A Theatre Lover’s Guide to Boston

theatre lover's guide boston massachusetts

My time in Boston is drawing rapidly to a close. One of the reasons I chose to move here was so I could delve into its amazing theatre scene—and it hasn’t disappointed. I love that the “Boston” theatre scene extends beyond the city limits and pours over into Cambridge, a quiet but nonetheless bustling hub of culture. Not only does this allow the shows to reach even greater audiences, but it also means that the artistic possibilities transcend countless boundaries.

Every show I’ve seen while living here has surprised and wowed me, leaving me contemplating what theatre should and could be. Something I didn’t expect from the Boston theatre scene is how closely knit it is–the artists who work together both on stage and behind the scenes form an inimitable community with new theatre bursting at the seams.

For those of you planning a play-filled trip to the city, I’ve curated a guide to the best restaurants and local gems to check out around a handful of my favorite theaters before the curtain rises.

Each restaurant and attraction listed is typically a 5-15 minute walk from the theatre it’s paired with.

american repertory theater boston cambridge 

If you’re looking for bold new works, visit
The American Repertory Theater | 64 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA

The American Repertory Theater has been the home of countless new works over the years, including many pre-Broadway tryouts. Their mission is to expand the boundaries of theatre, and they are a powerhouse for just that. 

Be sure to check out
The Harvard Art Museum | 32 Quincy St., Cambridge, MA

The Harvard Art Museum is unassuming at first glance, but houses an incredible selection of art pieces spanning many different styles and eras. It’s the perfect-sized collection to peruse over a quiet afternoon.

Be sure to eat at
Mr. Bartley’s Burger Cottage | 1246 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA

Home of some of the best burgers you’ll find in Harvard Square, Mr. Bartley’s has an extensive menu with burgers named after celebrities and other pop culture staples—including one named for Diane Paulus, the American Repertory Theater’s current artistic director!

 boston opera house broadway theatre

If you’re looking for shows fresh from Broadway, visit
The Boston Opera House | 539 Washington St., Boston, MA

The Boston Opera House is probably the most architecturally beautiful touring house I’ve ever visited—the stage is spacious and perfect for the lavish tours that dance, sing, and act across it.

Be sure to eat at
The Thinking Cup | 165 Tremont St., Boston, MA

One thing you must know about The Thinking Cup: they do not have wi-fi. I love it, you might not. Regardless, they have one of the all-around tastiest café menus I’ve come across.

Be sure to check out
The Brattle Book Shop | 9 West St., Boston, MA

You can pretty much find any book you’re looking for at the Brattle Book Shop, from vintage classics to elusive out-of-print copies. Plus, when the weather’s nice, they have a gorgeous outdoor browsing section.

 calderwood pavilion boston center for the arts speakeasy stage huntingon theatre

If you’re looking for exciting, diverse works, visit
The Calderwood Pavilion at Boston Center for the Arts | 527 Tremont St., Boston, MA

The artistic home of several theatre companies, including SpeakEasy Stage Company and Huntington Theatre Company, the Calderwood always has a beautifully produced contemporary play or musical running on one of its two stages.

Be sure to eat at
Blackbird Doughnuts | 492 Tremont St., Boston, MA

You’ll never settle for Dunkin’ Donuts ever again, even if it means losing your status as a true Bostonian. Blackbird Doughnuts are full of flavor (and calories, but let’s not think about that) and are the perfect treat yo’ self breakfast. 

Be sure to check out
The Mills Gallery at Boston Center for the Arts | 551 Tremont St., Boston, MA

A cozy space just steps away from the Calderwood Pavilion, The Mills Gallery presents modern works by both emerging and established artists. If you plan in advance, you can go on one of their free guided tours! 

central square theatre cambridge boston 

If you’re looking for intimate, thought-provoking plays, visit
The Central Square Theatre | 450 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA

The Central Square Theatre is located quite literally in the heart of Central Square and is home to two small theatre companies, The Nora Theatre  Company and The Underground Railway Theatre, each with its own take on modern works.

Be sure to check out
The Garment District | 200 Broadway, Cambridge, MA

The Garment District is everything you’ve ever wanted in a thrift store. Clothes are categorized by the decade, and if you’re on a tight budget, you can sift through piles in the by-the-pound section and pay $2 per pound of clothing.

Be sure to eat at
Veggie Galaxy | 450 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA

Veggie Galaxy serves diner food that is 100% vegan and vegetarian. There’s nothing else I can say because it can’t get any better than that. 

lyric stage company boston 

If you’re looking for modern masterpieces, visit
The Lyric Stage Company | 140 Clarendon St., Boston, MA

The plays at Lyric Stage always surprise me with how warm and personal they are, drawing you into their magic and making you forget about the world. The stage is level and set in a mild thrust, blurring the lines between where the audience stops and the action begins.

Be sure to eat at
Trident Booksellers and Café | 338 Newbury St., Boston, MA

I have a soft spot for café/bookshop combos and Trident is no exception. If you want a sweet drink, try their white hot chocolate. But if you’d rather have some finger food, their mega tots (tater tots filled with cheese) are killer.

Be sure to check out
The Top of the Hub, Prudential Tower | 800 Boylston St., Boston, MA

If you’re looking for breathtaking views of Boston, you’ve come to the right place. The Hub, located at the top of The Prudential Tower (the second tallest building in Boston!) offers 360-degree views of the city.

 

What are you waiting for? Go book your tickets now and get ready for an unforgettable trip to experience Boston and its booming theatre scene.

Let me know what your favorite thing to do in Boston is in the comments below!


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DISCLAIMER: I am an intern with the American Repertory Theater

More about Kelly

Hi, I’m Kelly! I’m here to give busy college students a guide to navigating the modern theatre world. I’m passionate about spreading my love of theatre, traveling, and trying new things.

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