Boston may not be the warmest place to spend spring break, but it’s full of exciting activities and places to explore all year round. As the days get longer and winter weather makes its slow exit from the city, there are more and more opportunities to see what makes Beantown special. Whether you’re currently enrolled at Emerson College or just visiting, we’ve compiled a list of five local favorites to check out during your spring break in Boston. Grab your coat and let’s check them out!
1. Visit the Charles River Esplanade
Spring break in Boston would be incomplete without a trip to the Charles River Esplanade. Traversing the three miles of paths that make up the Esplanade is a favorite activity for students, locals, and visitors alike. With beautiful views of the Charles River and Cambridge across the water, it’s a perfect place to spend an afternoon in the fresh air. Lace up your walking shoes, grab a Bluebike, or just park yourself on a blanket to people-watch in one of Boston’s classic spots.
2. Check out the local museums.
Maybe you want to spend your break diving into Boston’s art scene – luckily for you, there are plenty of options! The Museum of Fine Arts is a local staple, featuring everything from ancient artifacts to art of the 2000s in its Fenway location. If you prefer your art on the funky side, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Seaport is the place for you. Or maybe you want to explore the former home of a Boston socialite at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, where you can learn about the still-unsolved heist of 1990 that saw 13 paintings disappear from Gardner’s extensive collection. Wherever you go, don’t forget your student ID! Students receive heavily discounted or even free admission at Boston’s many museums.
3. Shop and dine at Bow Market.
Tucked away in Somerville’s Union Square is Bow Market, a warehouse-turned-mini-mall full of local shops and eateries. Shop vintage clothes and vinyl records, catch a show at the comedy club, grab a local beer and South American comfort food – or maybe all of the above! For the literary among us, don’t miss out on a trip to Wild Child, a bookstore and natural wine seller that focuses on books by women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ authors.
4. Explore the Arnold Arboretum.
The charming neighborhood of Jamaica Plain is home to the Arnold Arboretum, one of the best places to escape into nature without leaving the city. Fondly described as a museum of trees, the Arboretum is both a free park and the home of botanical research for Harvard University. Plants from all over the world fill these 281 acres, all tagged so you can research them on the spot. Get ready to be transported out of the urban sprawl as you wander the Arboretum’s paths for hours. When you’re ready for a break, it’s a short walk to JP’s Centre Street, packed with local restaurants and even the flagship location of J.P. Licks, a favorite Boston ice cream shop.
5. Grab Italian food in the North End.
The North End is Boston’s Little Italy, a historic district on the edge of the harbor with some of the best food in the city. Among the narrow, cobblestone streets you’ll find Italian restaurants galore, any of which is a great choice for dinner after a day of exploring. If a late night coffee is more your style, head to Cafe Vittoria for traditional Italian brews until midnight. Or get in line at Mike’s Pastry, Boston’s favorite spot for a delicious cannoli – a must have in the North End. History buffs can even visit some of the city’s oldest buildings, like the Paul Revere House, and walk part of the Freedom Trail, which maps important landmarks from the American Revolution.
However you like to spend your time, Boston has you covered. We hope these suggestions help you plan the ultimate Boston spring break! And if you’re visiting from out of town, don’t forget to stop by Emerson. You can schedule an in-person tour with a current grad student or peruse the campus virtually.