Information for your visit to Boston College - the City and the Campus
It's great to see you're interested in seeing a game at Boston College, be it Football, Hockey, Basketball or Baseball. However, since BC is located in the middle of a major metropolitan area, it's a bit different than what you may be used to. Since our athletic department isn't very helpful or forthcoming on their website, I figured I should lend a hand so you have the best experience possible in Boston.
Below are sections about specific aspects of a trip to Boston and Boston College
Things to Do
Around Boston College
Visiting Fan Section
The Hotels in Boston
Boston has many different sections, and each offers something different. Depending on what you're looking for, there are a few different hotels to consider. See map below for general idea of where I suggest.
If you're looking to stay very close to campus (1), the options are the hotels at Coolidge Corner (e.g. Holiday Inn Brookline and Marriot Courtyard Brookline) (4) and the Best Western Terrace Inn (2). Both of these are only a few stops away from a subway stop close to the athletic complex. If you want to have a car, then another good location is the Newton Crowne Plaza (3), but see the parking information for a caveat.
If you're looking to stay in the heart of Boston, then the Copley Square/Prudential area (5) is fantastic, the area has some great activities, really good bars and lots of aesthetic beauty in the Back Bay area a short walk away. It is also on the same subway line as is Boston College, so no need to worry about switching trains. See below for more information about public transportation. Another option is to be down in the Financial District/Aquarium (6) area. This offers many of the same benefits as Copley Square, but involves a longer trip to Boston College. For these you should budget half an hour to an hour to get to campus via public transportation.
Other locations around Boston include the World Trade Center area (7), which has only recently been built up and thus has little nightlife or things to do nearby (except the ICA), as well as the Airport (8) which has very little to do and is fairly expensive by cab to after a night out on the town. Another area with hotels is Cambridge (9), though Cambridge is rather large and some hotels are much, much closer to public transportation than others. All of these areas are on the subway system (though the WTC area is served by a glorified underground bus), but are not as good for the 'Boston experience' if that includes nightlife and shopping districts. Budget an hour to an hour and a half to get to campus from these areas via the subway system.
Beyond these areas, you should check with the hotel to see how close they are to the 'T' as the subway is called in Boston, or how often (and how late) they run a shuttle to a T stop. Then using the MBTA page, you can find out where that would put you in relationship to Boston College which is located at the end of the Green Line.
Boston is a great 'walking city.' Most of the interesting things to do are an easy walk within downtown. While pedestrians have the right of way at a crossing, be aware that most Massachusetts drivers are reckless (especially taxis) and impatient so it is not recommended to cross a street slowly.
Boston has a subway system that makes it much easier to get around town and to the outlying areas. Bostonians call their subway system the 'T' - short for MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority). Using the maps at T-stops and online it can be really easy to get around town cheaply. Though be warned that the subway closes down around midnight even though the bars stay open as late as 2am. Note that the MBTA has fully rolled out the Charlie Card paper fare system, so if you're expecting tokens, you may want to familiarize yourself with the new system.
The easiest way to get to campus (with the least walking) is to take the B branch of the Green Line to where it ends at Boston College. This branch is incredibly slow and may add an extra 30 minutes to your travel time if starting at Copley or further. Another option is to take the C line until it ends and walk around the edge of the reservoir (see this map) on Beacon St. This will put you at the corner of the campus with the athletic fields. If you take the D branch, get off at the Reservoir stop and take the free Boston College shuttle to campus (it'll be the bus with 'Boston College' printed on the side), or you still have the option to walk around the reservoir to get to campus (the C branch terminus is only a block north of the Reservoir stop).
Taxis are a much quicker way to get around town but do cost quite a bit more. They are usually everywhere and are the only way to get home if you stay out past when the T runs. Also, if you have a few friends, it may be the easiest way to get from your hotel to the campus.
