Festive and audience-friendly performances are the calling card of the Boston Pops, who turn Symphony Hall into a sort of giant cabaret after the BSO season. Chairs and tables cover the floor of Symphony Hall (balcony seats are available), and light refreshments are served. Conductor Keith Lockhart is a local celebrity, and big stars of stage, screen, and especially musical theater join the fun. Performances ($24–$108) take place Tuesday through Sunday evenings during the season (early May to early July), plus holiday shows in December.

The regular season ends with two free outdoor concerts at the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade along the Charles River. The traditional Fourth of July concert is a mob scene; the rehearsal the night before is merely very crowded. Both are great fun.