Amid a flurry of cleaning services catering to on-the-go urbanites, the Jamaica Plain outpost of this national operation shows an unbeatable blend of polish and professionalism. After setting the appointment and sending an e-mail confirmation, your cleaning team will arrive armed with grime-busting equipment and a dozen sprays, as well as a rigorous 22-step plan for restoring your home's sparkle. The Maids will even pick up and drop off your keys at work—another excellent reason to fork over the $159 fee, which is lowered if you book monthly follow-ups. 179 Boylston St., Jamaica Plain, MA 2130, .
Be warned: Faina has a devoted following, so prepare to book at least a week ahead for an appointment. The wait is worth it for the extra-long hand massage and meticulous nail polish application. Some fans swear it's possible to get two weeks out of her manicure. 95 Central Street, Wellesley, MA trilliumbrewing.com/wordpress_blog.
She spends so much time on your nails you'll think you're her only client for the day. Grimaud pampers you with a soothing hand massage and expertly takes the rough edges off your talons. Most important, her multicoated polishing will take you through a week and then some. 9 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
We brought our feet to Jeanne Lee's no-frills salon after a long winter of neglect. Without a drop of judgment, Lee whipped our rough nails into sandal shape and smoothed our calloused heels, leaving us with soft, polished tootsies too pretty to confine to boots. 125 Newbury St., Boston, MA 2116, jeannesalon.com.
Despite her long list of furry clients, Kelly Acone always remembers who likes a long topknot and who gets a princess cut. Her love of dogs is obvious in the way she coos at them while clipping their nails, calms them during the scary blow-dry, and posts their adorable makeovers on Facebook. 248 W. Newton St., Boston, MA 02116, .
With its late-night programming, new contemporary exhibits (the recent blockbuster Takashi Murakami show), and a thriving social media presence, the MFA has been making a big play to attract the next generation of art aficionados this year. And so far? It’s been a roaring success. The museum recently received national attention, too, thanks to its newest hire: a bug-sniffing Weimaraner named Riley. He protects the MFA’s precious works from pests and moths—and is also excellent at mugging for the camera. 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02115, mfa.org.
Where else can you spend date night dancing to live DJs, eating oysters on the harbor, and checking out a Shepard Fairey original? With some of the best waterfront views in town, the museum itself is a sleek architectural masterpiece—a place to see world-class contemporary art and be seen at the institute’s rocking First Fridays events, which feature live outdoor performances. Armed with 20 recently donated works from philanthropist Barbara Lee, the 80-year-old museum is getting fresher every day. 25 Harbor Shore Dr., Boston, MA 02210, icaboston.org.
On the strength of its individual exhibits alone—notably the vast Goya retrospective and Shinique Smith's exuberant showcase—the Museum of Fine Arts is a formidable contender for best museum. But when you consider the institution's past year as a whole, it's a hands-down winner. Diverse offerings revealed a commitment to pushing boundaries. Performance art was regularly integrated into the museum's hallowed gallery spaces; it maintained a consistently edgy and eclectic film program; and then, as a capper, it launched its first-ever mobile app as artwork. 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02115, mfa.org.
Pricey condos and global corporations may now dominate the Fort Point landscape, but this nonprofit’s commitment to the neighborhood’s long-standing arts scene remains just as strong as the day it was founded in 1980. With some 250 virtuosos producing the paintings, photography, and sculpture shown in its various galleries, the space (pictured) is a cornucopia of the city’s finest art. And in a time of social distancing, FPAC has stayed active with an art-lending program and public pieces, including floating installations in Fort Point Channel itself. Fort Point, fortpointarts.org. 300 Summer St., Boston, MA 02210, fortpointarts.org.
The ICA’s been around for nearly 80 years, but its exhibits and classes are still cutting-edge. 100 Northern Ave., Fort Point/Waterfront, MA 2210, icaboston.org.
Local masterpiece-mongers tend to deal in one of two extremes: jejune still-lifes geared to designers who spruce up Back Bay sunrooms, or sprawling esoterica that cause poseurs to start lusting for home-display space. Hewing a noble path between pear paintings and "environments," Lanoue focuses on established artists who tackle traditional genres—portraits, landscapes, even floral studies—with modern flair. Though varied in style, the monthly exhibitions all balance craftsmanship with conceptual edge, requiring neither advanced degree nor audio tour to blow you away. 125 Newbury St., Boston, MA 2116, lanouefineart.com.
In Newton's New Art Center classes, weekend collectors can ponder the age-old question—What Is Art?—then study the intriguing works showcased in the late-1800s Universalist church. Should you find something lacking in any of the canvases, prints, or sculptures, you can improve the view by organizing your own exhibitions: The guest curatorial program lets interested parties help decide what goes on display. 61 Washington Park, Newtonville, MA 2460, newartcenter.org.
Reliable and careful, it handles both painting and sculpture. 251 Heath St., Jamaica Plain, MA .
They had the sense to book the Gund show. 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA .