🤑 Freebies to ring in spring

Plus: 🐀 If you can’t beat them …

It’s Wednesday, Boston.

🥯 Everybody knows that good bagels aren’t just in NYC anymore … and if you’re wondering about the best bagels around here, Boston.com readers have a few suggestions

👀 What’s on tap today:

  • Mass.’ first climate bank

  • The year of shutdowns continues

  • A very sexy tennis court

Up first…

MAY FREEBIES

Ring in the spring, freebie-style

Image: John Tlumacki/Globe Staff. Illustration: Gia Orsino.

The sun is shining, the trees are blooming, my nose is running: Real spring has entered the chat. And with it, it’s brought tons of free events to help us remember why we put up with winter in the first place.

Here’s what to add to your May social calendar without spending a dime:

🏋️ Squat, kick, and burpee your worries away. Seaport Sweat, Boston’s biggest free workout series, is back for its ninth season. Taught by award-winning instructors, you can take everything from pilates, to Zumba, to strength and conditioning, even kickboxing, all on the Seaport Common. The free, public classes are open to all fitness levels. Check out the class schedule and sign up here.

🌸 Stop and smell the lilacs. You can sniff all 400+ of them at the Arnold Arboretum’s iconic Lilac Sunday on May 12 (also Mother’s Day, if you’re looking for plans). It’s the perfect day to take a guided lilac tour, snap some pics, and bring lunch — it’s the only day of the year the Arboretum allows picnicking. Just a heads up: Thousands of people are expected to attend, so try to take public transit to avoid the parking headache. 

🎸 See Boston Calling artists without the Boston Calling price tag. High Street Place is hosting a Boston Calling Night on May 3, arguably the next best thing to the festival. You’ll get to hear live sets from several 2024 artists like Bad Rabbits and ToriTori!, and enter to win a pair of real Boston Calling tickets. Just cause those tickets aren’t in your budget doesn’t mean they can’t be in your future.

🖼️ Spend Memorial Day in K-Pop heaven at the MFA. Friendly reminder that Mass. residents can get into the MFA for free as part of the museum’s annual Memorial Day Open House on May 27, which also includes access to the special exhibit “Hallyu! The Korean Wave.” You’ll be able to create your own neon art, channel your favorite K-pop idol in the “Hallyu!” photo booth, and learn how to make kimchi. Note: Tickets are first come, first served.

❤️ Remind yourself why you love where you live. A chunk of Dorchester Ave. between Ashmont and Linden Street will shut down to cars from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Sunday for Open Streets Dorchester; Somerville Porchfest, where locals share their love of playing and listening to music on their stoops, is back May 11; and you can hit the Esplanade on May 19 for a community day full of movement (think: a 5K run/walk), music, food, and games.

TOGETHER WITH TOAST

Boston bites that get it right

📲🍔 Hungry for a hassle-free eating experience? Find your new favorite spots with Toast. From the irresistible bagels at Black Sheep Bagel Cafe in Cambridge to the mouth-watering Italian dishes at La Morra in Brookline, restaurants that use Toast make dining (or taking out) easy. Download the app (or if you’re a restaurant owner, book a demo) today and taste the difference yourself! 

CITY

Quick & dirty headlines

Image: Michael Conroy/AP

♻️ Mass. is giving people cash to make their homes greener. The state’s new Community Climate Bank has officially launched, with the goal of giving local homeowners low-interest loans to make their homes more climate-friendly through upgrades like solar panels, EV charging stations, and even electric stoves. The goal is to hand out about 1,000 of these loans over the next two years, and to qualify, you just have to be making under 135% of the area’s median income.

🛒 Food assistance nonprofits are feeling the squeeze. The truly wild post-COVID increases in grocery prices have put a major strain on pretty much everyone with a stomach, leaving local food assistance nonprofits to pick up the slack. As food prices have risen nearly 25% since 2019 (and here in Mass., 6% in the past year), programs like the Greater Boston Food Bank and the Mass. YMCA have seen a huge increase in need. The food bank is now serving about about 600,000 people, double what they were pre-pandemic. 

🚃 Next stop: the MBTA’s May service changes. Shuttle bus season will continue this month on the Red, Green, Orange, and several commuter rail lines. Two major weekday shutdowns will bookend the month on the Red and Orange lines (respectively), plus we’ll see a few smaller weekend shutdowns on each line. You’ll also find these weekend shutdowns across several commuter rail lines. Meanwhile, Green liners will only have to worry about one station bypass on May 4. For more information, check here, and may the MBTA gods be on your side.

🐀 If you can’t beat ’em … join ’em? There’s a new school of thought about handling Boston’s rat problem. Enter: Cohabitation. Some pest experts are floating the idea of accepting that rats are part of an urban ecosystem. This means shifting our pest-control focus toward setting boundaries as a city of how we can happily live with the rats, rather than focusing on total extermination. And if it all seems a little wacky, consider how ineffective our current “brute force” strategy for dealing with pests has been (not to mention pricey and time-consuming) thus far.

QUICK QUESTION

🐭 How has your experience with Boston’s rat population been?

Let us know below!

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GIVEAWAY

Enter to win a $100 gift card to Castle Island Brewing!

We’re giving away one $100 gift card to Castle Island Brewing, the Southie hot spot serving some of Boston’s favorite beer, wine, hard seltzer, and N/A beverages. To enter, just refer a friend and have them accept your invite by the end of the day on 5/1. If you have already referred a friend to B-Side (and they’ve accepted), you're eligible! Full details below*


18+. No purchase necessary. Limit one entry per person. See Official Rules & an additional entry option here.

ONE LAST THING

A very sexy (local) tennis court

Image: Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures

If you know one thing about the movie “Challengers,” you know it’s sexy. But what if we told you that the Bedford, Mass. tennis courts used to shoot the film might be … equally sexy?

Well, that’s what Globe writer Meredith Goldstein thinks, anyway. 

Goldstein recently visited the courts used to shoot the film, and according to her, the movie’s sex appeal has left its mark on them. “The essence of the match between two athletic and determined men, with Zendaya between them, was still in the air,” nearly two years later, she wrote.

But considering the Wedgewood Club’s waitlist is currently about three-to-five years long (not to mention the membership fees) … we might just have to take her word for it.

— Written by Gia Orsino

🎾 Thanks for reading! Goldstein also visited another of the film’s court shooting sites at Wheaton College (Gia’s alma mater), which to our collective dismay, were found to be decidedly less sexy. 

💜 Special shoutout to today's sponsor, Toast, for supporting local journalism and making enjoying Boston's food scene a breeze. 

🐱 The results are in: 43% of B-Siders have one pet, and another 23% have more than one. Thank you all so much for all of the lovely write-ins about all of your furry friends, including one from a reader who said: “My cat is the bane of my existence and the light of my life.”

💃 Keep up with us @BostonBSide on IG, TikTok, and Twitter. Send comments and suggestions to [email protected] or [email protected].