Words Ashley Lajoie
Boston is a history lover’s paradise, where each turn is reminiscent of its revolutionary past. But Boston is filled with art and music that transcends the colonial charm of the city. From popular, well know venues to local hangouts, the Boston music scene is thriving with talent. From Rock to Americana there is a place that caters to your taste. Music isn’t the only budding scene in Beantown. From abstract to contemporary, art in Boston is edgy and evolving. When in the city, don’t limit yourself to the 16th-century paintings lining the walls of the Museum of Fine Art, instead venture through this seaside metropolis to find the public art that is waiting to be discovered.
At the Table
Music and style collide in the Boston culinary scene.
1 Starbucks not your cup of expresso? Then wonder on over to the Thinking Cup (165
Tremont St, Boston; 617.482.5555; http://www.thinkingcup.com). Quirky meets vintage as patrons have a latte($3.50, a treat from the menu (gluten and dairy free options), and lounge music plays in the background.
2 Every music lover’s conundrum is finding a place to eat before going to show that meets two criteria: good food and close to the venue. The Sinclair( 52 Church St, Cambridge; 617.547.5200) solves both of these problems. A music venue and a kitchen, come for
dinner, drinks, or brunch before catching the latest act at this hybrid venue.
3 Looking for mellow tunes to accompany your dinner? Step into the coolest eatery where bohemian ambiance meets the earthy grooves of soul jazz. The food, the music, and the eccentric art all have character to match the vibe of this hive. The Beehive (541 Tremont St., Boston; 617.423.0069) will leave you buzzing about your experience.
From designer to classic, these Boston hotels radiate with influences of both the local art and music scenes.
Edgy: Modern chic with a retro twist, get ready to travel back in time to when rock n’ roll all began when you stay at this boutique hotel. From the iconic red vintage 1947 style tour bus to the pop art on the walls, decorative electric guitars, and the vinyl record players in the room, rock n’ roll is alive and well at the Verb(www.theverbhotel.com/en-us/; 1271 Boylston St.)
Plain and Simple: The Midtown Hotel (http://www.midtownhotel.com; 220 Huntington Ave, Boston) combining simplicity and modern architecture to give a no-frills option for those who want to stay close to the Boston art and music Scene.
Stay where local musician’s play: Situated in the Seaport District, the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel(http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/boswf-renaissance-boston-waterfront-hotel/; 600 Congress St, Boston) blends contemporary style and the local music scene. Enjoy the sounds of local artists every Friday night at the hotel’s Capiz Bar.
Art Lover’s Paradise: Hotel Commonwealth(www.hotelcommonwealth.com; 500 Commonwealth Ave, Boston) is conveniently located to multiple music venues and it is home to Panopticon Gallery, which has been showcasing photography since 1971.
Architectural Dream: The Ames Boston Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton(www.hotelcommonwealth.com; 1 Court St, Boston) seamlessly blends historic and contemporary design that is evident from the floors to the ceiling.
The sky is covered by stained glass plastic, and a man can be seen skillfully casting bright colors against the brick wall that morph into images of his imagination. Modica Way
(Between 567 and 565 Mass Ave, Cambridge) exemplifies the idea that art has no boundaries. A constantly changing canvas, the brick walls of the building display the latest creations of Boston’s local street artists. An art lover’s dream, Modica Way will be the place you keep wandering to every time you come to Boston, amazed by the novelty work that is displayed.
Small and intimate, this dive is a hip hangout for all you jazz cats. What Wally Café(427 Massachusetts Ave, Boston; 617.424.1408; http://www.wallyscafe.com) lacks in size it makes up for in character: a red door, a simple bar, table and chairs, and a stage is all that is needed for a great night featuring local jazz students and musicians. Take advantage of the ‘no cover’ policy and enjoy the nightly variety of home-grown talent.
Iconic Cultural Attractions
Boston Center for the Arts(539 Tremont St, Boston; 617.426.5000) http://www.bcaonline.org is a hub of artistic creation. From the visual arts to the performing arts, there is always something to see here. A space for local artists since its development in the 1960s, BCA has become an instrumental part of the art scene.
Providing an intimate musical experience, The Red Room at Café 939(939 Boylston St, Boston; 617.747. 2261; https://www.berklee.edu/red-room-cafe-939) is known for showcasing local talent from Berklee College of Music and artists who have become household names such as Ed Sheeran and Hozier.
America’s oldest park offers the quintessential Boston experience. Historical and contemporary influences give character to Boston Common(139 Tremont St, Boston, https://www.boston.gov/parks/boston-common). There is no lack of entertainment with street performers frequenting this park.
Art and Music Outside of the City
Need a break from the city? Take a trip to Beverly, Massachusetts. This town is known for its talent, and not just because of the Montserrat College of Art. Beverly has a plethora of galleries and its very own art district. Affectionately referred to as BAD, the Beverly Art District is the perfect place to see the work of local artists. It also hosts the Arts Fest in June, which is the perfect opportunity for the whole family to enjoy everything that local artists have to offer. From painters to basket weavers to musicians there is something for everyone at the Arts Fest. Be sure to check out the Wicked Art Bar, where you can learn to paint while sipping on your favorite drink (alcoholic and non-alcoholic options available).
What the Locals Do
The best way to get the scope on local hotspots is from a local. Julius Hancock, a freelance photographer, gives us his insider perspective. What’s the best part about Boston?Boston is a mixture of modern and historical and has a unique character that you can’t find anywhere else. The city is full of inspiration and endless talent. What’s your favorite place? Boston Common. For me, it’s the perfect spot to take candid photos of everyday life, but it’s also a
great place to see local musicians and artists working. Tips for tourist looking for the best spots for art and music? For local art go to Modica Way. For good music, hit the Lizard Lounge or the Toad, they have great nightly acts featuring lots of local artists.
Don’t leave without seeing…
The Lizard Lounge(1667 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge; 617.547.0759;lizardloungeclub.com/), a basement bar that showcases some of the best talent around. “It offers an intimate experience between the performer and the audience because there is no stage. Whether it’s poetry, a concert, or just open mic night, it’s an experience like no other.” Starry Night (best view A Street at Summer Street, South Boston) was originally a temporary exhibit under a Fort Point Bridge created by local
artist, Lisa Greenfield with Blue LED lights from Target, but it has become a permanent part of the bridge until 2024. This is a one of a kind public work of art will give you the illusion of the stars in the city. Interested in being part of the Boston art experience? Look no further than Light Blades (Greenway, between Milk St and India St., Boston) at the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Programmed to show an impressive array of colors, patterns, and intensity, send a text to 617-208-4455 to light up the Wharf District Park Plaza with your own colorful creation.