The Official Simmons Guide to Boston
There is so much to do and see in the city of Boston — much of it not far from the Simmons campus. Here are some of our favorite stops in different Boston neighborhoods; grab a few friends, your T passes, and explore!
Within Walking Distance
There's tons to do right around the corner from the Simmons campus, and it's FREE. Just steps from our front door, you can take in some of the greatest pieces of art in the world at the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (which is right next door to the Academic campus!). Show your Simmons ID for free admission at the MFA and Gardner, or visit the nearby MassArt Art Museum, which is always free.
Popular food destinations include TimeOut Market (which also hosts events) and Blackbird Doughnuts. Down Huntington Avenue, you can head to the Mary Baker Eddy Library, take in a concert at Symphony Hall (with a student discount), a free performance at the New England Conservatory, or catch a Red Sox game at Fenway Park (receive alerts for student tickets)!
Travel Time: Five to 20 minutes walking, or 10 minutes on the Green Line to Symphony.
The North End is Boston's oldest residential community, and people have continuously lived there since it was settled in the 1630s. It's distinctly known for its Italian community, with restaurants like Bacco, and the original Regina's Pizzeria. There are also plenty of pastries to try, and Mike's Pastry and Modern Pastry have you covered.
Travel Time: 20 minutes on the Green Line to Government Center or Haymarket, and then 5 to 10 minutes walking
The West End is a mix of commercial and residential areas and is home to the third oldest hospital in the U.S., Massachusetts General Hospital. You can learn about the history of this area by visiting the West End Museum, or cheer on the Celtics or the Bruins at the TD Garden. Science comes alive at the Museum of Science and you can pay a visit to the old Charles Street Jail, now the Liberty Hotel.
Travel Time: 20 to 25 minutes on the Green Line.
The South End is one of Boston's main restaurant districts and features Tremont Street, which is often called "Restaurant Row." Restaurants like The Beehive, Toro, The Gallows, Myers and Chang and way more will keep you coming back time again.
You can get in touch with your artistic side by visiting the Boston Center for the Arts and the SoWa Art Galleries. It's also just a good place to go and walk around because everything is so pretty and Instagrammable; and there is a South End Boston Women's Heritage Trail and another tour designed by students and teachers at Boston Public Schools.
Travel Time: Walk to Ruggles Station to catch the 8 Outbound bus towards Harbor Point for 20 minutes to Harrison Avenue. Or take the Orange Line 25 minutes to Back Bay or Massachusetts Ave.
Back Bay is famous for its brownstone homes, but it's also home to some of the most recognizable places in Boston, including the Boston Public Library and Hynes Convention Center. Just across the street from the library is the Old South Church, not far from Trinity Church, which is regarded as one of the finest buildings in America. VIsit the Charles River Esplanade to wander gardens, historical sites, and art installations. The Boston Open Market at Copley Square runs every Saturday (weather permitting) through September 24, featuring local artists, makers, and vintage dealers.
Back Bay also includes the best shopping spots in the city. Newbury Street boasts designer boutiques, consignment shops, small galleries such as the Copley Society of Art, and places for yummy bites, like hot chocolate at L.A. Burdick Chocolates, or lunch (and a book) at Trident Booksellers & Cafe. For indoor shopping, visit the Prudential Center (for a bite, Eataly is highly recommended) and Copley Place. Hit up the Skywalk Observatory at the top of the Prudential Building for the city's only sky-high vantage point. There are Boston Women's Heritage Tours for Back Bay East and Back Bay West.
Travel Time: 15 minutes on the Green Line.
Beacon Hill includes some of the city's most vibrant green spaces: the Boston Common, and Public Garden. The Garden is the setting for Robert McCloskey's Make Way for Ducklings; the ducklings are memorialized in statue on a cobblestone pathway. The Garden is also recognizable for its swan boats, which you can ride for $5. During winter months, the Boston Common Frog Pond offers 50% off ice skating on Tuesdays with your student ID.
For a dose of local history, visit the Massachusetts State House (starting point for the neighborhood's Boston Women's Heritage Trail) or the nearby Museum of African American History. Then make your way to Nearby Charles Street (Charles/MGH Station on the Red Line) for a stroll in and out of boutique shops, including Black Ink, antiques and consignment shops, turn toward Boylston Street for the AMC Boston Common 19 movie theater.
Travel Time: 20 minutes to Park Street on the Green Line.
If you couldn't tell by the names, you'll be right on the water when you visit the Waterfront and Seaport. Say hello to the sea creatures at the New England Aquarium or embrace your inner child at the Children's Museum. You can also head over to the Boston Harbor, home to the historic Boston Tea Party and the Boston Tea Party Museum.
You definitely won't go hungry over here, with spots like Legal Harborside, Strega and Ming Tsai's restaurant Blue Dragon! Rather catch a concert? The Leader Bank Pavilion is one of the city's most popular outdoor amphitheaters, with great views of the water and some memorable concerts. Oh, and if you're looking to get out on the water, make sure you check out Codzilla, Boston's very own high-speed thrill ride boat!
Travel Time: 40 minutes (train time and walking).20 minutes to Park Street on the Green Line, then transfer to the Red Line (Ashmont/Braintree train) two stops to South Station. From South Station, walk to Seaport or take one of the Silver Line Buses to different parts of Seaport.
