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June 3, 2013 4:41 AM   Subscribe

I’m interested in getting a subscription/membership to a museum or similar location in the Boston area as a gift. I’m really looking for something that would appeal to a younger adult without kids who likes a broad range of cultural activities. I’ve considered the Museum of Science and the Museum of Fine Arts, but I’d love to hear first hand impressions of those and get other suggestions. It doesn’t have to be a museum specifically (could be, say, a theater subscription), but I'd like to keep it under $150ish and it does have to be MBTA accessible and let in at least 2 adults.
posted by fermezporte to Society & Culture (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Boston resident here. Our go-to in these situations is the Museum of Science, which appeals to all ages, and which has a great IMAX theater. MFA, while great, seems to have less interest to some people. Isabella Stewart Gardner museum is another choice - people seem to love it, probably because the building itself is so amazing.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 4:59 AM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Bostix (half-price arts tickets) does gift certificates; $150 won't get a two-person subscription even at the smaller theaters, but with Bostix they could pick several productions at a variety of places and price levels (most tickets range from $10 to $50, with a per-order fee so it's best to order several at once). I've been getting tickets from them for years for everything from Shakespeare to Broadway to experimental theater to classical concerts and although the cheap seats are sometimes in the back row, I've also gotten some surprisingly good ones (and in the smaller venues, there's not all that much difference anyway).
posted by nonane at 5:14 AM on June 3, 2013

If your friend is interested in film, and not too far from Cambridge, I'd recommend a membership to the Brattle Theatre.
posted by rebekah at 5:57 AM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

If they're under 35, you can get Huntington Theatre Flexpass tickets for $25 each. The Gardner Museum is great, too; they also have classical music concerts that I think are discounted but not free for members.
posted by songs about trains at 6:02 AM on June 3, 2013

I really love the ICA Boston and would recommend it in this instance above the other ideas here. It's popular with younger adults so it's a great place to meet people. They do imaginative exhibitions, have a site on the waterfront with a boardwalk area which is just beautiful, have frequent evening and weekend special events which are awesome, and they're in a cool, recently redeveloped neighborhood with a number of very good eateries and, er, drinkeries.
posted by Miko at 6:53 AM on June 3, 2013

I think the ICA is much more interesting than the MFA. The MFA is more of a go once in a blue moon kind of thing. Love the Brattle suggestion. That theater is great.
posted by pazazygeek at 8:50 AM on June 3, 2013

You can get discounted tickets to all the auditorium events as an MFA member, including films.
posted by brujita at 9:18 AM on June 3, 2013

It's funny--I think just the opposite about the ICA and MFA--the ICA has a tiny collection and for me is a once a year pilgrimage--easily combined with their fun summertime outside events. The MFA has an extraordinarily broad collection--their current modern show blew me away more than anything at the ICA has in a long while, and the blue and white show is great.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:58 AM on June 3, 2013

The MFA, though, is free every Wednesday after 4 and has 3 free weekends a year. I enjoy it but don't find it that different from any other city's encylopedic museum, and so the free days can cover the casual visitor pretty well without justifying a membership.

The ICA is a lot smaller, but it has at least 4 changing shows each year.
posted by Miko at 12:19 PM on June 3, 2013

My wife got us membership to the museum of science last year, and I love it! Who doesn't love science!

The exhibits are great, and they also have the planetarium, omni theater, and host a lot of other events. I've read that over the next X years (10?) that they'll be revamping / modernizing many of the exhibits.

Additionally, the museum has pioneered the introduction of engineering education into primary and secondary education, which helps kids learn science through interesting, practical applications.

As an engineer, I have to support that!

My reaction to the ICA is that it's small and frankly I haven't been too impressed with the exhibits on the few times I've gone.

I like the MFA quite a bit; there's a ton of variety.

But if I had to choose one Boston cultural institution, it'd be the science museum. And we did. No regrets. And we don't have kids. :)
posted by reddot at 6:01 PM on June 3, 2013

I'm a 20-something former Bostonian, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner is one of my favorite museums not just in Boston but anywhere. It's small but I never get tired of going, and it was always on my list of places to bring people who were visiting me from out of town.
posted by naoko at 7:19 PM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Gardner has great events, too, especially Third Thursdays.
posted by Miko at 7:37 PM on June 3, 2013

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