“Allston Rock City” is thrumming louder than ever thanks to the 3,500-capacity general-admission club from the Bowery Presents, the same folks who brought us the beloved Sinclair in Cambridge. Boasting a massive standing-room floor and a seven-row balcony, the venue’s world-class design ensures there isn’t a bad viewing spot in the house. Its impeccable sound, meanwhile, guarantees you’ll hear every lyric, instrument, and pin-drop from the stage. Pro tip: The line for the upstairs bathrooms is almost always shorter. 89 Guest St., Boston, MA 02135, roadrunnerboston.com.
When the reimagined and redesigned Algonquin Club opened in 2021, the six-story mansion generated instant buzz for its gorgeously over-the-top design, from a button to summon champagne in the first-floor “speakeasy” to a Sinatra bust that you press to reveal a secret door. But its social capital is more than just aesthetics. The space has quickly replaced the old Bristol Lounge at the Four Seasons as the place for a power-rendezvous, except now the CEOs are rubbing elbows with social justice activists, and the membership is legitimately diverse. New Boston, indeed. 217 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA thequinhouse.com.
This is the only place you need to know when it comes to seeing a movie in style. Yes, it offers a full bar, meals, heated reclining seats, and footrests, but it’s not just a place to check out all the latest blockbusters. Special screenings of live shows from the Metropolitan Opera, plus live local musicians in the SuperLux Lounge and private “do movie night like a VIP” theater rentals can make any visitor feel like a bona fide star. 55 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill, MA 02467, showcasecinemas.com/theater-info/showcase-superlux-chestnut-hill.
To understand the century-old history of this intimate venue, just look up at the twinkling chandeliers that grace the hallowed hall’s ceiling. Once a ballroom overlooking Davis Square, the second-floor space above the Somerville Theatre was recently renovated with new bars and a state-of-the-art sound system and now hosts indie performers, comedians, and dance nights during the week and on weekends. You can even rent the space for receptions, presumably when it’s a nice day for a white wedding. 55 Davis Square, Somerville, MA 02144, crystalballroomboston.com.
The party’s on at all hours at this new hot spot from COJE Management Group: Unlike most clubs, doors at Caveau open at 5 p.m. Wednesday to Friday (7 p.m. on Saturdays) to accommodate early birds, while the kitchen serves chef Tom Berry’s menu of small bites, inspired by French Polynesia, until 11 p.m. No matter what time you arrive, the space — designed to look like an abandoned subway station turned secret party — will make you feel like you’re in a class of your own while you dance the night away. 1 Center Plaza, Boston, MA 02108, caveauofficial.com.
Once you hear the candlepins crashing, smell the freshly made clay-oven pizza, and taste the beer — lots and lots of locally made beer — you’ll understand why people flock from all over to score a lane at Sacco’s. In fact, try making a reservation, and you might be shocked at just how popular the Davis Square holdover has become. Luckily, several lanes are available on a first-come basis — so show up early and stay late. 45 Day St., Somerville, MA 02144, americanflatbread.com/locations/somerville-ma.
The city of Cambridge transformed this former factory into a gorgeous, multipurpose creative hive with the explicit goal of offering accessible space to artists and artisans in a city that, more often than not, prices them out. Among the Foundry’s public amenities are reservable conference rooms; four makerspaces offering workshops for fi ber arts, woodwork, and more; a demonstration kitchen; a dance studio; and a 115-seat black-box theater. Not artistically inclined? No problem — you’ll also find Zumba classes, gallery shows, and guitar festivals, all open to the public. 101 Rogers St., Cambridge, MA 02142, cambridgefoundry.org.
What started as a two-day concert at City Hall Plaza 10 years ago has blossomed into New England’s destination festival. Its fifth time at the Harvard Athletic Complex, this year’s masterfully executed event mixed legacy performers (Foo Fighters, Alanis Morissette), surprise showstoppers (Noah Kahan, Genesis Owusu), and endearing up-and-comers (the Linda Lindas, Mint Green). Staggered set times minimized scheduling conflicts and FOMO; the overall vibe, meanwhile, was great — you can’t go wrong with the Flaming Lips and a Ferris wheel. bostoncalling.com.
