Top photo: Boston Common on an August afternoon, with golden dome of the Massachusetts State House in the background
Summer Dine Out Boston
When: August 8-21 Where: Best restaurants in Boston, Cambridge, and suburbs - hundreds of choices!
Twice each year, Boston foodies look forward to the best restaurants in the city being on sale. You will too, as you sample the affordable fixed price lunch and dinner menus concocted by the city's best chefs. You can start making your Dine Out Boston reservations about 3 weeks ahead of time. Don't wait, because tables fill up fast!
Boston Harbor Cruise on Northern Lights - Soak up Boston's unique sites and rich history on this comfortable sightseeing cruise around the Harbor - perfect friends and family experience! Refreshments are available for purchase at the bar
Northern Lights Sunset Cruise - Grab a refreshments from the bar and then relax as you watch the sun set on this sail around the Harbor, just in time to catch the USS Constitution fire its cannons as the sun dips down past the horizon
Sails on the Adirondack III
Adirondack III Day Sail - Enjoy cool breezes and the afternoon sun on this relaxing sightseeing sail around Boston Harbor and the Inner Harbor Islands
When: Sunday, August 8; Lion Dances and other cultural events take place between 12:30-m and 5pm Where: Boston's Chinatown (Harrison Ave, and Beach, Tyler, Hudson, Essex, and Oxford Streets); Main Stage is at Phillips Square (corner of Harrison Ave and Essex Street) Cost: Free Closest T station: Orange Line / Chinatown If you drive: Easiest parking is at the Boston Common Garage; walk 2 blocks to Chinatown
Boston's Chinatown comes alive with lion dances, martial arts, folk dances, and lots of vendors for the annual Chinese Autumn MoonFestival.
What does the festival actually celebrate? Possibilities include the end of the annual rice and wheat harvest, the legend of Chang'e, the immortal Lady of the Moon, and the overthrow of the Mongol rulers in 1368 when a rebel leader distributed mooncakes (which Mongols didn't eat) with messages hidden inside saying "Kill the Mongols."
Mooncakes, a specialty of the festival, are round pastries filled with lotus seed paste - you can buy this delicious treat at all Chinatown bakeries.
Although this 3,000+ year old Chinese festival traditionally falls on the 15th day of the 8th Lunar month - in other words, late September/early October - Boston celebrates it in mid-August. It's the perfect excuse to spend an August Sunday in Chinatown. Start with dim sum or lunch at one of these fun contemporary and traditional Chinatown restaurants, and then enjoy the colorful festival.
Fun Events & Activities on the Rose Kennedy Greenway
Greenway Food Trucks: Over 35 trucks offering specialties ranging from Korean to Summer Shack's seafood to frozen hoagies in Dewey Square, Congress Street, the Carousel, Rings Fountain (Milk Street), State Street, and Rowes Wharf Plaza, and Trillium Beer Garden. You'll find them at 2-6 locations each day, and although the number of trucks vary each day, the number of locations and trucks is the biggest on Thursdays.
Farmers Market in Dewey Square run by Boston Public Market offering fresh produce, meat, cheese, breads and pastries, ice cream, and more. Open Tuesdays and Thursdays 11am - 4pm
Boston Calling Block Parties - Live music and drinks from Blue Moon Brewing, Vizzy Hard Seltzer Canada, Topop Chico Aqua Mineral, and more. Thursdays, 5pm-8pm, Dewey Square.
Trillium Beer Garden in the Wharf District Parks (High Street and Atlantic Ave) featuring draft beers by Trillium Brewing Company and a rotating selection of onsite food trucks. Open Thursday and Friday 2-10pm, Sat 12 noon-10pm, Sunday 12 noon-6pm.
City Winery Open Air Wine Garden on Dewey Square across from South Station, serving their locally-crafted wine on tap plus with craft beer and cider by Harpoon Brewery along with a menu of fresh wraps, cheese boards, and snacks. Open Wed and Thurs 4-9pm, Friday 4-10pm, Sat. 1-9pm, Sunday 11am-7pm.
