Boston for 7 months
August 1, 2007 10:31 PM   Subscribe

Moving to Boston for co-op (intern) position downtown for 7 months, 09/07 to 03/08. I need suggestions for the best place for a college guy to live, but more importantly I need suggestions for everything I need need to see, do, eat, drink and hear on my temporary stay. Ready...GO!

I will be without car and would prefer to live in a fun, exciting, and of course safe part of the city close to work (downtown).
posted by comatose to Travel & Transportation around Boston, MA (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Do you have a budget for housing? That will help a lot.

In regards to eating and drinking, go to Bukowski's in the Back Bay, get a hamburger with peanut butter on it (trust me. seriously.) and enjoy their many, many beers. It's cash only, so bring money.
posted by bedhead at 11:06 PM on August 1, 2007

Where are you working? (Just area of the city -- "downtown" is very vague. Financial district? Beacon Hill?) And where are you from?

You're going to be here for some of the shittiest weather in Boston. I think we can give much better advice if we know what subway or bus line your job is closest to. It will make your life a ton easier. Many cool, safe places are near to T stations -- we just need to know which one is the best. You may think now that walking a mile to public transportation is no big deal, but as soon as you get to February, the weather may make you change your mind :)

Just in terms of cheap-ish places people live, just to get you started: Somerville, Jamaica Plain, Allston, Brighton, Fenway/Kenmore, South Boston. All of these have pretty different implications for a commute.
posted by olinerd at 4:00 AM on August 2, 2007

Ah, and for things to do: go to the Museum of Science, stroll along Newbury St, find some friends and to go Jillian's for bowling by Fenway, go candlepin bowling separately (there's a place in Somerville by Davis Square that is wicked cheap and satisfyingly old-school), hang out in the Common, eat at Legal Seafoods, have a burger at R.F. O'Sullivan's (a couple of blocks south of Porter Square), spend a fall day walking along the Charles River, find a good place for beer -- there are many, go see Blue Man Group in the Theatre District and hit up Finale for dessert, go to a bar on Lansdowne St during the baseball post-season and watch a Sox game. If you want to be extra touristy, take a Duck Tour, take a train to Salem for Halloween, have dessert or cocktails at Top of the Hub, follow the Freedom Trail.
posted by olinerd at 4:08 AM on August 2, 2007

There are plenty of college kids in the Allston/Brighton area, and the rent is pretty manageable, especially if you can find some roommates. You'll be on the B Line, though, which is probably the slowest way to get in to town.

Johnny keeps a livejournal that documents all the weird goings-on in New England, but focuses mostly on Boston. It's a really comprehensive list.
posted by backseatpilot at 4:29 AM on August 2, 2007

Definitely check-out a Red Sox game. Trinity Church is pretty amazing, and the library is right next door (trust me, just check it out).

Go to the markets on a Friday/Sat. night and take a stroll up to the North End to check-out all the Italian restaurants.

It sounds cheesy, but I enjoyed it, take one of the Duck Tours when you first get there. They take through a lot of the interesting areas in the city and give you a good idea what to check out.

Oh, if you head-up to the skywalk for the view don't just go to the viewing level -- head straight up to the Top of the Hub restaurant. Prices are a little steep but a couple of drinks will be cheaper than the entrance fee at the floor below.
posted by purephase at 5:02 AM on August 2, 2007

Unfortunately, the best option for you, housing-wise, is to build a time machine and go back to May to start looking for an apartment. September 1 is Moving Day and the whole city goes nuts as its population simultaneously swells by 30% and every third person rents a moving truck.

You chances at a non-price gougy, non-crappy apartment are pretty slim right now. Combine that with the Bostonian addiction to the full year lease and things get even stickier. I'm not saying that it can't be done, but finding a place to live in Boston should be your fulltime job right now. For example, I have a new coworker whose lease is up at the end of August who has only recently started looking for a new place in the city. On Monday he was out in Salem look at apartments.