Forget the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon — in Boston, you can connect just about anyone who’s anyone within one or two degrees of Colette Phillips and her everexpanding cross-cultural business networking organization, Get Konnected! Now in its 16th year, Phillips’s group is renowned for creating specialized lists that shine a much-needed spotlight on people of color making an impact on life in and around the Hub. And her events are the premier opportunities to hobnob with the people who matter most. getkonnected.com.
Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, and hear why news anchor Jack Lepiarz left WBUR after 13 years this past February: He (literally) ran away to join the circus. For years, the son of a Big Apple Circus performer spent weekends moonlighting as Jacques Ze Whipper, a joke-cracking, whip-cracking showman in French baron breeches who regaled Renaissance fair crowds with droll antics and fire-lash tricks. But after blowing up on TikTok (where he now has 2.8 million followers) and appearing on America’s Got Talent in 2022, Lepiarz felt the circus-performer circuit calling him full time. This fall, you can find the Emerson grad at King Richard’s Faire — just follow the wuh-psssh, wuh-psssh. jackthewhipper.com.
This commission from the City of Boston’s Transformative Public Art Program is a resplendent tribute to beloved Allston fixture Rita Hester, a Black transgender woman whose unsolved 1998 murder helped inspire the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. Completed last summer, Rita’s Spotlight integrates personal flourishes from the subject — a love for cheetah print, roses, and pearls — with the luminous hues of ’80s wildstyle graffiti, establishing Roxbury-born Rixy as a formidable artist and exciting talent to watch. 506 Cambridge St., Allston, MA 02134, .
Greater Boston’s favorite sons, Matt Damon and Casey Affleck, made quite a scene in late March while in town shooting their upcoming Apple TV+ heist flick, The Instigators. Filming took over North End landmark Bova’s Bakery and the firehouse on Hanover Street, with crowds of oglers waiting to catch a glimpse of Massachusetts royalty. It was outside the Public Garden, though, that two Boston staffers randomly happened upon Damon — clad in a Boston Fire Department hat, naturally — and snagged a requisite selfie.
It’s already been a huge year for Lakiyra “Oompa” Williams. In January, the Roxbury-born rapper and two-time Boston Music Awards winner performed at Governor Maura Healey’s inaugural ball at TD Garden — an event historic both in scope and symbolism and her biggest indoor stage ever. That same month, Oompa returned to the TD Garden spotlight, taking over the Celtics’ halftime for a five-minute center-court set. But the February single “Think Too Much” represents a greater leveling up, with Oompa trying out her singing voice over airy Afro-Caribbean rhythms and showing a softer R & B range that promises her year can only get bigger. oompoutloud.com.
A video reporter for the radio station WBZ, Shearer has become a social media sensation for his spin on traditional man-on-the-street interviews, a freewheeling format in which he asks Bay State residents probing questions about their home localities. For example: How did Billericans feel when one of three Market Baskets on the same street (Boston Road, naturally) closed? “I actually cried,” a customer named Peggy told him gravely. “I felt like I lost a part of my family.” The accents always fly, but what makes the videos sing are heartfelt, hysterical contributions from subjects like these. twitter.com/MattWBZ.
Celtics center Al Horford has plenty of fans, but it’s hard to think of a more entertaining booster than the five-time NBA All-Star’s younger sister, Anna. Her sharp, take-no-prisoners Twitter feed offers a buffet of highlight reels, detailed thoughts on team strategy, and, most important, a bone-deep optimism that the Celts can still come back and win when they’re down. When they don’t? She’s an amusing commiserator. “Disappointed, but life goes on,” she lamented after the C’s season-ending loss to the Miami Heat. “Gonna go get stoned.” Besides, where else can you get a grainy gif of college-age Al Horford doing a shoulder shimmy? twitter.com/annahorford.
For character invention alone, Douaihy wins this one. With her 2023 debut novel Scorched Grace, the soon-to-be assistant professor at Emerson College has blessed the world with Sister Holiday, a heavily tattooed, chain-smoking, punk-rock nun who also happens to be a capable amateur detective. In other words, Holiday is practically begging for a streaming series — and she just might get one: The book, the first from Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn’s new Zando Projects imprint, has already been optioned. margotdouaihy.com.
