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Boston Arts and CultureBoston is not only the cultural capital of Massachusetts, but has one of the greatest concentrations of fine arts institutions and performing arts venues in the world. This is due, in part, to Boston's position as one of the founding cities in Colonial America, its role in the American Revolution, and to the wealth generated in the 19th century by its whaling and international trade and in the 20th century by the mills and manufacturing economy of the New England region.
The Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) is Boston's main art museum, with a large permanent collection and ever-changing exhibits from all over the country and the world. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is a gem of a collection housed in Mrs Gardner's Back Bay mansion. The new Institute of Contemporary Art enjoys a spectacular building perched on the edge of Boston Harbor in the Seaport District, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. The Museum of Science is a perennial favorite, as is the John F. Kennedy Library and the New England Aquarium. Also, many of the colleges and universities in Boston and surrounding cities offer their own unique collections of art and antiquities, including Harvard, MIT and Boston University, to name a few.
Music lovers will enjoy performances of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Symphony Hall, the Boston Lyric Opera Company and the Boston Opera. And, if you're lucky enough to be in Boston on the 4th of July, the world-famous Boston Pops perform along with fireworks on the Esplanade park along the Charles River.
Of course, Boston's central role in early American history is preserved and recounted along the Freedom Trail, part of the Boston National Historical Park, which also includes Paul Revere's house. As a modern city, you'll also find cutting edge architecture and venues for popular music and theatrical produtions in Boston.
Gauguin's Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?
1897- 1898, Museum of Fine Art, Boston
There's nothing like coming up close to a famous painting.
Studying text books or closely looking at cardboard prints and framed posters are one thing; but to see brush strokes and witness actual dabs of oil color is in its own universe. Anyone who's stood in front of the Mona Lisa will attest.
So if you're in
Are your palms starting to sweat? Their contemporary collection showcases pieces by Andy Warhol, David Hockney and Susan Rothenberg.
Start with the memorial JFK Presidential Library and Museum (left), where JFK himself narrates the exhibits and a film using vintage footage about his campaigns.
For a faster pace, try the Boston Children's Museum, a fun way for young kids to learn with hands on exhibits and experience arts, culture and science at early ages. While around 90 years old, this museum is even stroller friendly!
If you're still after something a little different, there's always the New England Aquarium at
Here you can watch IMAX aquatic movies or even interact with the local seals. Education is high priority here, aiming to teach its visitors about the environment, conservation and species protection.
The theater district is generally south of the Boston Common (right), a central park around 50 acres in size (an area also famous for speeches made my Pope John Paul II and Martin Luther King Jr).
Ornate theaters are scattered throughout this area, like the Cutler Majestic Theater and there are lots more around
Go back to the Common for winter Ice Skating on the Frog Pond, special events on the grass and softball on the fields. The Common is also a southern part of the Freedom Trail and joins onto the first two subway stations ever created in the USA, Park Street Station, and Boylston Station.