Exploring the town is easy via BranVan and walking.
Pho 1 Waltham
Despite its name, Pho 1 Waltham serves more than just pho. Its colorful interior, diverse menu and affordable items make it one of Waltham’s best restaurants for Brandeis students.
Serving Vietnamese pho, Korean soondubu and Thai pad kee mao, among other dishes, Pho 1 Waltham is able to have an extensive menu while maintaining the quality of its dishes. The restaurant is directly adjacent to the Lizzy’s Ice Cream BranVan stop and in the heart of Downtown Waltham.
“I believe their pho is one of the things closest to [my] home, New York. I wouldn’t say it’s like New York’s quality because nothing beats New York, but it came close considering [where] we are,” Kelly Zheng ‘22 said.
Whether customers have a particular item in mind or are just browsing, Global Thrift’s vast inventory provides the ultimate retail therapy. From figurines to fur coats, the thrift store offers something for everyone.
“I love that Global Thrift,” Jay Schwartz ’21 said, adding that “by making their prices accessible, [they] really invite not only their college student neighbors but local Waltham residents into their store.” By having affordable prices, many items are under $5, and playing surprisingly good music, going to Global Thrift is a fun activity to do alone or with a group of friends.
After nearly two years of anticipation, the Korean fried chicken franchise, Bonchon, finally opened in Waltham. Even though Bonchon is currently only in its ‘soft’ opening, with limited hours, the international popularity of the franchise bolsters Waltham’s Asian food offerings.
Bonchon’s uber-casual ambiance is perfect for a night out in town with friends while its Moody Street location makes it accessible to Brandeis students.
“I’m really excited about Bonchon opening because it’s a really good Korean restaurant, and usually I’d have to go all the way to Allston to get it but now it’s ... really close to school!” Annie Nguyen ’20 said. “It’s really great to have more and more Asian restaurants close to school and me and my friends can’t wait for Bonchon’s official opening.”
Charles River Reservation
There’s something innately soothing about bodies of water. Come to the Charles River Reservation to see ducks, hear the sound of rushing water or to just study outdoors.
Waltham Public Library
From the moment of entering the Waltham Public Library, one is greeted with a domed, iridescent, mauve and blue stained-glass ceiling. While certainly less convenient than Farber or Goldfarb for students that live on campus, the public library offers a calming reprieve from collegiate life. And unlike the Brandeis libraries, the Waltham library always has ample seating.
Even though the public library is not affiliated with the University, it frequently hosts events with Brandeis faculty and staff. In December, it hosted an author talk with Prof. Eileen McNamara (JOUR) about her book “Eunice: The Kennedy Who Changed the World.”
For a relaxing afternoon reading, studying or having a picnic, the Waltham Common’s grassy landscape with plenty of benches provides the ideal environment for a trip off campus. As the weather warms, foot traffic to the park is increasing. Because of this, the idyllic community space also provides a multitude of dog petting opportunities.
The city also holds public events here. For instance, on May 12, Downtown Waltham Partnership is hosting the day-long Watch City Steampunk Festival in the Common.