There’s something special about watching a live performance of a play or musical at your favorite theater. But what’s also exciting is incorporating performances into your vacations to check out random theaters and be inspired by local actors. If you are the type of traveler who enjoys seeing shows on your trips, then definitely add these top destinations for theater lovers to your bucket list.
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London, United Kingdom
London is one of the best places to be in the entire world if you love theater. The Globe is a famous theater here, but you can also attend shows elsewhere in the West End and at the open-air theater of Regent Park. Come to London for top-notch acting and to really experience the cultural vibe of the city. To get the most out of your theater experience in London, you can even take a tour led by a local guide to learn about the playhouses in central London.
New York City, New York
Outside of Europe, New York City is one of the best places to be for theater lovers. This is where you can catch a Broadway show nearly any night of the week and see famous musicals, off-Broadway plays, and low-key local performances that are unique and engaging. Restaurant Row and Times Square are always popular places to be for a great meal either before or after your show. To be in the center of the theater action, plan to stay in a hotel in Midtown Manhattan’s Theatre District or near Lincoln Center. Highly recommended theaters in New York Theater are the Richard Rodgers Theater and the Lyceum Theater.
The theater is also very important in Russian culture, especially in the busy city of Moscow. The Bolshoi ballet is world-famous because of its amazing dancers, impressive auditorium, acoustics, and showcase of Russian composers. Other performance venues to check out while you’re in Moscow include the Moscow Conservatory and the Helikon Opera Theatre.
Milan is often considered to be a top place to visit for fashionistas and travelers who love to shop. But it is also a great place to catch a performance because there are some beautiful theaters and opera houses here. Plan to spend some time in the Corso Como precinct for your nightly theater outings. And to embrace the world of fashion while you’re here too, pack your best outfits or go shopping at a local boutique before your show.
Best known for its connection to Mozart, Salzburg is another favorite destination in Europe for theater lovers. Here you can check out the Salzburg County Theatre for classical performances and the Salzburger Marionettentheater for something entirely different with a professional puppet show. The Kleine Theatre is another popular venue for the arts in Salzburg.
No list about theater-focused travel would be complete without mentioning Paris. This is where some of the most famous theaters in the world are located, such as the Moulin Rouge and the Opera Bastille. Other local venues are the Theatre des Bouffes du Nord and La Comedie-Francaise. There are well over 100 theater venues around the city, making it impossible to be bored or run out of entertainment as a theater-lover in Paris.
Australians have a love of the theater too, and theater fans from around the world should make a point to visit Melbourne. There is a bustling theater district here and an arts precinct where you can spend your time soaking up the local culture. When you’re in Melbourne, you can see Broadway hits and lesser-known shows written by local playwrights. A couple of famous theaters to visit are the Malthouse Theatre and Her Majesty’s Theater. The Royal Botanical Gardens hosts Shakespearean performances outside in the summer as well.
Another U.S. city that is a favorite among theater-goers is Boston, Massachusetts. Here you can see lots of smaller performances and be part of a very dedicated and passionate theater crowd. The American Repertory Theater of Harvard University is a great theater for award-winning shows. See what the Speakeasy Stage Company is doing while you’re in town as well.
The city of Edinburgh, Scotland is a haven for artists and performers throughout the year. But a particularly fun time to visit is during the annual Fringe Festival in the summer. During this festival, you can see many theater performances at pubs and courtyards with stages. The festival performances are affordable and feature a wide variety of shows that touch on drama, comedy, sketch, and much more. The festival runs for multiple weeks in August with tens of thousands of performances.
Chicago, Illinois is always a fun place to be for theater performances because there are lots of theaters scattered around the city, as well as theater festivals. You can see famous-name shows at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, musicals by the Underscore Theatre Company, and even attend Chicago’s Fringe Festival that hosts lots of exciting performances. Other top theaters around town are the Cadillac Theatre and the Oriental Theatre, and there are plenty of top hotels in the Theatre District. Chicago is also well-known for its comedy scene, so you can enjoy some improv and stand-up comedy theater while you are also in the Windy City.
When many people plan a trip to Athens, Greece, they mostly think about the grand architecture and historical sites that the city has to offer. However, Athens is also a great place for classical theater on the stage. If possible, watch a performance at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus because this is one of the best-preserved historic theaters in the world. Plan your trip around the annual Athens & Epidaurus Festival to see a mix of classic, ancient, and contemporary plays in a grand amphitheater atmosphere you’ll never forget.
With bright lights and an eclectic spirit, Tokyo also offers a lot for theater-lovers. As the capital of Japan, there are lots of local performing arts venues to check out, from robot-themed and futuristic performances to comedy and traditional Kabuki theater. A famous Kabuki theater is Kabuki-Za, while you can find small and more obscure theaters around Shimokitazawa.