Cultural Walk in Boston, Boston

Through Boston's many theaters, cinemas, museums, art galleries, and concert halls, you can discover another side to this great city. Some of these cultural venues date as far back as the beginning of the 20th Century, and how well a show is received by audiences here can often determine whether it will succeed on Broadway. Take our tour to see the best artistic parts of the city.
You can follow this self-guided walking tour to explore the attractions listed below. How it works: download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Cultural Walk in Boston Map

Guide Name: Cultural Walk in Boston
Guide Location: USA » Boston (See other walking tours in Boston)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.7 km
Author: anna
Boston Opera House

1) Boston Opera House

Boston is a lively city, dedicated to the arts, with its many theatres and concerts halls. While you are in Boston why not take in a show at the Boston Opera House.

This performing arts venue was built in 1928 on the site of the old Boston Theatre; it was designed by Thomas W. Lamb and dedicated to Benjamin Franklin Keith, who was considered the father of vaudeville. The interior is quite splendid with marble columns and mirrored walls in the entrance and a marble staircase to the balconies. The auditorium is encircled on three sides by colonnades and has a wonderful Rococo domed ceiling.

The Opera House has had a rather chequered career. When it opened in 1928 it was a movie palace, showing films and live vaudeville shows. In 1929 it was taken over by the RKO Theatre Company and showed only films until the nineteen fifties.

In 1970 the building was bought by the Sacks Theatre Company, who continued to use it as a cinema, but a full house was rare and it closed down in 1979. In 1980 it was bought by the Sarah Cadwell Opera Company of Boston, but they didn’t have enough financial know-how to pay the high up keep expenses and taxes and they closed down in 1991.

Between 1991 and 1996 the opera house suffered extensive water damage in the auditorium. It was finally restored by a group of Bostonian businessmen and reopened its doors in 2004. Today it is the home of the Boston Ballet and it also hosts touring Broadway shows.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Colonial Theater

2) Colonial Theater

One of the most beautiful theatres in Boston is undoubtedly the Colonial Theatre, near Boston Common, built on the site of the former Boston Public Library.

The theatre opened its doors in 1900 with a magnificent performance of Ben Hur, where live horses were brought on stage for the chariot race. This assured its success and it remains the oldest theatre still operating in the city.

It was built by Clarence Blackhall and paid for by Frederick Lothrop Ames. No expense was spared and the walls of the vestibule were lined with Italian marble. The auditorium has ornate murals on the walls and frescoes of the Muses. The floor was a crescent design made of over 40,000 mosaic tiles. Three magnificent chandeliers hang from the golden ceiling. There are seats for 1700 theatre-goers.

In the nineteen nineties the theatre was renovated and modernised, with easier access for the disabled on the ground floor, but there is no lift for the balcony seats.

In spite of rumours about financial problems and threatened closure, the theatre is still open and you can take in a Broadway or a Pre-Broadway show on most days of the week.
Cutler Majestic Theater

3) Cutler Majestic Theater

If you are a theatre lover don’t miss taking in a show at the Cutler Majestic Theatre, the home base of the Boston Opera. This lovely building is a Boston Historic Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places.

The theatre was built in 1903 by John Galen Howard, who had studied at the University of Beaux Arts in Paris. The Rococo style building has a fine terracotta façade and stained glass windows. The gold auditorium has cantilevered balconies and instead of the gas and candle fixtures Howard installed over 5000 “innovative” electric light fixtures.

The building was designed as an opera house and theatre, and in the nineteen twenties it hosted vaudeville shows. In the fifties, the heyday of films, it was transformed into a movie theatre and most of Howard’s lovely work was covered over.

