V-Day in Boston on a Budget

Whether you’re cuffed, throupled, or self-partnered, love is whipping through the air in Boston this Valentine’s Day. But the artisanal dinners, diamond necklaces, and imported hibiscus and lotus bouquets you’ll see on the Hallmark Channel aren’t always realistic for a student looking to stretch their dollar and feel the love in our beautiful but not-exactly-cheap city. 

So, CollegeFest put together a list of ten things you can do to mark Valentine’s Day without breaking your wallet’s heart. Brave the cold, snuggle up, or expand your horizons as you share the love with CollegeFest, all for $20 or less!

Image result for graffitri alley central square

Graffiti Alley Central Square (Jon Bilous)

Boston Public Library: Book/coffee date

The Boston Public Library’s historic and intimate reading rooms are a perfect place to grab a book, do some reading, and sip some coffee. Thinking of the generations of Bostonian lovers who’ve sat in the same spot is known to get the historically-minded feeling romantic–whatever does happen, make sure you maintain library noise levels. 


Brattle Theater : Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

On a frigid day like today, you can put yourself in the shoes of Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet sharing a picture-perfect moment on a frozen pond by attending the Brattle Theatre’s 10pm screening of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Named the 6th best film of the 21st century by BBC in 2016, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was nominated for two Oscars in 2004. Disclaimer: CollegeFest is not liable for any spontaneous post-watch hair dyeing incidents.


Used Bookstores: Commonwealth Books, Rodney’s, Raven Books, Brookline Booksmith, Boston Book Company

Diving into Boston’s rich world of rare and antique books is a great way to jump-start a cozy night in. Discover a lost treasure, learn something new about your partner (or yourself!), and gather all the ingredients for a toasty evening by the fire. Or huddled next to your dorm’s heating vent.

Raven Used Books (Schiller D.Yelp)

Free Museums: USS Constitution, Commonwealth Museum, Ether Dome, Waterworks Museum, Boston Fire Museum, JFK National Historic Site

Everyone’s heard of the free days at the MFA and the Museum of Science, but at CollegeFest, we like ‘free’ to mean free all the time. Learning about Boston’s Revolutionary heritage, discovering what makes Boston flow at the Waterworks Museum, or delving into some wonderfully weird anatomical history at the Ether Dome won’t cost you one red cent. This year, love yourself and increase your brain power.


Ferry Ride from Long Wharf

A scenic ferry ride around the environs of Boston Harbor will make for a uniquely instagrammable Valentine’s Day this year. Catch a perfect glimpse of the city skyline by night, or go to the bow and fly like Kate and Leo in Titanic. We can provide reasonable assurance that your night will end better than theirs did.


Arnold Arboretum

Face it, you willingly moved to Boston, so you can deal with cold weather. Snuggle together for a romantic nature walk, breathe in some crisp February air, and penguin together for warmth if needed.


Beacon Hill/Cambridge/Back Bay Neighborhood Tours

Boston’s winters may be chilly, but its neighborhoods only get more beautiful as the temperature drops. Check out these guides to plan scenic walks around the area’s best-preserved historic districts. It’s never too early to start house hunting for when you move in together! CollegeFest only recommends bringing that up if you’ve already discussed it.

Beacon Hill (Sarah Nichols)

Hatch Shell Art Deco Performance

Make the Charles River Esplanade your oyster. The historic Hatch Shell may be ‘closed’ for the season, but it’s always open to the creative energy of love. Quote Shakespearean sonnets to each other, start your own death metal band, or form stand-up comedy’s most uproarious new duo.


World’s Fair Brookline Dutch House

Do you miss the good old days? Vaudeville? World’s Fairs? Relive the turn of the 20th century at Brookline’s Dutch House, constructed for the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. You can’t go inside anymore, but it’s a lot cheaper than a romantic weekend in Amsterdam. Heart-shaped waffles not included.


Graffiti Alley 

In Cambridge’s Central Square, all you need to make your relationship tag-official is a can of paint. You can discover some of Boston’s hottest street artists, and add your own spin to this community art space. Watch out for the paint fumes.

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