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Top Hotspots and Eats in New Orleans

Take it all in slowly when you find yourself on a trip to New Orleans. There’s so many sights, smells and incredible music wafting through the air. Life in this boundless, vibrant city revolves around having a great time, so jump right in!

Learn more about New Orleans and the best places to eat by downloading the Leaf Canoe app for tips, photos and GPS itineraries by real travelers.

DSC_0044 (2)Brunch Delights

This is a tradition in New Orleans, or NOLA. Brunch can be an all-morning affair with tons of flavor, courses and a few beverages to boot. It can be tough to choose just one, so have one day spent at Brennan’s which has re-open to the public. The creamy drinks and tableside made bananas foster are unforgettable. Café Adelaide is also a wonderful pick, with a fun atmosphere that encourages ladies to wear classy Sunday hats for complimentary drinks.

A Little Sightseeing

Start with the expansive French Quarter and poke your head into some of the curiosities shops and Voodoo specialty stores. The square outside the St. Louis Cathedral is often filled with street performers, music and artists selling wares. This can be a little more laid back that the party-like atmosphere on Bourbon Street.

DSC_0114Stop for a Snack

You could eat all day in New Orleans and still not starch the surface. Many people will have small bites so they can try it all. A few fun places to enjoy include fried gator bites at Cochon or some signature beignets at Café Du Monde.

Have a Tasty Cocktail

To start the evening right, get off the main strip for a while and enjoy a cozy corner in the Q & C Hotel. This beautiful property has been recently renovated and giving off a wonderfully old school, chic feel, this is the perfect base to try a few of the city’s best libations. Try a classic, local creation called Sazerac, made from rye, bitters and Herbsaint.

DSC_0067 (2)Dine in Style

New Orleans has already been established as a culinary oasis that serves excellent dishes from many famous chefs. To truly capture the essence of southern hospitality and warmth, book a table well in advance at Arnaud’s. This historical stomping ground for anybody that’s somebody in NOLA, complete with countless elegant event spaces, distinct bars and lounges, giant dining areas and even a hidden small museum with Marti Gra dresses. Indulge in any of their selections, especially the array of delectable oysters.

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All Over the Island of Aruba

When most people envision a Caribbean vacation, they automatically think perfect beaches and days spent by the ocean. However, when heading to the island of Aruba, it’s well worth checking out the rest of this scenic destination too. Have a balance when it comes to beach time and exploration for an unforgettable getaway.

Where to Stay

There are several luxurious resorts dotted along the best beaches in Aruba, but one of the best is the Marriott Resort & Casino. This expansive oasis boasts two pools, several restaurants and options for fun water sports. Rooms with balconies overlook the ocean and allow for a gentle see breeze to waft through.

Adventures in the Ocean

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Just beyond the private beach of the Marriot are a few docks covered with boats. Take an afternoon or the whole day at sea for a unique experience. Red Sail sports, for instance, offers snorkeling excurions out to the best reefs, complete with attentive staff and a nautical lunch. One of the stops brings boaters right to the bow of a sunken ship to snorkel by and examine.

Hearty Island Meals

There’s endless options for dining throughout Aruba, most of which offer super fresh ingredients and a cozy ambiance. Try a sunset dinner at Pincho’s, or dig into a hearty breakfast at Linda’s for some sweet Dutch pancakes. Some restaurants, such as Simply Fish, offer perfectly cooked seafood to enjoy while you dig your toes into the sand on the beach.

Exploring Bat Caves

Off the beaten path on the southern side of the island is a fun, natural space to explore for a day trip. The Arikok National Park is unique to the island, filled with rugged seashores and dramatic landscapes. Most people spot wild horses and goats roaming the park. Also at Arikok is a cave system that guests are welcome to visit, where a large population of bats live in the intricate system.

Visiting Local Animals

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On the way back from the Arikok National Park, take a detour to visit the four-legged friends at the Donkey Sanctuary. There is a large wild donkey population in Aruba, but they are a risk for injury by crossing busy roads. The volunteers at the sanctuary rescues these animals and gives them a home, allowing people to purchase feed and interact with the donkeys in the paddocks.

Spend some glorious days on the beach, then venture to other interesting parts of the island on your trip to Aruba!

