From HacDC Wiki
This is a page all about Hacker Travel- with guides, suggestions and links to all kinds of interesting things to do while you are away from DC. Suggestions thanks to the hacdc.org mailing lists.
I am not sure if you are limited to public transportation or not. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIT_Museum
http://www.larzanderson.org/Topics/Topic.cfm?TopicName=Home&CFID=536300&CFTOKEN=51791476 http://www.hammondcastle.org/common/index.php?com=HAMM&div=AA&nav=AA&page=A91 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marconi_Wireless_Station_Site
The BU Photonics Center has some interesting sculptures that involve light. There is a really cool sculpture on the 7th floor. There is the thing by the elevator. I forget what it is supposed to do. Understand commands? I don't remember what it did or if it ever quite worked.
Not relevant but I have always wanted to go. http://www.museumofbadart.org/
Wow! Too cool! I loved _loved_ living in Boston/Cambridge. There are lots of great geek things to do and see in Boston. Here are a few of my favorites:
1. See the amazing hacks in the "Nightwork" exhibit at the MIT Museum- geeks at MIT have been performing amazing hacks for _decades_. Besides, the MIT museum is just plain cool. See it at: http://web.mit.edu/museum/ It is cool, and kind of offbeat, and a lot of fun.
2. You can also check out the MIT campus, which is right nearby- it is a lot of fun to walk around there, and see the Media Lab, the AI Lab, etc. etc. Plus, if your timing is good, you can check out such sights as the famous "Infinite Corridor," etc. in the buildings. You might even run into folks like Marvin Minsky hanging around. If you read Levy's "Hackers" (http://www.amazon.com/Hackers-Computer-Revolution-Steven-Levy/dp/0141000511) before you go, you will get some of the history and local color.
3. While you are there in Cambridge, have lunch/dinner at the amazing "Miracle of Science" bar/grill. All of their tables are laboratory soapstone, and the menus is chalked up on a chalkboard in "periodic table" form. Very amusing. They don't serve their drinks in laboratory glassware, but the food good and the place is fun. You can overhear some very interesting tech/science conversations there. (http://www.miracleofscience.us/)
4. After lunch/dinner, grab drinks (and maybe catch some music/dancing) at the Enormous Room, one T stop up in Central Square: http://www.enormous.tv/ENORMOUS_2004/main1.html
5. Across the River (almost) you can visit the Boston Museum of Science, which has a lot of really fun stuff, but don't miss the electricity show, using some of the original "atom smashers" giant Van de Graaff generators. Very, very cool. And loud. Also check out the scale model of the solar system. To get to Pluto, you need to take the T (Green Line) all the way out to the end of the line in Riverside... (http://www.mos.org/)
6. Check out Willoughby and Baltic at their new digs in Union Square: http://willoughbybaltic.ning.com/. They might have some fun hacker-type stuff going on while you are there. Totally cool tech/arts collective.
Sheesh. I could go on forever. Hope this gives you a start- contact me if you want more of the same!
Everyone's suggestions are great! I completely forgot about the atrium at the Broad (pronounced to rhyme with "road" in case you have to ask around to find it.) I spend so much time that there that I forgot about the displays in the atrium. It is really neat. If you are down that road, you can walk through the atrium at Draper Labs, where a bunch of the hardware they designed for the lunar landings is displayed. It is actually very cool. http://www.draper.com/Apollo/apollo_at_draper.html
If you take the Red Line "T" the rest of the way up to Harvard Square, you can check out my personal favorite comic book store, "Million Year Picnic" (http://themillionyearpicnic.com/) My brother ran into Ben Affleck there- apparently it is his favorite comic book store, too. As for bookstores, check out the Harvard Coop, right around the corner there- they have a pretty remarkable selection of stuff academic and otherwise.
Okay- I promised that I would not go on and on- I am making myself homesick!
These are slightly adjacent to the topic directly at hand (already well covered)
If you are in to bookstores. (I was so excited when I found out about Reiter's here in DC). - MIT Press book store is cool - Schoenhof's, the most amazing foreign language store anywhere, with tons of useful stuff for learners. http://www.schoenhofs.com/
I enjoyed The Computer Museum, but it's gone now. I hear the Museum of Science is good, though.
Um, if bikes appeal at all, Broadway Bicycle School is cool and has a nice DIY angle. http://www.broadwaybicycleschool.com/
Adding to all the great suggestions (I'm at the Media Lab this coming Tue-Thu)...
Not far from MIT Press are:
- The DNAtrium*
http://www.broadinstitute.org/outreach/dnatrium/dnatrium This is a lobby museum on genome mapping with huge curved interactive video walls.
- Stata Center*
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stata_Center Amazing Frank Gehry building if you're into crazy architecture. There's an elevated central courtyard. During day hours, you should be able to get inside.
- The Media Lab*
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIT_Media_Lab Access to the lab spaces is controlled, but you can walk the upper atrium where there is the List Visual Arts Center http://listart.mit.edu/ and the lower atrium where you can press your nose up against the Lifelong Kindergarten Lab or even step inside if you are nice to one of the lab staff that might be inside. The Media Lab is also nearing completion of a new expansion out back http://www.media.mit.edu/about/building
I'd offer up a peek into the offices of One Laptop per Child (and Nicholas Negroponte's office), but I know they are swamped this weekend with visiting students.
While in Harvard Sq, check out the sign in one of the corner windows for the law firm DEWEY, CHEETHAM & HOWE. They're the lawyers for NPR's Car Talk.