Features, Tips and Trends, Tips

Here Comes the Sun: The Best of Boston College’s Outdoor Spaces

Tulips are blooming. Temperatures are rising. Flip flops are back in. The sunshine has returned, so Boston College students are flooding outdoor spaces around campus. With warmer temperatures and signs of summer on the horizon, it’s hard not to want to soak up the sun and bask in the heat waves. Whether it’s sunshine or a cloudy day, BC’s beautiful campus offers many spots to catch some rays. Here comes the sun, Eagles, and here are my favorite places to enjoy it!

The Quads of Main Campus: People-Watching Paloozas

Not only will the sunshine hit you while basking on Main Campus’ central quads, but you’re likely to run into a few familiar faces too. The Quad, the epicenter of BC, is lined with benches that are perfect for admiring the bustling campus life. If benches aren’t your thing, you can sit along the stones adjacent to Gasson Hall or throw a blanket down on the grass. And if these spots are crowded, the steps to Lyons Hall are an underrated alternative where you can appreciate the hustle and bustle while being a tad more removed. 

Just beyond Gasson lies the O’Neill Plaza. Although it’s not the most popular destination for grass loungers, O’Neill Plaza is lined with trees and stones that are ideal places to read or eat your lunch. If you prefer sitting at a table, the cloisters outside of O’Neill Library—though few in number—are great spots to work while enjoying the fresh air and gorgeous scenery. 

A Hidden Gem: St. Mary’s Hall 

The lawn outside of St. Mary’s Hall is perhaps my favorite lawn on campus. Nestled between St. Mary’s Hall and O’Neill Plaza, this spot offers a peaceful lawn with benches, beautiful budding leaves, and faint sounds of birds chirping and students chattering. It is an oasis of serenity amid the center of campus life. Personally, I love claiming a bench in the backside that looks outward toward Gasson and Linden Lane. I will sip on a peach green tea, open up my reading, listen to the echo of Gasson’s bells, and remind myself how grateful I am to call BC home. 

Grasses with Guardians

As a nod to the University’s Jesuit identity, there are a number of statues around campus that act as unofficial protectors of outdoor spaces. The lawn in front of Higgins Hall, Higgins Green, contains a statue of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus. Looking onto the hill below, St. Ignatius might remind students of the University’s commitment to a formative education in service to others, as the base of the statue is lined with his words and pillar of Jesuit ideology “Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam,” or in English, “for the greater glory of God.” 

The lawn outside Bapst Library is another peaceful open space with lovely views of BC’s gothic architecture. Here, a statue of Mary, the mother of Jesus, stands at the back center of the field. The space is still, and the lawn remains fairly quiet and is a tranquil place to reflect. 

The Lovely Lawns of Lower Campus 

For sophomores and upperclassmen residents, Lower Campus provides some underrated lawns right outside your door. The trees outside Robsham Theater are a niche spot to hitch up a hammock and find a bit of shade amid the heat. Just a few steps over, the tables outside of Lower allow you to eat your meal or catch up with a friend. If you are feeling active, Maloney Lawn is a prime space to pitch up a volleyball net or kick around a soccer ball. 

Dormitories also have green spaces of their own. Waltz your way up the steps of 90 St. Thomas More Rd. and find a lawn nestled between the wings of 66 Commonwealth Ave. It’s large enough to toss around a football and the perfect spot if you’re looking for a quieter place to sunbathe, read, or even take a quick nap! 2150 Commonwealth Ave. also has a quaint lawn in front of its entry. As it is just up the street from nearby restaurants, the 2150 lawn’s built-in ledges are a great place to eat your lunch or host a club meeting. Lastly, if you’re a lucky senior with a Mod, you have the perfect backyard to soak in the sun, barbecue your dinner, and host a cookout!

Green Spaces That Go the Extra Mile: Newton and Brighton Campuses

For first-year residents of Newton Campus, your backyard is full of lawns to lounge outdoors. Take advantage of the Adirondack chairs tucked around Newton Campus, take your dinner to the tables on the BC Law School quads, or rally your roommates for a game of soccer on the fields. If you’re feeling adventurous, ditch the bus for a day and walk from Main Campus back home. From one Newtonite to another, I promise making one trek along Heartbreak Hill will be a rewarding and rich way to take in the beauty of Commonwealth Avenue! 

The Brighton Campus is full of lush hills and green spaces in a quieter setting. Grab some Crazy Dough’s Pizza and have a picnic underneath the trees leading up to the School of Theology and Ministry. The hill of grass below the McMullen Museum of Art is the perfect place to view the Boston skyline. For off-campus residents living along Foster Street and its outskirts, I recommend walking home on the pathways through the Brighton Campus, and perhaps you might catch sight of a baseball or softball game at the Harrington Athletics Village. 

May 2, 2023