Other outings, a guide for architecture, arts, music, views not to be missed in and around Boston, especially if you have a car to expand your discoveries.
Other outings, it’s indeed sometimes in Boston and often beyond Boston, but not further than 1 hour drive.
Other outings, it’s a guide that complete your discovery of Boston and its surroundings.
NB1: There’s a post with more details for most of these places in the Citywalks.space blog.
NB2: I add address on this page when I find them; come back regularly to see what’s new.
NB3: if you are willing to travel between 2 to 3 hours due West (Berkshire, Upstate New York, Vermont) or due South (Connecticut), you’ll find other ideas of visit on the Other outings page of the site “Walk in New York”.
Architecture & Art
Addison Gallery of American Art: in Andover, more like a small museum than a gallery. It’s located at the prestigious Phillips Academy. It’s also free, with unique exhibitions geared to the education of students and the general public.
deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum: in Lincoln, a place not to be missed if you like sculpture and contemporary photography. It will also give you the opportunity to see, on your way, superb classic or contemporary houses in very bucolic settings. The visit to the park and the museum will take you about two hours.
Fruitland Museum: in Harvard, a small village 45 minutes west of Boston. You’ll have splendid views of the mountains toward the west and you’ll be able to visit 4 buildings of what was a Transcendentalist colony during the 19th century, vying for self-reliance: the farm, a Shaker Museum, an Art Museum with Hudson River School paintings and an American Indian Museum.
Gropius House & Museum: in Lincoln. Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus School of Architecture, taught for a long time at Harvard University after fleeing Nazi Germany. The house he built, revolutionary at the time, is a model of minimalism; it still influences contemporary architecture. There’s an entrance fee, but the guides are very competent.
Mt Auburn Cemetery: in Cambridge, it is the first landscaped cemetery in the country, built in 1831. You will find a sphinx, chapels inspired by the Middle-Age and a tower with unique views of Boston. You can easily spend one or two hours exploring its paths and avenues, looking at its various tombs. It is also a good place to watch birds.
Museum of Printing: in Haverhill. Open on Saturdays only, at about 45 minutes of Boston. This museum is a must-see if you like everything related to printmaking. It tells the history of graphics arts with equipment and demonstrations by professionals.
Peabody Essex Museum: in Salem, the oldest museum in the country will make you discover the local history of the first inhabitants and the distant lands of the Orient in high quality exhibitions that mix old and contemporary works and give the place worldwide fame.
Rose Art Museum: in Waltham, the Contemporary Art Museum of Brandeis University; free and at least as interesting as the Institute of Contemporary Art in South Boston.
Bijou: in Boston and in the Theater District not far from Chinatown and on Stuart Street, Bijou can accommodate about 650 people in what was The Bijou Theater in 1882. It’s now a sleak and futuristic nightclub with super sound and amazing lightning with a selection of international DJs and an emphasis, it seems, on trance music.
Big Night Live: in Boston, a nightclub / concert hall that can accommodate up to 1,200 people in a chic industrial setting, just at the entrance to North Station. Since its opening in October 2019, it has become one of the places where the best DJs of the moment perform for prices that remain reasonable, except for drinks.
Brighton Music Hall: in Allston, a place small enough to go and listen to musicians that won’t be far from you; big enough to attract national and international talents with a 450 people capacity, more or less (a bit like Crystal Ballrom below). All of it for very reasonable prices.
Crystal Ballroom: in Somerville and more precisely Davis Square, a venue opened in 1914 then abandoned before being renovated in 2021. With a capacity of 500 people and chandeliers reminiscent of its beginnings, it is, like Brighton Music Hall above, small enough to listen to the artists without being too far from them and big enough to attract national and international talents.
House of Blues: in Boston, a performance hall that can accommodate at least 2000 people on 3 levels with one of the best rock, blues and electro programming in the city. It is just opposite Fenway Park after having been in Harvard Square for a long time. Its concept was born in Cambridge, MA, but since, House of Blues has popped-up in 11 other cities in the USA. One of its founders also created the Hard rock Café. Another is a member of Aerosmith. A box with mud from the Mississippi Delta is hidden under each scene in each venue!
Jordan Hall: in Boston and not far from Symphony Hall, a superb concert hall with perfect acoustics that is part of the New England Conservatory. Listed as a National Historical Landmark, it can accommodate 1000 people for classical music concerts with world-renowned performers and, alternately, free concerts with students and teachers from the conservatory.
MGM Fenway: in Boston and opposite the House of Blues, a large venue opened in 2022 that can accommodate 5,000 people. Whether you are sitting on the 3rd floor or standing on the danse floor, you’ll have a good view of the stage, and you won’t feel far from the acts. You can also danse on each floor behind the seating areas and you’ll find bars at all levels.
Roadrunner: in Allston, a large performance hall opened in 2022 that can accommodate 3,500 people for a variety of concerts. The sound is powerful, the stage wide and visible from all places. No seating other than a few armchairs near a large upstairs bar with a view of the street below, you only come here for the music and to dance, and it works. Good to know, a parking lot opposite has reasonable prices and offers almost direct access to the venue, entry is quick despite the crowd and the security is effective without being oppressive.
Royale: in Boston, a unique club with a 1,000-1,500 people capacity which hosted the best DJs of the moment until more recent clubs competed with it. Built in 1918 for opera performances, the place has retained the charm and opulence of this era with its balconies overlooking the dance floor and its huge chandeliers, yet its sound system, lightshows and LED walls are all very contemporary. It has recently become very competitive again in terms of programming and has added new sets made of colorful inflatable structures that now make it the most artistic of clubs in Boston.
Scullers Jazz Club: in Allston, along Soldiers Fields Road and in the Hilton DoubleTreeSuite; an intimate and famous venue where you’ll listen to the best names in international jazz. You’ll be sitting at small tables of 4, surrounded by an audience of connoisseurs.
The Grand: in Boston Seaport District, the Grand is a nightclub where you show off. A large part of the space is reserved for VIP tables and its dance floor is small for a place that can accommodate 800 people but the sound, the light shows, the programming of the DJs and the walls where their visuals are projected are irreproachable.
The Lilypad: in Cambridge and more precisely in Inman Square, The Lilypad is a small underground/avant-garde jazz venue (60 seats) which also hosts visual art and has been named several times one of the 100 best jazz clubs in the world.
The Lower Level: in Cambridge, an underground venue that can accommodate 200 people in the dark, minimalist basement of a classic building. The anonymous entrance is on the side to the right and to the rear, a doorway down a few steps. Very good atmosphere and reasonable prices.
The Middle East: In Cambridge / Central Square, the Middle East has been an institution of alternative and underground rock since at least 1987. It opened in the 1970s offering Middle Eastern food and belly dancing performances and then colonized the neighborhood . Today, with 3 nightclubs (Upstairs, 195 people capacity, Downstairs, 575 people and Sonia, the most recent addition, 375 people) and two restaurants also offering live music (Zuzu, 100 people and Corner, 60 people), its programming ranges from jazz to hip-hop, blues, funk, reggae and techno with local, regional or international groups depending on where they perform. The atmosphere is relaxed and the prices reasonable. You come for the music, not the décor, and big names made their debut there.
Wally’s: in Boston, one of the oldest jazz club in the USA, founded in 1947. It often hosts students from the prestigious Berklee School of Music or the equally prestigious New England Conservatory during jam sessions from 6pm to 9pm. Then jazz, blues or funk bands take over from 9:30 pm to 2 am, 365 days a year. The place is intimist, the ambiance guaranteed, the drinks at reasonable prices. There’s no entrance fee.
Minute Man National Historical Park: in Lincoln and Concord, this national park commemorates the first battles of the Revolution. It offers videos and exhibitions in its visitor center but also a 5 miles trail that will take you through the midst of what was the battlefields of April 19, 1775. You will see key buildings of the time with , in season, actors replaying the battle. Explanatory signs along the way will also show you what life was like in the 18th century. This will be an opportunity to discover the Massachusetts countryside just 30 minutes from Boston if the traffic is fluid and take a good lesson in history.
Royall House and Slave Quarters: in Medford, this Colonial style manor and the slave quarters, the only structures of this kind still visible in the USA, are what’s left of the Royall family that lived there in the 18th century. You’ll learn how wealth and bondage were linked at that time.
The Harvard Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments: in Cambridge, a small museum with hundreds of objects used to make experiments since the foundation of the University, the older ones dating from the 17th century, all unique et magnificent.
The Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East: in Cambridge, a museum that will transport you in space and time to show you the ancient culture of people who spoke Semitic languages, based on artifacts or reproduction of artifacts found during the university expeditions in the area.
Franklin zoo: in Boston, a good size zoo where you will spend at least two hours to see gorillas, lions, giraffes, zebras in different habitats recreated for them. You can bring your picnic or find food on site before occupying the tables provided for this purpose.
Madonna Queen of the Universe Shrine: in Orients Heights/East Boston, a place far from the beaten path where you’ll have panoramic views of Boston, the airport runways and the coast. You’ll also be in a residential neighborhood built in the 1930’s with still a lot of Italian influence.
Stone zoo: in Stoneham and the smaller of Boston’s two zoos, you will see more than hundred animals including alligators, jaguars, flamingos, snow leopards and black bears. Allow one to two hours for the visit.