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Exploring San Francisco by Segway

Along the blue bay lies a glittering, colorful city of San Francisco. Boasting beautiful landmarks, cozy restaurants, and a unique, hilly layout, this destination is one-of-a-kind. Although there are some great options for public transportation, like the iconic streetcars, and plenty of taxis to help get around, it can be a blast to try something new. One great mode that works will with the steep streets and narrow pathways is a Segway. These can be rented through touring companies to be used individually or in an official tour. Either way, seeing San Francisco by Segway is a fun and active way to get a lay of the land!

Looking for even more pit stops to check out in San Francisco? Download the LeafCanoe app for more tips and tricks!

Start by the Water

When many travelers think of San Francisco, they imagine the attraction on the bay. The waterfront and Marina areas are most popular with visitors. Zip through Fisherman’s Wharf to find the large crab sign marking the once pivotal spot for commercial fishing in the city. There’s some wonderful seafood restaurants along the walkway, as well as several museums. Head to the Musee Mecanique to see some interesting and historical coin-operated video game collections. There’s also an array of souvenir stores filled with oddities and items to take home, that welcome you to park the Segway outside.

Visit Alcatraz

You can bring a Segway to Alcatraz, but you can also simply take a ferry and leave it behind for this leg of the trip. Alcatraz was once a working prison that housed infamous crooks such as Al Capone. Tours allow guests to peek inside empty cells and hear past stories of daring escapes and horrible crimes committed.

2013-11-21 12.07.17Venture up the Hill

From there, it’s time for a snack. The Ghirardelli Square is a perfect place to have a bite to eat and stroll through various shops. This was named after the iconic chocolate company, which still produces sweets today in the city. Have an ice cream smothered in signature chocolate sauce located inside the clock tower building. There are also a few steakhouses and a winery located in the square.

Try New Neighborhoods

While people often stick to the waterfront when exploring San Francisco, it’d be a shame to miss out on all the other great spots throughout the various neighborhoods. For instance, The Mission is an up and coming district full of breweries, Latin restaurants, and pretty parks. Have a drink at the Southern Pacific Brewing Company at the trendy outdoor patio, then catch a show at the small, intimate theater called Marsh.

Have a blast in the sprawling city of San Francisco, a perfect destination for any West Coast adventure.

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 Adventures of Food and Fun in Sunny Miami

Downtown Miami and Miami Beach are two beautiful places to visit that make up one incredible city. Situated on an iconic waterfront location, Miami boasts vibrant color and style among its art décor architecture and fashionable locals. Travelers who can’t get enough of sunshine and people watching on the beach will love a trip to this cultural melting pot in the south of Florida. Here are a few highlights of things to do, places to eat and much more in Miami.

If you’d like to see a photo-rich, GPS mapped itinerary of Miami, come join us on the LeafCanoe app!

The Catalina Hotel & Beach Club

In the heart of the Art Deco district of Miami Beach is this small and stylish boutique hotel. Surrounding its exterior is a popular café, serving a blend of eclectic Asian cuisine that’s sure to please most crowds. It sits on Collins Avenue in the heart of all the action, as you can walk to the nearby shopping areas and beaches.

Snacks and Sangria

Miami truly prides itself in its selection of wonderful international foods. Nosh and imbibe on some Haitian, Cuban and Brazilian fare, then have a snack at 100 Montaditos. This originally was a chain restaurant in Spain that has migrated over to the heavily Spanish-speaking city, introducing sangria on tap and dozens of small sandwich bites on the menu.

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Art for Miles

Often overlooked, the Wynwood district of Miami is a true gem. This neighborhood features incredible works of art, but everything shown is street masterpieces. Businesses, sidewalks and street signs are all covered in color and style, which can also be seen at the official “Wynwood Walls” art installation.

The Hunt for a Perfect Cuban

Although there is the Little Havana neighborhood burst with ideal places to nosh on Cuban cuisine, you can find these treats almost anywhere in the city. For instance, Las Olas has the best Cuban sandwich in town. The place looks nondescript and is on 6th Street in Miami Beach. Bring cash and order a stack of freshly made empanadas, homemade squeezed pineapple juice and long-ways sliced sandwiched to eat there to take to the beach.

