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Everything about attending an opera here is grand—from the entrance you’ll make past hanging Chagall murals to the world-class singers you’ll hear (such as Renee Fleming and Deborah Voigt) to the pomp and glitz of the productions themselves. Though recent productions have received mixed reviews (clunky scenery that’s louder than the singers when moving has been one culprit), you can’t miss if you see La Bohéme or one of the other of the Met’s classic productions.

And the lovely little secret about this house is that the cheap seats get the best sounds. Sit in the theater’s ground floor section and you may have trouble making out the words, but buy a “family circle” seat, and the voices will float up to you in all their crystalline clarity. The Met makes $25 rush tickets available for all shows, at noon for evening performances and 4 hours before matinees. The seats can only be obtained online, and an individual can only win 2 seats every 7 days. See the Met website for more.

Warning: Don’t show up late unless you want to watch the first act on a video screen in the basement; the Met does not seat latecomers.