Zakim Bridge, named for alumnus Leonard P. Zakim
Whether you're a grad student, law student, undergrad, or somewhere in between, check out this essential list of things all college students in Boston need to do before they graduate.
Most of these things are free or cheap, and many offer student discounts too. So don’t forget your student ID while you're there adventuring—in between classes and studying diligently, of course.
- See the world from a new perspective at the Mapparium, a three-story glass dome that uses a variety of mediums to teach you about ideas that have survived both time and space. Pro tip: bring a friend and try the whisper trick! You'll see...
- Take the ferry to Georges Island located in the Boston Harbor. This island has picnic areas, historic Fort Warren, and a ghost, of course. The Ferry runs to the Island from May to October.
- Relive one of the most important events in U.S. history and visit the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum or attend the Boston Tea Party Reenactment held each year on December 16 in Griffin’s Wharf.
- Immerse yourself in beauty at the Museum of Fine Arts. You can reserve discounted passes for all of the Boston museums through the Boston Public Library—all you need is a library card, which you can typically get with a student ID, if your school is downtown.
- Visit The Institute of Contemporary Art on Boston’s waterfront. College students may be particularly fond of the Museum’s First Fridays celebrations, held on the first Friday of each month.
- Step back in time at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, a space like no other. The building itself is just as magnificent as the art it contains; it is a breathtaking mansion with a sunny central courtyard.
- Become acquainted with local and exotic marine life at the New England Aquarium.
- Learn something new at the Museum of Science. See an IMAX movie while you’re there too, if you can—the theater has a five-story dome screen!
- Feel like a kid again at the Boston Children’s Museum. Grab a snack at the famous Hood Milk Bottle located in front of the museum.
- Explore the city on foot and walk the Freedom Trail. This two-and-a-half-mile walk, marked by a red line on the ground, meanders through the city and stops at over a dozen historical sites.
- Take in a free movie under the stars. Free Friday Flicks at the DCR Hatch Shell on the Esplanade occurs every Friday from June through August. Bring a picnic basket and a blanket and enjoy!
- Go window shopping on Newbury Street in the spring.
- Tour the State House and discover what lies under the golden dome.
- Stand on the Boston University Bridge, the only place in New England where a plane can fly over a car, driving over a train, going over a boat AT THE SAME TIME!
- Explore the city from a new vantage point: take a Duck Boat Tour! This is a sightseeing adventure on land and water in an amphibious vehicle.
- Feel on top of the world at the Prudential Center Skywalk Observatory. You may purchase tickets at a kiosk in the Prudential Arcade.
- Spend a summer night at the Lawn on D. Enjoy live entertainment, art displays, lawn games, and refreshments at an outdoor event space in Boston’s Seaport District.
- Find out how the beer is made (and enjoy a cold one) at Sam Adams Brewery or Harpoon Brewery.
- Go where everybody knows your name: Cheers, of course! The original Cheers is located at 84 Beacon Street and the TV show replica is located in Faneuil Hall.
- Visit “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark,” Fenway Park. Attend a Boston Red Sox game or go on a guided tour.
- Be one with nature and go for a hike in the Blue Hills, located in nearby Milton. World’s End in Hingham, Massachusetts, is also a prime spot for hiking. Both reservations offer amazing views of Boston’s skyline and are great spots for leaf-peeping in the fall!
- Get into the holiday spirit and attend the Annual Christmas Tree Lighting in the Boston Common. The tree is donated to the city by Nova Scotia in appreciation of disaster relief provided by Boston after the Halifax explosion in 1917.
- Take in Faneuil Hall’s Blink! This sound and light extravaganza runs nightly during the holiday season.
- Watch Shakespeare on the Common. Every summer, the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company performs a free Shakespearean play every night (for several weeks) at the Parkman Bandstand in the Boston Common. Bring a picnic and enjoy!
- See the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall. Patrons under the age of 40 can purchase tickets for most concerts for only $20! See bso.org for more details.
- Bargain hunt at the outlets in Assembly Row in Somerville. This shopping center also contains numerous restaurants, a state-of-the-art movie theater, a LEGOLAND Discovery Center, and community activities.
- Experience and explore Chinatown. This small neighborhood boasts hundreds of Chinese restaurants and shops. (And it’s located only blocks from New England Law.)
- Celebrate the Fourth of July with the Boston Pops at the Fireworks Spectacular at the Hatch Shell. Come early to claim a spot on the Esplanade and enjoy the sights and sounds of the night!
- Cheer on the Boston Bruins or Boston Celtics at the TD Garden.
- Take in the world’s largest two-day rowing event: the Head of the Charles Regatta. Each year thousands of people gather to watch athletes from around the globe compete in various rowing races. This event is held on the Charles River each October.