Key Biscayne’s Beauty

After lunch, it’s time to hit the beach. While there are many places to swim and sunbathe in Miami Beach, Key Biscayne has a much more laid-back atmosphere and seclusion. There are plenty of small strips of sand to relax on, plus opportunities to enjoy watersports, like catamaran sailing. Most views along the water overlook the iconic Miami downtown skyline.

2014-08-16 21.55.13Seeing the Big Shows

There are countless clubs, bars and late night restaurants to indulge in Miami after the sun goes down. Many are located downtown off of the monorail line which makes for easy access to and from the venues. Also downtown is the American Airlines Arena, where you can catch a massive concert from the hottest hip hop, electronic and indie acts around. For more laidback shows, give “The Garage” a try, found in the Wynwood neighborhood.

Miami has food, fun and fantastic attractions for everyone that are offered to travelers year-round.

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Touring Top Boston Museums

Not only does Boston have history and art embedded in the streets, you can also tour incredible museums to embrace the city’s rich culture. The fine variety of top attractions, from art to science and everything in between, gives travelers great variety. Let’s dig right into some of the best ones found throughout Boston to explore.

Want even more tips on visiting Boston museums? Download the Leaf Canoe app for real-time advice, photos, maps and itineraries from fellow travelers.

Museum of Science

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A great place to start or spend the entire day enjoying, the Museum of Science is for kids and adults at heart. Many exhibits have been mainstays for years, but stay prevalent in the hearts and mind of visitors wishing to learn and explore. Some of the highlights include a live lighting show and interactive animal attractions.

Museum of Fine Art

As the most famous art hub in the city, the MFA has some incredible masterpieces on display. Start with artifacts from ancient Egypt and Asia, then travel through time all the way to modern American art. Spot paintings from Gustav Klimt, Hollywood fashion jewelry, and Americana photographs, to name a few.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Also a fine art establishment, this smaller museum has big, bold character. Enjoy the beautiful courtyard covered in exotic foliage, then take a peek at the sketches and artwork on site from John Singer Sargent, Michelangelo and Raphael.

USS Constitution Museum

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Discover history on a giant battleship in Boston Harbor. Tours are given of the USS Constitution on the regular, with time allotted to peek at their interesting collection of artifacts. There are rare books, manuscripts and models that tell stories of Boston’s nautical past.

Gibson House Museum

Would you like to know what Boston fine living looked like in the 1800s? The Gibson House has been perfectly preserved to give guests a look into life more than 150 years ago. It’s a historic Boston brownstone filled with detailed furnishing, décor and even wallpaper that’s original.

Boston Beer Museum

With some of the most famous breweries in the world founded in Boston, it’s only natural the city would have a museum in honor of the trade. It’s been created by Boston Beer Company founder Jim Koch, who also spent time brewing for the Sam Adams brand.

Mapparium

More a cool attraction that a museum, this landmark at the Christian Science Center of Boston is one not to miss. It’s a giant glass globe that visitors can step inside of and view the world from a different angle. This is also the home of portrait galleries, preserved flags and exhibits on journalism.

Boston Public Library

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This historic library is a museum on itself, with more than 23 million examined items on display, making it the second largest library in the world. The rotating exhibits on display will feature anything from literary maps to love letters of the past. Catch a free concert in the courtyard or an author reading selection for an added bonus.

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Taking an Iconic Tour of Boston’s Best Sport Hotspots

The sports culture of Boston might be more important than any other influence over the city in the last century. Locals pride themselves in supporting their legendary teams, by frequenting sports bars, going to games and celebrating at victory parades. Visitors will love checking out the iconic venues where these great teams call home.

Find out more about great Boston sport hotspots on the LeafCanoe app!

Fenway Park

Oh, Fenway Park. Nothing says Boston more than a tour of this incredible landmark. They’re tried in vain to convince locals to tear it down and build a new baseball stadium, but no one will tolerate such a travesty. For more than a century Fenway has sat in the northwest corner of the city and hosts hundreds of games every year to a crowd of thousands. See one of these Boston Red Sox games or take a free tour in the off-season, then stroll down the adjacent street for a snack at the House of Blues, Who’s on First or Game On, to name a few.

