City life is undeniably a large part of the culture at Emerson. Students have easy access to Boston’s parks, cultural and historical sites, diverse neighborhoods, and an abundance of unique dining and shopping options. And with the number of colleges and universities in the Greater Boston area, the city is always buzzing with activity. Emerson’s central urban location allows community members to fully take advantage of living, working, and playing in Boston and its environs.
Since Boston is one of the nation's oldest cities, you are almost always a stone’s throw from a historical site. About a mile away from campus, in Copley Square, is the Boston Public Library, the nation’s first public library. Not only is the beautiful building a perfect spot for studying, but students—full-time Massachusetts residents or not—can apply for a library card. For history bluffs, the Freedom Trail starts just across Boston Common, which is steps from campus. Following the trail not only takes you on a nice walk through the city but also comprehensively highlights major historical events that took place in Boston during the American Revolution. Additionally, the Black Heritage Trail is about a half mile from campus and features historical sites that were important to Boston’s Black community in the 1800s.
Film fans will be frequent patrons of the independent movie theaters in the Boston area, which screen current independent films and repertory series, facilitate talk-back seminars, and host special events. And, with a valid student ID, students can often receive discounts. The Brattle Theatre in Cambridge offers $2 off tickets for students and the Coolidge Corner Theatre offers $3 off tickets for students Sundays–Thursdays. But, you don’t even need to leave campus to watch films on the big screen; during the semester, the Bright Lights film series screens free films that feature diverse programming focused on filmmakers of color, women filmmakers, and queer cinema.
The Boston area has nearly 60 museums, sure to pique all interests. And students can take advantage of free or discounted admission at many of them. Art fans will not want to miss the Museum of Fine Arts for its incredible collection of almost 500,000 pieces—and with your Emerson ID, you get in for free. The Institute of Contemporary Art and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum also offer free admission to students. History buffs will be interested in viewing artifacts from the John F. Kennedy administration at the JFK Presidential Library and Museum, where students also get a discount on admission.
Boston has no shortage of live music venues, attracting musical acts and fans from all over New England and beyond. Local music schools such as the Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory offer free performances throughout the year. The city’s highly revered Boston Symphony Orchestra offers a “student card,” a one-time purchase that gives students admission to most shows for no further cost. The Boston Philharmonic also provides discounted tickets for students.
In Boston, all residents live no more than a 10-minute walk from a public park. And Emerson students have the privilege of living and studying right across the street from the nation’s oldest public park, Boston Common. Over the summer, the Common hosts many free events, from Emerson’s UnCommon Stage, showcasing local talent, to Shakespeare on the Common, presented by the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company. Nature-loving students will find the Public Garden to be a peaceful escape from the city. And a little less than a mile away from campus is the Charles River Esplanade, a perfect place to watch the sunset, go on a jog, or enjoy a picnic.
Boston’s many theater companies bring touring Broadway shows and off-Broadway acts to New England. Our campus is located within the city’s Theatre District, home of a thriving live performance scene. The College’s own ArtsEmerson presents the best in contemporary world theater and also hosts play reading clubs and conversations about social issues. Day of, Emerson students can obtain free rush tickets to any ArtsEmerson show, or tickets can be reserved in advance for $10. And, during the academic year, students can support their peers at Emerson Stage productions, which are presented right on campus.