You may want to troll Craigslist for "Roomate Needed" posts ASAP. Roomies will help keep the cost down, give you some guides to the city, and hopefully will already have an apartment in hand.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:50 AM on August 2, 2007

If you're looking for a cheapish place to live, you're probably better off looking north of the Charles. Somerville is a good place to live, especially if your work is somewhere on the red line (or the T in general). When you're looking at prospective apartments, be sure to check out nearby bus and subway routes on The "trip planner" is improved in recent months, but it's still hilariously bad, sometimes. Using the whole system map is usually easier for me, but it might take a little getting used to.

As long as I'm discussing the T, be sure to get yourself a CharlieCard (the plastic proximity card, as opposed to the paper CharlieTicket). Not only are they faster to use and they last longer, but you'll probably be able to get your company to buy you monthly passes for it. But even if they don't, it'll save you a few bucks (Cards have cheaper fares than Tickets and cash). And cute girls/guys on the T won't think "guh, tourist" every time they see you use it.

As a poor co-op, be sure to hit up all the free stuff: The MFA is free on Wednesday evenings and the ICA is free on Thursdays. If you're 21, go to the Harpoon Brewery tastings various times T-F and the Sam Adams tour.
posted by Plutor at 6:19 AM on August 2, 2007

Oh, yes, find an apartment NOW. I just signed on one to move in on the 1st, but it was really coming down to the wire for me (and apartments were being snapped up faster than I could email brokers on Craigslist). Will you need a U-haul truck or a moving service? Schedule it now. Agree with robocop is bleeding -- be a roommate to some other college kids, don't get your own lease.
posted by olinerd at 6:42 AM on August 2, 2007

Allston/Brighton - particularly Harvard Ave - is where the Boston University and Boston College social scenes kind of intermingle and play nice. There are bars APLENTY along this stretch, and it can be a fun place to live, but also very typical college (ie. apartments can be a little on the run down side, and it can get very rowdy at night.)

Davis & Teele Squares in Somerville as well as Porter Sq. in Cambridge are good areas for recent college graduates as well as those in their mid 20's to early 30's. More subdued than Allston/Brighton, but still plenty to do, and it takes a little longer to get downtown from both of these areas.

Jamaica Plain (JP) and much of Cambridge are probably the most diverse and culturally/socially conscious sections of Greater Boston. They both are EXTREMELY progressive, sometimes irritatingly so as many residents bend over backwards to show how different they are. Still, if your into political activism and cultural events, these areas can't be beat. JP is on the Orange line and a quick scoot into town. Key areas of Cambridge are on the Red Line and a little longer scoot, but not too bad.

Back Bay/Beacon Hill are wonderful places to live and filled with old world charm, but are also ridiculously expensive and may well be out of your price range. South End is a little less expensive but still fairly prohibitive (and a fantastic place to live.)

In terms of eating/drinking, all of these areas have plenty of local pubs/restaurants with some simple great cuisine. I second bedhead's recommendation of Bukowski's (although that place is VERY small.) TC's Lounge in the Back Bay and Deluxe in the South End are my favorite dive bars in town. Landsdowne St. across from Fenway Park, The Alley on Boylston St, and the Leather District all contain a good deal of hoppin' nightclubs. Boylston St. in the Back Bay in between Massachusetts Ave. and Fairfield St. is lined with some really cool bars/shops.

Many of these bars/clubs also double as live music venues, and a perusal through The Boston Phoenix and The Weekly Dig will tell you who is playing where and often provide some good reviews as well.

And yes, as others have said, ABSOLUTELY start looking for a place now, if you can.

Most of all, have fun. Boston is a FANTASTIC town for college-aged folk. I've lived here my entire life and the four years during college as well as those surrounding were among the happiest.
posted by Rewind at 7:36 AM on August 2, 2007

They have a lobster special at the Marriot on the Long Wharf. It's like 10 bucks for a 1 lb. lobster dinner. That's tough to beat. You can also catch a whale watching tour there, which is cool. The New England Aquarium is right there, too.
posted by wsg at 9:26 AM on August 2, 2007

« Older Non-tourist Amish visit without being rude?   |   Visiting Brown, Amherst and Wesleyan: what to do... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.