The building eventually fell into disrepair and closed down. In 1983 it was bought by the Emerson College and a renovation of 20 years began. The theatre was carefully restored in its original style but with 21st century technology: heating, air-conditioning, modern acoustics and safety measures. Reopened in 2003 it holds 1200 seats with wheelchair access for the disabled. You can see a variety of performances here, from Emerson Student’s Theatre Group to operas and circus acts.
Wilbur Theater

4) Wilbur Theater

This theater, which was built by Clarence Blackall in 1913, has been listed in the National Historic Register since 1980. The venue has been home to Boston's Comedy Connection since 2008. The two-story brick building with Georgian and Federal Revival motifs, the Wilbur Theater is ranked more along the lines of a private residence than an ostentatious playhouse.
Newbury Fine Arts

5) Newbury Fine Arts

Newbury Fine Arts is a gallery on Newbury Street in Boston. Its owners, Robin and Anthony Parrella, had it opened out of love for and desire to display the fine works of art, much as for the purpose of educating people. Unlike Claude Monet who said, “People discuss my art and pretend to understand as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love”, at Newbury Fine Arts they want collectors not just to love what they buy, but also to understand what it is, be it a $30 aquatint etching by French artist Charlotte Reine or a $30,000 piece by famous Liz Gribin. Gallery's expertise covers various media: mixed pastels, oil paintings, lithographs, serigraphs – you name it! At Newbury's they practice an informal approach that incites regular visitors to bring their friends and even children and grandchildren to the gallery. Newbury has been in business for decades, and some of its staff have worked here since the foundation.

Operation hours: Monday - Saturday: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm; Sunday: 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Lanoue Fine Art

6) Lanoue Fine Art

Lanoue Fine Art is a gallery on Newbury Street, specialized in displaying the works of mid-career and seasoned contemporary artists who work in different media. Presented here collections comprise both representational and abstract works of painters, sculptors and printmakers, acknowledged both at home and abroad. Lanoue gives floor to original artists, whose manner of expression challenges conventional thinking and exceeds expectations in technique and formal execution. In business for more than twenty years, owner Susan Lanoue and the gallery's personnel pursue an objective of gathering artworks of integrity and lasting aesthetic value, for both established and emerging collectors.

Editor's note: The gallery will open at this location in May 2014.
Vose Galleries

7) Vose Galleries

Vose Galleries is the oldest family-owned art gallery in the United States. Since establishment in 1841, the Vose family has gained over 150 years of experience in art collecting, having passed through the hands of their six generations—down from father to son and now daughters—more than 34,000 works of art. Among these are specifically American realist paintings and works on paper dating from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. The gallery enjoys a well-deserved reputation for its expertise in the history, purchase and valuation of American art. Vose Galleries has participated in creation of numerous public and private collections: their paintings can be found in more than 150 museums across the U.S. In the fall of 2001, Vose Galleries opened a contemporary section, thus marking their return to dealing with living artists after an almost 40-year break.

Operation hours: Tuesday - Friday: 9:30 am - 5:30 pm; Saturday: 10:00 am - 5:30 pm
Boston Mapparium at the Mary Baker Eddy Library

8) Boston Mapparium at the Mary Baker Eddy Library

The Mapparium, one of Boston's key landmarks, is a three-story high, 30-foot-wide stained glass globe that was built as part of The Mary Baker Eddy Library in 1931. Visitors to the Library can cross the glass bridge into the illuminated spherical space and see how ideas affect the world as we know it. Illuminated by a new lighting system, this huge globe showcases the world as it was more than 60 years ago, and highlights the new boundaries emerged over time. To reinforce the effect, the colossal 3D structure features an original, seven-minute presentation that combines words, music, and LED lighting set to illustrate the ideas that have penetrated time and space and subsequently reshaped the entire world.
Museum of Fine Arts

9) Museum of Fine Arts (must see)

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is one of the largest museums in the U.S., attracting over one million visitors a year. It contains over 450,000 works of art, making it one of the most comprehensive collections in the Americas. With more than one million visitors a year, it is the 60th most-visited art museum in the world as of 2017.

The museum was founded in 1870 and its current location dates to 1909. The museum's present building was commenced in 1907 when museum trustees hired architect Guy Lowell to create a master plan for a museum that could be built in stages as funding was obtained for each phase. The first section of Lowell’s neoclassical design was completed in 1909 and featured a 500-foot façade of cut granite along Huntington Avenue, the grand rotunda, and the associated exhibition galleries. The libraries at the Museum of Fine Arts house an extensive collection of 320,000 items.

