Last summer I was stuck living in Boston under the ripe old age of 21. In order to preoccupy myself when I wasn’t working, I tried to come up with as many different “under 21” things to do as possible. Eventually the classics (Red Sox game, the Prudential, Museum of Science, walking through the Commons) either became too repetitive or too pricey. So I did some investigating and found a list of things to do that involve minimal money and a unique experience!
- Shakespeare on the Common– The Commonwealth Shakespeare Company has been putting on Shakespeare productions in the Boston Commons since 1996. This summer’s featured classic is the tragedy Coriolanus. Performances are free and occur Tuesdays-Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 7pm, from July 25-August 12. This is a great way to spend an evening with your friends out of the apartment, and you could even bring dinner along. Be sure to get there early and bring a blanket!
- Outdoor Movies– There is nothing I love more than enjoy a movie outdoors on a summer night. There are several locations in Boston to view movies, but my favorite is at the Boston Harbor Hotel. Every Friday night a new (free!) movie is played. The selection is always great and the waterfront atmosphere is one of Boston’s bet highlights. Viewings start in the middle of June and go through all of August.
- Restaurant Week– Walked past a restaurant a hundred times but never had the money to spend on a fancy dinner? Well Restaurant Week is the perfect thing for you. For a preset price, we get an affordable three course meal at some of the top Boston restaurants. This year’s Restaurant Week takes place from August 19-24 and 26-31. For a list of participating restaurants, check out www.restaurantweekboston.com when the date gets closer!
- Brunch on Newbury– The place I most often found myself was at Trident Booksellers and Café. This place has an amazing brunch menu, and what is even better is that it is located within a bookstore. I loved going here to get a book, sit at the bar, and eat and read at the same time. Living in the city with a bunch of your friends can get a little hectic, and this was a great way to relax from time to time. When you are done with brunch, you are surrounded by a bunch of great boutiques to stroll through and work off that meal!
- Walking Tours: Ghost, Chocolate, Cupcake– When the weather is nice out, staying inside is the last thing you want to do in the summer. Boston offers a bunch of great walking tours to take advantage of. The Ghost and Gravestones tour is an hour and a half of walking through some of Boston’s most haunted sites. This tour is available every night of the week starting in June. Added perk? Student discount is $33! The Chocolate tour is an absolutely delightful idea when you are looking for some decadent chocolate, and a nice tour around the side streets of Boston. Finally, The Great Boston Cupcake Crawl jumps on the cupcake trend and highlights all the great cupcakes of Boston. Both the Chocolate and Cupcake tours occur on the weekends.
- SoWa Open Market– This place was one of my favorite finds this summer. SoWa Open Market is a great place to spend leisurely Sunday afternoons. Its southern location leaves the Market slightly out of the heart of Boston, but a great destination place. This market has amazing handmade jewelry, fresh produce, beautiful flowers, and so many other things to look at. Every week brings something different, so be sure to bring cash and a willingness to buy. You may never see some of these things again!
- Harborfest– The week leading up to Fourth of July in Boston is filled with different activities. From June 28-July 4 Boston is buzzing with outdoor and patriotic activities. There is a weeklong boat race in the harbor, a Party on Plaza, Chowderfest, and a spectacular Fireworks show to cap off the weekend. Chowderfest was one of our favorite stops of the summer. One ticket leaves you with all the chowder you can eat and a competition between local “best in Boston” chowder!
- Improv Asylum– One of the best places to go for a comedy show is the Improv Asylum located in the North End of Boston. Tickets are only $5 and improvisation provides the best laughs in comedy. Each night has a different theme, so repeat visits are encouraged! Bring your friends here for a fun night out and walk around the Boston Harbor afterwards.
- BU Astronomy Tower– One of the best kept secrets of Boston is the public open night at the BU observatory. This amazing attraction is completely free, and provides some education. Every Wednesday Boston University’s astronomy department opens its doors to the public for a look through telescopes and offers them a chance to learn about the night sky. Weather permitting, which is always a last minute call in New England, open night starts at 8:30 and lasts about an hour.
- Paint Bar– When you and your friends are feeling artistic, visit the Paint Bar in Newton. Although it is outside of Boston, it is well worth the trip. Don’t be fooled by the term “bar” in the title. Alcohol is served there, but you do not have to be 21 to enter. The Paint Bar teaches you stroke for stroke how to make a beautiful painting. Some paintings include the Boston skyline at night, the Cape at sunset, and the Back Bay in spring. Absolutely anyone can learn to paint here. Be sure to sign up before hand on their website, spots go quickly!
If you’re spending your summer in the Boston area, try and accomplish all of these unique things. Any other advice for kids under 21 stuck in the city? Leave a comment below!
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