Although there is never a shortage of things to do or places to see in Boston, it’s easy to stick to comfort zones and familiar haunts (and even Mike’s Pastry can get a little old after the tenth visit). Check out these less-traveled sites in and around Boston — all accessible by public transportation or a quick walk — and further embrace the city we call home.
Beacon Hill – Boston Athenæum
This historical, members-only library is tucked behind Boston Common on Beacon Street. Founded in 1807, the Athenæum is one of the oldest independent libraries in the country. Its collection boasts over half a million books along with magnificent paintings and statues. While most of the library is reserved for paying members, visitors can see part of the building through a free, hour-long tour. Book a tour (about a month in advance to be safe) by calling the Athenæum at 617-227-0270. (Pictured right)
South End – SOWA First Fridays
On the first Friday of every month from 5 to 9 p.m., over 50 artists hailing from the South End open their studios to the public. Marvel at realistic and abstract nature scenes, paintings based off of historical photographs, statues of sea life, and jewelry made out of crochet beads; talk to the artists about their processes; and maybe uncover some of your own creativity.
Jamaica Plain – Arnold Arboretum
One of the downsides of living in the city is the lack of green space and natural landscapes. To get your nature fix, hop on the Orange Line, get off at Forest Hills, and take a quick walk to
Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum. Its 281 acres were designed in 1872 by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed New York City’s Central Park. Let your stress melt away as you meander down paths and trails that cut through the Arboretum’s fields and forests. Or, attend one of their events to learn about different species and ecosystems. (Pictured left)
Fenway – Mapparium at the Mary Baker Eddy Library
If you’re looking for a quick way to get off campus for a while, simply head up Massachusetts Avenue to the Mary Baker Eddy Library. Hidden inside is an enormous glass globe. For just $4 with your Husky ID, you can step inside the center of the three-story colorful sphere for a 20-minute presentation about how ideas have spread throughout the world. (Pictured right)
East Boston – Bell Isle Marsh Reservation
Take advantage of Boston’s coastal location and enjoy the wonders of the sea. The Belle Isle Marsh Reservation preserves 151 acres of Boston’s last salt marsh. Hike down the reservation’s trails — framed by tall grasses in the warm weather — and take in the views of the Belle Isle Inlet from its wooden observation tower.
Brookline – Museum of Bad Art
Do you want to feel better about your artistic ability? Head over to Brookline’s Museum of Bad Art and view their collection of subpar crafts. The works are found in garbage cans, bought at flea markets, or donated by the self-deprecating artists themselves. It’s totally free and is sure to make you laugh.