Opened in 1900, Symphony Hall was designed by a Harvard physics professor Wallace Clement Sabine and is one of the world’s most acoustically perfect concert venues. It is home to the internationally renowned Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops (see Symphony Hall). The BSO commissions new works, hosts world premieres, and frequently welcomes sought-after guest conductors and soloists.
Capturing the gilded and marbled opulence of its muse, Versailles, the 3,500-seat Wang ranks among the city’s most beautiful buildings (see Boch Center – Wang Theatre). The Wang hosts touring productions from Broadway and London’s West End as well as dance and opera productions by local companies.
The Esplanade • 617 635 4505
Constructed in 1941, this shell around a performance stage projects music across the Esplanade. Every Fourth of July the Boston Pops Orchestra rings in Independence Day here. Free Friday Flicks (see Boston for Free) brings firm family faves such as The Wizard of Oz and Frozen to the screen, while dance and music events occur almost nightly during summer.
Home to three theater companies, four stages, and a gallery, the BCA is the cornerstone of the South End arts scene (see Boston Center for the Arts). The artists who perform and exhibit here present some of the city’s most provocative work. The Cyclorama, at the heart of the BCA, was built in 1884 to house a 360-degree painting of the Battle of Gettysburg.
55 Davis Sq, Somerville • 617 625 5700 • www.somervilletheatreonline.com
Extensive renovation has returned this Davis Square landmark to its original, ornate glory. When it isn’t hosting some of the country’s finest jazz, world music, and underground rock acts, the Somerville packs audiences in for feature films at low ticket prices.
30 Gainsborough St • 617 585 1260 • www.necmusic.edu
Dozens of local orchestral and choral ensembles call the NEC’s Jordan Hall home. Built at the turn of the 20th century and renowned for its intimacy and impressive acoustics, the hall hosts more than 450 free concerts a year.
539 Washington St • 617 259 3400 • www.bostonoperahouse.com
The Boston Opera House was one of the city’s most ornate movie palaces when it opened in 1928. With a $54 million renovation in 2004, the theater was returned to its former glory, and today it presents a steady stream of mostly Broadway shows and is also the home of the Boston Ballet.
100 Legends Way • 617 624 1050 • www.tdgarden.com
Seating almost 20,000 and with over 3.5 million visitors a year, this arena is home to the NBA’s Boston Celtics and the NHL’s Boston Bruins, plus the Sports Museum of New England (see The New England Holocaust Memorial). It offers a full schedule of concerts, family entertainment, ice shows, public and sporting events.
Berklee, the world’s largest independent music college, boasts this premier venue. The great acoustics ensure that some of the most highly distinguished jazz, folk, and world musicians play here (see Berklee Performance Center). The student performances held here are usually free and among the best entertainment deals in town.
45 Quincy St, Cambridge • 617 496 2222
Located in Harvard’s splendid Memorial Hall, this theater has hosted many luminaries over its 120-plus years. Great performers of the past century have graced its intimate stage, including mime artist Marcel Marceau. Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Ralph Wardo Emerson were among its early audiences.