by Marissa Wu
photography courtesy of Amanda Willis
While this beloved neighborhood is not technically in Boston proper, it’s only a 20 minute walk, so the city (and BU) can claim it as their own. Whether you’ve got a free Saturday or just a few hours, Coolidge Corner has something to offer.
Take a stroll down a number of streets: Beacon from South Campus, Babcock and Pleasant from West. If the weather is dreary, the C line is the fastest, but you could also catch the 57 to the 66. A walk, however, is just as easy. It’s a shame to arrive in Coolidge Corner with anything else but an empty stomach.
Start at Union Square Donuts. The Brookline outpost is a short walk past the famed Zaftigs. Offering flavors like Maple Bacon, Sea Salt Bourbon Caramel, Pumpkin Spice and Blueberry Jam (plus vegan options), it’s the perfect place for an early-morning snack to tie you over while you wait in line for brunch at Zaftigs.
One word here: latkes. Zaftigs serves them well, with typical fixins, but you can also order them with smoked salmon, chilli or cheddar cheese. They also serve them on a benedict (who needs the English muffin?). Not a potato pancake fan? The menu is extensive so it’s hard to go wrong.
Work off the food coma with an exercise of the mind at Brookline Booksmith. This indie bookseller was founded in 1961 and continues to serve the bookworms of Boston. There’s a great selection of both fiction and nonfiction, plus books on the arts, food, religion and so on. The basement also houses a used-book depot, where you can purchase mystery bags of books by genre. You’ll also find beautiful gifts, stationery and other paper goods.
There are a couple lunch options. The ever-popular Paris Crêperie serves up delightful takes on the French classic. The new Gen Sou En Tea House serves up Japanese favorites like the soufflé cheesecake, katsu sando and donburi. It’s an open space with plenty of sunlight, and you’ll often see laptops keeping teacups company.
Of course, a trip to Coolidge Corner is incomplete without a visit to the Coolidge Corner Theater. It features indie, international, cult and classic films, along with popular new releases.
Finish the afternoon with a trip to mini-food emporium Alium Market. It offers artisanal foods—anilla fleur de sel caramels, imported chocolate, grapefruit marmalade beetroot ketchum—along with a pleasant cafe menu with a New York vibe. Munch on Spanish olives, or sip a gazpacho. Cold days favor the classic hot cocoa accompanied by a fruit buckle. And if you’re feeling really fancy, charcuterie boards are available (and they stock a wide range of cheese). Take it to go and picnic on the lawn of the United Parish, where you’ll find a jolly set of rainbow chairs and lovely shade.
Grab a slice (or two, or three) of pizza at Otto’s and then amuse yourself at Eureka Puzzles, which stocks games, funny finds and—you guessed it—puzzles. Then, begin your stroll down Beacon Street back to campus…and maybe stop for bubble tea at T Baar along the way.