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50 things to do this spring

Minuteman Bikeway
Stretching from Cambridge to Bedford, the 11-mile Minuteman Bikeway is a great way to check out Greater Boston’s outer boroughs. Built on a former railway, it’s open to biking, rollerblading, jogging, walking and more—anything sans motor. There’s also plenty to see along the way including Alewife Brook Reservation, Spy Pond and Arlington’s Great Meadows. Casual pacing is the name of the game, so speed demons should look elsewhere. (

Independent Film Fest of Boston
Why attend Boston’s 11th Annual Independent Film Festival when you’ve got your Netflix subscription? Do we even need to answer that question? Since 2002, the dedicated folks behind the festival have worked hard to bring directors, actors, producers, sponsors and attendees together in an interactive environment and create an experience beyond just previews and popcorn. This year’s highlights include the highly-acclaimed Being Elmo (with Kevin Clash the voice and hand behind Sesame Street's Elmo, in attendance) and Miranda July’s The Future (with the queen of quirk herself in attendance). The IFF runs from April 27 to May 4 at the Somerville Theatre, Brattle Theatre, Stuart Street Playhouse and Coolidge Corner Theatre. (

Shop open-air antiques
Spring is the antique shopper’s favorite time of the year; both the SoWa Open Market in the South End and the Brimfield Fair in Brimfield, Mass open their gates for the season in May. The opening day for the SoWa Market is May 1, going every weekend through the fall. A reliable roster of vendors offers everything from locally-farmed vegetables to vintage treasures. The first run (of three) for the Brimfield is May 10 through 15. Every thrift hunter worth her salt knows that the early bird gets the World War II-era quilts, vintage cocktail rings and antique metal signs. Spanning acres of the Brimfield fairgrounds, the hundreds of vendor tents are matched only by the multitudes of food vendors selling everything from fried dough to pickles on a stick. Even if you’re not a professional antiquer, both fairs are perfect for spending a lazy day window-shopping.

Boston Comic Con/Anime Boston
Comics are not anime, and vice versa, so neither group of geeks will appreciate us lumping them together like this. Our hope is to incite a huge internecine battle of nerds, with Comic Con guests like famous Playboy artist Gahan Wilson taking on Anime manga maven Dave Lister in a cage match using colored pens. Either way, both would have a pretty awesome costume. Anime Boston: Apr. 22–24 ( Boston Comic Con: Apr. 30–May 1 ( Hynes Convention Center

Wildlife watching
Although Massachusetts was one of the first places “civilized” by colonists, it’s done a good job of keeping some places indigenous. If you’re looking to spend some time where the wild things are, start with the state Audubon Society, which maintains 34,000 acres of conservation land and 51 wildlife sanctuaries in the state. Around Boston, start with the Blue Hills Reservation, with 150 miles of trails and some pretty sweet vistas, or the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, which boasts meadows, 10 miles of trails and an island you get to via canoe.

Witness history
You’ve heard the story of the “shot heard round the world.” but how many people have actually seen it happen with their own two eyes? Every April 18, on the battle green in Lexington, reenactors don their scratchiest wool uniforms and load their muskets with blanks to recreate the start of the Revolutionary War and the subsequent battle between American rebels and British troops. Standing on the green, you will also witness the famous ride of Paul Revere and his infamous decree that “The British are coming!” Post-battle, you can hobnob with troops from both sides, take a tour through Buckman Tavern or buy any number of Lexington and Concord paraphernalia at the gift shop. The bad news is that the battle starts at dawn, but the good news is that there’s a pancake breakfast, and you’ll probably still make it to work on time. (