Must-do things before leaving a city forever
July 18, 2010 11:02 PM   Subscribe

What are some must-do things before leaving a city forever?

In one month, my girlfriend and I are moving out of Boston, where we have both lived for the passed 5-6 years. We have done all the touristy things, seen most of the bars, been to most parts of town. What are some things you really need to do before you leave a city forever?
posted by 1awesomeguy to Society & Culture (17 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Oh! yes! I used to live in Boston and I miss it dearly. Okay, my favorite pizza shop in the whole area is called Greg's Pizza in Belmont center. Hop on the 84 bus (I believe) and ride it to the end of the line, then get some deeeeelicious pizza. Might seem strange but it is good, really.

Go to Harvard Square, Central Square or Porter Square anytime, day or night, and have a lovely dinner. Go eat at the top of the prudential building. Catch a Red Sox game. Go to Boston Gardens and Boston Common. Ride on one of those swan boats. Find the famous brass statues of ducks.

Go to the oldest library you can find. Go to the Cape or Nantucket. Visit Salem. Either use dispoable cameras (or, my preference, polaroids) to document your favorite places. I did this and it means a lot to me to this day. Make sure you say goodbye to the South End and see a play at the Brattle Theater.

Happy travels!
posted by wild like kudzu at 11:29 PM on July 18, 2010

* Also Fanueil Hall is really cool, you should definitely go over there if you haven't already.
posted by wild like kudzu at 11:30 PM on July 18, 2010

If there's any buildings you've ALWAYS wondered about, ask, or check the national historic register. I *just* learned that an old ramshackle house on the beach near me that's been falling apart for years is an old World's Fair home (on the historic register too) and being restored, and I get to tour it in October.
posted by IndigoRain at 11:32 PM on July 18, 2010

Eat all your favorite foods and drinks at your favorite coffeeshops, restaurants, and bakeries! Take a bunch of photos of your everyday surroundings — your apartment, yourselves together, your street, etc.
posted by dreamyshade at 11:35 PM on July 18, 2010

See all the things you really love one last time.

Also, and this is obvious, if there's anything you've always said you'd do later but never got around to it, do that. I lived in Boston for a year and always meant to go to the map room at the Christian Science place - never got around to it, and haven't been back since. Oh, well.

If you're moving to another part of the country, try to see more of New England or other parts of the east coast or eastern Canada, if you haven't done a lot of that.
posted by Sara C. at 11:44 PM on July 18, 2010

I generally take a walk around and photograph things that may not seem important now but will inspire a pleasant rush of nostalgia and memories later, such as the corner deli where I got my papers, friendly dogs I used to pat every day and so on. I've moved city/country a bunch of times now and you will forget things much more quickly than you imagined and long for places that didn't seem so important at the time. I find it a good way to tell myself a story about what a place means to me before I say goodbye.
posted by Wantok at 11:59 PM on July 18, 2010 [3 favorites]

It depends where you're going! Beyond the obvious stuff mentioned above, are there any foods (or artforms, or whatever) that are less common wherever you're going? Anything that Boston is known for and your new home is apt to lack? Indulge. (For example, having left Boston - multiple times! - for less ice cream-obsessed areas, I would - and have - done ridiculous things to get delicious ice cream. Similarly, though Boston's not a mecca of Mexican food, now's the time to overdose on Anna's if you're moving to Europe.)
posted by ubersturm at 1:21 AM on July 19, 2010

One thing I would caution you against doing is any of the more touristy things in Boston, unless you really are truly leaving, never to return. Those touristy things will always be there and be accessible to you as a return visitor. Plus they're generally expensive and you'll be saving your money for your move.

When my wife and I left London, we focused on doing things that it would be difficult to do as a returning visitor, mostly bars, restaurants, coffee shops and neat hidden attractions that aren't on the tourist radar.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:16 AM on July 19, 2010

I think this place is worth a visit if you haven't discovered it already. Also, if you're up for the trip to Salem, go here.

And, well, one entertaining Boston afternoon involves a flask of good cheer and a ride in one of the swan boats on the Common...'nuff said.
posted by squasha at 2:50 AM on July 19, 2010

posted by cocoagirl at 3:48 AM on July 19, 2010

The last time I left a city for good a friend (who was also leaving forever) and I walked across it from end to end. We started at 9am with a few beers in our backpacks and just wanted to see what we'd see. It was a fantastic capper.
posted by fso at 4:23 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

The most important thing is to do the things you loved while you were here. Go back to the little coffee shop where you had your first date, revisit that park where you walked and talked and looked at the stars, eat in your favorite restaurants, spend some time in the coffee shop where you stayed up all night for days in a row studying for finals that one year, etc, etc. Whatever those memories are for you, those are the places you likely want to visit -- the touristy stuff isn't what you're going to care about remembering later.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:08 AM on July 19, 2010

When I moved away from New York about a year ago, I went to all my favorite restaurants and bars over and over again, and I went to my favorite spot in the entire city (the exact center of the Pulaski bridge, for New Yorkers) and cried. And I also got the key to the city tattooed on my back.
posted by millipede at 5:43 AM on July 19, 2010

Tag your favorite hidden spot, and take a picture of it so when you return you can go and see if its still there.
posted by WeekendJen at 8:11 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

@squasha - ugh, I am also still kicking myself for never making it to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum! That said, I am a huge art dork, and hadn't entirely discovered that side of myself 11-12 years ago when I lived in Boston. And, yeah, I know it's a mere 4 hours away, but I've still never been back...

To bring this back around to the question, I'd also say that if there's anything in Boston that relates to something you're kind of interested in, or beginning to get interested in, check it out now. Especially if it's one of those things you can either experience or not experience, with no in betweens or compromises, like seeing a particular painting in a certain museum.
posted by Sara C. at 9:08 AM on July 19, 2010

I lived in Boston & Cambridge for a few years and the only thing I regret not having done before I left is not seeing more of the rest of MA--particularly not making the pilgrimage to the tiny town of Stockbridge, MA, of "Alice's Restaurant" fame. Restaurants and touristy attractions and pretty much anything in the metro area are things I can go back and see when I visit, but I'm not likely to make a special trip across the country just to them hop in a car and drive to the wilds. So anything that you want to do that takes advantage of being in a convenient location, do that.

I also love the idea of taking lots of pictures before you go. I didn't love living in Boston so I didn't take very many pictures, and now I feel like there's a whole chunk of my life missing from my photographs, because I have lots of pictures from everywhere else I've ever lived or visited.
posted by rhiannonstone at 10:46 AM on July 19, 2010

Go to each of your favorite places and take a moment to take-in as much as you can. Hopefully this will lead to more understanding of the nature of its appeal for you and that can make all the difference as you grieve for it later. Also when you write about it.
posted by Mertonian at 1:23 PM on July 19, 2010

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