Boston Weekend, what to do?
August 18, 2006 4:09 PM   Subscribe

It looks like (but might change) that I'm heading up to Boston next weekend - actually I'll be just outside of Boston before the weekend, and likely downtown over the weekend.. I'll have a rental car at my disposal...what do to?

I might end up calling some friends and hanging out...

But just as equally, I could go off and do something else. I could go to a Red Sox game (if there is one.) I could do a Metafilter Meetup. I could drive north. I just have no idea what I'd like to do, I just want to have fun.

Oh, what would I call fun? Well, I live quite a bit of life on the road - as a single person, the 'bar life' isn't fun without friends in a given city.

I tend to like offbeat things (but that doesn't mean anything.) I'm curious - given a weekend of time in the Boston/Northeast area, what would you suggest I do? No Skydiving (fear) or beach activities (fear of the sun)...I'm trying to think of something to do there that I can't do in other places and I'm appealing to the hive-mind
posted by filmgeek to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (23 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
There is nothing really worth seeing north of Boston if you aren't into beaches.

Go to the Museum of Science - I lived in or near Boston for 25 years and always had fun when I went there.

Red Sox games are always good.
posted by autojack at 4:51 PM on August 18, 2006

Meetup is this Saturday night in Cambridge.

Otherwise, something touristy (Faneuil Hall), something geeky (MIT and the MIT museum), something Filmy (the Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square, and something arty like the DeCordova or the Isabella Stewart Garden Museums.
posted by enfa at 4:54 PM on August 18, 2006

I could go to a Red Sox game (if there is one.)

Bring a suitcase full of money to hand to a scalper.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:55 PM on August 18, 2006

Yeh, the Sox are playing the Yankees this weekend -- tickets will be even pricier than normal on the street (games are sold out, scalpers are your only option).

You could check out the Harvard Film Archive to see what's playing.
posted by jdl at 5:03 PM on August 18, 2006

Next weekend. I'll miss the meetup. And the swapfest.
posted by filmgeek at 5:07 PM on August 18, 2006

correction - the meetup is this coming Saturday, Saturday the 26th. My bad.
posted by enfa at 5:13 PM on August 18, 2006

Read the Medieval Boston webpage, and then walk around government center and the financial district. It's very interesting to see how the remnants of old Boston intersect with the concrete monoliths that were put up in the 60s. (via mefi).
posted by alms at 6:11 PM on August 18, 2006

North of Boston is the Peabody Essex museum. The most compelling exhibit is a Qing Dynasty house transported from China and reconstructed within the museum. You'll need reservations, it's very popular.

Mt. Auburn Cemetery is always gorgeous and frequently missed by tourists.

Second the DeCordova as well.
posted by justkevin at 6:17 PM on August 18, 2006

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is really spectacular- it's a really unique art experience. Highly recommended.
posted by mkultra at 6:19 PM on August 18, 2006

If you're into architecture, check out the Walter Gropius house. It's not far from the Decordova Museum.

The best sandwich anywhere in the country is at the Linden Store in Wellesley, MA. And that's not hyperbole.
posted by JakeWalker at 7:14 PM on August 18, 2006

I'm not all that much into film but if you are, you might also try the Kendall Square Cinema in Cambridge. Good to kill a couple of hours one afterernoon and you can follow it up with dinner in the Blue Room (which is nearby).

Also, the North Shore isn't completely devoid of interest if you're not into the beach - you could find things to do just driving around Gloucester, Salem, and Marblehead.

Check with someone who's been there more recently than me, but Cape Ann might be worth some time.

You're going at a (relatively) good time. Labor Day weekend will bring lots of activity as the newest crop of college students show up and start moving into apartments on Sept 1 - traditionally one of the worst days of the year for trying to get around the city especially by car.
posted by dragonbay at 7:27 PM on August 18, 2006

Please visit my mother so she doesn't think I'm such a bad daughter who never goes home.