Public Art - See new installations by Daniel Gordon in the Fort Point Channel Park
Fountains - You'll find them in 7 different locations along the Greenway - so get ready to splash, wade, and cool off!
Carousel - Open daily, 11am-8pm. Tickets: $4.
Greenway Fitness Programs: Free fitness and yoga classes from local studios; must preregister
The Boston Landmarks Orchestra's weekly free summer Esplanade concerts attract large crowds to the Hatch Shell on Boston's Esplanade each July and August with its mix of classical, traditional, modern, and contemporary music. Concerts start at 7pm and run about 2 hours. Bring a blanket or low folding chairs to sit on, and a picnic dinner.
Landmarks Concert schedule for August:
August 4 - Beethoven's Fifth and American Icons
August 11 - Rachmaninoff to Ellington: Music & Healing
August 18 - Bach & Beethoven
August 25 - Amazing Grace & Sousa Marches
September 1 - Rhapsody in Blue & American Portraits
Weather alerts and alternate locations in case of rain: 617-987-2000; orchestra website Cost: Free
For one day only in August, Cape Ann artists open their studios along the beautiful Rockport and Gloucester coast for you to tour.Local artists and artisans will welcome you to view their paintings, sculpture, mosaics, photography, pottery, jewelry, and other wonderful creations.
Drive up from Boston for the day (or take the Commuter Rail) - or spend the weekend and go for walks along the beach, dine on lobster dinners, and browse in local boutiques, galleries, and antique shops. View Rockport Hotels
Open Studio Tour: August 13 at 10am - 5pm Where: Open Studio Tour map and more information at www.capeannartisans.com - or pick up brochures with route maps at the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, the Rockport Information Booth on Rte 127, and at each studio. Look for the Studio Tour banner at each location More information: Cape Ann Artisans website Cost: Free
Faneuil Marketplace Events in August
August is the perfect month to enjoy Faneuil Marketplace'soutdoor seating, as well as a variety of special free events going on this month:
Storytelling on Tuesdays in the South Market Building - 10:30-ll:30am
Art on Wednesdays in the South Market Building - Kids Art 10:30-12:30, Collaborative Art (all ages) 1pm-2pm, Open Studio 3pm-5pm, Apres Work Painting (ages 12 & up) 5:30pm-7pm
Movie Musicals on Thursdays - Preshow activities begin at 7:30 and films start at dusk. Lineup includes: Mamma Mia 2 (8/1), Hairspray (8/8), A Star is Born (8/15), and Bohemian Rhapsody (8/22).
Quincy Market History Hours on Saturdays - Find out about the fascinating history of Faneuil Marketplace's architecture, politics, and geography. 11am-12 noon. Meet your guide by the Directory sign near Anthem restaurant.
Boston Hotel Map
Enter your dates to see available hotels and rates:
Shakespeare on the Common
One of the most popular summer Boston events, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company presents The Tempest, a comedy laced with tragedy, in this year's Shakespeare on the Common.
Bring a blanket or low folding chair, perhaps a picnic basket, and get ready to enjoy a magical evening of free theater under the stars. You can also rent a chair for $5, plus a $5 deposit that you will get back when you return the chair.
Bring your own food, or purchase something tasty from the vendors who will be onsite for the occasion. Toilets are available at the nearby tennis courts.
When: July 21 - August 8 at 8pm on Tuesdays through Saturdays, 6pm on Sundays (note - no performances on Mondays); performances normally run about 2.5 hours; heavy rain and lightening storms can cause cancelations for safety reasons, so if in doubt, call the weather line at 617-426-0863.
Where: Boston Common, near the Parkman Bandstand Getting there: By subway: Green/Red line to Park Street Station, or Green Line to Boylston; By car: Park under the Common in the Boston Common Parking Garage: pick up a discount coupon at one of the event tents (you'll spot them easily) - you'll save a bit on parking, and the garage donates the proceeds to CSC Cost: Free admission but pre-registration will be required this year due to capacity constraints
Five of the biggest and most famous North End Italian Feasts and Festivals take place in August, as they have for 100 years or more - almost as long as Italians have lived in this neighborhood.
