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Presidents Day Weekend: A Chance to Explore the City

Outdoor activities, museums, movies, and more on tap


Presidents Day marks the first three-day weekend of the spring term and since it starts school vacation week, several Boston museums and other venues are hosting free events. It offers a great chance to get out and explore the city, and there’s a lot to see and do—from athletic events on campus to outdoor activities, movie screenings, and more. We’ve pulled together a list of some of the best, below. Know of other events happening this weekend? Post them in the Comment section below.


Terrier Women’s Lacrosse and Ice Hockey and Men’s Basketball

West Campus is the place to be for sports this weekend. The men’s basketball team celebrates the annual Senior Day, hosting Navy at Case Gym, aka the Roof, and the women’s lacrosse team faces off against Boston College at Nickerson Field, both on Saturday. On Sunday, the women’s ice hockey team plays the University of New Hampshire at Walter Brown Arena, the final game of the regular season.

The men’s basketball team hosts Navy on Saturday, February 17, at Case Gym at noon. The women’s lacrosse Terriers host rival Boston College at Nickerson Field at 1 pm. On Sunday, February 18, the women’s ice hockey team takes on UNH at 3 pm at Walter Brown Arena. Find tickets and directions here

Men's Basketball team playing a game.

Men’s basketball player Tyler Scanlon (COM’20) will be on the Terriers roster when they host Navy Saturday at Case Gym. Scanlon currently leads the Terriers in rebounds, assists, and steals. Photo by Rich Gagnon

Fenway Park Tour

The Boston Red Sox don’t start spring training for another week and won’t play their home opener until April 5, but if you can’t wait to kick off the 2018 season, head over to Fenway Park this weekend for a guided tour of the ballpark. You’ll learn about baseball’s oldest manual scoreboard, see the 10 most memorable moments in Red Sox history, and tour the Fenway Archive, which includes baseballs, bats, and uniforms worn by players over the decades. Be sure to take a selfie on top of the legendary Green Monster.

Fenway Park tours are daily on the hour from 11 am to 5 pm during the off-season. Tickets are $20 for adults and $14 for children 12 and under, and are available at the ballpark, 4 Yawkey Way. Purchase tickets and find directions here.

Outdoor Events

Free Ice Skating at the Boston Common Frog Pond

If the winter weather has given you a case of cabin fever, head down to the Boston Common Frog Pond for some classic winter fun. As an added incentive, from Presidents Day through Friday, skating is free on a first-come, first-served basis for children and families, courtesy of the Highland Street Foundation, whose Winter Camp provides free activities during February school vacation. Stop by the Frog Pond Café for some hot chocolate and snacks.

The Frog Pond skating rink is in the Boston Common, 38 Beacon St. Weekend hours are Friday and Saturday, 10 am to 10 pm, and Sunday, 10 am to 9 pm. From February 19 to 23, school vacation week, children and families are free. Regular admission is $6 for skaters 58 inches and taller, free for those under 58 inches. Skate rentals are $6 for children and $12 for adults. Take an MBTA Green Line trolley to Park Street.

Boston Winter City Hall Plaza Skating Path

Once again this year, City Hall Plaza has been transformed into a winter wonderland. The holiday market is now closed for the season, but the custom-designed 11,000-square-foot outdoor skating path that loops around the marquee Boston sign is open through February 25. Admission is free for children 5 and under, $8 for children age 6 to 12, and $15 for adults. Skate rentals are $8. Snacks are available for sale from a rotating group of food trucks. Beverages and food can also be purchased at the Uber Lodge, on the plaza.

The Boston Winter skating path is open through February 25. Find hours, admission, and more information here. Take an MBTA Green Line trolley to Government Center.


Institute of Contemporary Art Boston’s Presidents Day Free Admission

To celebrate Presidents Day, the ICA is offering free admission on Monday, February 19. In addition to the museum’s current exhibitions, there are special activities for all ages, including a drawing activity and a collage-making event where visitors can re-create their favorite ocean experiences. The ICA’s newest exhibition, Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today, examines the radical impact of internet culture on visual art. It has more than 70 works across a variety of mediums, including painting, performance, photography, sculpture, video, web-based projects, and virtual reality.

