Best things to see, do and eat in Somerville, Boston, US: Expert expat travel tips

Ronit Prawer left the Melbourne suburb of Elsternwick for seven years in Israel before moving to Boston in 2016. She works for the UK Science and Innovation Network and lives in Somerville, beside Cambridge. "I genuinely live on a Gilmore Girls set," she says.


Cambridge and Somerville are often combined and called "Camberville", but they have quite different characters. Somerville – nicknamed "Slumerville" – used to be very blue-collar. While it is gentrifying, it is still a really diverse neighbourhood. One of my favourite things to do is to see a movie at the beautiful 105-year-old Somerville Theatre, which opened as a vaudeville house. The host still wears a suit and welcomes you personally. On the Cambridge side – and this is going to sound super-geeky – the MIT Museum is amazing. It's not just science and tech – it's also art, history, architecture and gorgeous curation. Finally, don't miss the Harvard Museum of National History. In it you'll find a collection of astonishingly beautiful glass flowers made by a father-son duo over 40 years,,,


I have never lived anywhere that has so many community organised festivals as Somerville. Honk is a brass band extravaganza of trombones and general joyousness that anyone can join, while FluffFest is literally a festival devoted to all things marshmallow fluff, which was invented here in Somerville. Monster Mash happens around Halloween, with pumpkin carving and a massive kids' costume parade. In Cambridge, home of both Harvard and MIT, go to a university-organised event: hear a lecture or talk from one of the world's greatest minds.


Vege Galaxy is an old school diner where you can get a Reuben sandwich, sit on red leather stools and play the juke box. It makes me feel like I'm in Back to the Future: I get the full burger. In Bow Market, Nibble Kitchen rotates Somerville chefs with an innovative cultural exchange to support immigrant communities. They profile chefs from around the world, last time I went there I had Venezuelan cuisine. See,


Rebel Rebel in Bow Market is a feminist wine bar - I love hanging out there because the staff are a rockstar crew of super-knowledgeable female bar tenders who profile really interesting wine, including vineyards associated with female winemakers. Another fave is The Burren. More than 20 per cent of Boston's population is Irish American, so Somerville is lucky to get a bit of Irish culture. If you play an instrument, take it - jamming sessions abound. See,


A major word of warning: don't visit on a Commencement weekend. Commencement is actually American for graduation, ie. ending your degree. There are heaps of universities in this area (MIT, Harvard, Boston Uni, Northeastern, etc), and most hold graduations around late May. All accommodation is booked; prices skyrocket, and it feels like a bit of a zoo.