Things to Do
Boston is a city with a great history, fun museums and lots of fantastic dining. I recommend you check out the North End, which has some amazing Italian food (some of the best restaurants are on Salem St, while the best desserts are on Hanover St); the Freedom Trail for a free walking tour of many of the historic sites in Boston; the Public Garden, which is a beautiful oasis in the center of Boston; Beacon Hill, which is where the State House is but also some wonderful small streets with beautiful houses; Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market, which is a nice shopping area on the waterfront; and Newbury Street which is an upscale shopping street running the length of the Back Bay neighborhood. I also recommend (for those of age) to check out the two brewery-tours in Boston: Sam Adams and Harpoon. If you have enough time, do both.
For more things to do in Boston, read up on the "things to do/see" on Wikitravel. If you plan on staying a couple days and doing a few of the things listed, you can save a bunch of money by buying a Go Boston card, which comes with a guidebook to help you make the most of your time away from the sporting facilities at Boston College.
If you are looking to catch a Red Sox game while in Boston, start looking for tickets early as Fenway Stadium is tiny compared to most ballparks. The stadium is an easy walk if you stay in the Copley Square area. The best places to look for Red Sox tickets are eBay and Craigslist. The Patriots also play near Boston, but requires use of either the regional rail system, or a car to get to the stadium.
Around Boston College
During football games it is pretty difficult to park near campus and a high-roller donor's pass is required to park on campus. In general, your best option is to leave your car at your hotel and take the T to the stadium. For some games, BC will sell single-game parking passes, check the ticket site to see if the game you want has parking available. However, another option is to park along the median of Beacon Street leading towards Boston. Along the section of Beacon Street in the city of Brookline there are parking meters which you can park at. Some meters allow you to prepay for up to 10 hours of parking and the meters only accept coins, so if you go this route bring lots of quarters. Please note that there is no RV parking near campus that I am aware of, so I do not recommend that as a method of travel.
There is free parking available on campus for Basketball, Hockey and Baseball games. You should not have trouble finding a parking spot on campus in one of the garages or surface lots. To take advantage of this parking, enter campus from the entrance near the intersection of Lake St/St Thomas More Ave/Commonwealth Ave and the guard or police should be able to direct you to the proper parking area.
While visiting other stadiums, I've seen people sell spaces on their lawns and empty lots to fans; the homes around BC are multimillion dollar mansions and don't allow anyone to park on their yards. Also, street parking is by permit only and there is heavy enforcement of this, so if you illegally park your car it may be towed or have a boot on it by the end of the game. Use of the subway system is highly recommended for football games.
If you're staying at a hotel not near a subway stop, I recommend parking at Riverside and taking the "D" branch of the Green Line in to either Chestnut Hill and walking up the hill to Boston College or to Reservoir and walking around the reservoir (or taking the free Boston College shuttle to campus). The final option with a car during a football game is to drive to the Needham satellite lot and take the free busses back and forth.
For football games, tailgating occurs primarily on Shea Field, and around the garages. Tailgating does not occur for hockey or basketball games, and only informal dry tailgating takes place for baseball in the Beacon St garage. (see map) Tailgating passes are only offered to season ticket holders who are big donors so unless you fall into this category, do not expect to bring a car to campus and tailgate for the football games. However, most (if not all) BC fans are a pleasant bunch and will be happy to tailgate with you.
If you are looking to drink with your fellow visiting fans on gameday, your best bet is to visit the restaurants and bars in Cleveland Circle as the area is often taken over by visiting fans. Your best bets to find your fellow travelers are to go to Roggie's, Cityside, Applebee's or Mary Anns.
Visiting Fan Section
At Alumni Stadium, the visiting fan section wraps around from P-K, and will sometimes include Y for larger traveling fanbases. The student section is J-E and can be quite rowdy. At Conte Forum/Kelley Rink the visiting fans sit in section JJ&J while students sit in F&G, R&S and WW-AA.
While you're at Boston College, it would behoove you to check out the campus. I recommend seeing the Quad and Linden Lane (Gasson, Devlin, Fulton, Lyons, Bapst and St. Mary's Hall). Feel free to wander. The campus is small so this won't take long to see and is well worth the stairs (or take the elevator in the Commonwealth Garage to the top floor).
All photos copyright me. Enjoy your trip!