Weekend fun not just for the over-21 crowd

by Beacon Staff • February 28, 2007

Every weekend, it's the same old thing: sleeping late, taking on a couple of shifts at work, putting off homework until Sunday night or just hanging out with friends. But there is a lot more to do in Boston on the weekends than wasting away in front of a Law Order:SVU marathon, and you don't have to break the bank to have a good time.

From dining out on delicious desserts to cheering on your favorite sports teams, there's a little something for everyone. You just have to be willing to look for it.

charles hayden planetarium boston museum of science

The Hayden Planetarium, a Boston staple for almost 50 years, treats people of all ages to an extraordinary lesson on the universe. It has regularly scheduled shows as well as special features. The most popular attraction is the Laser Show, which combines pop music and spectacular lights in an exciting experience.

Friday nights from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., the Observatory uses two telescopes to offer breathtaking views of the night sky. Current shows include "Destination Moon; Far, Far Away:" "The Worlds of Star Wars;" and "The Sky Tonight."

Charles Hayden Planetarium at the Boston Museum of Science.

Science Park on the Green Line.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; open until 9 p.m. Fridays.

Admission: $9 for adult ticket.

good time emporium 30 assembly sq. dr., somerville

Good Time Emporium offers a wide array of entertainment options in a casual atmosphere. It boasts both a restaurant and sports bar, along with numerous arcade games. Other activities include go-karts, pool tables, laser tag, batting cages, bumper cars, miniature bowling, and a basketball court.

It may be a bit off the beaten path (the walk from the Orange Line is a bit long), but the good times are definitely worth the commute. Some of the arcade games are not maintained well, and the idea of a bar within a family-friendly atmosphere is questionable, but Good Time is perfect for students looking for a fun Friday with friends.

Good Time Emporium, 30 Assembly Square Drive, Somerville; Sullivan Square on the Orange Line.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. (Open until 2 a.m. on weekends).

Admission: Varies, depending on the activities you choose.

new england aquarium central wharf, boston

A must-see for kids and adults alike, the New England Aquarium is the only place in Boston where you can truly experience marine life. With an exhibit featuring several different breeds of penguins, harbor seals and an array of tropical fish rivaling any ocean, the Aquarium has exciting surprises around every corner.

Most popular is the Giant Ocean Tank, a four-story cylindrical tank running through the center of the exhibits, which is home to sharks, sea turtles, barracudas, eels, and smaller exotic fish. Visitors can walk to the top of the tank and look down through hundreds of species of marine life. Be sure to check out the IMAX theatre, with the largest screen in New England. "Sharks 3D," "Deep Sea 3D," and "Lions 3D: The Roar of the Kalahari" are currently playing.

New England Aquarium, Aquarium on the Blue Line.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Open until 6 p.m. on weekends); IMAX showings begin at 9:30 a.m. daily.

Admission: $17.95 for adult ticket; $22.95 with IMAX combo ticket; $7.95 for IMAX with student ID.

limelight stage and studios 204 tremont st., boston

Located right across from the Little Building's Tremont Street entrance, Limelight Stage and Studios offers a cheap way to get out for the night and let loose. Five dollars gets you in the door (or $10, if you're on the late side) and from there, you can choose to spend the night enjoying the entertainment of others or get on stage with your friends and show off your talent (or lack thereof).

Limelight has a small menu, including pizza and light appetizers, as well as a variety of wine, beer, and cocktails for the 21-plus crowd. Studio time is also available, and the option of recording a CD or DVD can serve as a memorable souvenir. Single and ready to mingle? Limelight also runs a program called "Duets," which is a matchmaking endeavor that allows for the standard meet-and-greet with some karaoke and cocktails.

Limelight Stage Studios, 204 Tremont St.

Hours: Thursday 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., Friday Saturday: 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. (Stage available by reservation Monday through Saturday).

Phone: (617) 423-0785.

Stage admission: $5 before 10 p.m., $10 after 10 p.m.; Studio admission: $10 per person per hour.

finale park plaza 1 columbus st., boston OTHERS

Voted by City Search for Best Desserts for the last several years, as well as Editor's Choice in 2006, Finale's Boston, Cambridge, and Brookline locations are a dessert-lover's dream.

Although known mainly for their mouthwatering chocolate concoctions, Finale also serves a limited menu containing "prelude appetizers" with prices ranging from $6.95 (the Soup du Jour) to $13.95 (Antipasto for two). It includes a Cheese Plate with salami, bread, and fruit for $10.95, which isn't anything that you couldn't get yourself at Shaw's and throw together in your dorm room for less. Their dessert menu isn't cheap, either. The cherry cheesecake rings up at $8.95, while the Temptation for Two, an assortment of five different chocolate desserts, is a whopping $26.95. You might have to spend the rest of your night in with your Netflix, having blown your budget on the Chocolate Euphoria, but it's so good it's almost worth it.

Finale Desserts, Park Plaza.

Hours: Monday-Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., Friday 11:30 a.m. to midnight, Saturday 5 p.m. to midnight, Sunday 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.

local sports teams

Although baseball season is more than a month away, it's still nearly impossible to find tickets to a Red Sox game unless you're willing to hand over half of your savings to a scalper at Fenway. But if you're a sports fan who wants to see some athletic action in the near future, there's still hope.

Check out a pro basketball or hockey game at the Garden; both the Bruins and the Celtics offer $10 seats for most games, and the Bruins have a student discount as well through Ticketmaster.com. Want to see some quality college teams? Both Boston College and Boston University have high-energy sports events going on year-round. (Log onto bceagles.cstv.com or bu.edu/athletics for tickets and event information.)

So whether your idea of a good time includes a trip to the science museum or indulging your inner American idol with some Friday night karaoke, unwinding and having some low-budget fun on the weekends just requires a little thinking outside the box.