TD Garden

There’s always a roar of the crowd coming from the Garden as teams like the Boston Bruins and the Boston Celtics are playing. This is the largest venue for sports and music in the city and can hold nearly 20,000 people. What used to be called the Fleet Center, the Garden had a makeover in 1995 and was re-branded. They do not offer tours, but it’s simple to visit with more than 200 events hosted in the space every year. The famous ‘Beanpot’ hockey tournament is also played there, featuring school teams from Northeastern, B.C., B.U. and Harvard.

Jerry Remy’s

Although this is not a venue for sports, it holds a lot of fun and history. Watch any of the Boston sports events from a giant bar, filled with hundreds of local fans gathered around giant screens. There is one near Fenway Park and another at the Seaport. If you only have a short trip, you can pop in for a beer at the location in Logan Airport. The bars and restaurants are named after the owner, who is a famous sports broadcaster and former Red Sox player.

Gillette Stadium

People visiting Boston will have to make special plans to visit the home base of the New England Patriots, but its well worth the journey to be in such an impactful and famous location. In the city of Foxboro, about 45 minutes outside Boston is where the Pats play, as well as the New England Revolution soccer team and other special sporting events year-round. Driving is the easiest way to get there, but there is a commuter rail line that will run for concerts, games and shows.

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Best Boston Campuses to Explore

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Boston might be a carefree and a travelers’ playground, but it is also home to hundreds of thousands of students. This city is known as one of the top academic meccas in the world for a wide variety of studies. In fact, many of these schools are now park of the historic landscape of Boston and have been featured in books, movies and legends alike. Here are some fantastic colleges and universities you can visit on your next trip to Boston.

You can also check out the extended leaf on the LeafCanoe app for eve more travel tips in Boston! Find out how here.

Harvard University

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When travelers think of seeing esteemed schools in Boston, Harvard University is usually the first to come to mind. Actually, the campus it located in Cambridge, a separate city from Boston, but still next door and reachable by car or public transportation. Unlike some of the other schools in and near the city, Harvard is prepared to welcome outside guests who are simply interested in the landmark. Here are free, guided historical tours available for the curious that examine the buildings, grounds and past of an iconic institution. Visitors can also go to the museums on campus that are small but famous, including the Peabody Museum and Sackler Art Muesum.

Boston University

As one of the biggest high educational schools in the city, Boston University welcomes more than 30,000 enrollees every year. Many of the academic buildings are located in the Fenway area. Travelers can have a fun time poking around the libraries and coffee shops full of studious co-eds. This also is a great spot to have some wallet-friendly food that caters to a younger crowd. The Mei Mei street kitchen, Gyro City, El Pelon Taqueria and Tasty Burger all are good choices steps from the MBTA. Take a tour of nearby Fenway Park after lunch

Emerson College

Known for its journalistic roots, number one college radio station and hot house for budding performers, locals love to see what students at Emerson are up to in downtown Boston. The school owns a few iconic performance centers, including the Cutler Majestic. They offer spoken word, music and acting shows by both students and professionals. There is also a visitor center on Boylston Street near the sprawling Boston Common that welcomes guests to come in for more information.

Berklee College of Music

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In the heart of the Theater district, this trendy and cool college houses some of the biggest performance based talents in the country. Their main building line Boylston Street and Mass Ave, emblazoned with proud Berklee namesakes and colors. While you can take a tour of the city campus if interested in its history or attending, but the real draw to Berklee is the great shows students host year-round. Many are free and some are open to the public, which can give a look into the lives of these rising stars. Alumni have received 239 Grammy awards, so it’s well worth checking out the concerts put on by co-eds. For instance, seniors will perform their final recitals at Café 939, and bigger orchestras and bands usually take over the Berklee Performance Center, which also features music professionals.

New England School of Photography

Along the same lines as Berklee, this school loves showcasing its incredible students by gallery showings and more throughout the city. Check out the main campus right near Fenway Park, then discover places to see stunning photographs. There is also the Garner Center on campus, open six days a week, which acts as a real exhibition hall with rotating showing of student work.

