A Cheapskate’s Guide to Boston: Spring Break

March 9, 2012

by

Boston

The view of Boston from the Bunker Hill Monument | Photo courtesy of Flickr Commons

Stuck in Boston for spring break because of the ridiculous cost of plane tickets during March? Well, don’t spend an entire break watching Netflix, because there are actually a lot of inexpensive things to do next week! So even though a spring break in Boston doesn’t involve sipping margaritas in the ocean or showing off a killer tan, there’s guaranteed not to be any overdraft fees complimented by a massive hangover.

Sunday, March 11 is probably the first Sunday that BU students have had in a while without homework to do through the wee hours of the night. This is also why many people probably don’t know much about SoWa. SoWa (short for South of Washington) is Boston’s artist’s district in the South End. It’s also home to the SoWa Open Market, which is indoors for the winter at 485 Harrison Ave. Self-proclaimed as “Boston’s Original Art and Indie Design Market,” SoWa has something for everyone, carrying everything from art to jewelry to vegetables. Food trucks hang out for most of the day, too. And best of all, pretty much everything is reasonably priced.

If anyone has faith in a New England weather report, it’s looking to be a mostly-sunny spring break, so it’s the perfect week to explore the city. The City of Boston website offers free self-guided iPod tours of the Public Garden, the HarborWalk, and Fort Point Channel that you can download online. The HarborWalk and Fort Point Channel are highly recommended, especially for anyone who hasn’t been there. There’s plenty of shopping and great seafood places to check out. Independence Wharf at 470 Atlantic Ave. offers an observation deck with a great view of Boston Harbor. Also, try going on Friday, March 16 because the Boston Children’s Museum has $1 Friday nights from 5-9 p.m. It’s enough to make anyone feel like a kid again.

If the Children’s Museum doesn’t sound like your thing, check out the Boston Public Library website for other museum passes. All of the BPL branches offer discounted ticket passes for many of the museums, including the Franklin Park Zoo and the New England Aquarium, which anyone with a library card can reserve. The better attractions are reserved more frequently, so make sure to reserve one early. And for any who doesn’t have a library card, they’re very easy to sign up for. Just go to the library with a student ID or a Massachusetts ID, and the circulation desk can help from there.

Try getting a little exercise this spring break too. Go to the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown and climb the 294 steps to the top. Not only is it a good workout, but the top of the Bunker Hill Monument is one of the best views of Boston. Best of all, admission is free!

Still, why not get away one day? Gather up all the stragglers stranded in the city and take the commuter rail to Salem, Mass. The train costs only $10.50 for round trip tickets and goes right into downtown Salem. From there, the Salem Witch Museum is an interesting place to go at a very low price. It’s about a seven minute walk from the station, and admission is $9. After that, Pickering Wharf is a six minute walk from there. Here there are a bunch of little local shops to browse and restaurants that are good for a quick bite. Salem is a very tourist-oriented town, so anyone can find something fun to do just by walking around.

Splurging a little on a day trip to New York City is always an option too. Megabus, Bolt Bus, and the Fung Wah bus are the best options. They all have their setbacks though, depending on the type of trip you want. Bolt Bus and Megabus both go into midtown Manhattan, but the Fung Wah goes into Chinatown, which would mean taking the subway to more attractions. However, the Bolt Bus and the Megabus get very expensive on the weekends, whereas the Fung Wah is always $15 one way. Megabus is the best option for any plans during the week because they have one way tickets as low as $10.

But the best part about this spring break is that it goes out with a bang. Sunday, March 18 is the famous annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in Southie, a Boston tradition since 1901. It starts at 1 p.m. at the Broadway T station, which is on the Red Line, and it ends in Andrew Square. Go early to get a good spot, wear a lot of green, and be prepared to experience a crowd full of drunken revelers. It will definitely be one of the best free events in Boston not only of the week, but probably the entire year.