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.
Much like its namesake suggests, Coolidge Corner is quiet. Neither boasting nor pretentious, Coolidge Corner often flies under the radar, not acknowledged for the gem that it is. However, once you discover and experience its charms, you’ll never want to leave. Below is a list of the area's most enticing restaurants and activities to fill an afternoon or evening.
1. Oath Pizza
By balancing innovation, quality, and gimmickry, Oath Pizza does the seemingly impossible. If you’re feeling like you want something out of the ordinary, you can order one of their "highly decorated pizzas," which will satisfy whatever craving you have. Or, if you’re a traditionalist, you can go for a classic cheese, pepperoni, or veggie pie. The kicker, though, is that if none of their predesigned options float your boat, you can customize a pizza however you’d like, and they’ll make it for you on the spot. PSA: keep an eye out for the dessert pizza.
An art-house theatre built in 1933 in the art-deco style that plays quality indie and classic films, the Coolidge Corner Theatre makes going to the movies an experience again. When I went to do research on this article, I was lucky enough to attend a screening of Phantom Thread in 70 mm. By sitting in a work of history while watching a movie, you feel as if you’re watching a piece of history. The four beautifully decorated theaters add an elegance to the moviegoing experience, to the point where every time you go you feel like you could be watching the next Citizen Kane or Casablanca. If you’re a night owl, you can attend their After Midnite series, which plays a mix of esoteric, cult, and horror films, starting at 11:59. It’s the perfect place to take your friends to watch The Room (February 16 at midnight), to take a date to see When Harry Met Sally (February 14 at 7 p.m.), or to catch up on the Oscar nominees before the award show.
Conveniently located right across the theatre is Brookline Booksmith, a charming bookstore bound to have something you won't be able to put down. Check out the basement for affordable used books and hidden gems, or go upstairs and browse the shelves until you find something you like. Having trouble? All you have to do is ask, and one of the helpful employees will find you the perfect book. If reading isn’t so much your thing, you can also browse the myriad doohickeys in the back-left area of the store, where you can find amusing and quintessentially Bostonian additions to your desk or fridge.
Between the movie and the bookstore, you’ve managed to work up an appetite. Lucky for you, food establishments are not few and far between in Coolidge Corner. This small creperie takes your expectations of crepes (and menu humor) and surpasses them by leaps and bounds. If you’re feeling responsible, go ahead and order a savory crepe, like the Storming of the Basil. I, personally, recommend the Ruth Bader Cinnsburg, a crepe inspired by the Supreme Court’s oldest justice, and her food counterpart, the Cinnamon Bun. But whatever you choose to order, do not skip the Nutella hot chocolate.
5. Trader Joe’s
What truly sets Coolidge Corner apart as one of Boston’s great gastronomical go-tos isn’t Lee’s Burgers, an old-style burger joint with good food and even an even better milieu. Nor is it Bottega Fiorentina, home to some of the best pasta in Boston. No, what makes Coolidge Corner amazing is its Trader Joe’s. Sure, it's important to break outside the "BC Bubble," but at the end of the day, we spend most of our time here at Boston College. So why not take some of Coolidge Corner home with you instead? We all know that Trader Joe’s is snack food’s most courageous (and successful) pioneer, so why not make your dorm room more enjoyable with some Cat’s Cookies, Dunkers, or Cookie Butter? Or, if you have a kitchen, invite some friends over and make them a rustic pasta dinner. Whatever it is, Trader Joe’s will be there for you, through and through.
Coolidge Corner is a quaint neighborhood within the bustling city of Boston. It offers delicious food and fun activities, perfect for when you need to slow down for an afternoon and enjoy a lesser known corner of the metropolis. We hope this guide helps you embrace and explore the area!