Welcome to the Athens of America, a city rich with artistic and cultural offerings. We're talking not only about the world-class symphony orchestra and top-notch theater and dance companies, but also rock clubs, poetry slams and avant-garde performance art. Not to mention the championship sports teams that fans live and die by.

Music

Classical Music

Home to the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the New England Conservatory of Music, Boston boasts some of the country’s oldest and most prestigious houses for symphonic experiences.

Modern Music

Boston's modern music scene is centered in the student areas of Cambridge and Allston/Brighton. There's also a thriving jazz scene, starting with the students and faculty of the Berklee College of Music. To figure out who’s playing where, take a look at the clubs' websites or listings in Dig Boston (www.digboston.com). Most shows are for those aged 21 and over.

Comedy

Boston is a funny place, and we mean funny ha-ha. To cite some famous examples, Conan O’Brian, Jay Leno and Denis Leary are all from Boston. The Wilbur Theatre is Boston's largest comedy venue, but the local talent is normally found at smaller funny outlets all around town.

Theater

The Theater District is packed with venues showcasing the city's opera, dance and dramatic prowess, while more innovative experimental theaters are in Cambridge and the South End. The Boston Ballet (www.bostonballet.org) performs at the Boston Opera House, also in the Theater District. Two opera companies – Boston Lyric Opera (www.blo.org) and Odyssey Opera (www.odysseyopera.org) – perform at venues around town.

Spectator Sports

Baseball

The intensity of baseball fandom has only grown since the Boston Red Sox broke their 86-year losing streak and won the 2004 World Series. The Red Sox play from April to October at Fenway Park, the nation's oldest and most storied (and most expensive) ballpark.

Football

With six Super Bowl victories in the new millennium, the New England Patriots are a football dynasty that is much loved at home but detested in other parts of the country. They play in the state-of-the-art Gillette Stadium, 50 minutes south of Boston in Foxborough. The season runs from late August to January.

Part of the competitive Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), the Boston College Eagles (www.bceagles.com) play in the new Alumni Stadium every second Saturday from September to November. Staunch Ivy League rivalries bring out alumni and fans to see the Harvard Crimson (www.gocrimson.com) play at Harvard Stadium.

Hockey

Stanley Cup winners in 2011, the Boston Bruins (www.bostonbruins.com) play ice hockey at TD Garden from mid-October to mid-April. College hockey is also huge in Boston, as local schools earn the devotion of spirited fans. The local rivalries come out in full force during the annual Beanpot Tournament.

Basketball

The Boston Celtics have won more basketball championships than any other NBA team, most recently in 2008. From October to April, they play at TD Garden. The Boston College Eagles (www.bceagles.com) are competitive in the ACC and are usually still standing for March Madness. The Eagles play at Conte Forum.

Need to Know

Tickets

  • Opera, theater and dance tickets are available online or at box offices.
  • Most music venues offer advance online ticket sales.
  • Tickets for professional sports teams are hard to get, although you can sometimes find them on team websites. Online ticket agents offer tickets at marked-up prices, as do scalpers hanging out at venues.

Opening Hours

Classical music, theater and dance performances usually start at 7pm or 8pm, and there may be weekend matinees. Club concerts often start at 9pm or 10pm, though venues might offer an early show at 7pm or 8pm.

BosTix

ArtsBoston (www.artsboston.org) offers discounted tickets to theater productions through BosTix Deals (up to 25% for advance purchases online; up to 50% for same-day purchase at ArtsBoston kiosks at Quincy Market and Prudential Center).

Useful Websites

Boston Music Intelligencer (www.classical-scene.com)

World Music (www.worldmusic.org)

Jazz Boston! (www.jazzboston.org)

Unscene Comedy (www.unscenecomedy.com)

Boston Opera Calendar (www.bostonoperacalendar.org)