Are you a fan of Broadway shows, ballets or even operas? You'll feel right at home in the Theatre District, where you can see everything from the Boston Ballet perform some of the world's most famous ballets to Blue Man Group perform their innovative and amazing performance you just have to see for yourself. Laugh at Shear Madness or catch the latest great show at the Boch Center Wang Theatre, the Boston Opera House, the Charles Playhouse, the Colonial Theatre, the Cutler Majestic Theatre, the Modern Theatre, the Orpheum Theatre, the Paramount Theatre or the Wilbur. Make sure to search online for Student Rush tickets.
Chinatown is also close by, so you can grab some of the best Asian cuisine just around the corner. Downtown has its own Boston Women's Heritage Trail, and for a vibrant outdoor shopping experience with plenty of dining options (and a rich history), visit Faneuil Hall Marketplace.
Travel Time: 20 minutes to Park Street on the Green Line.
Just across the river is Cambridge, which has its own collection of neighborhoods, but we're giving you the highlights. Harvard Square is home to Harvard University, but it also holds food, great music venues, and shopping, including bookstores: The Harvard Coop, Harvard Bookstore, Porter Square Books, and Pandemonium Books & Games. There's a farmer's market through October, a skating rink in the winter, and tons of outdoor seating for the warmer months. Cambridge thrift store the Garment District offers clothes “By the Pound”: search through mountains of old clothes and every pound of clothing only costs $1. A super fun one day trip with friends!
The MIT Museum and Harvard Art Museum will keep you cultured, while The Sinclair, Club Passim and The Plough & Stars (and much much more!) will keep you entertained with live music. And don't miss the annual Head of the Charles, October 21-23! Watch this exciting regatta from the shores of Cambridge for some beautiful city views.
Travel Time: 35 to 40 minutes on the Red Line. If the train isn't doable, Central Square in Cambridge is only 15 minutes by the CT2 Bus or the 47 Bus, both of which stop within five minutes of the residence campus.
Hop on the T from Fenway and take the green line to Brookline, a walkable and animated suburb of Boston. For a historic excursion, visit the JFK National Historic Site, the birthplace and childhood home of President Kennedy. The Larz Anderson Park has ponds, playgrounds, picnic areas, and more. Bibliophiles will love Brookline Booksmith, one of the finest bookstores in the Boston area. Film buffs will enjoy the Coolidge Theatre, an Art Deco-designed movie theater that first opened in 1933. The Coolidge Theatre also hosts a variety of cult classic movies, midnight horror marathons, and free lectures from some of the best film professors in the state! Within walking distance to both the theater and Brookline Booksmith is Buffalo Exchange, which is one of the best thrift and vintage stores in the area.
Brookline hosts a wide variety of cuisines. For a tasty lunch of matzo ball soup or a pastrami sandwich on marble rye, try Zaftigs Delicatessen. The Abbey is a popular Brookline joint with daily specials. For a special occasion, try La Voile, a higher end French restaurant. Visit Martin's Coffee Shop in Brookline Village for an amazing brunch. Visit the seasonal Brookline Farmers' Market for an array of fresh produce.
Travel Time: 30 minutes on the Green Line to Coolidge Corner.
Located in downtown Boston, this Chinatown is one of the largest outside of New York City. With a dense population of Asians and Asian Americans, Boston's Chinatown features a plethora of Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese, and Vietnamese restaurants and markets.
When in Chinatown, check out the iconic Chinatown Gate (paifang) at the intersection of Beach Street and Surface Road. You can also attend major community events, such as the New Years celebration, the Lion Dance Festival, the August Moon Festival, and the Lantern Festival.
Most tourists flock to Chinatown for the incomparable Asian cuisine. The Q restaurant offers a mix of Chinese and Japanese food, as well as Mongolian hotpot. Taiwan Cafe is known for its tasty dumplings, whereas Pho Pasteur has some of the best pho in the city. Bring a group of friends to Winsor Dim Sum Cafe for a dim sum feast. Satisfy your sweet tooth with some of Chinatown's delicious bakeries, such as Ho Yen Bakery, Taiwan Bakery, and Hing Shing Pastry. Sip some boba tea at Tea-Do or TBaar. Remember to bring cash, as many Chinatown establishments are cash only.
Dorchester is one of Boston's biggest neighborhoods. Its residents are especially diverse, both in terms of cultural background and gender/sexual identity. This area offers a number of museums, historic sites, outdoor trails, and eateries.
One of the most famous places in Dorchester is Franklin Park. Frederick Law Olmsted designed the park at the end of the nineteenth century, and it is a beloved part of Olmsted's Emerald Necklace. This 485-acre park is Boston's largest open space, and visitors can enjoy miles of trails, Scarboro Pond, the Franklin Park Zoo, and much more.
Other attractions in Dorchester include the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, the Commonwealth Museum, and the Strand Theatre. Fields Corner, which is particularly known for its Irish and Vietnamese residents, has numerous immigrant-owned restaurants, pubs, and clothing stores.
With a dense population of African American residents, Roxbury is often called “the heart of Black culture in Boston.” Roxbury is also known for its community gardens and for developing the first urban farm in Boston.
Visit the Museum of the National Center of Afro American Artists (NCAAA) where you will find arresting artworks by contemporary artists of the African diaspora. The museum also has a permanent exhibition entitled “ASPELTA: A Nubian King's Burial Chamber,” which features over fifty objects from Apselta's tomb that are 2,600 years old.
If you are in the mood for live music, head to Wally's Cafe Jazz Club. The Roxbury International Film Festival offers events and screenings that help support filmmakers of color. Visit Frugal Bookstore to shop for books and attend literary events. Roxbury is also home to numerous works of public art, including murals, sculptures, and statues. Walk down Ruggles Street or Malcolm X Boulevard to encounter pieces that celebrate the diversity of this community.