Arts & Culture

Take Time For Under $10

By Natalie Selzer

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

With free admission for students holding a Tufts ID, the MFA is the perfect place to escape the finals disaster known as Tisch and just relax. Bright corridors, quiet spaces, and beautiful artwork from around the world await those who don’t mind spending a little time on the T. From ancient Greek statues to modernist photography, the MFA has something for everyone. Plus its “Degas and the Nude” exhibit has been getting rave reviews, but its only running until February 5th. This may just be the perfect excuse to pull your (accidentally napping) face out of your books and take a well-earned break.

Price: FREE

Where: 465 Huntington Ave, Boston MA, accessible by the Green Line E Train at the Museum of Fine Arts stop

When:  Saturday-Tuesday, 10am-4:45pm

Wednesday-Friday, 10am-9:45pm

Illuminations Holiday Tour

If you find yourself on campus well into finals week and in need of some good holiday cheer, consider hopping on this trolley tour of festively and creatively decorated neighborhoods around Somerville, hosted by the Somerville Arts Council. It’s a chance to get a peek at the surrounding Somerville area, promote community spirit, and fill your mind with glowing lights and candy canes instead of that final exam looming in your future. Face it, productivity has already hit a new low and a break for an hour or two might be just the thing to get up-and-running again. Plus free cookies, hot chocolate, coffee and music courtesy of Somerville Community Chorus will be provided at Somerville City Hall where the 45-minute tour begins.

Price: $10 Ticket available at Blue Cloud Gallery on 713 Broadway, Somerville MA

Where: Leaves from Somerville City Hall, located at 93 Highland Avenue, Somerville MA

When: December 17, beginning at 4:30pm

Papercut Zine Library

A fully functioning lending library that boasts over 14,000 zines, this place could keep you busy with zany, independent creativity for hours. Papercut describes a zine as “an underground publication that is independently produced and self-published, typically photocopied. People make zines out of a desire to share stories, knowledge, thoughts, opinions, and experiences.” To get into the spirit of DIY and peer into someone else’s head for a while, this is the place to go. Plus they sport a cool zine-making station stocked with a typewriter, old magazines and plenty of craft supplies in case inspiration hits. A chill place to hang out and do a little light reading that couldn’t be farther from that Econ textbook you’ve been toting around.

Price: FREE

Where: 1299 Cambridge Street, Cambridge MA (inside Lorem Ipsum Books)

When: Open Saturday, Sunday and Monday 2-7pm


Harvard Film Archive

If you want to see a movie that isn’t about The True Spirit of Christmas or Things Blowing Up A Lot, look no further than the Harvard Film Archive. Featuring influential works by filmmakers from around the world, the movies showcased here span across decades and through new, uncharted territory. The Archive has an ever-changing roster of Film Series and events, and you may even be lucky enough to go on a night when the director is there to talk about her or his work. Definitely a spot for aspiring film buffs, this is a great place to get lost in another world for a couple of hours. Plus the student discount price is hard to beat.

Price: $7 with a valid non-Harvard student ID

Where: 24 Quincy Street, Cambridge MA, on the lower level of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts

When: Check the schedule at the Harvard Film Archive website,


Mike’s Food & Spirits

It may not be the hippest place in Davis Square, but you can’t argue with the prices. Come here to grab a slice of good pizza ($2.25) and split a pitcher of beer with a friend (about $6), and you’ll still come out with money to spare.  Laid-back and unpretentious, Mike’s has probably the most elaborate menu in town and a surprisingly decent selection of beers. Grab a booth in the corner to unwind for a bit without worrying about being heard over any loud music or being bothered by that overly friendly fellow patron that can’t take a hint. Plus you can watch whatever Boston team happens to be playing a game that night on one of the multiple TV screens adorning the walls. It’s got a lot of great Somerville color—great for the people watching alone.

Price: Less than $9

Where: 9 Davis Square, Somerville MA



The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston

Whether they’re fun and whimsical, darkly thought provoking, or anywhere in between, the often-changing exhibits at the ICA are always innovative and surprising. The trick is making sure you get out to this harbor front location on Thursday night when admission is free. The building itself is worth the trip: sitting directly on the edge of the harbor, the ICA sports an entire wall of big glass windows that look out over a gorgeous boat-specked ocean scene. Spacious and simplistic, the architecture is beautiful and the location is prime. There’s even a small room that juts out over the water, with theater seating and a big glass viewing area that shows only the ocean below. It’s a great place for pretending you’re in a submarine, or just letting your mind rest. And when you’re done zoning out peacefully next to all the windows, there are tons of creative, fun, and interesting things to see in the heart of the museum, too.

Price: FREE

Where: 100 Northern Avenue, accessible from the Silver Line ICA T Stop

When: Every Thursday night, 5-9pm


Neighborhood Restaurant & Bakery

A gem of a breakfast joint, the Neighborhood Restaurant is the place to go if you’re looking for a laid-back morning, cheap eats, and endless coffee. Located in funky Union Square (which some of you may be familiar with because it boasts the much beloved Market Basket grocery store) this restaurant has delicious food at dirt-cheap prices. Owned and run by the Borges family for just under 30 years, this place is all heart and no pretention. Though it’s probably a little cold this time of year, (or maybe it isn’t?) the place has a great porch with brightly colored tables if you’re interested in eating outside. The highlights: bottomless mugs of coffee, the most delicious complimentary bowl of cream of wheat you will ever have, and you can skip the lines you might find at the Sound Bites/Ball Square Café scene. And when I say cheap, I mean cheap. A very filling breakfast for two can easily cost under $14.

Price: $7 or less

Where: 25 Bow Street, Union Square, MA, accessible by the 87 bus leaving Davis Square and going toward Lechmere Station at the Somerville Avenue/Union Square stop

When: Open Daily, 7am-4pm

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