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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Tuesday, April 23, 2024

The Budget Line: Boston under 30 bucks

Boston is expensive, but it doesn’t mean a day out can’t be budget-friendly.

graphic for Justin Hong's column "the budget line"
Graphic by Camilla Samuel

We finally made it. Fall break officially starts on Wednesday, though for some, perhaps, it started as early as last Thursday. For many, it means heading home and catching up with family or friends from high school.

Not everyone is fortunate enough to go home, though. For those staying here, hopefully, you find some time for yourself, but what to do? There’s nothing wrong with curling up in bed watching your favorite show. After all, the ugly stepsister of “hot girl summer,” “rot girl winter,” is rapidly approaching. But let’s say you want to get out and explore. Greater Boston is expensive, but fear not, you can still get out and about without breaking the bank. Here’s how I’d spend a day in the city all for under 30 bucks.

We’ll start our day at Lyndell’s Bakery. They’ve got great breakfast combos. A donut and a coffee are just $3.50. Not even the Dunkin’ on College Ave. can beat that price. Next, hop on the Green Line and take it to Park Street, then transfer onto the D branch and take it to Reservoir.

Once you get off, it’s just a short walk to our next stop, the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum, for a brief history of Boston’s old water infrastructure. The huge steam engines are a sight to see and you can pay to take a Special Access Tour to climb up the multi-story engines, but we’ll skip that for today. The museum is otherwise free.

After, we’ll climb back onto the Green Line and take it to Haymarket. It’s lunchtime! Head over to Galleria Umberto on Hanover Street for some of the cheapest pizza in town. It’s just $2.25 a slice, but beware, it’s cash only! If you have two slices that brings our total up to $12.80 so far.

From there, it’s a trek to our next stop, the Snowport winter market in the Seaport district. It’s the perfect way to get into the Christmas — or “quismois” for the chronically online — spirit. It’s a great place to grab some gifts for friends or family or just to window shop. Even if you don’t buy anything, some stands have free samples, so you won’t walk away completely empty-handed.

It’s getting dark now and you’re all tuckered out. You check your watch, and somehow, it’s only 4:30 p.m. Nevertheless, you’re hungry and it’s time to head back. We’ll take the Silver Line from Courthouse Station to South Station. From there, transfer onto the Red Line and get off at Harvard. It’s just a short walk to our dinner spot: Tasty Burger.

Here, you’ve two options if you want a lot of food for cheap. If you’re over 21, make sure you’ve got an ID and your student ID so you can get the Starvin’ Student meal deal — a burger, fries and a beer — for just $12. If you’re underage, or if beer’s just not your thing, a regular cheeseburger combo is 30 cents cheaper.

Finally, it’s time for bed. Take the Red Line back to Davis. The total spent: either $29.60 or $29.30 depending on your dinner order. Not too shabby.

Okay, I’ve got a confession to make. I cheated a bit on the prices. With taxes, your total will be slightly over $30, but the principle still stands. A day out doesn’t have to break the bank, even here in Boston.