Admission to the Institute of Contemporary Art, 25 Harbor Shore Dr., Boston, Monday, February 19, is free, from 10 am to 5 pm. Find directions here

February Vacation Week Kickoff at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

The world-class Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, in the Fenway, kicks off February vacation week with a special family-friendly day of activities on Monday, February 19. Among them is an opportunity to try your hand at portrait sketching, then turn your sketch into a print. There will also be live performances by local musicians throughout the museum. And for those starved for spring, a visit to the soaring courtyard filled with tropical plants will have you thinking it’s April.

The February Vacation Week Kickoff at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 25 Evans Way, Boston, is Monday, February 19, from 11 am to 4:30 pm. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, $5 for students, and free for children 17 and under. Find more information and directions here

M.C. Escher: Infinite Dimensions at the Museum of Fine Arts

The MFA is currently presenting the first-ever Boston exhibition of original prints by famous Dutch artist M. C. Escher. The dazzling show includes 50 works, culled from public and private collections, that showcase both Escher’s rich imagination and his extraordinary technical skill. Infinite Dimensions explores many of the themes that define his work, including tessellations (arrangements of repeated shapes that fit together without any gaps), transformations, water reflections, and more. Check out Escher’s 13-foot-long Metamorphosis II, an exploration of the fluidity of time and space, where a chessboard, a hive of bees, a rustic village, and other elements merge into a continuous woodcut printed from 20 blocks.

M.C. Escher: Infinite Dimensions is on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, through May 28. The museum is open Friday, February 16, from 10 am to 10 pm, and Saturday, February 17, through Monday, February 19, from 10 am to 5 pm. Find regular hours and admission prices here (free to BU students with ID). Find directions here

A Mirror Maze: Numbers in Nature at the Museum of Science

This just-opened exhibition reveals the mathematical patterns that surround us every day in the real world—from the nestled spirals of a sunflower seed to the ridges of mountain ranges. The showstopper is an elaborate 1,800-square-foot maze, where visitors can get lost in an endless pattern of mirrors. It’s an excellent, fun introduction to patterns and the integral role of math in our lives. Expect to hit a few dead-ends, but if you can discover the small, secret room hidden within the maze, you’ll be rewarded with bonus puzzles and artifacts. You can also step inside an immersive theater and watch incredible footage of the human body, art and architecture, and nature. By taking part in hands-on activities, such as measuring your own wingspan and creating computer-generated landscapes to play a multistring harp, you can create your own mathematical patterns.

A Mirror Maze: Numbers in Nature is on display at the Museum of Science, One Science Park, Boston, through April 25. Admission is included with an Exhibit Hall ticket, $25 for adults, $21 for seniors, and $20 for children. Hours: Friday, February 16, 9 am to 9 pm and Saturday, February 17, through Monday, February 19, 9 am to 7 pm. Find more information and tickets here.

Museum of Science’s special exhibit, A Mirror Maze: Numbers in Nature

Get lost in a massive 1,800-square-foot mirror maze this weekend at the Museum of Science special exhibition A Mirror Maze: Numbers in Nature, on view through April 25. Photo courtesy of the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

Presidents Day Family Festival at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

In honor of Presidents Day, the Presidential Library and Museum is hosting its sixth annual Family Festival, featuring presidential storytelling, creative activities, musical performances, museum tours, and hands-on programs designed to bring the library to life for visitors of all ages. Actors portraying Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson will be on hand. Craft projects for children will include making tricorn and stovepipe hats, building a toy version of Lincoln’s log cabin, designing White House china, and, in a nod to JFK’s personal interests, designing a space helmet and maritime scrimshaw or an origami sailboat. An a cappella group from JFK’s alma mater, Harvard, will perform campaign songs featured in his 1960 presidential campaign.

The Presidents Day Family Festival at the JFK Presidential Library and Museum, Columbia Point, Boston, is Monday, February 19, from 10 am to 4 pm. Festival Day activities are free with paid admission, $14 for adults and $12 for students (with valid student ID). Find more admission and museum information here. Space is limited so guests are urged to register in advance to ensure admission.  


Movie Night at Faneuil Hall Marketplace 

With public schools students off for February vacation, historic Faneuil Hall is being transformed into a movie theater all week long, offering free PG-rated films suitable for family viewing. First up is the 1999 award-winning animated Iron Giant, the story of a boy who befriends a giant robot from outer space, on Monday, February 19. On Tuesday, the film is Moana, on Wednesday Despicable Me 3, and on Thursday Beauty and the Beast.

Iron Giant will be shown free on Monday, February 19, at Quincy Market, 4 South Market St., Boston, at 6:30 pm. Find more information hereTake a Green Line trolley to Haymarket.

The Book of Negroes Screening at the Loring-Greenough House

In honor of Black History Month, the Loring-Greenough House in Jamaica Plain is hosting a two-day screening of The Book of Negroes, a six-part miniseries based on a novel of the same name by Lawrence Hill. Originally broadcast in 2015, the show stars Aunjanue Ellis, Louis Gossett, Jr., and Cuba Gooding, Jr., as Black Loyalists during the American Revolutionary War who emigrate to Nova Scotia. The Loring-Greenough House is a fitting setting for viewing the series. The house was built in 1760 for Joshua Loring, an American colonial commodore in the English Navy who returned to England at the start of the Revolution. Today, it’s a museum and hosts cultural events like this screening.

Part one through three of The Book of Negroes will screen at the Loring-Greenough House, 12 South St., Monument Square, Jamaica Plain, on Saturday, February 17, from 1:30 to 4:30 pm and parts three through six on Sunday, February 18, from 1:30 to 4:30 pm. Admission is free but seats are limited, so an online RSVP is recommended. Find more information here. Reserve seats here. Take an MBTA Orange Line train to Green Street and walk up to Centre Street. 

The Loring-Greenough House

The Loring-Greenough House in Jamaica Plain, built in 1760 by an American colonial commodore and British loyalist, will screen the six-part miniseries The Book of Negroes, about black Loyalists during the Revolutionary War, on Saturday and Sunday. Photo courtesy of the city of Boston

43rd Boston SciFi Film Festival Marathon at the Somerville Theatre

Science fiction fans flock every February to Somerville for the Boston Science Fiction Film Festival, which bills itself as the “oldest genre fest in America.” In keeping with tradition, the 11-day festival concludes this weekend with a “24-hour orgiastic motion picture endurance test.” This year’s conclusion begins at noon on Sunday, February 18, and ends 24 hours later. Included in the marathon are classics, soon-to-be-classics, and yes, the occasional schlock. It’s an unforgettable experience.

The 43rd annual Boston SciFi Film Festival is at the Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Square, through Monday, February 19. Marathon movie passes are $75 and can be purchased here. Take an MBTA Red Line train to Davis Square.

2018 Oscar-Nominated Short Films at the Institute of Contemporary Art

The Academy Awards are coming up on March 4. For those cinephiles who feel like they have to see everything that’s been nominated before filling out a ballot, here’s a chance to view some of this year’s nominated short films you won’t find at your local Cineplex. For the 17th consecutive year, the ICA is screening the current roster of Oscar-nominated live-action, documentary, and animated short films. On Saturday, you can catch both animated and live-action shorts. On Sunday, the animated shorts will screen again. This year, eight films are up for best animated and five for best live-action short. Each screening is about 90 minutes.

The 2018 Oscar-nominated short films will be screened at the ICA, 25 Harbor Shore Drive, at 1 pm (animation) and 3 pm (live action) on Saturday, February 17, and at 3 pm (animation) on Sunday, February 18. Admission is $5 for ICA members and students with a valid ID, and $10 for nonmembers. Find show times and purchase tickets here. Find directions here


The Huntington Theatre Company’s Bad Dates

In this uproarious comedy by playwright Theresa Rebeck, being staged by the Huntington Theatre Company, Haley Walker is a restaurant manager and shoe connoisseur who is finally ready to reenter the dating world. From the confines of her bedroom, she recounts a series of hilarious tales while preparing for, and recovering from, one dreadful date after another. Bad Dates has earned critical raves: the Boston Globe calls it “comic gold.” The show’s run has just been extended through March 3.

Bad Dates is at Huntington Avenue Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave., Boston, through March 3. Find schedule, ticket prices, and more information here. Members of the BU community get $10 off with a valid ID, and students with a valid ID can get tickets for just $20.

Theresa Rebeck in the hilarious comedy Bad Dates

Theresa Rebeck’s hilarious comedy Bad Dates, about a woman who suffers through one awful date after another, is at the Huntington Avenue Theatre through March 3. Photo by T. Charles Erickson

Alex Pena (COM’19) can be reached at alexgp97@bu.edu.

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