Starting to feel like you’ve been everywhere interesting in Boston? I know I have! I decided to put together a list of some underappreciated places around the Greater Boston area. Here are some new places to explore to suit a variety of interests. Best part: most of them aren’t even very expensive! Some are even free if you’re looking for a true bargain.
1. Belle Isle Marsh Reservation
The last remaining salt marsh in Boston provides a great opportunity for hiking, and it’s just a short T ride away! With numerous trails, an observation tower with great views of Boston, and kayaks to rent, it is the perfect place to get away from the city and spot many bird species and types of marine life.
2. Coolidge Corner
Technically in Brookline, this unique neighborhood is just a short walk away from BU. With a movie theater open since the 1930s, a great bookstore, and food ranging from Jewish delis to a Japanese tea house to a board game cafe, you should not miss a chance to check out Coolidge Corner.
Located inside the Mary Baker Eddy library on Northeastern’s campus is something truly unexpected: a stained glass globe visitors can walk inside. From inside, lights and colors literally show the spread of ideas as the world has changed in the last hundred years. I’ve gone to it occasionally since I was a little kid, and the wonder you feel when you step in never changes.
4. Observation Deck at Independence Wharf
Heard about the Skywalk Observatory at the Prudential Center? Don’t want to spend $20 to go up? This observation deck is completely free (you just need an ID to go up) and boasts views of the planes landing and taking off from Logan Airport, the Seaport District, and the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
5. Lawn on D
The Lawn on D is a unique space full of circle swings that light up at night! The space is perfect for photos (and surprisingly scary to try to stand on with friends from my experience), games like giant Connect Four, corn hole, and Jenga! With occasional live music, it’s the perfect warm weather hang out spot for any age. If you’re not staying in Boston during the summer, it doesn’t open until May but it’s never too early to make post-final plans…
Bodega is a streetwear store hidden behind a Snapple machine in a convenience store! Sounds confusing, but trust me, it’s out of this world! Bodega makes a name for itself among a cult following without window shoppers. Even if the merchandise is a bit out of the typical college student budget, it’s still an interesting place to go check out.
7. Kelleher Rose Garden
This secret garden (surrounded by a wall of hedges) has two hundred different types of roses! If you want to get away from the concrete of the city, this garden is complete with fountains and places to sit when it is nice out! Spring is right around the corner, so make sure to put this rose garden on your list of must-see places of Boston.
8. ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art)
Sick of the MFA? Whether you want to go to a new museum or just love architecture, the ICA has amazing exhibits. The ICA is also free with a student ID from most surrounding colleges (including BU) and hosts a variety of contemporary art with great views of the Boston Harbor, as it is built right over the edge of the harbor with big glass walls for the views.
You’ve probably heard of or experienced the “Allston crawl” but have you explored it during the day? Allston has some of the best cheap eats around, from grilled cheese to vegan ice cream, and Korean food to Mexican food to Korean-Mexican fusion. It also has an impressive selection of thrift stores so if you’re looking for a place with a different vibe, make sure to check this neighborhood out.
10. Colonnade Rooftop Pool
I saved what I think is the best for last. The Colonnade Hotel’s rooftop pool is open to the public from Monday-Friday for only $15! I can verify that this is underrated since I’ve lived near Boston for my entire life and I literally had no idea that there was a way to go to a hotel rooftop pool without actually paying for a night at the hotel. Go if you want to swim with a view of the sunset on the Boston skyline, and there’s a bar if you’re 21. I’m definitely going to check it out when it gets warmer!
I believe that it’s important to get a feel for the city you’re in, whether you’re just visiting, attending university, or living there! Exploring lesser-known places is the best way to get a hands-on experience of the community the city has built for itself. Hopefully, you found something new to explore here in Boston!