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Cheap Thrills: See Shows, Sports, and Sights on a Budget

How to live it up at low cost with a BU ID


If you’re a freshman, by now you’ve made some friends, learned your way around campus, and figured out the MBTA map. You’re ready for a night on the town, but you have only $30. What’s a broke college student to do? Why, just bust out the old BU ID.

Your Terrier card is more than a way to enter your dormitory and buy meals at the dining halls. It also offers a variety of discounts at many Boston museums, historic sites, and entertainment venues. Here, we list 23 activities that cost no more than $30 — and a lot of them are free.

1. Attend a performance of the Blue Man Group. Student rush tickets are available for $25, subject to availability (two tickets per person). Call 617-426-6912 for more information.

2. Cheer on the racers at the 44th annual Head of the Charles regatta, the largest two-day rowing event in the world, on October 18 and 19 on the Charles River. Watching the regatta is free.

3. Visit the Boston Globe’s newsroom and printing press on Mondays, Thursdays, and one Wednesday evening per month. Tours are free and must be scheduled in advance. Call 617-929-2653 to make a reservation.

4. Experience the sounds of the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall. With a special Symphony Card, students can attend many concerts for free; for other performances, rush day-of-show tickets are $9 and may be purchased on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Click here for more information.

5. Spend some time among the masters at the Museum of Fine Arts. Admission is free with a Terrier card.

6. Take a guided tour of the U.S.S. Constitution, which earned the nickname Old Ironsides during the War of 1812. Admission is free. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5:50 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. Call 617-242-7511 for information.

7. Tour the harbor with Boston Harbor Cruises, which offers student discounts on all trips. The U.S.S. Constitution Cruise is $13.65, the historic sightseeing cruise is $18.90, and the sunset cruise is $19.95 with a Terrier card. Call 617-227-4321 for more information.

8. Attend a show at the popular North End comedy club Improv Asylum. Audience participation is required. To get two half-price tickets, visit the Web site and print out the coupon. Every Thursday is Pasta Night, which includes dinner and a show for $10 with a half-price coupon. Call 617-263-6887 for more information.

9. Walk along Revere Beach, America’s first public beach, accessible from the Blue Line.

10. Celebrate winter by ice-skating on the Boston Common Frog Pond for only $4. Skate rental is $8. Locker rental is $1. Call 617-635-2120 for more information.

11. Take in a Broadway show. Find half-price theater tickets at BosTix on the day of the performance. Kiosks are in Copley Square and Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (cash only). Call 617-262-8632 for more information.

12. Catch the latest movies at the Regal Fenway 13. Discounts are available in the Student Activities Office with a Terrier card. Call 617-424-6111 for movie listings.

13. Discover the Harvard Museum of Natural History in Cambridge. Admission is $7 with a Terrier card. Call 617-495-3045 for more information.

14. Visit Paul Revere’s house, home of the famous Revolutionary War hero. Admission is $2.50 with a Terrier card. Open daily, 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. (April 15–October 31), 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. (November 1–April 14); closed Mondays in January, February, and March. Call 617-523-2338 for more information.

15. Stroll along the Emerald Necklace, a scenic seven-mile stretch of green designed by 19th-century landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted that connects nine Boston parks.

16. Take a walk on the famous Freedom Trail. Free tours leave from 15 State St., near the State St. T stop. Schedules vary. Call 617-242-5642 for more information.

17. Go shopping at the Garment District, a warehouse of funky and functional secondhand clothing at 200 Broadway, Cambridge, near the Kendall Square T stop. Call 617-876-5230 more information.

18. Attend a performance of the Boston Ballet. Student rush tickets are available for $20 two hours before the beginning of the show (one ticket per Terrier card). Call 866-348-9738 for more information.

19. Visit the historic Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in the Fenway. Admission is $5 with a Terrier card. If your name is Isabella, admission is free. Call 617-566-1401 for more information.

20. Get out of town. One-way tickets to New York City on Fung Wah Bus are $15. Buses depart from Chinatown. Call 617-345-8000 for more information.

21. Check out the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA). Admission is free with a Terrier card. Call 617-478-3100 for more information.

22. Each year, the College of Fine Arts presents nearly 400 events, including concerts, plays, operas, art exhibitions, and visiting artist lectures. Every activity is free with a BU ID. Call 617-353-7293 for more information.

23. Boston University’s Huntington Theatre Company offers $15 student rush tickets to every single show. This season’s lineup includes performers Carrie Fisher and Adam Pascal, plus How Shakespeare Won the West, by Richard Nelson, and Rock ‘n’ Roll, by Tom Stoppard. For more information visit the company’s Web site.

Vicky Waltz can be reached at vwaltz@bu.edu.