Thank you!
posted by eatdonuts at 7:37 PM on August 18, 2006

If you're at all into buying clothes, it's probably worth going out to the Garment District in Cambridge. There's a fairly nice, but nothing super remarkable vintage clothing store upstairs, but the dollar-a-pound floor (and I do mean floor) is a lot of fun. You buy clothes by the pound in that section and I've made a number of great finds.

If you're into historical stuff, driving out to the Concord area and seeing Walden Pond, Author's Ridge, and so on can be quite neat.
posted by skynxnex at 7:49 PM on August 18, 2006

There is nothing really worth seeing north of Boston if you aren't into beaches.

North of Boston by about 150 minutes is my house. If you want to check out rural noplace you are welcome to stop on by, otherwise, yeah it's beaches and forest.
posted by jessamyn at 7:52 PM on August 18, 2006

Old Sturbridge Village is good for an entertaining day. About a 1.5 hour drive west on the Mass Pike. If you're lucky they'll be running the saw mill.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:01 PM on August 18, 2006

Do the freedom trail:

Walk the waterfront:

Bring a picnic and vist the harbour islands:

Catch one of the cheap ferrys to somewhere and back:

There are also, numerous museums and art gallerys worth visiting.

Museum of Science will kill a few hours and the Omni Theatre there (the best iMax screen about) is great for another hour, and/or a laser show at the Planetarium:

The Boston Harbour Hotel has free movies & bands over the weekend (it's got the huge arch).

If you wanna drive, put the foot down and head up to the Maine coast, or if you really like driving, Northern Vermont is fun to drive through with those lovely curvey roads that are a blast to drive on. Also, Burlington is supposed to be pretty cool, but that's a bit of a drive.

If you go to Kendal Sq. Cinema, in Cambridge MA, I highly recommend going to the B-Side on Hampshire St for brunch/lunch/dinner. Great, great food, nice beer & cocktails, & friendly tatooed staff (it's OK they don't bite). If it's a Sunday, grab a copy of the Sunday papers and sit at the bar, it's chill and can be friendly.

Don't go to the Cape (Cape Cod) unless you want to go to the beach or sit in traffic. But you could catch the highspeed ferry and go to P.Town for the day.

Or go to Flat Top Johnny's and see if U get anyone to do an early meet-up! ;)
posted by zaphod at 8:39 PM on August 18, 2006 [1 favorite]

Take a whale watching cruise. We got right next to a 60' whale who was just laying there looking up and waving his flippers at us. Saw several others, too. It was very cool.

Eat a cheap lobster dinner at the Long Wharf.

You won't be disappointed at the New England Aquarium.

(The previous three things are all within 100' walk of each other.)

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is world class.

The tallest building in the city is the Prudential Tower. On the top floor is a bar that affords unbelievable views of the city and an excellent jazz band of Berkley grads. Stop in for a cocktail. The lobster bisque is very good.
posted by wsg at 1:58 AM on August 19, 2006

Check out The Pheonix when you get here (it's free), they always the lowdown on what is going down this weekend.
posted by sophist at 2:30 AM on August 19, 2006

Also, check out these previous threads for ideas:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.
posted by ericb at 9:30 AM on August 19, 2006 [1 favorite]

wsg suggested the Top of the Hub. I agree it's got great views, but I think it's got a bit of an altitude (attitude) problem and ain't cheap! ;) Go to Wally's Cafe on Mass Ave at the corner of Columbus Ave for Jazz from Berkley grads (or students) and cheap(ish) beers.

But, as filmgeek said:

"as a single person, the 'bar life' isn't fun without friends in a given city. "

So maybe either of these mightn't be fun while alone?
posted by zaphod at 10:14 AM on August 19, 2006

Lexington and Concord
posted by Raybun at 3:36 AM on August 20, 2006

There's the MFA, but I really LOVE the Gardner Museum. It's a fascinating place. North End and the rest of the Freedom Trail, while touristy, is a great way to spend time if you're into history. If it's a nice day, a walk across the bridge into Cambridge (or at least a red line trip across) is super-fun.
posted by abbyladybug at 5:28 AM on August 21, 2006

Trip is canceled. But good to know for next time. Thanks mefi!
posted by filmgeek at 3:41 PM on August 23, 2006

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