- Stroll through the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, a park running down Commonwealth Avenue from Kenmore Square to the Public Garden.
- Enjoy authentic Italian food in Boston’s North End. Be sure to visit Mike’s Pastries or Modern Pastry; these neighboring bakeries have an intense rivalry over who makes the city’s best cannoli. What’s your vote?
- Cheer on runners at the Boston Marathon, one of the city’s most beloved traditions.
- Support cancer research and enjoy all-you-can-eat ice cream at the Jimmy Fund Scooper Bowl! This event is held at the beginning of June in City Hall Plaza.
- Experience Codzilla, the only high-speed boat ride through the Boston Harbor. The boat reaches speeds of 40 mph while rock music blares through the speakers. Tickets may be purchased in advance from Boston Harbor Cruises.
- Attend the Boston Dragon Boat Festival. Held along the Charles River at the beginning of June, it includes dragon boat races, Asian food, traditional arts and crafts, and cultural performances.
- Explore the history of one of Boston’s favorite sons at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.
- Celebrate the end of the harvest season at the August Moon Festival in Chinatown. This street festival features traditional food, handmade crafts, and lion dancers. (By the way, Chinatown is just a couple blocks from New England Law!)
- Immerse yourself in Japanese culture at the Japan Festival Boston. It’s held in the Boston Common in April and includes food, crafts, and performances.
- Indulge in a chocolate buffet held each Saturday at Café Fleuri in the Langham Hotel. Be sure to make a reservation well in advance—it fills up quickly!
- Participate in the Walk for Hunger. Each May, Project Bread hosts a 20-mile walk through the greater Boston area in an effort to raise awareness and funds to help alleviate hunger in Massachusetts.
- Get dressed up and enjoy a performance at the Boston Ballet.
- Visit the Franklin Park Zoo.
- Go ice-skating on Frog Pond, located in Boston Common. It’s open from November to March, depending on the weather.
- Take in a performance in the Theater District—and keep an eye out for student rush tickets. (This is New England Law’s home turf; 10 theaters are less than half a mile from us!)
- Run, bike, or walk along the Emerald Necklace, a park system stretching seven miles through and around Boston.
- Grab lunch and go shopping in Faneuil Hall Marketplace.
- Celebrate Irish culture and history at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston.
- Spend an afternoon in Coolidge Corner. Check out Brookline Booksmith, catch a movie at the Coolidge Corner Theater, or grab a bite to eat at Zaftigs Delicatessen.
- Have some fun in the sun at the Boston Common. This nearly 50-acre park is the oldest park in the country and located just a block from New England Law.
- Do some shopping or grab lunch at a food truck at SoWa Art & Design District. This market is located in the South End and open every Sunday from May to October.
- Explore the Christian Science Center Plaza; take a free tour, attend a concert, or simply enjoy the reflecting pool.
- Head across the Charles River and spend the day in Harvard Square.
- Take a step back in time and visit the Old North Church. This church was built in 1722 and is Boston’s oldest standing church. It also played a crucial role in the American Revolution.
- Go grocery shopping at Haymarket, a large open-air market offering everything from produce to seafood to specialty cheese. The market is open Fridays and Saturdays year round.
- Experience the colonial and maritime roots of Boston at Harborfest, held each Fourth of July in Boston’s historic waterfront and downtown neighborhoods.
- Make a splash at The Colonnade's famous rooftop pool, the RTP. The RTP also serves small bites and carefully crafted cocktails. Check The Colonnade's website for fees and hours.
- Head to Davis Square in Somerville for a day of street music, local culture, and good food!
- Enjoy some fun in the sun at one of Boston’s nearby beaches. Check out Revere Beach, the nation’s first public beach and home of the National Sand Sculpting Festival.
- Go whale watching—right in the Massachusetts Bay!
- Visit Castle Island. It’s connected to the mainland by a walkway and is a great place for swimming, picnics, and walking the dog. It is also home to Fort Independence, which is open for free tours during the summer months.
- Laugh it up at the Improv Asylum. This improvisation and sketch-style comedy club is located in Boston’s North End, and no two shows are ever the same.
- Climb the Bunker Hill Monument. This 221-foot obelisk is located on Breed’s Hill, where the majority of the fighting of the Battle of Bunker Hill actually occurred.
- Pay a visit to the New England Holocaust Memorial, located near City Hall Plaza.
- Take the ferry to Provincetown, a fun and action-filled town located on the tip of Cape Cod.
- Learn about that famous midnight ride at the start of the American Revolution when you visit The Paul Revere House located in the North End.
- Experience what life was like for the colonists at Plimouth Plantation.
- Spend a day exploring the Boston Public Library. Also be sure to check their website for upcoming events like concert in the courtyard, author visits, and architectural tours.
