Boston arts and culture guide
Boston is the key cultural and civic hub for New England, and as a result, the city reflects the cultural heritage of the northeastern states. Boston’s unique accent and its dialect, sometimes called Boston English, is the most conspicuous cultural marker for residents of the city. Boston residents are also renowned for their appreciation and patronage of the arts, a quality that is reflected in the city’s many fine arts institutions. Because of the large number of prestigious universities in the area (including Harvard, MIT, and Northeastern), Boston is considered to be a young and well-educated city, and one that has a legacy of excellence in academic and technical achievements.
The performing arts have for long played an important role in Boston’s civic life. The world-renowned Boston Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1881 and currently plays at Symphony Hall on Huntington Street. The orchestra regularly attracts artists of world acclaim, and has developed prestige under prominent directors, most notably Serge Koussevitzky and Seiji Ozawa. The Boston Ballet is also considered to be one of the better ensembles in North America and perform at the Wang Center for the Performing Arts, one of many excellent venues in the city’s Theater District, south of Boston Common.
Boston’s visual arts scene is centred upon the Museum of Fine Arts, which is adjacent to Symphony Hall. The museum contains the second largest permanent museum collection in the Western Hemisphere, including large collections of Egyptian and Classical artifacts, and French Impressionist paintings. Other notable galleries in Boston include the Isabella Stuart Gardiner Museum, the Institute for Contemporary Art, and the National Museum for Afro-American Art. The Boston Public Library, an iconic Beaux-Arts style building in the Back Bay, also houses a number of literary and visual artifacts.
Sports play a big role in the local identities of Bostonians, with residents rallying behind venerable professional teams such as the Boston Red Sox, the Bruins, and the Celtics. Indeed, the Red Sox’s Fenway Park and its imposing “Green Monster” has become one of the city’s cultural icons. The Boston Marathon, which takes place every April, is one of the oldest and most prestigious road races in the world. Additionally, Boston’s many universities give rise to numerous sports teams who compete for regional titles.
Boston’s culinary legacy is shaped by its proximity to the ocean: its key dishes include New England clam chowder, fish and chips, lobsters, steamed clams, and baked clams. These delicacies can be enjoyed in any of Boston’s great seafood restaurants, the most notable of which is the Union Oyster House, one of America’s oldest operating restaurants. Boston’s cuisine is also reflective of the many immigrant groups that have entered the city over the years: the North End is replete with small, family-run restaurants that serve sumptuous Italian meals, while Chinatown is famous for its variety of Far Eastern cuisines.