Most of the North End feasts celebrate a saint with food, music, religious ceremonies, dancing, parades, strolling singers, celebrations, and more - they're like giant street parties. The August festivities
In general, opening ceremonies take place on Friday evenings, with other events starting around 1pm on Saturday and Sunday and continuing until about 11pm. High Mass usually takes place on Sunday morning.
August Feasts and Festivals schedule:
St. Agrippina di Mineo Feast and Procession - August 4, 5, 6, 7 - Feast starts at 7pm on Thursday and 12 noon on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and continues to about 11pm - Procession on Sunday, August 7 only, starting at 12 noon on Hanover and Battery Streets
Madonna Della Cava Feast - August 12, 13, 14 on Battery and Hanover Streets - Procession at 1pm on Sunday; feast opens at 7pm on Friday and 12 noon on Saturday and Sunday, and continues to about 11pm
Fisherman's Feast of the Madonna del Soccorso di Sciacca - August 18, 19, 20, 21 - Blessing of the Fishing Waters at Columbus Park on Thursday at 6pm. Feast opens at 6pm on Friday and 12 noon on Saturday and Sunday and lasts until about 11pm. Grand Procession at 1pm on Sunday, on Fleet, Louis, and North Streets, with Flight of the Angel at 8pm
St. Lucy's Feast - August 25-26 (Thursday and Friday) - Thatcher and Endicott Streets. Thursday: At 5pm, opening ceremonies, blessing of the statue, and procession with Italian street bands, flower girls, and color guard; at 6pm, dancing and singing in the streets, followed by the feast; at 10:30pm, candlelight procession and welcome of Santa Lucia statue in the outdoor chapel, followed by an overnight vigil. Friday: More festivities including food and music throughout the weekend plus another procession to St Leonard Peace Garden at 6:15pm
St. Anthony's Feast - The largest Italian religious festival in New England, August 26, 27, 28 (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) - Endicott, Thatcher, and North Margin Streets. Feast opens with ceremony and a procession at 7pm on Friday. Grand Procession starts at 12 noon on Sunday - parades, strolling singers, entertainment, and 100 pushcarts offering mouth-watering Italian food in this "Feast of All Feasts"; feast opens at 7pm on Friday, 12 noon on Saturday and Sunday - St Anthony website
Nearest T station to North End: Commuter Rail or Orange & Green Lines/North Station Cost: Free (although you'll find temptations to spend money on food, drink, and commemorative items)
Lawn on D, a playground for adults (kids are welcome too but this is mostly an adult venue) located behind the Convention Center in the South Boston Waterfront, is where you'll find fun swings with LED lights and comfy seating, bocce and other games, and art installations throughout the summer, along with casual food and wine, beer, cocktails, and non-alcoholic beverages.
Open daily from 7am-11pm from May to October, except when closed for private events (always check their website before going). Food, drinks, and lawn games available Thursday 3-10:30pm, Friday & Saturday 12 noon-11pm, Sunday 12 noon-10:30pm, with live entertainment by local bands on the weekends. Swings are open whenever Lawn on D is open.
Rules, in case you're wondering: No dogs, no outside alcohol, no outside food during concession hours.
Another option in this area is to sample one of the many restaurants in the Seaport and Fort Point areas of the South Boston Waterfront. For Boston Harbor views while you dine, visit a Seaport restaurant. To try the creative cuisine of some of Boston's most innovative chefs, head to a Fort Point restaurant.
Berklee Summer in the City: Free Summer Concerts in Boston
Normally, Berklee College of Music students, faculty, and alumni give over 400 free outdoor concerts all over the city during the summer from June through early October. Music ranges from jazz to classical, Latin to funk, folk to world, and are free.
