Boston University’s main Charles River Campus stretches for over a mile and a half in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts. The large, linear campus is situated along the Charles River in the Fenway-Kenmore and Allston neighborhoods. BU, as it’s commonly referred to is a big school with over 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students who come to study from all over the world. BU’s urban campus is inseparable from the city of Boston, the ultimate college town home to more than 250,000 students. Students take full advantage of everything Boston has to offer, especially as getting around the city is as easy as jumping on the T.
Transportation: The closest airport to BU is Logan International Airport (BOS), which is about eight miles from campus. From the terminal, take a taxi, uber or the Silver Line bus to South Station. Don’t be late for your tour looking for a parking spot; we learned from experience that finding a parking spot at BU is not easy; with only a limited number of meters and very few garages near campus. Your best bet is public transportation; the Massachusetts Bay Transit System (MBTA), called the T, is color-coded by line: Red, Blue, Orange, and Green. The Green Line “B” train passes right through the campus, continuing from Kenmore Square up along Commonwealth Avenue on street level. Boston University’s Charles River Campus is large; get off at the Central stop, closest to the admissions office. Traveling by train, take Amtrak to the Back Bay train station.
Latest Admission Info: BU saw record-breaking applications for the class of 2022 with a rise in early decision applications. Click here for an interesting read on stats from this year’s application process.
Stay: Closest to BU, at the gateway of East Campus is The Hotel Commonwealth, situated in Kenmore Square. The hotel is often referred to as the University’s go-to hotel; with many of the staff themselves graduates of BU’s School of Hospitality. On a recent visit, we checked into the Terrier Suite, decorated collegiately with the school logo and many terrier design elements, BU’s mascot. It’s a unique room that would be perfect to celebrate your child’s acceptance or graduation. Otherwise, we suggest booking a room in the new wing. Just down the street check in to The Eliot, a small boutique hotel also on Commonwealth Ave. A short (10 min) drive from campus; many families stay at the Marriot Copley Place, Westin Copley Place or the Sheraton Boston. Looking to splurge, a stay at The Taj, The Four Seasons, Fifteen Beacon, or The Mandarin Oriental guarantees you award-winning service and classic style. For a full list of hotels that offer visitors to BU a discounted rate including the Courtyard by Marriot, Holiday Inn Brookline and the Hyatt Regency Cambridge click here.
Coffee: There is a Starbucks conveniently located in the George Sherman Union Student Center, known as GSU. (It opens weekdays starting at 8 am and weekends at 10 am.) We love Boston’s Pavement Coffeehouse, and there is one branch right at the center of campus on Commonwealth Avenue. In addition to coffee, we are big fans of their seasonal iced tea, when we stopped by they were serving a blueberry hibiscus that drew us back for seconds. There’s a good chance you’ll find tons of students studying at Blue State Coffee, just around the corner from the West Campus Dorms. Along with good coffee, they also offer healthy breakfast fare.
Breakfast: Enjoy a diner-style meal at Thornton’s, directly across from the Prudential Shopping Mall, close to Copley Place. Serving breakfast all day in their café, Trident Booksellers and Café is a popular choice over on Newbury Street. In Brookline, which borders campus on one side, Zaftigs is an old world delicatessen known for a great nosh at breakfast or brunch. Also in Brookline, Tatte’s Bakery and Cafe tempts with delicious croissants, muffins, or even better a chocolate hazelnut twist, but if you’re hungry go for the shakshuka, a Middle Eastern dish of eggs poached in a spiced tomato sauce. With a few locations throughout Boston, James Beard award-winning chef, Joanne Chang, serves up delicious pastries such as sticky buns and croissants at Flour Bakery and Cafe. (Flour Bakery should also be on your list at lunchtime for excellent sandwiches, salads, and stuffed loaves of bread.)
