The Boston Fenway & Longwood trek, a 3 miles self-guided tour to explore a part of Boston far from the beaten path, will take you 2 hours or more to complete depending on what you decide to do. (NB: this tour has been revised in May 2019).

You’ll walk on the south of Mass Ave, amid a great concentration of universities and buildings with various architectural styles. (details and photos under the map).

Highlights: Northeastern University, Kentzman Quadrangle, Ell Hall, gallery 360, Curry Center, ISEC, Ruggles, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Harvard Medical School, Museum of Fine Art, Isabella Steward Gardner Museum, Quad Lawn, Gordon Hall, Warren Anatomical Museum, Brigham & Women’s Hospital.

A: Once out of Symphony T. station, walk along Symphony Hall to find St Stephen St. on your left. It’s a tree-lined street with four-storey red brick apartments; many of them host Northeastern University students, or University annexes.

B: At Opera Pl, turn left, go through Huntington Ave to get to Kentzman Quadrangle; in front of you, Ell Hall; climb its stairs and once inside, turn right; gallery 360 is a bit further with works by students, or teachers or international artists.

Keep going inside the building to get to Curry Center, the heart of student life at Northeastern: it hosts a library, a cafeteria, many work stations and a open space with bold architecture. Under you, underground passageways to avoid snow and cold in winter.

C: Find an exit on the right (there are many of them depending of where you went): from there, don’t trust the map; instead, follow Curry Center on the left; then turn left; you’ll see some sculptures and, above a mural (see photo above), a pedestrian pathway to Columbus Ave. It will lead you to a parking (hence the impossibility to mark the way on the map) whose exit will be on Columbus Ave.

At Columbus Ave, turn right to find the brand new ISEC Center a bit further on your right; it’s a marvel of architecture favoring flux and movement; enter its 1st floor to admire its staircase and, here too, its open spaces.

D: Then, keep going on Columbus Ave until you see the Ruggles Station on your right. Take the stairs to enter its hall; here, a series of panels tells you the story of the neighborhood.

At the other end, you’ll be at Centennial Common, a large plazza with colorful benches and chairs; students train to walk on a wire, play balls or socialize on the lawn.

E: Once again, don’t trust the map but cross this plazza on your right; then turn right along older buildings; Northeastern University bought an industrial complex in the 1960s to expand and accommodate its 25,000 students: you see here what’s left of this complex, remodeled as dorms or research centers.

Pass some other sculptures et murals; the go to the left toward West Village Quadran, another university housing complex; finally, exit on Rugles St.

F: You are now in front of an imposing Greek Orthodox Cathedral – which can sometimes be visited, and the Wenthworth Institute of Technology, another university with approximately 4500 students.

Take Park St. more or less in front of you along the church; turn right to enter Wenthworth Campus (there’s some construction going on, pass in front of them to find the pathway). A little further on your left, you’ll find the library and on the 2nd floor (take the elevator), a gallery; it often shows Wenthworth students technical creations in 3D, and will give you an idea of what is done here.

On your right, the old part of the University, the buildings donated by his founder, Wenthworth. To visit it, find its entrance on Ruggles St.

Otherwise, keep going toward Huntington Ave. The Museum of Fine Arts will be nearly in front of you, on the right; if you decide to visit it, it’s the 4th largest museum of the USA with 450 000 artworks to be discovered; it could well be the end of your trek!

If you continue straight ahead, you will reach another large Boston museum, the Isabella Steward Gardner. It houses the private collection of this patroness of the arts; it is also famous for its interior garden and architecture inspired by a Venetian palace. Its visit will require at least two hours and could also end this trek.

Otherwise, take Huntington Ave on your left; go to the Massachusetts College of Art and Design on your right.

Once you reach a small park on your right, enter the building; you’ll find its 2 main contemporary art galleries, free and always interesting. You’ll also see that the school is a kind of labyrinth connecting 6 buildings of different eras and styles.

H: Once out, keep a little further on Huntington Ave.; then, take Longwood Ave. This time, you are in front of two medical universities, Harvard Medical School on one side and the Mass College of Pharmacy and Health Science on the other; students in white coats are working behind windows facing the street. Enter the MCPHS hall: behind its modern façade, another one much older; on the walls, unusual medical paintings.

I: Once at Pasteur Ave, turn left on Quad Lawn; at its end, you can see the imposing Gordon Hall. If you want to walk more than the half-mile left, though, turn right: you’ll be on the Longwood & Fenway trek.

If you like anatomy and skeletons, the Warren Anatomical Museum is on the left of Gordon Hall, on the 5th floor. Its treasure is the Phinea Cage skull. To know its incredible story, go and see it from Mondays to Fridays.

J: Behind Gordon Hall, you’ll find a old part of Brigham & Women’s Hospital with a nice spiral staircase in front of its façade. Enter the building, cross it and emerge not far from Huntington Ave.; or walk on the left of it. Your final destination, the Brigham Circle T. Station, will then be in front of you.

Good to know: Not many restrooms on your way unless you enter museums or universities. Same for places to sit. As for food,  most options are near Symphony Hall or Brigham Circle.

T.stop: Symphony (start) and Brigham Circle end).

Tips for the scout: they are welcome, see suggestions at the bottom of the page. Thanks in advance for your contribution!


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