Locations include Atlantic Wharf, the Boston Public Library, Brewer Fountain Plaza on Boston Common, the Charlestown Navy Yard, Chin Park and City Winery on the Greenway, selected Boston Harbor Cruises, the Arnold Arboretum, Christopher Columbus Park on the waterfront, Downtown Boston, the Longwood Medical Campus, multiple locations in Cambridge, Dorchester Heights, Institute of Contemporary Art, Prudential Center, Fenway locations, and more.
More Free Summer Concerts in Boston
Concerts in the Courtyard:Boston Public Library in the McKim Courtyard (700 Boylston Street, Copley Square in Back Bay) on Fridays 12 noon-1pm from early June through the end of August. Music ranges from jazz to classical, folk to world, and are free. Right now, the concerts are online on BPL's YouTube channel but may move outdoors later this summer. More info: https://www.bpl.org/concerts-in-the-courtyard
On this special 1-day small-group day trip from Boston to Coastal Maine & Kennebunkport. you'll see the picturesque Nubble Light lighthouse, and stroll along Ogunquit's Marginal Way before arriving in scenic Kennebunkport, where you'll enjoy a narrated trolley tour. You'll have time to explore, eat, and shop before your return to Boston.
Depending on when you go, you may also see the first displays of brilliant fall foliage along the southern Maine coast.
Boston Comic Con gives you the chance to meet and chat with over 200 top graphic novelists, super hero artists, and developers of anime, movies, games, and toys, plus about 50,000 fans. Celebrity guests and artists include Pamela Anderson, Ke Huy Quan, Mike Colter, Sean Astin, Stephen Amell, and many more!
Plenty of dealers will be present also, so indulge in this opportunity to see your own graphic/comic heroes and add to your collection.
Enjoy free outdoor movies and celebrations at Christopher Columbus Park in Boston's North End.
Here's the summer lineup so far:
Independence Day Celebration for Children (& their families) - June 26, 12 noon-2:30pm - Magician, storyteller, and games
Summer Sunday Movies - Sundays July 18 through August 22, 7pm - Bring a blanket or low folding chairs and watch family favorites starting at sundown. Find out what's showing: https://www.foccp.org/foccpevents
Boston GreenFest - Free!
Boston GreenFest offers a huge assortment of exhibits, performances, and presentations about sustainable living. EcoThemes include water, energy, green cities, transportation, health, nutrition, and EcoFashion.
GreenFest highlights include:
200+ exhibitors, plus robots, Eco cars to see & drive, Eco Fashion show, and lots of innovation
Green Film Fest - huge lineup of films from around the world
Non-stop live performances
Lots of international cuisines and local food trucks plus a Wine & Beer Garden
EcoForums with top experts discussing critical topics in Faneuil Hall
Free fitness classes (bring your old running shoes and donate them)
Speakers, workshops, art, music, dance, and much more!
When: August 3-5, noon - 10pm on Friday and Saturday, noon - 6pm on Sunday Where: Boston City Hall Plaza and Faneuil Hall Nearest T station: Government Cost: Free admission - all ages welcome More information: www.bostongreenfest.org
Boston Seafood Festival
The Annual Boston Seafood Festival celebrates our city's marine heritage, love of seafood, and commitment to sustainable harvest.
This family-friendly event brings together seafood tastings, chef demos, educational events, all day lobster bake, Battle of the Shuckers, a fish cutting contest, Harpoon Garden, and the traditional Blessing of the Fleet.
Films at the Gate - Free Chinese Film Festival in Chinatown - TBD
The Chinatown Park Plaza on the Greenway morphs into an outdoor movie theater for this popular free event featuring Kung-Fu Classics (Mandarin or Cantonese, with English subtitles; one film this year will be in English with Chinese subtitles). A limited number (250) of folding chairs are available on a first-come, first-served basis - or bring your own, along with carryout from nearby restaurants (no alcohol, though). The festival begins at 5:30pm with games, martial arts, and other cultural performances followed by the feature film starting at 8pm, and runs from August 23 to August 25.
