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Despite the overshadowing reputation in the arts of New York City, Boston is emerging as one of the country’s most cultured and cosmopolitan cities. At its core, Boston’s culture originates in the Anglo-Saxon tradition, with the Irish-Catholic immigrant population played a significant role in shaping the political and religious institutions of today. World-renowned as a center for education and learning and home to prestigious institutions like Harvard, Boston has developed into a rich, diverse metropolitan cultural hub. Whether your passion is theater, music, comedy, or art, the cultural scene will provide ample occasion for you to explore the vibrancy that modern-day Boston has to offer.
Theater in Boston is scattered liberally throughout the city, but the well-established Theater District is located South of Boston Common. This area is where the most well-established and ornate theaters are located, like the Citi Performing Arts Center, which hosts a variety of theater, music, and dance performance. This neighborhood is also home to the historical Boston Opera House and the Colonial Theater, the oldest continuously running theater in Boston. Whether your taste is classical or modern, Boston offers a range of theatrics that will keep you entertained for your entire trip.
Over the years, Boston’s music scene has developed into an expansive and lively part of the city’s identity. The city is home to the very first House of Blues, opened by Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi in 1992. Today, big names take the stage at TD Gardens, while smaller, up and coming bands take the stage at the Orpheum Theatre, opened in 1852 and hailed as a beacon of early Boston music culture.
Famous for helping local bands catch their breaks, The Paradise Rock Club is, though a little rough around the edges, a favorite of the locals and recommended for tourists who want to get a real feel for the local music scene. Be it jazz and blues, local hip-hop, or alternative rock, the Boston music scene will be sure have a show you won’t want to miss during your next trip.
Boston’s eclectic comedy scene exploded in the late 80’s, and there’s a laugh to be had for all humors. You’ll almost be sitting on the stage at the tiny Improv Asylum and Mottley’s Comedy Club, where well-established comedians and comedy students entertain guests and keep them involved with shout-outs and frequent pulls to the stage. Nick’s Comedy Stop is another local favorite, where legends like Steve Allen and Jerry Seinfeld have taken the stage. Most comedy clubs in Boston are aimed at the over 18 crowd, and give visitors of taste of the raw and edgy Boston humor.
For decades, Boston art lovers have mourned the loss of many beloved artists to more saturated art scenes. The art scene in Boston is intimate, yet colorful, and surely not to be ignored.
There are two neighborhoods that you’ll want visit if you want to check out some art during your trip to Boston. The trendy, bohemian, South End is home to the famous Harrison Street, a mecca for privately owned art studios and galleries, such as the cozy Soprafina Gallery. Harrison Street hosts a much loved “First Friday” event. On the first Friday of every month, galleries and studios are open to the public for the evening, giving Boston a special insight into the New England art scene.
In the more elegant Back Bay neighborhood, you will find more mainstream but no-less inspiring galleries in the midst of Newbury Street one of Boston’s chicest shopping districts. Checkout the neighborhood’s favorite Newbury Fine or the latest off-beat installation at the Barbara Krakow Gallery.
The Back Bay Hotel is a luxury hotel near many Boston landmarks, and the hotel itself is also a landmark. The building was formerly the headquarters of the Boston Police Department before being converted to luxurious lodgings. The Freedom Trail is to the east of the hotel. Stroll over to the path and take a 2.5 mile walk through history, with 16 different landmarks that are all open to the public. You can also walk to the Museum of Science, the Isabella Gardner Museum, and Fenway Park, the well-known home of the Boston Red Sox. The hotel has packages aimed at families, art lovers, and shoppers, or you can simply book a room without any add-ons.