Live Entertainment  » Boston, MA

Live Entertainment Venues in Boston, MA

Looking to get a little "culchah", or maybe get your groove on? Yeah, Boston's got that! From intimate little stages to music tents overlooking the Atlantic, here are some favorite places to discover live entertainment.
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Lizard Lounge

Who knew? Well, everybody! The basement level of the Cambridge Common restaurant is one of the coolest places to catch a live show in the greater Boston area. Forget "Cheers"--the Lizard oozes  "friendly neighborhood bar." And although it's a basement, the lighting is moody and super-flattering, so it's a great place for a date.  There's no stage here, just a floor with an oriental rug, surrounded by tables. The room holds just over 100 bodies, so it's an intimate place to hear underground/indie music. Sunday is poetry night--more slamming than stodgy--while Monday is open mic night. $5 cover, affordable beer, what else could you ask?

Orpheum Theatre

A sentimental favorite, the Orpheum has hosted the likes of U2, Elvis Costello, Jerry Garcia, and the Psychedelic Furs over the years. All the good acts come here--Widespread Panic is currently playing--so the crowds show up, despite the fact that it gets amazingly hot in here and that the seats seem built for leprechauns, not lanky humanoids. Regulars say that the balcony is where it's at; also (bargain-hunter's tip) the side boxes have good sight lines but are deeply discounted. All that said, it's a pretty spot, with fancy moldings and pretty murals--not to mention big-name shows-- so a night out here feels special.

Boston Opera House

Wow. If you're a human being with a pulse, you'll be floored by this place. Originally built in 1928, and restored to the tune of $50 million in 2004, it's a masterpiece of gilded splendor. Think gold-leaf trim, gleaming marble, crystal chandeliers, ornate moldings, the works. Ask to pop in for a peek on a Monday afternoon, or, better, catch a show, maybe Green Day's "American Idiot", "Billy Elliot, the Musical," or a performance of the Boston Ballet "Romeo & Juliet" is coming, as is that beloved Boston tradition, "The Nutcracker." Past shows have included family favorites like "Wicked," "The Lion King," and "Mary Poppins." Yea, the aisles are narrow, and the seats are smallish, but...wow!

American Repertory Theater

Looking to expand your idea of the theater? There's far more to life than "Showboat"--fun though that is--as you'll discover after an evening at the A.R.T. This fabulous small space is the go-to address for inspired, in-your-face productions like "Sleep No More" and "The Donkey Show," a disco-themed, audience-participation show inspired by "A Midsummer Nights' Dream." Or perhaps a modern take on "Porgy & Bess." Critics use words like "fresh" and "innovative" to describe the approach of artistic diretor Diane Paulus, who's never afraid to take chances. A.R.T.'s second stage, the Oberon, is an incubator for local arts.

Bank of America Pavilion

It's one of the rites of summer in Boston: a concert under the big  white tent known as the Bank of America Pavilion. It's open and airy but it feels smaller than a 5,000-seat venue, which it is. Food and drink, alas, will cost you a pretty penny, but at least there's a good selection of brews. To save some coin,  eat before you come--there are loads of good restaurants in the neighborhood. Another way to save: Take the T from South Station, so you don't have to pay to park. Jam your face off here, where giant screens make Florence + the Machine, Stevie Nicks, and Death Cab for Cutie seem larger than life.