Lunch: Join the students on campus, at one of the fast-casual restaurants in Union Court located in the GSU, the center of student life on campus and a great place to observe campus culture. On Commonwealth Ave., BU's main drag, students suggest Scoozi and rave about take away sandwiches at Roast Beast, started by a BU grad. (Be careful, the thermonuclear sauce is notoriously deadly!) The scallion pancake sandwich might just become your new addiction at Mei Mei, featuring Chinese American street food in a cool, casual space, just a few short blocks from the central campus. In Fenway, a short walk or quick uber ride from BU, there’s a new spot to get lobster rolls and oysters now that Eventide Oyster Company, one of our favorite restaurants in Portland, Maine, opened Eventide Fenway. Also in Fenway, there’s a branch of Tasty Burger and Sweetgreen for salads, or try the new concept from star chef Jody Adams who is serving customizable pitas and Greek plates at Saloniki. Next to the Prudential Center, there’s pizza and pasta, and everything Italian at the Piazza at Eataly’s Boston outpost, a food lovers temple spread across three floors. One street over Stephanie's on Newbury is a longtime BU favorite for lunch or brunch. Also on Newbury Street, Joe's American Bar and Grill is the place to go for burgers or head to Cafeteria for a modern take on American comfort food, featuring locally sourced meals served “tray chic.”
Casual: The Fenway area, close to campus, has become a hot eating destination. For Texas BBQ, served at family style long tables, head to Sweet Cheeks from Bravo’s Top Chef Tiffani Faison. Do not even think of skipping the biscuit doused in honey butter, big enough for a meal on its own. Follow it up with trays of pulled pork or chicken served with sides such as mac and cheese or collards. Funky Tiger Mama, also from Faison, is on the same street. With fun cocktails and delicious Southeast Asian fare, it makes for a fun night out. Citizen Public House and Oyster Bar is known for bourbon and oysters, but there ’s plenty on the menu to satisfy all at this neighborhood tavern. Satisfy your seafood cravings, this is Boston after all, at Back Bay’s Select or Island Creek Oyster Bar. Legal Sea Foods (Boston's popular chain) has a location in nearby Copley Place. A drool-worthy menu of small Italian plates awaits you at Coppa, while their sister restaurant Toro serves the best tapas in town. (Toro is one of Boston’s most popular restaurants—be aware they do not accept reservations.)
A Step Up: Right in Kenmore Square, next to the Hotel Commonwealth, book a table at Eastern Standard a lively restaurant serving brasserie fare. Terra on the top floor of Eataly is a skylight jewel with a wood burning Italian grill as a centerpiece. Sushi lovers will be in heaven at small, intimate O Ya, an artful, delicious meal, slightly off the beaten track in the leather district. In Boston's South End, dine at SRV for excellent Italian cuisine. Yvonne's is a supper club meets speakeasy with a great vibe, fun cocktails and an eclectic menu. It’s across the bridge in Cambridge, but we’d drive the 15 minutes any night to graze on small plates at Oleana’s , chef Ana Sortun’s celebration of Turkish and Middle Eastern cuisine.
Local Attractions: Right on campus the Mugar Memorial Library is a must visit, a throwback with rows and rows of old books, the kind of library that will make you nostalgic for your college days. In the back is where you’re headed to see museum-worthy displays from The Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, a fascinating look at manuscripts from Martin Luther King, JFK and Robin Williams to name a few. Then get out and explore Boston - there's so much to do any time of the year! In B.U.’s backyard take a tour of Fenway Park, one of the most famous baseball stadiums in the country. Wander Quincy Market, walk along The Freedom Trail, or browse the shops on Newbury Street. You need an afternoon to see the extensive collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, one of the largest museums in the country. The charming Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is another must see, with a wing built in the style of a 15th century Venetian palazzo to hold her impressive art collection.
Students Speak: Visit any college campus, and you’ll notice that students take their coffee seriously with coffee shops as favorite places to study and fuel up. We love this BU video where the debate is whether the campus favorite is Dunkin or Starbucks.
Q and A With The Class of 2020
— Quotes From Campus —
BU FAST FACTS
Rhett the Boston Terrier
Scarlet & White
Early Decision 1 and 2
Average - 1400
Average - 30
Large - 16,198 Undergraduates
233 Bay State Road
Boston, MA 02215
(p) (617) 353-2300
(f) (617) 353-9695
NCAA Division I
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Just toured the BU Campus? Are you a Boston University student, parent or Alumni? Fill out this 2 minute survey to supplement our Daytripper University Guide for Boston University!