Music connoisseurs and building buffs regard Symphony Hall as one of the finest concert halls in the world. Sixteen replicas of Greek and Roman statues line the walls, and its airy space lends a majestic resonance to each string pluck and unexpected sneeze. Opened in 1900, Symphony Hall was the first auditorium designed in accordance with scientifically derived acoustic principle, sloping inward to help focus the sound of the orchestra's stirring string renditions.
The MFA features 450,000 works of art that range from Egyptian artifacts to contemporary masterworks. The latter category is spotlighted in a gallery designed by famed architect I. M. Pei. Works by Andy Warhol, Anne Truitt, and Mark Bradford are arranged in chronological order beneath a stunning glass ceiling.
To keep the spirit of its musical roots ever near, House of Blues Houston keeps a metal box of mud from the Delta Mississippi beneath its stage and proudly displays the traditional crazy quilt. As the only venue in the revered chain to be built vertically rather than free floating, House of Blues Houston stands as a pillar of entertainment in the Houston Pavilions complex. The hot spot’s Bronze Peacock Room commemorates Houston's rich history and the blues clubs where Lightnin' Hopkins and Big Mama Thornton held sway, and features an enormous hand-painted mural depicting other local legends such as Albert Collins and Johnny "Guitar" Watson.
The 15th-century style Venetian palazzo known as the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is most famous for its historic art and contemporary collection – or infamous, perhaps, for its 1990 heist – but there are many beautiful sculptures, manuscripts and pieces of furniture that are also on display. Named after an American woman who loved the arts, the museum added a new wing in 2012 behind the main building that hosts live musical performances, prominent exhibits, concerts at Calderwood Hall and even two artists-in-resident apartments. The indoor courtyard, which has a spectacular year-round garden of flowering jade trees, summer blues hydrangeas and midwinter tropics flowers, is made even more beautiful when decorated for the holidays.