Boston Symphony Orchestra

#12 in Best Things To Do in Boston
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Key Info

301 Massachusetts Ave.

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Entertainment and Nightlife Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.0scorecard
  • 3.5Value
  • 4.5Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

Even if you're not a classical music aficionado, you can't miss attending one of the Boston Symphony Orchestra's world-renowned performances at Symphony Hall. The BSO began performing in 1881; today, the symphony plays more than 250 shows a year that include everything from Mozart-inspired family shows to traditional concerts and Boston Pops – a lively performance filled with singing and comedy acts from various entertainers. The BSO performs at Symphony Hall from September through May, then heads to Tanglewood (in western Massachusetts) from mid-June to early September. 

Recent spectators not only praised the world-class talent, but also noted the impressive acoustics of Symphony Hall as a main selling point for attending future concerts. If you can't score tickets to an orchestra performance, consider taking a free tour of Symphony Hall. Tours, which are offered in the fall, winter and spring, provide information about the property, as well as insight into the orchestra's musicians and conductors. 

You'll find Symphony Hall in the southern edge of Boston's Back Bay area near the Northeastern University campus. Four subway stations – Symphony, Massachusetts Avenue, Hynes Convention Center and Prudential – are located within walking distance of the property. No on-site parking is available, so plan on using public transportation or hailing a taxi to get to the venue. In addition to the concert hall, the property offers restrooms, a cafe, several bars and a gift shop. To buy orchestra tickets, order on the orchestra website, in person or by phone. Ticket prices vary depending on the performance and seat category. A limited number of BSO Rush Tickets for select performances are offered on a first-come, first-served basis at the box office. You must pay in cash when purchasing rush tickets. Also, keep in mind that children 4 and younger are not permitted during orchestra events and dress codes apply for performances and opening night shows.

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Faneuil Hall Marketplace
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#1 Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Four buildings – Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, North Market and South Market – constitute Faneuil Hall Marketplace, with the oldest being Faneuil Hall. Built in 1742 and now located on the Freedom Trail, Faneuil Hall has had a long and important history in Massachusetts politics. Samuel Adams once stood here to push for resistance against the British, and abolitionists and suffragists have stood on their soapboxes here. In fact, this is where Jonathan Mayhew famously challenged the Sugar Act of 1764 by proclaiming, "no taxation without representation." Since Mayhew's declaration, the marketplace has expanded to include more than 100 shops and restaurants. 

Some former visitors caution that the items sold at Faneuil Hall Marketplace are a bit overpriced. However, if you're looking to kill some time or snap some great photos, consider strolling through the market's halls. You'll also find various cuisines served in Quincy Market if you're in need of a quick bite. Keep in mind that this market gets crowded quickly (especially on weekends and in the summer), so it's best to visit during a weekday if you don't want to encounter hordes of people. 

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