Exploring Boston

There’s something for everyone in Boston and Cambridge, and a (reasonably priced) bus to get you there.

Watching whales, enjoying ballet, strolling in the North End, entertaining "little sisters," tasting from savory to sweet...

When I first applied to college, campus location was not a major factor in my decision. I did not realize how much the proximity of Wellesley to Boston would enhance my social experience! After growing up in a small midwestern town, life on the East Coast has been such an exciting change. In my opinion, Wellesley is the perfect location, combining the intimacy of a small campus with convenient access to a cultured, fun city. 

Some of my favorite memories about Wellesley do not occur in the classroom, but in the city, spending time with friends and unwinding from the busy week. This fall, to celebrate the beginning of our sophomore year, my close friends Kate Corcoran, Aliya Khan, and I (in photo) visited Flour Bakery and Cafe, feasting on warm bread and buns. Aliya's "big sister," Megan Budge '12, had introduced her to it last year and we had heard rave reviews. It’s conveniently located on Massachusetts Avenue, right near MIT’s campus, so we were able to use the Senate bus and get off at the Mass Ave stop.

We took our own first-year “little sisters” (one of my favorite Wellesley traditions) and chatted about how their years were going. Next, we walked to Toscanini’s, which is famous for having the best ice cream in Boston. I ate their signature flavor, burnt caramel, which was strong but delicious.

Food is not Boston’s only highlight! I also love shopping on Newbury Street, hanging out on Boston Common, and strolling around the historic North End. In only my short time at Wellesley, I have countless fond memories of exploring Boston with my friends. I have been whale watching at the New England Aquarium, seen the Boston Ballet perform the Nutcracker, and visited Walden Pond in Concord.  Yet so much remains that I want to do! —Sarah Herman '15, an English major from Granville, Ohio

Visiting the Gardener Museum, enjoying a best first date, interning in Chinatown, thrift shopping, studying (yes, studying)

Gardner MuseumWellesley is a beautiful campus, but being from a city myself, I can get stir crazy quite easily - so the transportation Wellesley provides into Boston is crucial for maintaining my sanity during midterms week.  I've been going into Boston at least once a week since my first week at Wellesley.  Don't get me wrong - I absolutely love Swelles and there are many things to do here, but Boston is a great mini-vacation from life here.  Usually I take shorter trips in to have a meal, often on Friday evening after I get off work, or longer trips to explore a favorite neighborhood or find a cafe to study in.  Some of my favorite excursions include: 

  1. Visiting the Isabella Stewart Gardener museum! (pictured above) It's within walking distance from the MFA and is a much-underrated museum.  The museum used to be the home of Ms. Gardener and it is incredible anyone ever lived surrounded by so many beautiful things.  It is also the site of the biggest museum robbery in history, and you can still see where the stolen paintings would have hung.
  2. The best first date I ever went on was at Trident Cafe.  They make the most delicious sandwiches I have ever had.  My personal favorite is the Avocado and Havarti Melt.  It's like heaven on a slice of bread!
  3. I had an internship my second semester in Chinatown at the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center assisting in an after-school program for grade school kids.  This was the first time I had ever been in a teacher position in a classroom, and it was such a great learning experience that I am now an Education Studies minor and getting a teaching certificate.
  4. Thrift shopping all over the city is one of my favorite ways to spend a day (wear comfortable shoes because Boston does not have the best sidewalks).  Going shopping in the suburbs surrounding Wellesley is usually limited to the giant shopping mall in Natick, which is nice, but for those with an adventurous spirit and who want to keep their wallets a little fuller, shopping in Boston is the way to go.  There are tons of thrift stores all over the city like Goodwill and Salvation Army but the most famous is the Garment District.  It's a great place to find a Halloween costume or that sweater that is the perfect combination of ugly and cute.  
  5. Studying.  That's right, I said it.  It's perhaps not the most exciting thing to put in an essay on what to do in Boston, but it is one of my most common activities.  I like to go into Boston to study because it makes me feel more productive and I like studying better in busy spaces.  Some of my favorite places to study are the Boston Public Library, Diesel CafeJamaica Pond, or Boston Common when it's warm outside, or one of the dozens of cafes on Newbury Street when I want to be close to a Peter Pan bus stop.  —Lily Harper ’15, an American studies major from Kalamazoo, Michigan

Exploring museums, malls, Quincy Market; trekking to NYC

My roommate Kellen and I try to get off campus every weekend, whether this includes a trip to the nearby Target or Natick Mall for some much-needed shopping, dinner and a movie in Boston, or just the opportunity to wander Boston or Cambridge!   It's so easy for us to get into Boston thanks to the Senate buses from campus and the T (Boston's public transportation), and we take full advantage of this. We also really enjoy going to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (the MFA) and a lovely 

little perk is that it's free for Wellesley students!  As I am an art history and classical studies major, I have gone there to just do research on a paper I have to write. The sheer size of the museum never ceases to amaze me – plus their Egyptian collection and Roman/Greek collection is pretty fabulous. One of my favorite weekends was spent in New York City. The Art History Department sponsored the trip, where we saw the annual Print Fair held in the Armory and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

