Large theatre Wang Center

It’s big, it’s hard, and it wants to be inside you. Or wait, maybe you want to be inside it … dammit, now we’ve gotten our really clever penis metaphor all confused. Though it’s played host to its fair share of cheese (Disney Live! Mickey’s Magic Show spring to mind), the Wang’s still Boston’s grandest performance venue. Just one look at those dripping chandeliers, and you’ll see why it was once compared to a Louis XIV palace. So sit back in your plushy red seat and enjoy a ballet, Broadway export, old-timey opera, or whatever else happens to be on the night’s roster. Soon enough, you’ll find yourself moaning for more …Wang. [270 Tremont St., Boston. 617.482.9393.]

 Runners-up: American Repertory Theatre, Harvard Sq., Cambridge; Opera House, Boston; Cutler Majestic Theatre, Boston

 Small/medium theatre

BCA Plaza Theatre

It may be only a small slice of the BCA cultural behemoth, but the Plaza has seen some of the best theatre Beantown has to offer. Enough truly gifted companies (Zeitgeist, The Theater Offensive, Company One and others) have tread its boards to qualify it as a bona fide haven for non-sucky fringe work. We’ve seen everything here from courtroom dramas to drag shows, and the pitch-black space easily adapts to whatever the show requires. With the stage nestled into a half-moon of chairs, the audience and the actors can often find themselves too close for comfort. And we mean that in a good way. [539 Tremont St., South End, Boston. 617.426.5336.]

 Runners-up: Actor’s Workshop, Boston; Arsenal Center for the Arts, Watertown; Devanaughn Theatre, Boston

 Art museum

Museum of Fine Arts

Fuck the Met. When it comes to major urban galleries, the MFA’s got it goin’ on. It boasts some stellar rotating exhibitions (word up to last year’s Ansel Adams show), plus an impressionist collection that would make Van Gogh hack off his other ear with joy. There’s enough culture and history in here to distract you for a month, without all the nasty waiting on queues you might experience at oh, say, the Louvre. Think of it as a trip to Western Europe, only without jet lag and that pesky non-EU-citizen cavity search. [465 Huntington Ave., Boston. 617.267.9703.]

 Runners-up: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston; MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge; DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln

 Art gallery

Axiom Gallery

It was a tough contest, but this young, upstart gallery ultimately bested a whole list of much older, more-established venues. Co-conspirators Phaedra Shanbaum and Heidi Kayser have brought a smart and inventive curatorial eye, plus a kicky sense of fun, to the local art scene. The gallery focuses mainly on interactive sculpture and video art—such as their recent exhibit of the many-limbed creatures of video sculpture artist Michael Reese—and is prone to bizarre (but still accessible) concepts, such as an upcoming exhibit in which artists turn cake into an art medium. [186 Hampshire St., Inman Sq., Cambridge. 617.513.6375.]

 Runners-up: Allston Skirt Gallery, Boston; Judi Rotenberg Gallery, Boston; Mills Gallery, South End

 Indie/art house movie theatre

Coolidge Corner Theatre

This historic church-turned-Art-Deco-architectural-marvel won all our hearts when they featured a midnight lesbian nun marathon. The list of unusual shit you can find here goes on and on: blaxploitation star Rudy Ray Moore (aka Dolemite), superstar authors like Chuck Palahniuk and Jonathan Safran Foer, and La Gata Negra, the League of Masked Lady Wrestlers. Oh, they also actually show movies, too—on four different screens—and they have a rep for being the destination for some of the most daring and interesting films around. [290 Harvard St., Coolidge Corner, Brookline. 617.734.2500.]

 Runners-up: Kendall Square Cinema, Kendall Sq., Cambridge; Brattle Theatre, Harvard Sq., Cambridge; Somerville Theatre, Davis Sq., Somerville

 Mainstream movie theatre

AMC/Loews Boston Common 19

What do you look for in a huge movie theatre? Lots of screens? They have 19. Escalators? Yup, both up and down. A sleek modern look and a view of Boston Common? Got ’em. Twizzlers? But of course. Launching pad for moonrockets and live interspecies sex acts? Working on it. Unlike many of the mall multiplexes, there are no closet-sized rooms with postage stamp-sized screens. Everything here is biggie-biggie-biggie! And you can rest assured that when a new film is coming out, you’ll be able to see it debut here. [175 Tremont St., Boston. 617.423.3499.]

 Runners-up: Regal Fenway 13, Boston; AMC Loews Harvard Square 5, Harvard Sq., Cambridge; AMC Chestnut Hill, Chestnut Hill

 Music rehearsal space

Sound Museum

Musicians have a love/hate relationship with rehearsal spaces. There’s nothing pleasant about hauling all your amps and instruments from your apartment just to blast out a song or two, and, well, musicians also tend to be pretty broke all the time, so paying more rent tends to incite some grousing. But at the Sound Museum, you can at least turn the volume up do your business. And you’re in good company: David Bowie, Iggy Pop and the Dropkick Murphys have all done their time on the premises. Also, it’s where all the other bands in town go, so there’s no better place for networking. [Various locations. 617.423.4959.]