Art & Culture Aficionado


The Boston area is known for many things, including its history, its stunning natural resources, its medical institutions, and its many colleges and universities. But it is also highly regarded for its vibrant art scene. Just like you, this is a town that takes its culture -- even its comedy -- very seriously. For the latest news on what's hot and happening art- and culture-wise, be sure to check out HUBa HUBa, the BostonUSA blog.

Performing Arts: Music and Dance

The acoustically pristine Symphony Hall is the home of the renowned Boston Symphony Orchestra, which was founded in 1881. It is also where audiences can enjoy America's Orchestra, the Boston Pops, and its unique tapestry of musical styles.

INSIDER TIP: College students (of which there are many in Boston; see above) can score a BSO College Card for $25 and attend most BSO concerts at no additional charge. Out of college, but under 40 years of age? Take advantage of the BSO's <40=$20 special ticket offer, which is available on a first-come, first-served basis for most performances.

Classical music aficionados will also want to explore the offerings of the city's many other organizations, such as Boston Lyric Opera, the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Handel & Haydn Society. If jazz is you thing, you'll be happy to know that it's our thing as well. (After all, Boston is the home of the finest institute of learning devoted to jazz, Berklee College of Music.) Some of the best area places to catch live jazz are Regattabar, Ryles, and Scullers.

INSIDER TIP: Hepcats can discover the latest performance schedules, event listings, news, and other info about the area jazz scene at the well-curated site, MassJazz. Major acts perform at huge venues such as TD Garden, but don't forget to peruse the schedule at clubs such as the House of Blues and Royale to experience your favorite bands in more intimate settings. If you enjoy dance, see what the Boston Ballet has to offer. You could also see what's on tap at the Celebrity Series of Boston, which features dance as well as music and other artists performing at the city's concert halls.

Performing Arts: Theater and Comedy

Whether it's touring productions, original dramas, or Broadway-bound plays, Boston's shear madnessstages are abuzz with performances. The Theater District boasts a number of grand and historic, but lovingly maintained theaters such as the Wang and Shubert, which are collectively known as the Citi Performing Arts Center. Other places to catch a show include the Huntington Theatre Company and the American Repertory Theatre. You can learn about the city's major productions at Broadway In Boston.The Charles Playhouse is the home of the madcap comedy and Boston original, "Shear Madness,"the country's longest running play. The Charles is also where you can find the long-but-not-quite-as-long-running Boston production of the strange but hilarious Blue Man Group. Speaking of comedy, headliners make 'em laugh at The Wilbur Theatre's Comedy Connection, and no two shows are ever the same at the Improv Asylum or ImprovBoston.


INSIDER TIP: Hey theater aficionado, we know you love seeing shows. But do you love saving money? Thought so. Stop by the BosTix booths or visit BosTix online for ½-price day-of-show tickets and other nifty offers.


Visual Arts and Architecture

The grand Museum of Fine Arts, one of the nation's finest, got even grandermuseum of fine arts with the opening of Art of the America's Wing in late 2010. Works by the masters, such as Rembrandt, Titan, and Matisse can also be enjoyed at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, which added an elegant new wing as well in 2012. And speaking of new, the Institute of Contemporary Art offers an impressive collection of modern works and exhibits in a striking building on Fan Pier that opened in 2006. North of the city, the Peabody Essex in Salem is among the nation's foremost museums for Asian art (befitting the historic city's early years as a major trade port with the East) as well as maritime and Native American art and culture. Boston is a living museum with countless examples of centuries-old architecture to discover and explore. Among the places you might consider visiting are the circa-1877 Trinity Church, which is regarded as one of the country's most notable houses of worship, Christian Science Plaza, which is the home of the Mother Church for the Christian Science faith and offers lovely examples of Romanesque and Byzantine-Renaissance style architecture, and the Old State House, which dates back to the early 1700s and offers tours to learn about its historical significance as well as its period architecture.

INSIDER TIP: Sure, it makes sense to seek out old churches and places where colonial-era events occurred if you are interested in historic Boston architecture. But a public library? The Boston Public Library is the nation's first free municipal library and a National Historic Landmark. It is a magnificent building filled with murals and sculptures, and tours are available. And get this: The tours are free and no reservations are required.
Similarly, you might not think of Symphony Hall as a museum. But, it too offers tours -- for free! -- of its splendid building. Of particular interest is the Boston Symphony Orchestra's period instrument collection.

Photos: Boston Symphony Orchestra, Shear Madness, Museum of Fine Arts.


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