Best Early Entertainment in Boston

A Variety of Early Entertainment Options Highlights Boston's Nightlife

 Boston's known for being an early city, and offers plenty of options for entertainment that ends before 10:00pm. Here you'll have many choices for evening activities that will have well-rested for the day ahead.

If you want to take in a show you can order tickets to one of the many held at the Wilbur Theater where you'll find big name comics, theatrical performances, and live music on their stage.

Those seeking a sampling of the cold can make a night of it at Frost Ice Bar where the temperatures inside are so cold everything is made of ice and your visit has a time limit for your safety.

When you need a good laugh Boston has two excellent options: the Improv Asylum and Laugh Boston where comedy is the show of the day.

If you'd like to get  in dinner with a show and still make it home before 10:00pm, you can head to Beat Hotel where their 6:30-8:30 performance gives you the chance to enjoy their great food with the music. 

For fans of contemporary entertainment, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston offers a variety of modern dance, music and theater for your enjoyment in their state of the art theater on Boston's waterfront.

Wherever you end up, you' can easily make it home in time to get a full night's rest.


Faneuil Hall/Government Center
Hard Rock Cafe
Photo courtesy of Hard Rock Cafe

The Hard Rock Cafe is part of the popular world-wide chain that combines music, food, and drinks into one great location where you can sit back relax and enjoy the memorabilia that dons the interior and reflects music history. Located in historic Faneuil Hall, The Hard Rock Cafe Boston makes for a perfect end to your day of exploration. Enjoy their signature pressed cocktails alongside their inventive American cuisine in a casual atmosphere that allows you to chill out in jeans while listening to live music before getting yourself home for the night. If visiting with little ones enjoy the Hard Rock Cafe's children's menu which features kid friendly favorites.

Recommended for Early Entertainment because: The Hard Rock has ticketed live music performances that begin at 7:30pm.

Jessica's expert tip: Check out the speciality pressed cocktails on the Hard Rocks's menu.

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Faneuil Hall/Government Center

Chill out at Frost Ice Bar. The world's largest permanent ice bar makes its home in Boston's Faneuil Hall marketplace where guests purchase tickets to enjoy a 45 minute stay inside the ice carved walls of Frost. Donning specially made capes and gloves, visitors purchase tickets for entry and drinks separately. Welcoming kids older than 6, and serving drinks other than alcohol, Frost is a fun family activity for a portion of an afternoon exploring, especially since mom and dad can enjoy a drink in a place where the decor will entertain the kids. After 4:15 the ambiance changes and children are no longer welcome, making Frost the ideal nightspot for those seeking something a bit different. Drink from the ice glasses, sit on the ice seats or simply gander at the sculptures, paintings and carvings that make Frost at home in Boston.

Recommended for Early Entertainment because: Frost Ice Bar's last admission is at 9:00pm on weeknights and 10:00pm on weekends.

Jessica's expert tip: Buy a drink then wander around; when you're ticket expires you'll be done drinking and have seen everything.

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West Metro

The Paint Bar is the perfect place to release the artist within. Here you'll find a selection of choices that change daily for you to recreate. With two locations-one in Newton and one on Newbury Street, you can find a Paint Bar venue that suits your needs. At Pain Bar you can enjoy a drink while you enjoy guided instruction to help you to paint the art of the day. Relax and find this alternative to your typical bar an appealing escape from the everyday. Great for groups, a date night or to meet up with a few friends, you'll be sure to get a good laugh at what you do or don't replicate.

Recommended for Early Entertainment because: The Paint Bar is a fun evening activity where the final class starts at 6:30pm.

Jessica's expert tip: Reservations are needed and the popularity of Paint Bar has it filling fast, so plan ahead.

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Sketch Comedy at its finest. The Improv Asylum in Boston's North End is home to a resident cast that performs nightly shows with audience participation. Enjoy their bucket-o-beers, ideal for sharing and find your seat, because once the show start you will not want to miss a moment (especially since you will find yourself the butt of the joke upon reentry). Actors here train together and prepare general "sketches" of each performance; you provide the twists and turns that make each show unique. Allowing you to visit the Improv Asylum more than once and enjoy a different show each and every time.