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Top 8 places to see on Boston’s Freedom Trail

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Top 8 places to see on Boston’s Freedom Trail

History and the city of Boston go hand-in-hand. With a place so steeped in the past, it has found a beautiful way to blend together modern accomplishments with those accomplished by the country’s forefathers. Any traveler journeying to Boston should not overlook the historical landmarks this destination takes pride in and protects.

One of the easiest ways to explore Boston’s history is a walk along the famous Freedom Trail. There are 2 and a half miles of red brick marked along the streets of the city that highlight some of the coolest homes, state houses, statues and even spooky cemeteries worth visiting.

How about even more ideas for exploring Boston’s Freedom Trail than the ones below? Sign up for the list to gain exclusive access to the LeafCanoe app. See the great itineraries locals and travelers have posted of their adventures!

Paul Revere House

The midnight ride of Paul Revere is said to have staved off British devastation during the American Revolution. He rode through the night warning locals of an impending battle. Nowadays, travelers can visit his original homestead, built in 1680, which has been converted into a museum.

Bunker Hill Monument

Standing tall at one of Boston’s highest points, this honors those who lost their lives during the Revolutionary War. It looks like the Washington Memorial with a tall base and pointy top, standing more than 220 feet tall. If feeling adventurous, all 300 steps can be climbed for a sweeping view of the skyline.

Faneuil Hall

Not many shopping malls can claim to have been around for more than two and a half centuries. Faneuil Hall is one of the busiest parts of Boston, with hordes of visitors shopping, dining and enjoying the gaggle of street performers. The area has both indoor and outdoor spaces for a range of activities, shows and fun. It looks prettiest around the holidays when a formal tree lighting ceremony takes pace every year.

Massachusetts State House

When it’s time to see some bling, make a stop on the Freedom Trail at the state house. Topped with a massive gold dome gilded in 23 karat gold, the building is an iconic part of the city. Tours are given on the regular by professional guided to help with its history, dating back to 1798.

Old North Church

This is the oldest church in the city that still stands and has a lively congregation. Legedn has it this was a stop on Paul Revere’s Ride and where he got his famous lantern lit. The Episcopal church stand in the middle of the North End, which is a fun hub also known as Boston’s Little Italy.

Granary Burial Ground

A city so full of old wars and history is bound to have a few ghost stories. Take a look at this burial ground that was created in 1660 to house locals after their untimely deaths. More than 5,000 people are laid to rest in this spot, many who fought in the Revolutionary War. Relatives of Ben Franklin are buried in the graveyard too.

USS Constitution

Away from the hubbub of downtown, the USS Constitution is an impressive tall masted ship docked in Boston Harbor. It was once used by the United States Navy and was built in the late 1700s. To this day the ship is the oldest in the official Navy fleet still afloat and is manned by 60 sailors on a given day.

Boston Common

After a day exploring Boston’s finest historical sites, having a rest at this sprawling, green park is a perfect way to end the day. As the world’s oldest city park, established in 1634, it still reigns today as a great meeting place for sports enthusiasts, theater lovers and skaters on the cheery Frog Pond. Over time, the space has been used as a meeting ground for revolution and change, even through modern history. For instance, Martin Luther King Jr. and Pope John Paul II both gave speeches on the Common.

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Taking a bite out of Boston’s Chinatown

Travelers do not have to wander all the way to Asia to sample some incredible cuisine. Boston’s Chinatown boasts an incredibly eclectic selection of tasty meals, treats and drinks, inspired by culutres such as Vietnamese, Chinese, Taiwanese and Japanese. Streets can be chaotic and crowded, but this is what makes exploring China so fun! With a little planning, it’s simple to sample various foods throughout the neighborhood and feel as if you’ve taken a new global culinary adventure.

Want even more ideas for exploring Boston’s Chinatown than the ones below? Sign up for the list to gain exclusive access to the LeafCanoe app. See the great itineraries locals and travelers have posted of their adventures!

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Bubble Tea

Originally created in Taiwan in the 1980s, this fun cold beverage features different kinds of teas, milky additives and tapioca balls. You drink it with wide straws and can order it in a bunch of different flavors. Authentic bubble tea sops are found all over Boston’s Chinatown, but some places use more fresh ingredients than others. Try Tea Do for a younger crowd and board games to play late night while you enjoy your bubble tea. Or, the Juice Bar has a more relaxed atmosphere and many options for exotic flavors, such as papaya milkshakes and sesame teas.