Location: Chinatown Park Plaza on the Rose Kennedy Greenway Closest T station: Red Line, South Station (nearest public restrooms are also here) Cost: Free - sponsored by Asian Community Development Corporation (ACDC), series curator Jean Lukitsh, founding producers Leslie and Sam Davol, and numerous other local organizations, businesses, and individuals More info: https://asiancdc.org/events?category=Movie
Magic 106.7 Family Film Festival
Enjoy this free fun family activity - movies under the stars in Prudential Center's lovely South Garden (go up the escalators from Huntington Ave, and the garden is to your right; from Boylston, it is on your left).
When: Every Saturday from early July through end of August; entertainment and children's activities start at 5pm, and movies start at sundown; rain dates will be held on the following Wednesday Where: Prudential Center, South Garden Nearest T station: Green Line/Prudential Nearest parking garage: Prudential Center Garage - get discounted parking with a $10 purchase Cost: Free
August 3: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
August 10: Smallfoot
August 17: Alice in Wonderland (1951)
August 24: Hotel Transylvania 3
August 31: Dumbo
Boston Discount Cards for Attractions, Tours, Cruises
Best way to save in Boston. Save 50% or more when you take a Boston Harbor cruise or Duck Boat tour, visit Plimouth Plantation, the New England Aquarium, Museum of Science, Museum of Fine Arts, Fenway Park Tour, and more. Compare to find out which one is best for you.
Free Drop-In Summer Yoga on Boston Common
Dropping in on free summer yoga sessions near the carousel on Boston Common is part of what makes Boston fun in the summer. Instructors will lead a vinyasa flow class focused on releasing stress and expanding energy and welcome participants of all levels.
When: Every Thursday, 6-7:15 - through September 26 (no class on July 4th) Where: Frog Pond at Boston Common Nearest T station: Green Line/Park Cost: Free Bring: Your own mat, blocks, towels, and belt Boston hotel where you'll find a yoga mat in your room: Nine Zero (and conveniently, it's just steps away from the Common
Fun Free Fridays in Boston in August - Cancelled
Fun Free Fridays give you free admission to 100 top Massachusetts cultural venues across the state throughout the summer, thanks to the generosity of Highland Street Foundation. A different selection of destinations offer no-cost access each Friday from the end of June through the end of August.
In case you're looking ahead to when this event resumes (hopefully) next year, here is the schedule from 2 years ago for Boston area destinations:
- Franklin Park Zoo
- Davis Museum at Wellesley College (Wellesley)
- Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park
- Boston Harbor Islands National & State Park
- Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston
Nichols House Museum
- Museum of the National Center of Afro American Artists
Wenham Museum (Wenham)
- Greenway Carousel
- Freedom Trail Foundation
- JFK Presidential Library and Museum
- Commonwealth Museum
- Lynn Museum (Lynn)
- Fruitlands Museum (Harvard, MA)
- Fort Devens Museum (Devens)
- New England Historic Genealogical Society
- Old State House
- Museum of the First Corps of Cadets
- Harvard Museums of Science and Culture (Cambridge)
- The Old Manse, Concord
Museum of African American History
- USS Constitution Museum
Old State House
- Cape Ann Museum, Cloucester
- Griffin Museum of Photography (Winchester)
- Provincetown Art Association & Museum (Provincetown)
Mary Baker Eddy Library and Mapparium
Enjoy free outdoor concerts at the Hatch Shell on Boston's Esplanade throughout August.
This series of family movies sponsored by WBZ NewsRadio 1030 and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) provides the perfect excuse to grab a blanket or lawn chair, pack a picnic, and head for an evening of entertainment under the stars.
The August movie lineup includes:
- August 7 - The Lion King
- August 14 - Onward
- August 21 - Spider-Man: Far from Home
- August 28 - Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
When: Movie starts at sundown (about 8pm in August)
More information, including the movie schedule and weather cancellations: Call the Free Friday Flicks Hotline at 617-787-7200