Boston Symphony Orchestra in Boston, Massachusetts
Founded by Henry Lee Higginson, the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) was first located at the site of the current Orpheum Theater and then moved to its current location in 1900. Higginson spent significant time studying European orchestras before creating the BSO in 1881 and the Boston Pops in 1885. Higginson wanted to mimic the Coliseum in Greece, as Boston was considered the Greek “Athens” of America, and included 16 Greek statues of figures related to the arts around the hall.
Radio City Music Hall Backstage Tour in New York City
Radio City Music Hall was the largest theater in the world at the time it opened in December of 1932. With a seating capacity of 5,931 guests (over 6,000 when they used the orchestra area for additional seating) and a stage that spans 130 feet across, it’s one of the largest, and most recognizable, entertainment venues in the world. Radio City Music Hall hosts hundreds of events each year and is home to the famous Rockettes (who were actually founded in St Louis Missouri in 1925, when Radio City Music Hall founder Roxy Rothafel brought them to New York City). Today, guests can see performances in music, theater, comedy, and sports 365 days a year, with over two million annual visitors. The Hall also offers daily Backstage tours with a behinds the scene look at how it all comes together.
7 Stops on the Tour of the Massachusetts State House
Located in downtown Boston, on the south side of Beacon Hill and overlooking the Boston Common and Back Bay, the Massachusetts State House was constructed in 1798 and served as the state house until the mid 1880s. The land where the capitol was built was donated by John Hancock, the first elected governor of Massachusetts and the building remains the oldest on Beacon Hill.
Touring the United Nations in New York City
Over one million people visit the United Nations, located on the banks of the East River in Manhattan, each year. The charter for the United Nations, a name proposed by President Roosevelt in 1942, was signed in 1945 with 51 countries as founding members. Today, there are 193 member states and countries must apply for admission. New York became the permanent home of the United Nations in 1949 and construction on the complex was finished two years later. The United Nations is a meeting place for all members to “settle disputes, prevent future conflicts, find solutions to global issues, and protect all humanity”. Public tours include opportunities to visit three or four of the six main organs of the UN, as well as many displays and art installations.
New York State Capitol Building
Albany, New York, located just two hours north of famed New York City, was established by the Dutch in the early 1660s. I recently did some research for family centered activities in the area, as my family drives past Albany a few times a year on our way to visit close friends in Utica, New York. On a recent trip, we stopped to explore the New York State Capitol building, at the top of the State Street hill. The “current” Albany State Capitol took over 20 years to build, post Civil War. The building has gone through many phases of of restoration, as recently as the early 2000s.
Tours of the Capitol are offered four times a day during the week and twice on Saturday. Tours are free, but reservations are highly recommended (go here), as they are usually limited to 25 people and quickly fill up. Tours are very different during the week, when everything is in session and the entire building is bustling with elected officials. If you prefer a calmer experience, the weekend tour is a safer bet, but you’ll miss the chance to possible see elected governmental officials.