Xiao Long Bao

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Take a dumpling and infuse the middle with soup – that’s where you get xiao long bao. Originally from Taiwan, these soup dumplings often feature pork, but can be made with chicken and vegetables as well. The Taiwan Café has one of the best versions of xiao long bao around, complete with countless folds to the dough in each individual dumpling. Enjoy hundreds of other menu items as well, including homemade scallion pancake rolls and Taiwanese noodle soups.

Banh Mi

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Traditionally a Vietnamese sandwich, banh mi highlights fresh veggies and perfectly spiced meats. This spicy creation is often carrots, cilantro, pork and jalapenos on a crusty baguette to go. Chinatown has a lot of banh mi shops, but one of the most popular is New Saigon Sandwich. They make their own bread in house and always have a line around the corner.

Dim Sum

People who love a foodie adventure will need to try a Chinese dim sum experience. Usually, people are seated in a large dining room, while staff hastily pushes carts in between tables filled with steaming dumplings and appetizers. You shout, wave hands and do whatever you can to get their attention, and orders are starched down on sheets at the table. If feeling brave, hop into Chinatown’s Hi Lei Moon restaurant for an elegant, albeit chaotic time.

Baked goods

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To polish off a culinary tour in Chinatown, it’s well worth picking up a few pastries and sweets to take home. Right by the front gate of the neighborhood are a few bakeries to choose from that offer a menu of sweet and savory bites popular all over Asia. At the Ho Yuen Bakery, some claim they have the best egg tarts and pineapple buns in town. On the other hand, Hing Shing Pastry has wonderful moon cakes filled with red bean paste or lotus seeds.

Discover more gems in the Boston Chinatown on the Leaf Canoe app!

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Top 5 Places to Catch Good Tunes in Boston

Rappers and country singers, undiscovered and huge stars, Boston is equipped to host all the hottest musical acts of our time. There’s beautiful venues strewn about the city that can host everyone from rockers to jam and lovers and people in between. This time of year is perfect to purchase tickets and cozy up in one of the best Boston music venues, big and small.

Want even more ideas for Boston music hotspots than the ones below? Sign up for the list to gain exclusive access to the LeafCanoe app. See the great itineraries locals and travelers have posted of their adventures!

Paradise Rock Club

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Rockers, this is the place for you. It boasts a deep, rich history in the city that dates back to 1977 and has welcome classic bands like Phish, REM and even U2 to its stage. Due to its intimate setting, many students will wander into Paradise for small shows and the chance to see bands right before they hit it big. It underwent a big makeover in 2010, but still hold on to its original vibe with a black interior and small front stage.

Middle East

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There’s several ways to enjoy this iconic venue located in Cambridge. They technically have four different venues rolled into one, with several floors of space and plenty of areas to jam. Grab dinner at the restaurant first, then wander up ro downstairs to listen to fantastic DJs, up and coming acoustic artists and old favorites.

TT & the Bears

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Right next door to the Middle East, it’s easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. This venue often features smaller acts that re edgy, eclectic and love to get people moving. If you dig local music, this is where you will find it, seven nights a week. Usually multiple bands are booked for one evening, so you can enjoy a sample of great tunes covering rock, hip hop, punk and more.

Wang Theater

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Time to get a little classier and head downtown. As one of Boston most aesthetically impressive music venues, this feels more like going to a Broadway show than a concert. Completed and opened to the public in 1925, the Wan Theater has been remarkably maintained and remains one of the top five largest stages in the country. See legends play from John Mellencamp to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  Alongside the music performances, you can catch comedians, radio personalities and the Boston Ballet.

House of Blues

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An institution in its own right, the House of Blues is fairly new to the Boston scene compared to other venues. Opened in 2009 right across the street from Fenway Park, it has brought sold out shows to the city consistently and shows no sign of slowing down. There used to be a 200-seat House of Blues in Cambridge that closed in 2003, so this new spot is much bigger and better. Coming up, you can catch any and all hit performers, including country singer Sam Hunt, rocker Marilyn Manson and funky George Clinton.

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