Oh, September. The air is getting crisp. Sweaters are finding their way back into your wardrobe…

and Boston has yet again been inundated with college students.

This leaves two challenges to those in the midst of it all. First challenge, to the college students: Stuff to do, places to go…without breaking the bank (Does Sallie Mae own your soul? Maybe just a part of it). And the second challenge, to those out of college, hoping to now escape the College Bubble: avoiding the college kids – there are places you’ll have to proceed with caution.

Luckily for us, Places to Go/Proceed with Caution all fit into one category.

After all, college is getting more and more impossibly expensive, and not every student has mommy and daddy’s plastic. To those of you who busted your butt for scholarships and worked summers and weekends to save money, fear not! There are things to do that won’t make you fear graduating with only enough money left to buy your cap and gown.

And, for those who want to forget or let go of the College Bubble, you will certainly enjoy these places, but here is a warning: The College Bubble may find its way in.


The ultra-popular burrito company has been Certified Green, the meat that they do use has no added growth hormones, no antibiotics, and is vegetarian fed, and the fact that their menu itself offers gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options…

For one, I have never been in a Boloco where the people working there weren’t way too friendly and nice for people whose job it is to wrap up burritos all day long. I don’t know if it’s the music, the food or happy pills…everyone is always courteous and smiling.

I once ordered a burrito unaware that its ingredients were not all vegetarian-friendly. Not only did the girl taking my order notify me before I paid, she gave me an email address to contact the company with, since many vegetarians had tried to order the menu item. I thought, why not? Not only did the company let me know they were in the process of making a vegetarian option, they gave me a free burrito!

Last, but not least: discounts. Though, let’s face it, Boloco’s prices are much better than some other city options, especially for the quality you get in return, but it doesn’t stop there! Even if you can’t get Boloco with your student meal plan, you don’t have to feel guilty. Boloco is often included in student coupon books, and if you sign up for a Boloco card, you get perks: free birthday burrito, the chance to try new types of burritos for free, and you can build points toward…you guessed it, free food.


Ok, anti-College Bubble-ites, I know you’re probably thinking ‘bookstores? How dare you stop me from going to the bookstore!’ but let’s not jump to conclusions. We’ll just give you a ‘be prepared’, that’s all.

Think about it. Most bookstores have coffee shops (caffeine!), comfy chairs (not a dorm chair!) and lots of different things to read (not your research paper!). Be warned, once you find a good book, you’re either stuck on that comfy chair until that last drop of espresso runs dry, or you may (gasp!) purchase something. I’m talking to you, freshman-who-just-paid-for-that-latte-with-all-dimes.

Come on, support bookstores! Support the magazine and newspaper industry!


Aside from the fact that many college students may want to visit the MFA if they are attending an art school or are genuinely interested in art, some schools in the Boston area are offered free general admittance for students with a student ID.

For full info on admission to the museum, community days and more, visit http://mfa.org/visit/

But wait! There’s more!

The MFA has a theater, where you can view films from all over for the cost of $6-10.


In general, the ICA is an interesting way to spend an evening, from its exhibits and programs to its unique location. Just keep in mind, if you want to avoid the college crowd you may want to watch out for…
Target Free Thursday Nights! Every Thursday from 5-9PM when admission is free. Go ahead and turn on your iPod to drown out the student reflections on last night’s episode of Gossip Girl. After all, a museum visit is a great way to relax and reflect after work.

The Otherside Cafe:

Loud noises!

The music, the food, the waitstaff…and yes, the very loud music is one-of-a-kind in this terminally hip joint across the street from Berklee. If you’re trying to avoid college students you might be in trouble, but if you are longing for some good food an earful of an entire album on full blast, by all means get to the other side of that street and wait for a table (because you’ll almost definitely have to wait)! While the prices may be slightly more, it’s not outrageous for the location or the portion of food you get. And I’ve never heard a complaint about the food, whether it be breakfast, sandwich, baked goods…and oh yes, I’ve spent more than a few minutes debating over the Brie Cheese Sandwich or a slice of Pecan Pie.

…I know, I know, why not get both?

College students – grab those student coupon books. Grab a buy one, get one free coupon to a coffee shop and go with a friend! Get a few dollars off your next ice cream sundae! You can even get deals on hair cuts and manicures, or you could always go to Blaine Beauty School for a reduced rate on hair and nail treatments. If you’re interested in theater, there are always student rush tickets and student discounts. Or if you’d like to listen to some spectacular music in one of the best sounding music halls in the world, The Boston Symphony offers tickets to open rehearsals for $19, a college card for $25 dollars (see up to 25 performances), and rush tickets for $9.

Have a Charlie Card? Use it! And we don’t just mean for hoppin’ on the B line. Many places accept the Charlie Card for discounts.

So there you have it. Even if you’re trying to avoid a swarm of college students, you may find it difficult to avoid any of these favorite places. We don’t blame you. Who doesn’t love burritos, art and music? Take advantage of some of the offers here as well – we won’t tell anyone.

About The Author

Farah is a writer and producer who works mainly with music and educational media. When she is not at work or writing about music, she plays the drums in an indie jazz band. She enjoys sci-fi, prefers to sing show tunes while she cleans, and consumes an obscene amount of seltzer water. You can follow more of her writing and music on Twitter at @LaParadiddle.

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