If you want to see the art of ancient Greece and the Pharaohs of yore, or the works of John Singer Sargent and Ansel Adams, or even contemporary portraits of the Obamas, there are only three letters you need to know: M, F, and A. Long the city’s largest museum, with nearly 500,000 works of art and a nonstop parade of exhibitions and traveling shows, it remains a must-visit institution and a local treasure for all Bostonians. 465 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115, mfa.org.
When arts patron Isabella Stewart Gardner unveiled her meticulously curated Venetian palazzo Fenway Court in 1903, she did it with a New Year’s Day soiree featuring doughnuts, champagne, and Mozart. More than 120 years later, her namesake museum still hosts an exquisite black-tie dinner, illuminated by candlelight and attended strictly by A-listers. It’s possibly the most elegant evening anywhere in town, as guests gather for cocktails in the courtyard and then dine in the galleries with Old Masters hovering over their shoulders. gardnermuseum.org.
This venerable institution reopened last November after a thorough $17 million renovation at the hands of Annum Architects’ Ann Beha, with a mission to shed its stuffy reputation as a Brahmin redoubt and to become a resource that’s inclusive and welcoming to all. Now even the hoi polloi can entertain at one of the country’s oldest independent libraries and art museums: The elegant space is available to rent for first-class events like private dinners, weddings, and other celebrations. Everybody’s welcome on the guest list — just don’t bump into that priceless marble bust. 10½ Beacon St., Boston, MA 02108, bostonathenaeum.org.
Bad is in its name, but we only have extraordinary things to say about this venerable cultural institution, which exhibits works of art that, uh, must have lovely personalities. After nearly 30 years of hopscotching from location to location — former sites include the Dedham Community Theatre and the Somerville Theatre basement — the Museum of Bad Art opened a new public gallery at the Dorchester Brewing Company in September. Now you can spend a leisurely afternoon sipping fruity brews and browsing, um, creative works from MOBA’s collection — like a cockeyed painting of Jackie O flirtatiously eyeing George Washington. Dorchester Brewing Company, 1250 Mass Ave., Dorchester, MA 02125, museumofbadart.org.
Where can you go to get weird? For two decades, the answer was ManRay, a legendary Cambridge nightclub that doubled as a kinky hub for goths, leather enthusiasts, LGBTQ+ identifiers, and other alternative-scene nonconformists. But when the Central Square venue shuttered in 2005, the place to get weird became…we dunno, Providence? In true goth fashion, ManRay miraculously rose from the dead this past January, reopening three blocks from its former location and with its crew and suggested dress code (no jock gear!) intact. Break out the eyeliner — even Wednesday Addams needs a place to dance. 40 Prospect St., Cambridge, MA 02139, manrayclub.com.
Only in Cambridge can you take a scenic 10-minute stroll from the birthplace of a COVID-19 vaccine (Moderna’s headquarters) to a candy factory that supplies the world with Junior Mints. The area’s combined legacy as innovation hub and pedestrian paradise inspired Boston Globe columnist Scott Kirsner and Framingham State professor Robert Krim to connect such points of interest and create the Innovation Trail. Launched in 2022 and spanning from Downtown Crossing to Kendall Square, the walking tour visits more than 20 sites where seismic breakthroughs in science and technology took place. Follow along independently, or book a seasonal guide and prepare to be awed. theinnovationtrail.org.
One, two, three, four, five, six! That’s not only the opening countdown of Natick native Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers’ 1976 classic “Roadrunner,” it’s also the number of times state lawmakers have tried to pass legislation making Richman’s ode to Route 128 night-driving “the official rock song of the Commonwealth.” Ten years since former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh introduced the first fail bills in 2013, Natick Representative David Linsky filed another one in February. Maybe the sixth time is the charm? Radio on!
HBO’s 2023 series The Last of Us depicted a present-day dystopian Boston in which the North End was a heavily militarized quarantine zone, and Quincy Market was a wasteland of fungal zombies. But the post-apocalyptic storyline required a greater suspension of disbelief in the third episode, when an establishing shot identifi ed a coniferous forest landscape and steep mountain range as “10 Miles West of Boston.” The Internet wasn’t having it. As one local cracked on Twitter, “I [love] to take my family skiing in the mountain wilderness of Waltham.”