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5 Vacation Ideas for Theater Lovers

Add local theater to your next itinerary in these vibrant cities across America.

U.S. News & World Report

5 Vacation Ideas for Theater Lovers

Group of people clapping hands in the theater, close up of hands. Dark tone.

Discover cutting-edge performances in top theater scenes across the country.(Getty Images).

Heading to New York City to catch a riveting show on Broadway may be at the top of your bucket list, but there are a multitude of ways to add a live performance to your next trip in other flourishing arts-driven destinations across the country. Whether you want to enjoy an immersive theater experience or tap into a new and exciting theater scene, there are plenty of creative and emerging places showcasing acclaimed productions in cutting-edge venues. Itching to enjoy premiere performances on your next getaway? Research the current theater offerings in your desired destination or plan a trip to the following U.S. locales to enjoy world-class performances on your next vacation.

Enjoy a Kid-Friendly Show in Miami

If you want to plan a family vacation filled with sun, sand and culture in Miami, tack on a trip to the city's vibrant downtown and midtown. Home of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, this cultural hub in Miami is also within easy walking distance of the brand-new Frost Science. After a day at the museum learning about Floridian animal habitats and the solar system, cap off your day at the Arsht with a free Family Fest performance, designed specifically to introduce kids to the arts. If you can’t make one of these performances, plan to attend Harry Potter in Concert (with live orchestra accompaniment) or their summer blockbuster, Slava's Snowshow, which runs for nearly a month through early August. As a bonus, a farmers market is located just outside the arts center during most of the season. And in terms of accommodations, the Hampton Inn & Suites Miami Midtown offers an enticing family-friendly lodging option.

Experience a Magical Evening in Chicago

Heading to Chicago for a grown-up getaway? Think outside the box. While Chicago is certainly known for its rich theater tradition, don't overlook beyond the conventional offerings of the Chicago theater scene to discover a unique night out at The Magic Parlour. The magic show takes place inside the Palmer House Hilton, and lends a mysterious atmosphere and nontraditional seating. Led by third-generation magician Dennis Watkins (also star of the House Theatre of Chicago's "Death of Houdini"), The Magic Parlour dazzles and entertains with enchanting feats mixed with humor. The spectacle is best suited for adults and kids ages 12 and older, and tickets are released in blocks a few months at a time. For conveniently located digs, consider retreating to the the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Chicago, which is set in the heart of the action, just a few blocks west of the Magnificent Mile.

Enjoy Shakespeare in the Park in New York City or Dallas

A summer tradition in several cities, Shakespeare in the Park takes place in New York City from May through August, with free tickets for every performance. This summer, "Julius Caesar" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" are on the marquee at the open-air Delacorte Theater. Meanwhile, Dallas Texas also takes part in a Shakespeare in the Park tradition at the Samuell Grand Park. Three Shakespearean shows are offered this season, which extends through fall. While admission is not free, the cost is reasonable, making the show ideal for cost-conscious families looking to get their a drama fix. For a unique place to stay, consider slipping away to The Highland Dallas - A Curio Collection by Hilton.

Catch a Cirque Show in Las Vegas or Orlando, Florida

A Cirque du Soleil performance is an excellent introduction to live theater as a family, and as a bonus, Cirque shows have long-running engagements in several U.S. cities. The biggest selection will be in Las Vegas, where currently seven different shows are on offer. See "Michael Jackson One" or "The Beatles Love" by Cirque du Soleil or, if you’re on a couples or girlfriends getaway, check out "Kà," "O"or "Mystère" by Cirque du Soleil. For an easy commute to the theater, consider staying at the Bellagio Las Vegas.

In Orlando, "Cirque du Soleil La Nouba" wows audiences in Walt Disney World. If you're already there with the kids, consider checking out Disney's cultural cultural offerings through world-class theater performances. As for accommodations, consider staying at a Walt Disney World-affiliated hotels for free transportation.

Get Symphony Tickets in Los Angeles or Boston

Unlike pricey Broadway tickets that are too in-demand and expensive to get your hands on this year, a night at the symphony is possible with some advanced planning. Consider watching E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in Concert with the Boston Symphony Orchestra Pops, or take a drive outside the city to see a show under the stars in Tanglewood. Afterward, consider retreating to the Ames Boston Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton for enviable digs in the heart of the city.

In LA, the Los Angeles Philharmonic holds concerts primarily in the Walt Disney Concert Hall. If you're traveling with a large group and you're seeking cost-effective accommodations, consider a vacation rental in a quintessential bungalow.

Find a Great Off-the-Beaten-Track Theater Destination

Skipping a trip to a big city this summer? Look for annual ongoing summer theater programs like the educational offerings at Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan or event-filled arts festivals like Reno, Nevada's Artown. You can also find summer performance series in rural areas, from Ashland, Oregon, which showcases the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, to Topanga, California's Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, which offers an open-air theater for plays, educational programs and other shows.


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Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.

Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.

Edited by Liz Weiss.

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