With one of the most punishing winters in Boston’s history nearly over, most people are dreaming of sandy beaches and turquoise waters. But most of us aren’t going to be able to spend spring break on a tropical island. For anyone who is staying local, we’ve put together a list of fun and interesting things to do over the next week—from free concerts and museum exhibitions to historical reenactments and movie screenings. So, the snow may still be underfoot, but this sampling should help you have a fun and relaxing break. Enjoy.
The Great Boston Chili Bowl
For the second year in a row, some of the Boston area’s hippest restaurants and breweries are teaming up for a great cause. The Great Boston Chili Bowl features food and beverages from Veggie Galaxy, Amelia’s Trattoria, Aeronaut Brewing Co., and Narragansett Beer, among others. Proceeds benefit Cambridge-based ALS Therapy Development Institute, which develops drug therapies for those with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Philanthropy never tasted so good.
The Great Boston Chili Bowl, open to those 21 and older, is Sunday, March 8, from noon to 4 p.m. in the Tech Square Atrium, 100 Technology Square, Cambridge. General admission tickets ($46.50), with parking, unlimited samples of chili and beer, and a commemorative tasting glass, must be purchased online. Take an inbound Green Line trolley to Park Street, transfer to an outbound Red Line train towards Alewife, and get off at Kendall/MIT.
Don’t miss your chance to sample some of Boston’s finest fare during the final week of Dine Out Boston, formerly known as Restaurant Week. Restaurants all over town are offering special prix fixe menus (lunches are $15, $20, and $25; dinners $28, $33, and $38) through March 13. It’s an opportunity to revisit a favorite spot or try someplace new. From steakhouses to tapas bars and French cuisine to pub fare, you’re sure to find a satisfying, budget-friendly option.
Dine Out Boston runs from Sunday, March 8, through Friday, March 13. Find a full list of participating locations here.
Music and Dance
AcousticaElectronica at Oberon
Can’t decide between the theater, the symphony, the ballet, or a dance club? No worries. AcousticaElectronica combines all of the above in a one-of-a-kind immersive theatrical experience that DigBoston describes as “Cirque du Soleil meets a rave.” A blend of electronic and classical music, circus arts, and immersive theater in a nightclub-like venue, it’s the second Friday of every month at Oberon, the American Repertory Theater’s second stage.
AcousticaElectronica is Friday, March 13, at 9:30 p.m. at Oberon at the American Repertory Theater, 2 Arrow Street, Cambridge. Tickets ($25 to $65) must be purchased in advance online. Take a Green Line trolley to Park Street, transfer to a Red Line train towards Alewife, and get off at Harvard Square.
Dorrance Dance at the Institute of Contemporary Art
This month and next the ICA hosts critically acclaimed choreographer Michelle Dorrance and her company in the Boston premiere of Dorrance’s newest work, The Blues Project. This homage to the history of tap dance features the work of nine performers accompanied by live music by composer Toshi Reagon and her folk/blues band BIGLovely. With preshow talks by dance critic Debra Cash, this is a can’t miss for dance aficionados.
The Blues Project is on Friday, March 13, at 8 p.m., Saturday, March 14, at 3 and 8 p.m., and Sunday, March 15, at 3 p.m., at the ICA, 100 Northern Ave., Boston. Tickets are $36 for members and students with a valid BU ID, $40 otherwise, and can be purchased online here. Take any MBTA Green Line trolley to Park Street, transfer to a Red Line train outbound to South Station then to the Silver Line toward Waterfront, and get off at the World Trade Center.
Video Games Live at the Wilbur Theatre
Here’s your chance to experience video game classics like Super Mario Bros., Legend of Zelda, and Halo like never before. In this live concert, the Boston-based Video Game Orchestra performs soundtracks to some of the most popular video games. With a live chorus, a laser light show, and preshow activities like a Guitar Hero competition, game demos, and prize giveaways, even nongamers will love this concert experience.