There are so many places to discover in Boston: Newbury Street for higher-end shopping/window shopping and unique little shops, Faneuil Hall for delicious food - pastries and dessert, the Boston Public Garden, and Harvard Square, to name a few. It's great to be immersed in a college area with so many possibilities.  It's our goal to eat at all the food stands in Quincy Market at Faneuil Hall; so far we have put a little dent in it. So much fun!  Kellen and I can't wait to continue our Boston adventures this semester! —Kristina Bracero '14,  an art history and classical studies major from Sanford, FL

I adore being able to live on the Wellesley campus. It's so secluded and gorgeous, you forget there is an entire world out there. But just a few steps away is the nice town of Wellesley, and a short bus ride away is Boston. And, believe you me, Boston and Cambridge are fantastic places to go! I love the city and I get out every weekend I can. But it's great to be able to return back to Wellesley and focus on schoolwork. —Kellen Kartub '14, a chemistry major, is from Manhattan Beach, CA

Nourishing your inner muse, whether you're a foodie or a music geek or both

I'm a foodie. When you grow up in a Greek household, it's hard to be anything else.  Luckily, I've found plenty of like-minded (or in this case, similarly stomached) ladies at Wellesley!  Being so close to Boston has given me new and delicious ways to satisfy my appetite.  From the one-pound behemoth of a cheeseburger at Eagle's Deli near BC [Boston College] to the best bowl of Vietnamese pho I've ever had at Le's in Allston, I've enjoyed eating my way through Boston and Cambridge since the beginning of my time at Wellesley.

Another bonus to being so close to Boston: I've finally gotten to see all the bands I've listened to for years perform!  Andrew Bird and The Decemberists came last winter, and I was able to snag tickets to see both of them.  The city attracts a wide range of artists, and my experiences have shown that you can go to their concerts without breaking the bank.  You can always count on free concerts at Berklee College of Music or any of the other nearby colleges and universities, and if you enjoy classical music, you can get big discounts on tickets to the Boston Symphony as a student.  Needless to say, the music geek within has been very happy the last several months!—Olivia Kotsopoulous '14, a computer science major from Marlborough, MA

Attending a blues concert, solving calculus problem sets at a café, skating on Frog Pond

There are so many things to do in Boston; it's difficult to choose sometimes! Whether it is spending a relaxing day in a café on Newbury Street studying, or going shopping in the Prudential Center, or watching a concert at the House of Blues, there's always something to do. Having done all said things, I've really experienced the variety of activities that Boston has to offer!

My friends and I wanted to get out over the weekend and spend some time off campus. But we admitted – we have so much work to do! So what better way to spend the whole afternoon studying, than in a small but friendly café on Newbury Street. Trident Café is known for its good food and wonderful service. We ate some delicious chicken tenders and did our calculus problem sets. Before we knew it, it was already dinnertime. We headed over to Boston University – a comfortable 20-minute walk on a nice fall day – met up with friends from there, and enjoyed a wonderful dinner at “Noodle St.,” right on Comm Ave. 

Another time, my friends and I spent our evening skating at Frog Pond in Boston Common! The trees were decorated with festive lights, and though there were a lot of people skating, we had a delightful time. It was quite chilly though, so we followed up skating by getting some coffee from a Starbucks nearby. Then we proceeded to spend some time at browsing a bookstore.

If you’re looking for something a little different, Boston has options there too. One time, my friend and I took the Senate bus into Boston on a Friday night and then the T to Fenway Park. It was crowded, loud, but most definitely an exciting atmosphere. Maneuvering our way through the crowd (it was game night – and super crowded!), we finally found our way to the House of Blues, just situated behind the lights of Fenway. We were there for the Owl City concert, along with hundreds of other people. The room was filled with screaming and jumping fans, and it was a thrilling experience. Safe to say, by the end of the night, our throats were hoarse from shouting, our legs tired from standing and jumping, and our hands were sore from clapping. But it was a night well spent, and we took the Senate bus home, happily making use of the 30-minute nap.

Boston has a lot to offer. You just need to find the right thing for yourself!  It can be getting frozen yogurt from Berry Line in Harvard Square, spending the day studying at the Boston Public Library, watching a men’s hockey game at Boston University, or simply just taking a stroll through the Boston Common. There are plenty of ideas, so be sure to make use of all these opportunities!   —Amy K. Wang '13, a French major from Lexington, MA

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Students say

I love going into Boston with friends and doing a variety of activities from going to a Celtics game or the Aquarium or a performance of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.


There is always an adventure to be had, whether that's going to Chinatown for Chinese New Year's and eating at a dumpling house afterward, going through Haymarket buying as many of the delicious-looking fruits as we can carry, or running through the Common, feeding squirrels and geese (don't do it! they get aggressive!)—never a dull moment in Boston.