Why You Should Visit:
The featured exhibitions on offer are almost always worth viewing, but the permanent collections (American & European art, plus Asian, Ancient Greek, & Egyptian) are world-renowned for a reason.
The "Art of the Americas" tour is a great way to see some of the U.S. masterpieces and get a nice orientation to American culture and history at the same time.
They also have a few meal options (tasty fresh salads, sandwiches) at the counter service café and some kid-friendly activities.

If you can't cover everything in a day, you can also re-enter the museum for free (within 10 days) – remember to keep your ticket.
If it's your first visit, avail yourself of the various free one-hour guided walking tours (in English) that are offered every day.
On Wednesdays (and a few holidays throughout the year), the museum is opened until 10pm and from 4pm, entry is free.

Opening Hours:
Sat-Tue: 10am-5pm; Wed-Fri: 10am-10pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

10) Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (must see)

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum or Fenway Court is a museum in the Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood of Boston, located within a walking distance from the Museum of Fine Arts and near the Back Bay Fens. The museum houses an art collection of world importance, including significant examples of European, Asian, and American art, from paintings and sculpture to tapestries and decorative arts. It is the only private art collection in which the building, collection, and installations are the creation of one individual.

Today, the museum hosts exhibitions of historic and contemporary art, as well as concerts, lectures, family and community programs, and changing courtyard displays. Built to evoke a 15th-century Venetian palace, the museum itself provides an atmospheric setting for Isabella Stewart Gardner's inventive creation. Inside the museum, three floors of galleries surround a garden courtyard blooming with life in all seasons.

Why You Should Visit:
To leave all your stress behind and simply enjoy all the best life has to offer.
For culture and refinement, it just does not get any better in Boston.
The masterpieces are head-spinning; the guided tours are exceptional.

Just around the corner is the MFA, but don't try to see both museums on the same day.
Instead, take time to enjoy a meal in their upscale Café "G" – unique entrees served & presented with care.
Make sure you bring your headphones as they offer a free audio guide that you can stream from your device.

Opening Hours:
Wed, Fri-Mon: 11am-5pm; Thu: 11am-9pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Boston, Massachusetts

Create Your Own Walk in Boston

Create Your Own Walk in Boston

Creating your own self-guided walk in Boston is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Boston Famous Historical Sites Tour

Boston Famous Historical Sites Tour

Boston is one of the oldest cities in the USA. Its beginnings date back to September 1630 as the "City on a Hill". Through the centuries, the city has witnessed many historical turns of events such as the Boston Tea Party, the Battle of Lexington and Concord, and the Battle of Bunker Hill. All left marks not only in Boston's history but also on the architectural structure of the city itself. The following tour will help you discover this rich history with your own eyes.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.4 km
Kids Entertainment Tour in Boston

Kids Entertainment Tour in Boston

When it comes to the best entertainment for kids, Boston's got a winning combination: Swan boats, fresh ice cream, unique plants and animals, delicious cookies and much more. There's also the chance to make learning fun with the use of hands-on science exhibits. Take our Kids Entertainment Tour to discover the most fun you can have in Boston.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.7 km
City Orientation Walk

City Orientation Walk

With its many historical landmarks and modern artworks, Boston is a city with a unique image. Mementos of Boston's heroes and memorials to world-changing events are found here, as well as some fine examples of art in the open. Take this orientation walk to see the biggest and best sights of Boston.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.1 km
Boston Places of Worship Tour

Boston Places of Worship Tour

Boston's many great churches are among the most precious of the city's numerous architectural jewels. What makes these artworks special are their unique styles, elegant facades and centuries of history. Take our tour and experience these must-see wonders of Boston.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.3 km
Boston Nightlife Tour

Boston Nightlife Tour

Boston is one of the most sparkling and vibrant cities for nightlife in the US. Bostonians, tourists and Hollywood stars alike flock to the dance clubs here. Become one of the in-crowd by taking our tour of the best nightlife spots in the city of Boston.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 km
Boston Shopping Areas Tour

Boston Shopping Areas Tour

Boston is one of the top shopping destinations in the US northeast, with plenty of interesting stores to visit. You'll even find high class shops, stores inside historical buildings and places where bargaining is still in practice. Take our tour to experience the best shopping the city has to offer.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.7 km

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