Video Games Live at the Wilbur Theatre is Monday, March 16, at 8 p.m. at the Wilbur Theatre, 246 Tremont St., Boston. Tickets ($36 to $77) must be purchased online in advance. Take a Green Line trolley to Boylston or an Orange Line train to Chinatown.
Can’t recall what spring looks like? Stop by the Gardner Museum and bask in the Venetian palace’s lushly planted courtyard as you visit the museum’s storied galleries. An added bonus each March Monday: a free concert series by flutist Paula Robison and pianist Bruce Brubaker, who will perform Morton Feldman’s rarely heard three-hour piece “For Christian Wolff.” Visitors can stay for the entire concert or drop in for a portion.
The In and Out Concert is each March Monday in the museum’s Calderwood Hall, 25 Evans Way, Boston, from 1 to 4 p.m.; free with museum admission, $15 for adults, $12 for seniors (65 and up), $5 for students, and free for students with a valid BU ID, museum members, visitors under 17, and anyone named Isabella. The museum is open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and until 9 p.m. on Thursdays. Take an inbound Green Line trolley to Kenmore Square, transfer to an E trolley outbound, and get off at the MFA stop.
Theater, Comedy, and Art
Obento and Built Space: Japanese Boxed Lunch and Architecture at Boston Architectural College
Self-proclaimed foodies will love this free exhibition that explores principles of architectural design by examining traditional Japanese boxed lunches called bento and the way they inspire designers and architects to think about space, portability, and sustainability. This is a must for anyone interested in architecture and design.
Obento and Built Space: Japanese Boxed Lunch and Architecture runs through April 20 at the Boston Architectural College’s McCormick Gallery, 320 Newbury St., Boston. Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The exhibition is free and open to the public. Take an inbound Green Line trolley to Hynes Convention Center.
The Daily Show Writers Standup Tour: An Evening of Political-ish Comedy
Fans of Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show will want to check out this nationwide comedy tour starring several of the show’s writers and producers when it comes to Boston March 14. Stewart won’t be on hand, but staffers Adam Lowitt, Matt Koff, and Travon Free will offer plenty of wry political observations, and during a Q&A following the performance, will answer audience questions about the writing process on the Emmy-winning show and talk about how field pieces are produced.
The Daily Show Writers Standup Tour: An Evening of Political-ish Comedy is Saturday, March 14, at 7 p.m. at the Wilbur Theatre, 246 Tremont St., Boston. Tickets are $31 and must be purchased online in advance. Take a Green Line trolley to Boylston or an Orange Line train to Chinatown.
Big Fish the Musical
The award-winning Speakeasy Stage Company is presenting the New England premiere of Big Fish, the musical version of the eponymous Tim Burton film, which was in turn inspired by the Daniel Wallace novel Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions. Like the novel and movie, the musical tells the story of a son attempting to reconcile with his father by learning the truth behind the older man’s epic tales. The musical debuted on Broadway in October 2013.
Big Fish runs from March 13 to April 11 at the Boston Center for the Arts Calderwood Pavilion, 527 Tremont St., Boston. Performances are Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m. Tickets ($25 to $61) can be purchased online or at the box office. Take a Green Line trolley to Copley and walk to Tremont Street.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: Gordon Parks: Back to Fort Scott
One of the most influential African American photojournalists of the 20th century, Gordon Parks is the subject of a solo exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, titled Gordon Parks: Back to Fort Scott, which highlights a series of photos Parks took chronicling segregation in his Kansas hometown. Parks had planned to publish a photo essay of the images in Life magazine in April 1951, but it was never published. The show offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of ordinary African Americans in the years leading up to the civil rights movement.
Gordon Parks: Back to Fort Scott is on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, through September 13, 2015. The museum is open Mondays, Tuesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. and Wednesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. Admission is free for members or students with a BU ID; $25 for adults; $23 for seniors and students 18 and over; free for children ages 6 and under, youths 7 to 17 on weekdays after 3 p.m., weekends, and Boston public school holidays (otherwise $10), and to the public on Wednesday evenings. Take an MBTA Green Line E trolley or the number 39 bus to the Museum of Fine Arts stop or the Orange Line train or bus routes 8, 47, or C2 to the Ruggles stop.
