We’ve all seen them, standing around South Station with rollerboard suitcases, hoping someone will tell them how to get to the Silver Line. Sure, they may slow down foot traffic here and there, but they’ve got a point: There are a lot of good reasons to be a tourist in Boston. So why not make like a non-native and try out some of what the city has to offer?
Get your tourist bonafides started by taking a Segway tour. Yes, you may look dorky doing it, but nobody will recognize you! Boston by Segway (www.bostonbysegway.com) offers one- and two-hour options, which thread through the harbor area and out to Cambridge and Charlestown, respectively.
If the number of Tonys handed to the American Repertory Theater (or A.R.T., as any good native knows) in recent years are any indication, you don’t need to go to New York to see some good theater. Beyond the two stages at A.R.T. (www.americanrepertorytheater.org), there’s always the Huntington Theatre (www.huntingtontheatre.org), SpeakEasy Stage Company (www.speakeasystage.com) or the wacky (and not so family-friendly) hijinks of Gold Dust Orphans (www.facebook.com/golddustorphans). Or if you’re really craving that New York feel, Broadway in Boston (www.boston.broadway.com) gets most of the big national tours. Previous hits include “Book of Mormon,” but this summer also offers “Phantom of the Opera,” and starting in September, “The Lion King.”
Or you could do something truly unusual in Boston: Go outside. That’s right, we’re right in the midst of our brief window of not too hot, not too cold weather, and guess what. Boston is really pretty, and really walkable. Take off those extra sweaters and head to the Public Garden (69 Beacon St.). You could even take a 15-minute Swan Boat cruise for a very affordable $3 (www.swanboats.com). And if you’re really trying to save money, do something that’s totally free: The Freedom Trail (www.thefreedomtrail.org) is two and a half miles of history, and if you go to the website, you can download an app for $4.99 to serve as your guide.
If you’re willing to spend a little more, you can complete your water fowl boating adventures by taking one of the city’s famed Boston Duck Tours (www.bostonducktours.com). But be warned: This is one where your friends might actually see you, because you’re encouraged to quack at people walking on the sidewalk.
If the sun and your winter-pale skin aren’t a good mix, you’re still covered (literally). Many area museums take part in Free Fun Fridays over the course of the summer, and on select Fridays, admission is free. Go to www.highlandstreet.org/freefunfridays.html for more information on the schedule. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (280 Fenway, www.gardnermuseum.org) is always a highlight, and the view from the Institute of Contemporary Art (100 Northern Avenue, www.icaboston.org) is almost worth the price of admission. For the more interactive amongst you, try the Museum of Science (1 Science Park, www.mos.org). They’re running an exhibit called “Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body,” which should provide some intriguing trivia you can use to impress and/or gross out your pals.
For the comedy fans, there are a few options. Laugh Boston (425 Summer St., www.laughboston.com) books local comics and has an open mic night, while Improv Boston (40 Prospect St., Cambridge, www.improvboston.com) has sketch, standup and improv shows five nights a week, plus improv classes if you’re hoping to get onstage yourself. You can also try the Wilbur Theatre (246 Tremont St., www.thewilbur.com), which books both standup acts and music acts. Former “Saturday Night Live” star Jim Breuer stops by this summer, as well as musical comedy act Garfunkel and Oates. On the music end, you can see Jeff Bridges with his band, “The Abiders.” The dude continues to abide, it seems, and you can, too, once you start your staycation.