- Celebrate the Chinese New Year in Chinatown with lion dancers, drums, and amazing food.
- Enjoy local food at the Phantom Gourmet Food Festival held each September on Lansdowne Street.
- Explore Inman Square in Cambridge. This bustling neighborhood is home to a vast array of independently owned businesses, ranging from yoga studios to butcher shops to international restaurants.
- See the city from a new vantage point when go canoeing or kayaking on the Charles River. Charles River Canoe and Kayak offers boat rentals, lessons, and guided tours.
- Celebrate Italian Cultural and Religious Festivals held throughout the summer and fall on the streets of the North End. Festivals frequently involve processions, blessings, music, and Italian food.
- Attend the Beanpot Hockey Tournament, an annual hockey tournament held each February at the Garden. The players are Boston University, Boston College, Harvard, and Northeastern.
- Visit the locations of some of your favorite movie scenes on a Boston TV & Movie Sites Tour. On-Location Tours guides a two-and-a-half-hour bus tour through the city, with stops at filming locations for Goodwill Hunting, The Departed, Cheers, Fever Pitch, The Town, and many more.
- Enjoy organic beauty at The Rose F. Kennedy Greenway, stretching from the North End to Chinatown.
- Revisit your childhood and take a photo with the Make Way for Ducklings Statue in the Boston Public Garden.
- Dine at America’s oldest restaurant, The Union Oyster House.
- Venture outside the city and spend the day learning about witchcraft in Salem. This quaint coastal town is bursting with history! Visit one of the many museums, historical sites, or live reenactments of the Salem witch trials.
- Learn about the long and rich history of African Americans in Boston at the Museum of African American History or walk along the Black Heritage Trail.
- Enjoy South of the Border Fiesta Nachos and a margarita at Sunset Cantina. Their nachos were recently recognized as some of the best nachos in America.
- Test your knowledge at Friday night trivia at Trident Booksellers and Café on Newbury Street.
- Grab some grub at a pop-up sidewalk BBQ held each Saturday from April to October at Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge.
- Do some fine dining during Boston’s Restaurant Week. This event is held twice a year, once in the summer and once in the winter, and participants include hundreds of restaurants in the greater Boston area.
- Ring in the New Year at First Night Boston. Events include fireworks, a parade, ice sculptures, live performance, and so much more!
- Attend Boston Calling, a three-day music festival and party held annually in City Hall Plaza.
- Enjoy fresh fish at Legal Sea Foods, a classic Boston restaurant.
- Do some shopping in the Prudential Center and Copley Place, two malls located in Back Bay and connected by a glass skywalk.
- Eat local seafood, participate in an oyster-shucking contest, and learn some new cooking techniques at the Boston Seafood Festival.
- Do summer right: Spend an afternoon at Jamaica Pond in Jamaica Plain, followed by ice cream from JP Licks.
- Celebrate the invention of Fluff at the Fluff Festival, typically held in the fall, in Somerville, Massachusetts—aka the birthplace of the sweet concoction.
- Enjoy a free concert by today’s hottest artists at MixFest. This event is hosted by Mix 104.1 and held annually at the DCR Hatch Memorial Shell.
- Get into the Halloween spirit at Pumpkin Fest. Hundreds of illuminated pumpkins will be floated on Frog Pond, and the Common will be full of festive activities. This event is BYOP: bring your own pumpkin.
- Order the original Boston Cream Pie at Parker’s Restaurant in the Omni Parker House.
- Drive to Cape Ann for beautiful ocean views and fresh lobster. The towns of Manchester-by-the-Sea, Essex, Gloucester, and Rockport make up Cape Ann and are well worth the trip.
- Take the train to Providence, Rhode Island, to view WaterFire, the city’s signature event. On select Saturday nights in the summer, bonfires are lit on the surface of the three rivers running through Providence. Local vendors, artists, and other events can usually be found too.
- Get creative at Paint Nite! Bars and restaurants throughout the city host step-by-step paint classes where you can enjoy a few cocktails while you create a masterpiece! Reservations are required but talent is not.
- Stroll through Louisburg Square, a beautiful historic block in Beacon Hill with a reputation of being one of the priciest neighborhoods in the nation.
- Step back in time when you step aboard the USS Constitution, located in the Charlestown Navy Yard and open to visitors. Also check out the USS Constitution Museum nearby.
- Chow down on fried food, ride classic fair rides, and enjoy a performance or two at The Big E, held for two weeks each September and October in West Springfield, Massachusetts. It’s a bit of a drive but well worth it!
- And finally, if you do nothing else, stroll through the Public Garden and take a ride on a Swan Boat.
There you have it: 101 things all Boston students should do before they graduate from law school, grad school, undergrad, and anything in between! You can learn more about life in Boston—and at New England Law in particular—here.