What are some fun things to do in the Boston area?
February 8, 2015 9:11 AM   Subscribe

I just moved to Medford, MA for a job. What are some (preferably free or inexpensive) things I can do on evenings and weekends?

I'm looking for volunteer opportunities, events, places, shops, and things to do on evenings and weekends. Regular activities are a plus.

I like writing songs and programming and reading comics and seeing local bands and watching movies and cartoons. I'm not athletic in any way, shape, or form, but I like walking and kayaking and riding my bike and other stuff like that. I have access to a gym through my employer.

I live near the 101 and 96/94 bus lines. I can walk to the T in Davis, as well as some other bus lines (the 88, 87, 77, etc.). I don't have a car.

Thank you MeFi!
posted by topoisomerase to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
There is so much to do, I don't know where to start!

Bad weather:
You can get free passes to the museums through the local library (once you get a library card)
Davis Square: Shopping, great food, good bars and a great movie theater for movies and shows.
Central Square: TT the Bears and the Middle East are good for shows, there are a bunch of interesting bars and restaurants there too. Also the MIT museum is a must see.
Ditto Inman and Union squares.
Also since you are close to Tufts, see what kind of shows/talks they have available to the public. (I'm not sure if you have a dog, but they also do free dog walking from students for local residents)

Good weather:
You can take public transportation to the Blue Hills for a day of hiking and swimming.
Walk the city (completely walkable - just head out in one direction and keep going)
Kayaking on the Charles
Take the commuter rail to Salem for all your 'haunted' needs
Take the ferry to Provincetown

If you can get access to a Zipcar then you have even more options:
Hiking/Walking in the White Mountains (NH)
Crane's Beach (along with the farm on the way there for cider donuts and dandelion wine)
Northampton for shopping, eating and seeing shows/talks

As for volunteering, I'm sure there are a million organizations that would love access to your programming skills. You can check out idealist.org or find organizations you like and inquire.
posted by Toddles at 9:21 AM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

once it gets warmer, the arboretum in jamaica plain is great too
posted by the twistinside at 10:36 AM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Off the top of my head a few things:
Meetup.com has a ton of free events for software related topics here in Boston. Tons of groups.
TheBostonCalendar.com is a great website to find tons of events that are free or cheap.
Taza chocolate factory tours - 5 dollars.
ICA & MFA are free on Thursday / Wednesday (respectively, I believe) evenings.
Any event at Aeronaut Brewery
Walk around the Middlesex Fells, they are right by you.
TOAD in Porter Square for cool shows
When it warms up, ride your bike out to Concord via the Minuteman Bikeway.

And so much more, I could sit here and write a list all day.
posted by carmel at 10:41 AM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Mefites do trivia regularly.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:54 AM on February 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

Caf├ęSci Boston is a monthly meet up for casual discussion with featured expert on a specific topic.

NerdFun is a meetup group that seems to be quite active - they go to the CafeSci events and lots of other events like book signings, museum nights, public talks, etc.

Science by the Pint is a monthly meet-up run by Science in the News, and they have other events/talks as well.

Comicazi in Davis Square has lots of events and gaming groups.

This article called "Geeks Welcome" is a bit old (2012) but I know some of the groups are still around, so maybe use it as inspiration to track some of them down.

There are lots of Metafilter Meetups in Boston and Cambridge too. Here's the list of previous meetups in Cambridge, but check out the proposed and confirmed events too!
posted by barnone at 11:57 AM on February 8, 2015

Brattle Theater in Harvard Square has an annual Warner brothers cartoon festival. I forget when it is, look it up. That is all.
posted by Melismata at 12:49 PM on February 8, 2015

Harpoon brewery tour! Samuel Adams brewery tour! Both are public transit accessible, and delicious and nominally priced.
posted by ellerhodes at 2:41 PM on February 8, 2015

The Somerville Theater in Davis Square hosts the Museum of Bad Art and the Slutcracker.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 3:12 PM on February 8, 2015

Here in Medford, The Fells makes for some good walking, hiking, or biking (albeit not in this weather).

The Medford Public Library has some decent free educational programs during the week. The Friends of the Medford Public Library are always looking for volunteers, both one-off (staffing the semi-annual book sales) and ongoing (sorting donated books).

Tufts has lots of great art exhibits, concerts, lectures, plays, etc., many of them open to the public. Add in the other universities (e.g., the Harvard museums that are free Sundays), and you have a ton of affordable entertainment.

I live right in Medford Square, so feel free to MeMail me if you need any other local tips.
posted by maxim0512 at 4:59 PM on February 8, 2015

There's so much to do in this area! Off the top of my head:

- Going to plays. There's a really vibrant community/small theater scene in the area, which tend to have more affordable tickets.
- Trash Night at the Brattle.
- If you like programming enough to do it socially, the Boston Python User Group is friendly and active. Code for Boston is even more active - they meet weekly.
- Honk! and Porchfest are among the highlights of my year.
- Of the Harvard museums, the Natural History Museum with its glass flowers is well regarded, and for good reason.
- When it gets warmer, riding out to Walden Pond in Corcord on the Minuteman trail is a really satisfying way to spend the better part of a day.

Welcome to the area!
posted by galaxy rise at 8:49 PM on February 8, 2015

Pandemonium Books in Central SQ in Cambridge has free Open Board Gaming 6-11 Sunday nights.

Artisan's Asylum in Somerville, just outside Union Sq, has free circuit hacking and fiber arts nights every week, and volunteer opportunities too.
posted by a sock of sheep at 10:36 AM on February 9, 2015

Something I really enjoyed when I was new to the area was getting on a random bus or subway, taking it to a stop I'd never been to before, and then walking to another stop and doing it again. If there aren't any others nearby, you can always just go back to the one you came from. If you're farther away from the city you'll need to know what direction to walk in, but when you're downtown there's transit pretty much everywhere. If you don't already have a T pass, you could get a daily or weekly one to use. It's a great way to learn what there is to nearby. Here are some maps of the system that show the actual (scaled) lengths between stops, and buses other than the 15 key routes that appear on the more common system map.
posted by CJF at 1:30 PM on February 9, 2015

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