we realized it was a free event and were eager to take part in it. It’s called The Lawn on D. I teamed up with my 8-year-old cousin for a ping pong tournament against my sister, wiped the floor with my uncle in oversized Jenga, and squealed as my cousins pushed me on the circular swings.
The Lawn on D is a public venue right outside the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC) in the Seaport District.
They have lawn games and food vendors in the day and concerts in the evening. It’s a great place to hang out in the warmer weather. One of the most popular features of the lawn is the solar swings that light up at night, open from May to October.
2. Salem, Ma
For Veteran’s Day Weekend, my roommates and I decided to take a day trip to Salem, the home of the infamous Witch Trials. Normally, most people go to Salem during the month of October because the entire town goes all out for Halloween. However, that means the crowds grow exponentially, which is not for everyone. In my humble opinion, Salem was equally as fun even the weekend after Halloween, when all the decorations are taken down.
What a great town! It has such small New England town vibes and I loved it. Every store we walked past was filled with adorable souvenirs or witch-themed products. We started the day by eating at a small restaurant called Gulu Gulu that had “local hangout” vibes. The food was delicious, and the people were so friendly. We hopped in and out of many shops with big smiles plastered on our faces.
In terms of sightseeing, we swung by the Witch Museum and the House of the Seven Gables. The Witch Museum had a really cool display and show, going through the history of the Witch Trials. And the House of the Seven Gables was all about Nathaniel Hawthorne and his story of the same name.
Exploring Salem was one of my favorite experiences because I got to spend the day with my amazing roommates, goofing off, eating good food, and just taking a day to enjoy ourselves.
3. Museum of Science
I love a good museum and the Museum of Science is one of my favorites because it’s so interactive! This past semester, the Museum of Science had a Free Student Day for college students, which was so nice to my wallet. But I got to explore the different exhibits with my friends for hours. My favorite one was Science in the Park. There was different playground equipment set up and YOU KNOW I played on all of them. I hopped onto the seesaw and immediately fell to the ground, I spent 10 solid minutes on the swings, and I used my entire body weight to lift a sack of cement with my friends (to no avail).
On top of this hour of goofing off, I went to the Lightning Show and watched the demonstrator stand in a TINY metal cage as electricity zapped it repeatedly. It was a great experience and I started to highly recommend the Museum of Science after going myself.
In addition to the exhibits, the Museum of Science hosts shows in the planetarium after hours. So far, I’ve seen the Beyoncé Experience and the Synesthesia Suite. For the Beyoncé Experience, the museum designed visual effects to project onto the planetarium screen for the audience to watch while listening to Queen B. And let me tell you, it was a religious experience, listening to Beyoncé with those videos. For the Synesthesia Suite, a composer with synesthesia wrote the music and designed videos to reflect what she sees when she hears those songs. She had a quartet and all 5 of them were wearing costumes that would light up with different colors when they registered different notes. Both experiences were INSANE and I highly recommend for anyone who enjoys music.
4. Museum of Fine Arts (MFA)
I have so many fond memories at the MFA. I went there several times for various classes and explored different exhibits each time, whether it was the Ancient Rome exhibit or Women Take the Floor. But I think my favorite experience at the MFA was going for my birthday. My roommate took me out to lunch by Fenway and we were walking back so we thought, let’s just go in. It was easy because Northeastern students have free admission year round. We had so much fun! We just took our time exploring every exhibit, taking funny pictures, and laughing until our sides hurt. It’s just a great place to wander for hours with a good friend.
This semester, I went to see a movie at the MFA with my friends. They were hosting films from the Women’s Film Festival and we saw Paradise Hills. It’s a dystopian horror movie where young women are sent to a paradise island to learn how to be good wives and we watch as the paradise slowly unravels. It was a beautifully executed film and certainly something I’m not sure I would not have seen if I didn’t have a friend to scream with. But I genuinely enjoyed it and will definitely keep my eye out for other movie screenings at the MFA.
5. Boston Public Library
I love the Boston Public Library! I’m a sucker for old architecture and libraries, so the BPL is a double whammy. Every time I walk in there, I am in awe of the beautiful marble staircase. I feel like I should wear a long gown and float down the steps like a princess. I can’t help but stand in the middle of the stairs and just stare at the giant lions or the ceiling. It’s just the kind of place where you feel in awe just by walking around. The BPL was actually one of the places I visited when I first came to Boston to tour Northeastern. My mom and I loved it so much that we spent hours in it, floating from room to room.
On top of the beautiful architecture, it’s a great place to study if you’re willing to walk or ride. I personally love sitting in the room with long wood tables and green lamps. The dark paneling makes me feel like I’m in a typical college movie where they have a montage of the main character studying really intensely. It also helps that they are famous scholars names in the panels near the ceiling. It’s kind of inspiring to see names like Newton, Socrates, and Einstein above you while you’re cranking out a paper.
6. Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market
In the very beginning of my time at Northeastern, I went on a Welcome Week outing to Faneuil Hall. I remember little about the pavilion itself because I spent the entire outing walking and talking with the people I had just met, who later became good friends. So, I have many fond memories from Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market. I’ve seen pop-up movie screenings playing Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, musical performers (including one who played solely on paint buckets), puppy costume parades, and so much more! It’s a great place if you’re looking for a little bit of whimsy.
One of my favorite events was an art hall hosted by Faneuil Hall. There were so many talented artists with beautiful art. Unfortunately, I couldn’t buy everything I saw, but I got a bundle of llama magnets, a llama card, and a sloth wearing scrubs card from this one artist who did artwork of cartoon animals. Her artwork was beyond adorable and I still have it. I gave the sloth card to my sister for her medical school graduation at the end of that school year.
My other favorite event was the Christmas light show. They have this MASSIVE tree that was completely decked out with lights right in the middle of Quincy Market. My roommate and I went there for last minute Christmas shopping and we were pleasantly surprised by the tree. Not a half hour after arriving, the tree suddenly turned off. Then, it flashed back on, flickering to the beat of All I Want for Christmas is You. Needless to say, I will be going back to Quincy Market come Christmastime.
7. Newbury Street
When I think of Boston, I think of long roads of brownstones. I’ve always thought brownstones are beautiful and walking past blocks of them is such Boston vibes. And Newbury Street is exactly that.
Newbury Street is filled with shops and restaurants in brownstones, and it’s so close to campus. I have eaten my way through Newbury, and I am nowhere near finished. One key mentionable restaurant is Wen Ramen. I love it because it’s as good as Santouka (the ramen shop that always has a line trailing out the door) but without the crowd. It’s still a very small restaurant, but at least you don’t have to spend upwards of an hour waiting for a hearty bowl of ramen. I went with my roommate after we got back from break and it was exactly what we needed on a cold day.
Another restaurant is Trident Bookstore and Café. I went with my sister when she came to visit and I have been looking for an excuse to go back. It’s a TINY restaurant with a bookshop in the back, which is adorable. The tables are almost touching and you can’t really walk around without bumping into someone, but the food is heavenly. We each got a pot of tea and split cheese-stuffed tater tots. I got a savory skillet and my sister got lemon and blueberry French toast. I was so thankful that she gave me the leftovers because they were SOOO delicious.
There are so many great places to explore on Newbury and I have every intention of doing so in my next few years at Northeastern.
8. Back Bay Fens
One of my favorite things about living in Melvin Hall in my first year was that it was right next to the Back Bay Fens, so I spent so much time walking around the park. It’s a great place to take a break from homework and get some air. I always loved walking through the Fens to get to Target. It was always my opportunity to decompress and take my mind off of work. Having a green space right next to campus is always so nice, whether it’s playing a pick-up game of soccer on the field, walking around in the snowfall, or relaxing in the rose garden.
The coolest thing I did in the Back Bay Fens is visit the Fog X FLO art installation. I wrote my first article as a college student about this installation. They had them throughout Boston’s parks, called the Emerald Necklace. The installation consisted of fog machines that would release fog every half hour or so, and it was meant to show the interaction between art and nature. Standing in the middle of the fog and feeling your senses being reduced to what you can see right in front of you is such a powerful experience.
9. Apple Picking
Apple picking is a major part of New England culture and something I fully embraced upon moving here. I went apple picking with my choir last year and it was so much fun! There was a petting zoo, go-karts, apple launching, a corn maze, and most importantly, BBQ. The actual apple picking was fun too because we lazily wandered in and out of the endless rows of apple trees. We munched on the huge variety of apples while stuffing our bags. Also, apple cider doughnuts!!! I could honestly write an ode to apple cider doughnuts. They are not a thing in the South, so when I first tried one, I felt like I achieved Nirvana, like I fully ascended.
Apple picking has become a major fall tradition for me, and I intend on doing it every fall that I live in Boston because it’s so much fun. It’s a great way to get in the fall mood, spend time with friends, and get enough apples to fill a kitchen table with desserts.
Boston has countless parades. I guess that’s what happens when you have so many winning teams. Georgia has a lot of teams that do really well until it really matters, as my sister often said after a UGA defeat. (I’m not even going to talk about the Falcons vs Patriots Superbowl because it still stings.) But the parades are always so fun. My first semester at Northeastern, the Red Sox won the World Series and I heard people celebrating through the night. The roads closed down for the parade. I even had a professor who didn’t show up to class because he physically couldn’t get to campus. I wasn’t able to get to that one, but I went to the Patriots parade.
I parked myself right in front of the Prudential Center and I fought to keep my spot, but wow what a fun parade. The energy was so lively and infectious. Singing We Are the Champions with a crowd of thousands of people is not an experience I could ever forget. I cheered until my voice was hoarse as the team drove past us in Duck Boats. Confetti cannons showered us as Brady rode past us and I watched my friends swoon. It was a great experience and here’s hoping there will be more in the next few years.
Overall, I have really enjoyed this last year and a half in Boston and I can’t wait for another amazing three years ahead of me. 🙂