Science and History
245th Anniversary of the Boston Massacre
It was 245 years ago that British soldiers killed five Bostonians in front of the Old State House, setting in motion events leading to the American Revolution. To commemorate the anniversary, the Old State House is hosting a daylong series of events. Visitors can travel back in time to learn about colonial life in Little Redcoats and Little Bostonians, an interactive program for children; witness the chaos of the massacre during a live reenactment of the fateful events of March 5, 1770; learn about the massacre’s aftermath by watching a live performance of scenes from Blood on the Snow, a play about the Boston Massacre; and act as a witness or juror in a re-creation of the famous trial in which future President John Adams defended the British soldiers.
The 245th Anniversary of the Boston Massacre is at the Old State House, 206 Washington St., Boston, on Saturday, March 7. Both Little Redcoats and Little Bostonians (10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.) and the Reenactment (7 p.m.) are free and open to the public. Blood on the Snow (11 a.m. and 2 p.m.) and Trial of the Century (11:30 and 2:30 p.m.) are being held inside the Old State House and are free with museum admission ($10 for adults, $8.50 for students and seniors 62 and over, and free for youths 6 to 18). The Old State House Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Nautical Night at the MIT Museum
Interested in oceanography? Head over to the MIT Museum on Friday, March 13, for Nautical Night. Part of the museum’s monthly Second Fridays series, the evening will introduce visitors to some of the exciting ocean science and exploration being conducted at MIT. In addition, there will be lots of interactive components, like a knot tying demonstration, and others featuring an autonomous underwater vehicle and a flying and swimming robot.
Nautical Night is Friday, March 13, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the MIT Museum, 265 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge. The event is free with museum admission ($10 for adults, $5 for students). Take an MBTA Red Line train to Central Square. The museum is a seven-minute walk.
Arsenic and Old Lace at the Coolidge Corner Theatre
On Monday, March 16, the Brookline’s Coolidge Corner Theatre and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation are teaming up to present a national evening of Science on Screen, part of the Coolidge Corner Theatre Foundation’s Science on Screen grant initiative. That evening, 22 independent cinemas across the country will feature a film and speaker presentation. The programming will vary from theater to theater, but the goal is the same: to engage people in science using a film as the vehicle. The Coolidge will screen the 1944 Oscar-winning comedy Arsenic and Old Lace, with Cary Grant as a theater critic who discovers that his spinster aunts are killing elderly men with arsenic. Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Deborah Blum, author of The Poisoner’s Handbook, will lead a preshow discussion about the ancient origins and contemporary environmental impacts of arsenic, “the king of poisons.”
Arsenic and Old Lace will be shown at the Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard St., Brookline, on Monday, March 16, at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online and are $11.25 for adults and $9.25 for students with a valid BU ID, seniors (65 and older), and Museum of Science members.
Free Film Fridays at the Museum of Science
Free Film Fridays return to the Museum of Science throughout the month of March. The Mugar Omni Theater’s five-story-high movie screen offers a spectacular way to view a series of IMAX films. Guests can travel to Alaska, Hawaii, and the Kingdom of Tonga to see how humpback whales communicate, feed, play, and care for their offspring; take a trip through Maya culture with a contemporary archaeologist; and travel to the Galapagos Islands with a Smithsonian Institution biologist—and it’s all free thanks to the support of MathWorks.
Free Film Fridays are at the Museum of Science, One Science Park, Boston, through March. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis and must be picked up the day of the show at the museum’s box office. Times vary. Take a Green Line trolley to Park Street, transfer to a Red Line outbound train toward Alewife, and get off at Charles/MGH.
St. Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t officially arrive until Tuesday, March 17, but many of the celebratory events are held the weekend before, as spring break is winding down. We’ve put together some of the most noteworthy ones marking the holiday. What better way to celebrate the wearing of the green than by heading to South Boston for Boston’s official St. Patrick’s Day Parade? The first parade was held here toward the middle of the 18th century and today draws a crowd of more than half a million people.
A St. Patrick’s Day Celtic Sojourn with Brian O’Donovan
WGBH’s 10th annual Celtic Sojourn features live traditional Irish folk music performed by the Henry Girls; Nova Scotian tunes that blend Scottish, Irish, and French Canadian influences performed by the Cape Breton-based band Còig; and fiddler Keith Murphy, a Newfoundland native and fixture on the Boston fiddling scene.
A St. Patrick’s Day Celtic Sojourn is Saturday, March 14, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 15, at 3 p.m. in Sanders Theatre at Harvard University’s Memorial Hall/Lowell Hall Complex, 45 Quincy St., Cambridge. Tickets are $45, $35, or $25 (WGBH members receive $5 off) and can be purchased online or by calling 617-496-2222. Take any MBTA Green Line trolley to Park Street, transfer to an outbound Red Line train, and get off at Harvard Square.
Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Boston is home to one of the nation’s oldest—and biggest—St. Patrick’s Day parades. A tradition since 1737, the parade attracts more than 500,000 spectators each year. The parade features floats, bagpipes, and marching bands from across the country—but you’ll want to get there early to stake out a spot along the parade route.
Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade kicks off at 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 15, on West Broadway in South Boston. Take any MBTA Green Line trolley to Park Street and switch to an outbound Red Line train to Broadway or Andrew Square. Find the official parade route here.
Irish Dance with Step about Boston
What would St. Patrick’s Day be without traditional Irish music and dance? Stop by Marsh Chapel on Tuesday, March 17, at 6 p.m. to catch an informal show by Step about Boston, BU’s Irish step dancing club. Founded in fall 2005, Step about Boston is open to dancers of all skill levels.
The Step Aabout Boston show will take place at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17, on Marsh Plaza.
For those 21 and up…
Don your green and head down to the Seaport District for this festival celebrating Irish music, food, and yes, Harpoon beer, including Harpoon Boston Irish Stout and Long Thaw White IPA. You’ll get to enjoy traditional Irish fare like corned beef and cabbage as well as music ranging from bagpipes and drums, courtesy of Colm Cille Pipes and Drums and U2 tribute band Joshua Tree. The festival is expected to draw thousands, but organizers promise there will be room under the heated tents to dance a jig or two.
Harpoon St. Patrick’s Festival is Friday, March 6, from 5:30 to 11 p.m. and Saturday, March 7, from 1 to 7 p.m. at 306 Northern Ave., Boston. The cover charge is $20 and can be paid at the door. Perks and discounts are available for Friends of Harpoon members. Take a Green Line trolley to Park Street, transfer to an outbound Red Line train to South Station, where shuttles will run to Harpoon Brewery. Note: There is no festival parking available at the brewery.
Feeling like the luck of the Irish is on your side? Then consider registering for this crawl, where the winner takes home quite the grand prize—a trip to Ireland. With over 30 pubs participating, you’ll have plenty of options for celebrating. The crawl uses a scavenger hunt app, Eventzee, where participants take photos of people, locations, and things along the Pub Challenge Route. Each pub has a clue for an object that’s worth a designated number of points when you take a picture and submit it through the app. Special clues are also scattered throughout the route. Teams will change pubs every hour from noon until 8 p.m. Participants are encouraged to dress up for the event. An individual winner (free voucher for a trip to the Emerald Isle) and team winner (Champions T-shirts at next year’s Pub Challenge) will be selected.
The Seventh Annual Boston Irish Pub Challenge is Saturday, March 7. You must register online here. Once you register, you’ll be told which pub to go to for registration. Registration is from 10 a.m. to noon. The event concludes at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30. Take any MBTA Green Line trolley to Government Center.