Boston is around two hours away from New Haven by train (as always, book in advance to get the cheapest tickets). So what are you waiting for?
Getting around Boston can be done by subway (known as the T), buses, taxis and ferries. The T and buses work much like the NYC subway and London Underground, with CharlieCards and paper CharlieTickets. CharlieCards can be ordered online at the MBTA’s website or you can ask at stations ticket bays, as this gives cheaper fares than CharlieTickets. Rides cost $2 with a CharlieTicket, or $1.70 using a CharlieCard. Alternatively, you can buy LinkPasses at $9 for a day or $15 for one week and can be used on the T, local buses and local commuter rail. LinkPasses can be bought from fare vending machines at T stations. Transfers between subway lines are free, but transfers from subways to buses are only free with a CharlieCard. Trains run from 5.15am to 12.30am Mon–Sat and from 6am to 12.30am on Sundays. Free T maps are available from the larger stations. The MBTA runs around 175 bus routes in Boston and the suburbs. The fare is $1.50 if you use a CharlieTicket or pay cash on board, and $1.25 if you use a CharlieCard. Express buses are $2.80–$4.
Taxis may be easier if you don’t know where you are going or are travelling at a later time, however they are harder to find after 1am. Taxi ranks can be found near major hotels, big train stations and in Harvard Square in Cambridge.
Most taxi companies accept credit cards, but it’s best to phone first to check. These taxis offer 24 hour service:
Bay State Taxi 617-566-5000
Independent Taxi Operators Association 617-426-8700
Town Taxi 617-536-5000
You can also rent a car, but insurance is not included and not many companies will rent to under-25s. Traffic is also crazy congested and parking is sparse, so I wouldn’t recommend driving. Boston is also called “America’s Walking City” so it is easy to get round the centre on foot and like any city, the best way of seeing the neighbourhoods is to get lost in them.
Things to do
Public Gardens and Common- The public gardens has pathways, flower beds and a small lagoon so wander all day. You can take a ride on a swan boat, after April, but they attract long lines so be prepared if you definitely want to do it.
The Common is comparable to the Green in downtown New Haven, which used to be dangerous but is now a quirky lunchtime hangout for families, students and office workers. It now has a seating cafe and wifi so it is perfect for lounging with a book or just playing sports with friends. In the winter, you can also ice-skate on the Frog Pond.
Harvard University- The iconic red brick buildings hold much more than just history. The campus features stunning architecture to rival Yale’s in New Haven. Alumni include JFK and Barack Obama, while Matt Damon, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are among the famous dropouts. Free one-hour tours are run by students on Saturdays at 10am, 12pm and 2pm.
Boston Public Library- This is now two libraries, the original which was completed in 1895, is now the research library. The extension, created in 1972, is now the general library. At the centre of the building is a courtyard and fountain, so a perfect place to linger and have lunch.
Most days you can join an informal art and architecture tour conducted by volunteers, but times change so you’re best to contact them when you’re here.
Red Sox Game- with the same owners as Liverpool FC, this is definitely a must for a sports fan. Their season runs from April to September/October, but tickets sell out so you definitely need to book in advance. This team is also apart of a New Haven rivalry, as the city splits Yankee and Red Sox fans, so your time at Southern can help you pick your side.
If you have a little time and art galleries aren’t usually your thing, you should definitely try The Museum of Bad Art. You can laugh or wonder in disbelief at some of the pieces on display here.
Maparium- The largest walk in globe, is among the city’s unusual landmarks. It is a three-story model globe, built to scale. The 608 stained-glass panels recreate the world as it was in the mid-1930s, when the project was completed. The glass allows sound to bounce of it, so whispers across the room sound as if directly in your ear. A lot of borders have changed, but it is great to see the world in such a great form.
The top of Corey Hill, shows a completely unexpected, gorgeous view of the city.
Deuxave- not cheap, but the food and ambience are well worth it for a lovely dinner. This place is sophisticated, yet relaxed.
Santarpio’s- known as one of the best places for pizza in Boston, for pretty cheap too. They also sell beer, but they don’t take cards, so you’ll need an ATM first.
The Gallows- Gastro-pub, that’s known more for its brunch, but serves alcohol and meals later in the day.
Sunset Grill and Tap- traditional American bar, which serves a list of strong ales and American pub food. Burgers are only $5 with a list of toppings and on Tuesdays they have mystery beer for $4- worth a try!
Washington Square Tavern- Neighbourhood bar and restaurant serving contemporary American food, especially recommended is the lamb lollipops.
Mike’s Pastry- renowned for making the best cannolis in so many flavours, but best to go early as there is often a long line later in the day. They also sell all kinds of cupcakes, brownies, tarts and pies. Cash only.
Sweet and Savoury South End Food Tour– You can taste local favourites from 6 south end eateries. You’ll learn some history behind the establishments and some funny stories. All food is included in your ticket and you can buy tickets online. The tour runs Wednesdays- Sundays, from April to November. It starts at 11.30am/12.30pm and lasts for around 3 hours, but check the weather before you go as they carry on even with rain. Tickets cost $59 and meeting location is stated on tickets.
Bars and Nightlife
Drink on Congress Street- a secret bar with a hidden entrance and has a cocktail party every night. Good luck finding it!
Brendan Behan Pub- Boston has a lot of popular Irish pubs, but this one is definitely recommended. Locals love it as they are encouraged to bring their own food, and the dim lighting creates a familiar ambience to a British pub.
Brick and Mortar- A giant horseshoe-shaped bar with ample bar stool seating, serving alcohol and bar nibbles, including bacon wrapped dates and deep-fried house made pickles.
Lookout Rooftop and Bar- popular since it’s debut, this new bar offers a 270-degree skyline and if you go at the right time, a gorgeous sunset view. It also serves bar bites and burgers so you can spend all night there.
If you’re going in the winter, the “Winter Street Concourse” is a secret tunnel (which sounds much more exciting than it actually is) connecting the upper levels of Park Street and Downtown crossing subway stations of the MBTA. You don’t have to pay to use it and it keeps you out of the freezing cold, between Green and Orange Lines.