Five safe ways to say goodbye to friends before the spring semester ends

By Lucia Thorne, Assistant Living Arts Editor

As the end of the spring semester rapidly approaches, conversations with friends about who’s moving out and when are already among us. While positive COVID-19 tests on campus have risen significantly in recent weeks, remaining COVID-safe these last few weeks is crucial to protecting the community’s health. 

Here are a few ways to safely say goodbye to your friends before summer kicks off. 

1. Explore the city

Walking aimlessly with friends can always lead to some great memories. Thanks to the location of the Emerson campus, you can choose any direction and just walk, or take the T, and you’ll find a place to eat and something to do. The North End, Chinatown and Newbury Street, have plenty of restaurants and shops that are conveniently close to campus. And for those who are a bit tired of exploring so close to campus, Harvard Square is just a 15 minute T ride away. 

But if you’re someone who likes to plan ahead, walking the Freedom Trail can always lead to some great sight-seeing (and wonderful restaurants too). For health reasons, remember to wear a face mask when sightseeing around Beantown, and avoid dense crowds when possible.

2. Go to a local museum

Boston has plenty of museums to choose from, each promising a different experience.  The Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (both of which are free for Emerson students), the Museum of African American History, the New England Aquarium and the Museum of Science are just a few of the city’s incredible museums that are absolute must-sees. Be sure to check the museums’ websites before showing up in person, as some museums now require reserving tickets in advance to monitor capacity levels.

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However, if you’re not comfortable visiting an indoor museum, the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, Harvard’s free botanical garden, is the perfect place to go. 

3. Go for a bike ride

Walking around Boston can be a bit tiring, so you can always opt for a bike ride. Riding through the city from the Charles River Esplanade to Commonwealth Ave, you and your friends can sight-see while getting in some exercise too. You can rent a Blue Bike for $2.95 for 30 minutes, plus $2.50 for every additional 30 minutes you have the bike. Also, if you’re on your way to a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, you can rent one of the bikes for free. It also doesn’t hurt to bring some sanitizing wipes to clean the bikes before and after you ride.

4. Go see a movie

As we saw recently, the weather can play a key factor in whether or not any of these activities are doable. So, in case of another “freak” weather incident like last week’s April snow, going to see a movie is a safe bet for a rainy or snowy day. Luckily for us, there’s an AMC right down Tremont St, and they offer $5 movies on Tuesdays. 

While private theater bookings are in high demand, and often completely sold out, seeing a ridiculous movie like Godzilla v. Kong can be a great way to spend time with friends (or to seek refuge from the weather, if need be). Plus, you can reserve seats through the AMC app ahead of time to ensure proper social distancing from other moviegoers. Also note that patrons must wear masks in the theater when they are not actively eating or drinking. 

5. Have a picnic

Going for a picnic in the springtime is a classic way to hang out with friends, and really, gathering outdoors is one of the only ways to safely spend time together during a pandemic. While the Common and the Public Garden are right next to campus, going to the Charles River Esplanade or Harvard Square can also be great settings for your next picnic. There is truly nothing like blasting music with friends while watching the sunset with drinks and a nice charcuterie board. 

The past two semesters have been defined by socializing while adhering to COVID safety measures, and our goodbyes should follow these rules as well. It’s our hope that we can return to campus in the fall, vaccinated, and be able to say hello without worrying about distance.