Is going to a concert in Boston solo a reasonable idea?
September 16, 2010 10:44 AM   Subscribe

What can you tell me about Agganis Arena at Boston University and the area it's in? I have a ticket to see Pavement there this Saturday, and right now it looks like I'll be going alone if I go at all. I'll also need a place to spend the night, since I'm coming from out of town. I'm a 20 year old female. Is this safe? Crazy? Risky but doable?

Short version: Can I safely go to a concert at Agganis Arena alone, and where should I stay cheaply and safely in the area? I know there's a hostel not too far away- is it safe for solo female travelers?

Explanation: I bought the ticket way early because Pavement is one of my favorite bands ever and I was super psyched to see they were playing a date that was within a reasonable distance of me, so I bought the ticket without a solid plan of how to get there (I don't have a car). None of my friends at school are into the band or willing to spend 50+ dollars on a ticket to go see a random band they don't know and drive three hours to get there, so I posted on my school's ride board to see if anyone I didn't know wanted to go and share the traveling costs.

Someone with a car who liked the band got in touch with me, but she had to back out at the last minute because of an obligation for a class. Another person at my school is going to BU that night and offered a ride, but she's staying overnight and I don't know anyone at BU to stay with.

Right now I'm trying to figure out the feasibility of going alone. There's a hostel fairly close that's inexpensive- I've stayed in an HI hostel before, but that was with a large group. Apparently you can take the train from near the arena to near the hostel, but I don't know the area very well so I don't know if it's going to be sketchy late on a Saturday night (from what I can tell it's basically the BU area, but I don't know BU).

I've been to concerts alone before, but in my home city where I'm a lot more comfortable (and had a car). I've been to Boston before, but never alone. I'm up for the adventure, but I don't want to do anything completely stupid. I could possibly get someone to go with me if I offered to buy the ticket, but a) I'd feel lame and b) I'd rather not spend the money, plus there's the fee for the hostel and gas sharing etc.

Please criticize my travel plans, AskMe, and let me know if I'm taking a stupid or reasonable risk.
posted by MadamM to Travel & Transportation around Boston, MA (23 answers total)
Best answer: It's a very safe neighborhood. The arena is on Commonwealth Avenue. It's right on the Green Line on the T. Use the subway map and the directions from the hostel website to find your way back. Just be sure to not to miss the last T.

A cab from the arena to the hostel shouldn't cost you more than $20 if you do miss the last train.

You'll find, at worst, some drunk and rowdy BU students, but it's well-lit and well-populated.

Have fun!
posted by scblackman at 10:48 AM on September 16, 2010

Best answer: This sounds like a completely feasible plan.
Go alone. If you wait to have someone with you to go to a concert, you will just miss tons of concerts.

The hostel appears to be completely reputable. The area is fine for your purposes. There will be a ton of people on the street because it is Saturday and because it is near BU and because they are going to and from the concert.

There is nothing stupid at all about this plan. You will go! You will have fun. You may even meet other people who also have to go to the concert alone because they have no one to go with.

I was in your shoes and my love of rock and roll triumphed over any fear or common sense when I might have been too young to know what I was doing. Look at me - I'm still here. I had great adventures and met great people. Sometimes I was by myself. Sometimes I wasn't.

There is nothing about this plan you need to be worried about. The common sense you use when you go to concerts in your home city - well, bring it with you and amp it up a notch and you'll be just fine.

posted by micawber at 10:52 AM on September 16, 2010

The Agganis is right in the middle of Boston University, you shouldn't have any safety concerns. The Green Line (B) drops you off right in front of the Arena.

There is a Best Western further outbound on the B-Line which is in a quiet residential neighborhood. I've walked by it but never stayed there; it doesn't look too sketchy. The whole stretch of Comm Ave. from Kenmore all the way up to Boston College is mostly college students, so I don't think you need to worry too much about your safety.
posted by backseatpilot at 10:55 AM on September 16, 2010

This Saturday? There's a Sox game at Fenway. That area of town should be well populated late into the night.
posted by Jugwine at 10:55 AM on September 16, 2010

I went to BU. That arena was built after I graduated, but I know the location. It used to be a pretty safe area, and I think it still is. Lots of students who live off-campus have apartments in the area, so there should be plenty of people out and about on the streets late at night, especially on a weekend (ie, not a desolate and deserted area like some stadiums). Also it would be very easy to get there on the T... I think there's a stop on the green line right nearby. I say go for it, and have fun! Can't help you with a suggestion for a place to stay though, sorry.
posted by bobafet at 10:56 AM on September 16, 2010

What's your budget for lodging?

Also, nthing that this is a really safe part of Boston (which is generally a safe city anyway). Just remember that the T closes around 12:30/1:00, and keep a list of licensed taxi companies on you (Boston has a problem with unlicensed cab companies charging way, way too much).
posted by oinopaponton at 11:10 AM on September 16, 2010

Best answer: I stayed in an HI hostel in Chicago for a concert and it was great! I recommend seeing if there's a room available at the Boston one you found, because a saturday night (esp. a sox game and pavement saturday night) might be tough to get this late (although you have the advantage of only needing 1 bed!)

You might also try checking the event page and posting a 'shout' on it to see if anyone in the area who is going is offering a couch to stay on, or is driving from another location, or wants to meet up before the show. Agganis Arena is HUGE and Pavement might have sold a lot of it out? So there's lots of potential to meet people, crash on a couch or floor or maybe split a hotel room (with non-sketchy strangers only of course). it's a college-student-heavy area so there's likely to be a lot of people your age going (myself included, if I had a ticket I would totally meet up with you!).
posted by ghostbikes at 11:20 AM on September 16, 2010

Response by poster: Yay! Thanks, everyone. I figured it was safe, but I wanted to sound out people who knew the area in case the response was a chorus of "OH MY GOD YOU"LL GET SHOT" or whatever.

