5-Hour Itinerary is a series—based on the New York Times’ “36 Hours”—in which we serve as your guide to the ultimate Boston day-trip, stringing together thoughtfully chosen locations and activities into a one-of-a-kind itinerary.
As one of the oldest and most visited cities in the country, Boston has a reputation for its rich history, culture and intellectual atmosphere. Students and tourists alike are attracted to the city from all over the world, and the dynamic and eclectic nature of the city means there always a new and exciting adventure on the horizon.
Boston College students have a great opportunity to be exposed to some of the finest art in country, and fortunately for us, the city is accessible every day of the week. Boston is celebrated for many iconic museums, but beyond the MFA and Isabella Stewart Gardner museum lie some hidden gems to give people a fresh way to experience art and culture in Boston.
For anyone who wants to explore Boston’s art scene in a unique way but doesn’t know where to start, try these spots guaranteed to please the eye (and maybe even your taste buds, too).
1. Galleries Galore ~ Newbury Street
At the center of Boston’s art scene is one of the city’s go-to shopping and dining locales. Newbury Street is packed with art galleries, and they combine to offer a world-class experience. Galerie d'Orsay is one of the premiere galleries in the Boston and offers works ranging from Old Masters such as Rembrandt and Renoir to early 20th-century modernists such as Picasso and contemporary painters, print makers and sculptors. For a more avant-garde experience, stroll over to Gallery NAGA and see some of the city’s most cutting edge pieces of art and furniture.
2. Edible Art ~ Newbury Street
No day out in the city is complete without something sweet, so wander down Newbury Street to Amorino for a dessert that doubles as art. Amorino is a European chain that recently made its way to New England, and their rose-shaped gelato arrangements are almost too pretty to eat. Recommended flavors are L’Inimitable (a Nutella-inspired hazelnut & chocolate), Mango Alfonso d’India and the Bronte Pistachio.
3. The Underrated Classic ~ Copley Square
While the Boston Public Library has long been admired for its stunning architecture and regarded as an off-campus study oasis, it is also home to some artistic treasures. Tag along one of the free public tours, or explore the library at your own pace. The John Singer Sargent murals are a definite highlight and there are always special exhibitions going on, including the current Women in Cartography exhibit.
4. Unexpected Beauty ~ Forest Hills
If you are feeling adventurous, take the Orange Line and head on over to the Forest Hills Cemetery. Established in 1848, Forest Hills was one of the first public places for viewing art and one of the Boston’s first parks. It houses some of the most impressive Victorian-era sculptures in the country, as well as the graves of some notable figures like E.E. Cummings. The Sculpture Path, which incorporates the works of contemporary artists, reflects modern aesthetics and makes the cemetery a great place to refresh your spirit amidst art, history and nature.
5. Embrace the Ugly ~ Tappan Street
If you want to see the other side of art, stop in Brookline on your way back to BC to visit one of the three free galleries at the Museum of Bad Art. The private, community-based museum is devoted to terrible art in all its hilarious glory and has been a Boston cultural institution since its humble beginnings in 1993. The “too bad to be ignored” artwork will brighten your day and is sure to make anyone struggling with their fine arts core feel a little better.