The most exciting things to do in Boston in July center around celebrations - fireworks and the Boston Pops concert for the Fourth of July, the huge Boston Harborfest with more than 200 events daily, and mega-star concerts.
Red Sox tickets are in huge demand for home games at Fenway Park. But keep in mind that some of the best things to do in Boston in July are free...enjoy the greenery in Boston's many gorgeous parks, catch the Friday Flicks on the Esplanade, and even catch a few rays on a city beach.
Hot July days and warm nights make this one of the best months of the year in Boston. So keep reading to find out the top July activities.
The July 4th Pops Concert and Fireworks Spectacular is Boston's biggest July event - as well as being the biggest Independence Day celebration in the country. If you're visiting Boston for this holiday, you'll have a memorable experience.
On both July 3rd and 4th, Conductor Keith Lockhart leads the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra in playing familiar favorites and rousing patriotic music, complete with real cannon fire, on the Boston Esplanade, a grassy embankment along the Charles River. On July 4th, a spectacular display of fireworks above the Charles River follows the concert. It's the quintessential summer experience in Boston, and if you've seen it broadcast on television - well, it's even more wonderful in person! For details, see the Boston Events Calendar for July.
HarborFest gets bigger and better every year as more and more events and participants join this gala celebration of Independence, Boston, and summer. With over 200 events daily from June 28 through July 5, you'll find something going on almost all the time at City Hall Plaza, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Downtown, Beacon Hill, and the Waterfront. Check the Harborfest schedule for all the details.
Especially exciting in 2012 is the arrival on June 30th of tall ships and military ships from around the world. They'll converge in Boston Harbor in 2012 for the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 (which happens to coincide with Harborfest), and then will welcome you for tours through July 5th. Check the Tall Ships schedule for details.
Don't forget that here in Boston, we have our own tall ship which offers a lot of exciting tour options. More about tall ship cruises on the beautiful Yankee Clipper.
Or, head straight to one of Boston's top seafood restaurants for choices beyond chowder - definitely one of the best things to do in Boston in July!
Winning or losing, the Boston Red Sox put on the best show in town. If you're visiting Boston and love baseball, attending a home game at Fenway is a "must do." No matter which team you root for, being in Fenway Park on a balmy evening is one of the best things to do in Boston in July.
If attending a game is the focus of your trip, you may even want to stay in one of the hotels near Fenway Park. You'll also find a great range of Fenway restaurants for a bite before or after the game, plus of course the famous Fenway bars and nightspots near the stadium.
Getting tickets for good seats can be tricky, unless you're lucky enough to inherit season tickets. Home games have sold out since 2003, and although Fenway's ticket office does sell some game day tickets, you have to have the time and patience to stand in line for them - and be prepared to pay top prices.
Check out my recommendations for finding the best prices on Red Sox tickets, including my recent game day ticket experience.
A Boston Harbor or Charles River cruise gives you a unique view of the city you can't get on land.
Goldstar offers discount or half-price tickets for many cruises, including brunch and dinner options:
- Boston Harbor Lighthouse Brunch Cruise
- Charles River & Locks Cruise
- Odyssey Cruises Lunch, Brunch, & Dinner Cruises - Boston Harbor
- Provincetown Fast Ferry
- Sunset Harbor Cruise
- Boston Harbor Cruise - enjoy views of USS Constitution, Bunker Hill, more
- Boston Duck Tours from Museum of Science
- Summer Party Cruise on the MV Provincetown II
- Romantic Sunset Sail on the Adirondack III
- Boston City Lights Boston Harbor Sail on a classic schooner
Most of these cruises are available through early fall, but may have black-out dates around Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day.
Another fun and inexpensive option is the 15-minute ferry ride to the Boston Harbor Islands. Once there, you can explore, hike, take photographs, swim, bird watch, go on free tours led by the Park Rangers, picnic, and much more. You can even take another ferry to several smaller islands. You'll feel like you're in a different world - and you are!
Check out more options for Boston cruises
Top musicians present some of the best Boston concerts of the year during summer months because of our outstanding outdoor venues - the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, Gillette Stadium, and even Fenway Park. Take advantage of this opportunity to see superb performers in great locations. Check out the Boston concert schedule for July to see your options.
Boston's most popular free outdoor theater event is the annual production of Shakespeare on the Common. Bring a blanket, buy something yummy to eat from one of the gourmet food vendors who arrive for the event, and enjoy the bard under the stars. More about Shakespeare on the Common.
July days can be steamy - so escape the heat indoors at the movies, one of the most popular things to do in Boston in July.
Cool off on Friday evenings under the stars at Free Friday Flicks on the Esplanade. Bring a blanket, a snack, and relax at these family-friendly favorites.
For a quick change of scenery from Boston during mid-summer, consider Bermuda.
Bermuda cruises from Boston depart weekly from April through September. Boston's cruise port, the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal located in the South Boston Waterfront neighborhood, is so easy to get to, plus you can leave your car in their parking lot while you're away - or even better, get there on the T's Silver Line.
You have a couple of days each way to enjoy the amenities and ocean views from the 11-deck Norwegian Spirit cruise ship, plus 3 days on land in Bermuda to explore the famed pink-sand beaches, great shopping, and other fun activities.
For water adventures closer to home, go sailing in Boston's rivers or the Harbor. Even if you're visiting the city for just a short time, renting or chartering a sailboat or even getting a quick sailing lessons is easy and convenient to arrange, and one of the best things to do in Boston in July. As a waterfront city, Boston offers lots of access to water activities - so this can be a great way to enjoy a different side of the city.
Here are a couple of sailing cruises with discount tickets available from Goldstar:
You'll usually find some of the biggest concerts of the summer at Gillette Stadium, just 22 miles south of Boston.
Patriot Place, where Gillette Stadium is located, is packed with interesting shopping, nice restaurants in all price ranges, the only Bass Pro Shop in New England, a cool sports museum, a theater, and much more. You can stay over at the spectacular new Renaissance Hotel right next to the stadium.
Wrentham Village Premium Outlets are nearby - shop enough, and your savings can pay for the whole weekend!
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