Recommended for Early Entertainment because: Improv Asylum offers multiple showings at 4pm, 7:30pm, and 8:00pm shows on varying days to have you home early.

Jessica's expert tip: Improv Asylum performs multiple shows each night allowing you to enjoy dinner first at one of the North End's restaurants.

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Roam the galleries or watch a show in a waterfront building that is as beautiful as what is housed inside. The modern art is an eclectic mix of what may sometimes seem to be mayhem. Funky fun displays rule the roost at this cutting edge art museum. Kids will marvel at the art inside because unlike traditional museums some of the stuff at the ICA looks more like stuff that's familiar. The ICA offers playdates every month that maximize your time inside. These days are designed to bring fun to art and the free family admission on these days includes hands-on art-making, performance, family gallery tours, and films. The ICA also has a fourth floor area designed for further exploration, ideal for non-playdate days.

Recommended for Early Entertainment because: Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art offers stage productions, dance & music performances in its state of the art, waterfront theater starting by 8:00pm.

Jessica's expert tip: Arrive early and enjoy the museum before heading to your show.

Read more about Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston →

Boston Center for Adult Education
Photo courtesy of Boston Center for Adult Education

Check out the Boston Center for Adult Education and sign yourself up for something special. Take a one day or multi-day course in something that interests you. At the BCAE you can drift into your own world behind a camera lens learning how to take those photos you thought only the pros could execute, express yourself through dance, learn the nuances of mixing a creative cocktail, learn a language, or find yourself side by side with popular Boston area chefs learning to cook like the pros. At the BCAE learning is made possible no matter your age, and without the stress of a grade.

Recommended for Early Entertainment because: Many classes at the BCAE begin in the early evening.

Jessica's expert tip: The BCAE requires pre-registration for its classes.

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Laugh Boston is a 300 seat, state-of-the-art spot for comedy. Featuring both national and local acts wednesday-Saturday, you'll find the comedians you want to see on the stage at Laugh Boston. Offering a full bar and a quick serve menu consisting of simple food like sandwiches, appetizers and salads you can eat, drink and catch a show all under one roof. Laugh Boston can be booked for group and private events. Laugh Boston's medium sized theater allows comics who sell out small clubs, but can't fill large theaters the chance to get on a stage that's just the right size.

Recommended for Early Entertainment because: Laugh Boston has comedy shows at 8:00pm Thursday- Saturday.

Jessica's expert tip: Turn your night at Laugh Boston into dinner and a show; enjoy food and drinks from their casual menu.

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Popular Jazz acts frequent Scullers making it the destination in Boston to enjoy live Jazz at night. A reputation for offering excellence in the performers picked to don their stage, Scullers has been welcoming guests for quite some time. Enjoy a drink and an appetizer while watching one of the two nightly shows. Scullers is a good place for an evening date as the relaxed atmosphere provides the option for romance. A full menu is filled with tasty cuisine, and the dining room offers great view of the Charles River, giving you the chance to sample more than just music.

Recommended for Early Entertainment because: Shows at Scullers often begin by 8:00pm, allowing you to enjoy great jazz & get home early.

Jessica's expert tip: Order tickets in advance; shows sell out.

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The Wilbur Theatre
Photo courtesy of The Wilbur Theater

The Wilbur is where the best of the best come to be seen for the short spans while they are completing the Boston leg of their national tours. You'll be lucky to score a ticket to stars like Kathy Griffin, and Jimmy Fallon. Plus, the Wilbur itself is a a venue to be seen; one of the most historic and elegant theaters in Boston, the Wilbur, built in 1914 has been updated with a state of the art sound system. Not only host to comics, but also other live performances, planning is key to seeing any show at the Wilbur Theater.

Recommended for Early Entertainment because: Many of the Wilbur's performances begin before 8:00pm having the show over around 10:00pm.

Jessica's expert tip: The Wilbur is more than just a comedy club, making tickets to events here hard to come by. Seek out these shows well in advance.

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Meet Jessica Polizzotti

Born and raised in Boston, Jessica knows her city like the back of her hand.  Always looking to uncover something new, Jessica keeps up on the latest and greatest Boston offerings. 

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