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Be Here Now, While You Can

Things to do in the Hub before you graduate

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Take a ride on the Swan Boats, which have been paddling around the Boston Public Garden lagoon since 1877.

If you’re like most seniors, you’ve seen and done only a fraction of what Boston has to offer during your four years at BU. But with a few good days ahead before the weekend’s Commencement, there’s still time to check out some of the Hub’s enduring attractions.

BU Today has compiled a checklist of essential visits before you clear out of Beantown. And if you can’t fit everything in, well, here are some good reasons to return.

Take a Swan Boat ride
Since 1877, the Swan Boats have been cruising the Boston Public Garden lagoon from April to September, operated by the same family. The leisurely 15-minute ride on the paddleboats with the graceful swans costs a mere $2.75. If you’re lucky, you’ll see the lagoon’s most famous inhabitants, the swans Romeo and Juliet. If not, the trip is still as romantic as it gets.

Eat an authentic New England meal
Boston’s oldest restaurant, the Union Oyster House, is just one block from Faneuil Hall. The lunch menu includes mussels, steamers, clam chowder, and a dish of fried fish, clams, oysters, scallops, shrimp, and calamari called — what else? — Ye Olde Seafood Platter. The bar feels more like a ship’s rail and doesn’t have many seats, but watching the guys shuck mounds of oysters right in front of you is cool in itself, and it’s compelling to think that American greats like Daniel Webster bellied up to the same worn wood.

Or try a lobster dinner at Legal Sea Foods, another Boston landmark. Their clam chowder has been served at every presidential inauguration since 1981, and the Berkowitz family has created a New England institution in just one generation. If you choose the location across from the New England Aquarium, you’ll be able to enjoy the ocean view. After your meal, visit the tank outside the aquarium harboring harbor seals. Viewing is free, but don’t tell them about your lunch — they might get jealous.

Walk along the Charles River
Visit the BU Beach one last time, and then take a walk down the Esplanade, which stretches three miles from the BU Bridge to the Museum of Science. Stop for a picnic or just watch the sailboats glide by.

Check out one of the best views of Boston
The Longfellow Bridge offers a great view of the Boston skyline, particularly at sunset. The Red Line crosses the bridge, but walking is the best way to savor the view.

Tour Fenway Park
If the Senior Week tours are sold out, you can still roam around the home of the Boston Red Sox. Built in 1912, Fenway Park, as idiosyncratic a ballpark as exists in the baseball world, is considered sacred ground by many Bostonians. Guided tours are $12 and include a visit to the Green Monster and the press box.

Watch street performers
Faneuil Hall Marketplace, also known as Quincy Market, began as Boston’s public marketplace. Today, the area is a great place to see street performers, among them musicians, jugglers, and magicians, and is full of restaurants and shops with Boston memorabilia, such as T-shirts and postcards.

Get a taste of Italy
Boston’s North End has some of the best Italian food in the city, and there are times, walking the narrow streets, when you could almost believe you’re in the old country. Pizzeria Regina is a well-known chain, but the eatery on Thatcher Street is the original. After dinner, sample the Italian pastries and espresso at Mike’s Pastry.

Check out Boston’s most famous bar
You probably have a favorite haunt, but everyone from home will ask if you’ve visited Cheers, the bar that inspired the hit television sitcom. Founded as the Bull & Finch Pub, the establishment stopped using its original name because it was confusing to visitors looking for the bar made famous by the show. Stop by for a quick drink, or at the very least a picture in front.

Window shop on Newbury Street
Do some window-shopping and people-watching along stylish Newbury Street. The prices may be beyond the reach of a college senior, but looking costs nothing. And it’s always a fascinating stroll.

Order your yearbook
The Bostonian 2009, BU’s official yearbook, includes senior portraits and hundreds of photographs of student organizations, sports, and campus events. Order one before you leave — the University prints only as many copies as are ordered and does not reprint.

Amy Laskowski can be reached at amlaskow@bu.edu.


One Comment on Be Here Now, While You Can

  • Anonymous on 05.12.2009 at 11:04 am

    You actually make me feel like I’ve done MORE in Boston within my four years than I realized. Thank you!

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