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Six Ways to Enjoy the Boston Spring Before School Lets Out for the Summer

By Kit A. Terrey, Contributing Writer

Finals week is fast approaching, and, along with the anxiety of exams and final papers, the season also brings the promise of freedom; warm weather beckons to be enjoyed outside and off campus. Here are some affordable spring activities to take advantage of in your few weeks left in Boston. As the academic year closes, try to indulge in the beauty that Boston has to offer.

1. The Charles River Esplanade

Established in 1910 as an extension of the Emerald Necklace — a lattice of parks and green spaces scattered throughout Boston — the Charles River Esplanade traces the banks of the Charles along the Back Bay. A footpath and bike trail carve along the stretch of greenspace, and benches perch in the shade provided by the Esplanade’s over 1800 trees. Visitors can watch sailboats cruise along the Charles, admire the park’s blooming cherry blossom trees, or just stroll along one of Boston’s most beautiful landmarks.

2. The Arnold Arboretum

The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University spans over 250 acres in Boston’s Roslindale and Jamaica Plain neighborhoods and is home to over 2,000 different species of plants. Free and open to the public every day, the Arboretum boasts multiple hills overlooking Boston, in addition to a Bonsai Garden, a rose collection, and two Franklin trees, currently facing extinction. On May 12, the Arboretum will offer visitors the rare chance to picnic on the reserve’s greenery in celebration of Lilac Sunday — an event honoring the blossoming of the Arboretum’s lilac collection.

3. The SoWa Open Market

On Sunday, May 5, the SoWa Open Market in Boston’s South End will open for the season. With vendors selling everything from handmade homeware to fresh produce and food trucks lining the stalls, the market is the perfect place to spend a warm spring afternoon. Located next to the market’s brick courtyard are the SoWa Art Galleries and Artist Studios— open throughout the year — where over 80 artists display their work. In the basement of the warehouse that holds the Artist Studios is the SoWa Vintage Market, a maze of clothing racks and antique furniture remains open every Sunday throughout the year.

4. Coolidge Corner

Brookline’s historic Coolidge Corner includes a wide array of local businesses lining Harvard Street, from independent bookstores and vintage shops to a board game café. The stretch also holds numerous restaurants, charming buildings, and the Coolidge Corner Theatre — an Art Deco movie theater that has been open since 1933. The theater plays films throughout the week and, on weekends, hosts After Midnite specials in which horror movies are screened at midnight.

5. The James P. Kelleher Rose Garden

Not far from the Harvard Medical School Campus lies the Back Bay Fens, a small twisting park that circles Boston’s Muddy River. The park’s World War II-era victory garden, sporting fields, and the James P. Kelleher Rose Garden attract tourists and college students alike to this urban patch of nature. The Rose Garden holds over 1,500 roses under delicate trellises and along a garden path. A fountain bubbles in the garden’s center. The Rose Garden often reaches full bloom in early June.

6. Student Discounts at Local Museums

Boston is home to various world-class art museums, some of which — including the Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the Institute of Contemporary Art — offer free admission to university students with college IDs; the Gardner and the ICA require college students to reserve timed entrance tickets in advance. Upon entrance, visitors to the museums can admire the work of leading artists and marvel at the institutions’ diversity of exhibitions, from the Gardner’s Hanging Nasturtiums to the multimedia spectacles showcased within the ICA’s walls.

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