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A Boston Summer Bucket List

By Marni Zipper ’19 |

Gone are the days of sleep-away camp and humid trips to Six Flags. But whether your daily grind involves summer courses or a nine-to-five internship, there’s still plenty of fun to be had in the city. If you’re “adulting” here in Boston, make sure to try and squeeze in these activities before September hits and Summer 2018 comes to a close. Here are some of our favorite summertime jaunts, shops, eateries, and events to ensure you make the most out of your last month of summer.

SoWa Open Market – South End

SoWa is magical all year round, but the market really comes to life in the summertime. The South of Washington Open Market has permanent stores, open artist galleries, and a weekly vintage flea market and farmer’s market on Sundays from 10am-4pm. SoWa celebrates local artisans and vendors from May to October. From food trucks to fabulous artisan goods, SoWa is the place to be if you’re looking for fresh seasonal foods or a unique treasure.


Kayaking the Charles – Cambridge or Allston/Brighton

As overwhelmed students taking summer courses and having part-time jobs and internships, we can say from experience that it’s easy to get caught up in the daily work routine. Getting back into nature and taking advantage of Boston’s beautiful natural resources is a good way to kick back and relax, whether you’re exploring on your own or with friends. If you’re craving nature, the open water, or just a simple adventure, it’s incredibly simple to rent a kayak and paddle down the Charles River for as long as you please. With easy to access rental locations in Cambridge (Kendall Square) and Allston/Brighton, Paddle Boston offers kayaking rentals starting at $16/hour and makes the entire rental process hassle-free.


Seiyo – South End

Okay, who doesn’t crave sushi every single day? Seiyo satisfies those cravings in a major way. Located in the heart of the South End, on Washington St. off of Mass Ave., Seiyo offers a chic atmosphere with fresh hand rolls, nigiri, and appetizers at reasonable prices for lunch and dinner. With their newly opened patio, Seiyo is a perfect local spot for a girls’ night dinner or for some tasty lunchtime takeout.


The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University – Jamaica Plain

The Arnold Arboretum is a beautiful nature sanctuary in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood. The entrance to the Arboretum is right off of the Forest Hills stop on the Orange Line. Entering is like stepping into an entirely different world and being immediately transported out of the city. With large, lush green trees everywhere you look, a warm summer breeze sweeping across your face, and the scent of flowers and sweetgrass filling your nose, a trip to the Arboretum is worth riding the train to the end of the line. While picnicking is not permitted daily here (in order to keep the park clean), there are many special events at which picnicking is permitted. The Arboretum also offers guided tours, various workshops, and Bonsai Tree Pavilion open house events every month in the summer. Visit the website for a list of calendar events.


Olives and Grace – South End

Ahhh, Olives and Grace! In our opinion, it’s the most pleasant small business in the South End. This store is all about highlighting the best handmade goods, the beauty in supporting local artists, and the importance of quality over quantity. Olives and Grace’s motto is “A Curtsy to the Maker.” The store, located on Tremont St., opened in 2012 and has been providing the city with what Boston Magazine says to be “the best gifts” ever since.


Revere Beach – Revere

If you’re looking for a quick and easy day in the sun, then Revere Beach is the closest option. Located right off the Blue Line, spending the day at Revere Beach is a breeze. It’s great for swimming, laying out, or having a picnic, all while free from the hassle of a long commute. If just relaxing isn’t your thing then feel free to take a walk around and explore the beachfront shops, and don’t forget to pop into an ice cream parlor while there. Whether it’s Twist n’ Shake, Banana Boat (famous for their banana splits), or Kell’s Kreme, finding a cool and creamy snack is no hard task. For anyone spending their summer in Boston, checking out Revere Beach is a must!


Toro – South End

If you’re looking for a sweet little patio, delicious tapas to share with friends or family, and incredibly bold flavors, we recommend Toro. Prices here are incredibly reasonable, especially if you’re sharing; the atmosphere is comfortable, and dining at this eatery makes any breezy summer evening an event.


Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum – Fenway/Kenmore

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is a wonderful place to escape the summer heat. Peruse its amazing permanent collection and breathtaking courtyard. The courtyard in particular is not to be missed, especially during the summer season while the plants are in full bloom. Isabella Stewart Gardner, American art collector and patron of the arts, began the conception of the museum in 1898 to house pieces from her astonishingly large collection. After the museum’s construction was complete in 1903, Stewart Gardner spent an entire year installing every art piece and designing the museum to fit her aesthetic. Each room in the museum is preserved exactly how Stewart Gardner specified. We highly recommend taking the time to visit this museum, because it truly feels like stepping back in time and visiting a historical time capsule of Boston. Helpful hint: Emerson students get free admission!


Earl’s Kitchen – Back Bay

If you’re looking for a casual rooftop dining experience with views of the city, then look no further! Located at the Prudential Center, Earl’s offers great summertime vibes, as well as large portions of food to share (or not). With an extensive menu ranging from sushi to steak frites, Earl’s is definitely an eating establishment that will please everyone. It has great food and makes the perfect spot for a relaxed brunch, lunch, or dinner!


ICA & ICA Watershed – Seaport, East Boston

This July the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) launched their newest space, the Watershed. This seasonal space, located in the Boston Harbor Shipyard and Marina in East Boston, is a 15,000-square-foot, formerly-condemned space that has been transformed into a new cultural experience for Bostonians to take in large-scale contemporary art installations. Admission is always free for the Watershed, and is accessible by the Blue Line at the Maverick stop. If you’re looking to fill a summer day with with wild and whimsical contemporary art, we highly recommend starting at the original ICA location (pictured above) in the Seaport and then hopping on the special ferry that takes museum-goers across the harbor to the Watershed! Ticketing info for the ferry is available in the link below.


Six Flags New England – Agawam

Okay, so we take back what we said about the days of “humid trips to Six Flags” being gone, because it is so simple to get to Six Flags New England from the city. (And, come on, it doesn’t really matter how old you are; everyone loves a good theme park day.) Summer heat mixed with the adrenaline rush of a roller coaster — and maybe a quick bite of cotton candy? That’s too good to pass up. Peter Pan bus lines offers daily services between Boston and Six Flags New England from June 26th to September 4th.


Marni Zipper is a Marketing Communications major in Emerson’s class of 2019. Her professional goal is to combine her marketing skills with her passion for women’s rights advocacy. “I’d like to create marketing content and strategies based around equality and justice for all girls and women,” she says. 

Photos by Derek Palmer