It also looks like I'll be spending some time before the show and on Sunday in the area- any suggestions on where to eat or what to do in the area are welcome.
posted by MadamM at 11:27 AM on September 16, 2010

Well, Espresso Royale is across the street-ish from the Agganis and is supposed to be a very good cafe.
posted by backseatpilot at 11:33 AM on September 16, 2010

Echoing what everyone else said - you're going to have a blast and be perfectly safe! :)

Have fun!!

There's some decent bars and such in the area for afterwards. I recommend the Lower Depths Tap Room if you like craft beers. It's on Comm avenue. Also: Petit Robert Bistro has a great brunch on the weekends and is reasonably priced.
posted by floweredfish at 11:40 AM on September 16, 2010

The chicken tender place is really great for seeing a show--not good for you, sure, but it feels appropriately grungy and awesome. It's literally right across the small street (not the big avenue) that forms the perimeter of the arena. It's called something inane like T.J. Dawg's or similar.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:44 AM on September 16, 2010

Best answer: Sunday morning hop on the inbound trolley and go see downtown (sounds like you're not a frequent visitor, so my apologies if you've done this). I'd get off at Copley, check out the square and walk over to the Public Garden and Commons. It's nice time of the year to do it, and Sunday mornings downtown are especially quiet, lazy and pleasant. If you have more time, I'd walk into Beacon Hill a bit. Or perhaps wander the streets of Back Bay around Copley if you're worried about straying too far in the time allotted.

A good rule of thumb for safety for you on this trip is this: If you can get to the location on the Green Line, it is safe. There are lots of safe places not on the Green Line (street crime is not an issue most places), but that's an easy rule for a visitor with only a little time to follow.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:46 AM on September 16, 2010

Best answer: You might enjoy The Other Side Cafe for brunch the next day. It's just a few stops down the B line from BU (Hynes stop).
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:47 AM on September 16, 2010

I used to work right across the street from that hostel at Berklee College of Music. It's a very safe part of town, especially on a Saturday night. As many have stated, the proximity to BU and Fenway are a big help.

Have fun!
posted by Constant Reader at 11:53 AM on September 16, 2010

Best answer: Another vote for The Other Side Cafe as it's walking distance from the hostel!
posted by Constant Reader at 11:54 AM on September 16, 2010

Best answer: Sunset Cantina is right across the street from Agganis Arena and is a popular restaurant/bar. It should be full of people, but you shouldn't have problems getting to eat. I recommend it, especially if your driver and his/her friend want dinner too. It's a fun place, though it might be a little loud for eating by yourself.

Brown Sugar Cafe a couple blocks up the street is another good possibility. Good Thai food, nice sit-down place.

Slightly further away but possibly the best option is the food court at the Chinese supermarket at Packard's Corner. It is has many good options for Asian cuisine (Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, dim sum style Chinese, greasy Chinese, Indian...) and it pretty cheap. This Google listing calls the supermarket Super 88 but I believe it's just changed ownership and is not called Hong Kong Market or something like that. There's a door to the food court in the front corner of the building. If you're coming from somewhere more rural/suburban, this is also a great chance to stock up on a few Chinese groceries (especially if you're planning on using coat check anyway).
posted by maryr at 12:10 PM on September 16, 2010

Response by poster: So it turns out the hostel is totally sold out. I'll call them or try again online tomorrow to see if anything has opened up, but in the meantime- what's the cheapest place to stay around there that's accessible by train or subway? Less than $100 a night is necessary, less than $50 r not much more than that would be great.

ghostbikes, thanks for the suggestion to post on the page; I'll see if anything pans out from that. And thanks everyone else for the suggestions on things to do! I'm getting excited :)
posted by MadamM at 2:52 PM on September 16, 2010

Where are you coming from, anyway? I've had out of town friends close out the bar, go to the South Street Diner, and then hang at South Station until the first bus back to their destination (you are only allowed to hang out there if you have a bus ticket to minimize the homeless bothering ticketed patrons). You say college and MA, so I'm assuming maybe Amherst?
posted by kpht at 3:32 PM on September 16, 2010

So I was going to say that I've stayed in that hostel and it and the area around it are fine. But it's sold out, so maybe you could try couchsurfing?
posted by lapsangsouchong at 4:43 PM on September 16, 2010

Response by poster: Just signed up for couchsurfing and sent a request! Hopefully something will come of it :)
posted by MadamM at 4:59 PM on September 16, 2010

Response by poster: Hi everyone, I just wanted to thank you all for your help, and let you know that I made it to the concert and back without a hitch! A friend ended up coming with me last minute, and we managed to get her a ticket for half price outside the venue right before the concert. The concert itself was absolutely amazing. Completely and totally worth it, and one of the best concerts I've seen.

As for the sleeping issue- I was telling a friend of mine from high school about the trip, and she mentioned that we might be able to stay at her recent MIT alum brother's former frat house. Turns out we could, the house was like two blocks from the arena, and the brothers were very chill and hospitable (and had very comfy couches).

Basically, it couldn't have gone better, and I'm so glad I asked this question. If I hadn't been reassured by all of you that this was a reasonable plan, I might not have gone for it. Thanks again!
posted by MadamM at 8:51 PM on September 19, 2010

Response by poster: And I should have said, we ate at the Brown Sugar Cafe and the Other Side Cafe and lazed around the Commons Sunday afternoon. Good times, and thanks for the suggestions!
posted by MadamM at 8:54 PM on September 19, 2010

Glad to hear it worked out!
posted by lapsangsouchong at 4:51 AM on September 21, 2010

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