Boston by Nathan Lanier
Lisa Gerard gives us some insider knowledge on Boston, Massachusetts...Known as the “Capital of New England,” Boston, Massachusetts, is the largest city in New England and one of the oldest cities in the United States. I began my college career in Boston, and I can honestly report that there is nothing quite like it.Why should I choose Boston for my year abroad?
The greatest thing about New England are its seasons; you experience the coldest of winters, a fairly warm summer, and the most gorgeous of springs and autumns possible. Coming from Texas, where it is constantly and uncomfortably hot, Boston was a dream come true, and the history and culture that came along with it made my experience all the better. The city has come a long way since it was founded in 1630; and its population, originally Puritan colonists, is largely made up of university students as there are more than 100 colleges and universities in the Greater Boston Area (of which 250,000 students attend school in solely Boston and Cambridge). The city boasts big university names such as Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston College, Tufts University, Boston University, and Berklee College of Music. The mass of university students combined with fashionable yet affordable bars, shops, clubs, and an infinite number of university parties, make for an exciting college experience; the sky is the limit to what this city has to offer. Each university campus has its own respective personality and feel, yet all provide a good balance of 'homeliness' and city life without being as overwhelming as one might feel in, say, New York or Los Angeles. And, of course, efficient public transportation and university-run buses both ease the burden of getting around the city and its suburbs.
In terms of architecture, Boston provides a healthy mix of old and new. From H.H. Richardson’s Trinity Church in Copley Square to Kallman, McKinnell, & Knowles’ Boston City Hall to the grand Charles Bulfinch’s Massachusetts State House to I.M. Pei’s John Hancock Tower, one can truly experience a survey of American architecture just by promenading through the city. And if that isn’t enough, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts prides itself on having one of the most extensive collections on this side of the world, in addition to being an architectural treasure of its own.
But art and architecture aside, Boston is a beautiful city with fabulous restaurants run by world-renowned chefs, impressive shopping (malls, franchises, and artisan boutiques), and top-notch universities, all of which are, in my opinion, unmatched by the rest of the United States. The history of the city is something that Bostonians and New Englanders are proud of, something that you are bound to become a part of during your year (or even days) you will spend there. The perfect combination of the urban and the quaint, Boston is the kind of place where you don’t mind the long and cold winters because you are so distracted by the profusion of cultural, scenic, and generally just plain exciting distractions it has to offer. If you are looking for the most authentic of college experiences, look no further: Boston has everything and more than you could want for, not only for students, but also for interns and travellers alike.
1. Museum of Fine Arts (MFA)
One of the largest museums in the United States, the MFA holds over 450,000 works of art, including one of my personal favorites, Paul Gauguin’s Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?
2. Newbury Street
A good mix of high-end and everyday shops, Newbury Street is the go-to place for a “shop day,” not only to shop but also enjoy the scenery and New England’s seasons.
3. Boston Common / Frog Pond
One of the oldest city parks in the US, the Boston Common features the Massachusetts State House, Boston Public Garden, Soldiers and Sailors Monument, and Brewer Fountain (a 22-foot tall bronze fountain known to be the only surviving copy of its original from the 1855 World Fair in Paris). After freezing over in the winter, the Frog Pond is a popular place for university students and families to ice skate.
4. Harvard Campus & COOP
Everyone knows Harvard University, but not everyone knows how stunning the campus is. The Harvard COOP (university bookstore) is a great place to get lost in a good read.
5. Fenway Park
Considered a right-of-passage in Boston, attend a Boston Red Sox game at the phenomenal stadium the team calls home.
MY FAV RESTOS:
1. Fire & Ice (Grill & Bar—Mongolian BBQ-esque)
Signature dish: All you can eat! Choose from meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, and sweet & spicy sauces and create your plate to be grilled on the biggest grill in the US! Desserts and drinks are delicious as well.
2. Legal Sea Foods (Seafood)
Signature dish: Without question, Legal’s Signature Crab Cakes (jumbo lump crab, mustard sauce, and seasonal salad)
3. Friendly Toast (Diner)
Signature dish: I could live on solely breakfast foods. Pancakes (blueberry, chocolate chip, or pumpkin) or the “Hansel-&-Gretel Waffle” (a gingerbread waffle topped with pomegranate molasses and whipped cream) –Rated “Best Breakfast” in Boston!
4. Douzo (Modern Japanese)
Signature dish: Sushi: Torch Roll (avocado and cucumber wrapped with seared yellowtail, yuzu sauce, and black tobiko); Entrée: Salmon Teriyaki (grilled salmon filet glazed with teriyaki sauce—simple, but tasty!)
5. Toscanini’s (Ice Cream)
Signature dish: Classic Vanilla, Cocoa Mint Chocolate Chip, or Coconut. Also serves coffee, teas, and breakfast. Said to be “the world’s best ice cream” by The New York Times.