The Boston Events Calendar for July normally gets off to a rousing start with the big annual July 4th Boston Pops concert at the Hatch Shell, spectacular fireworks over the Charles River, and Harborfest.
The Boston Symphony Orchestra is evaluating and planning the July 4th concert and fireworks celebration for 2021, with details to be announced very soon.
Boston July weather should be as fantastic as usual with lots of gorgeous hot sunny days and occasional brief afternoon thunderstorms. Despite the need to be cautious (and of course wear a mask and socially distant in public), you'll find plenty of fun ways to enjoy the city this month.
Top photo: Confetti rains down at the Boston Pops July 4th concert at the end of the 1812 Overture - photo courtesy of U.S. Navy
Brunch Cruise - Savor a delicious 3-course brunch on this relaxing sightseeing cruise around Boston Harbor
Sunday Evening Jazz Cruise - Groove to live jazz as you watch the ever-changing sunset colors as the sun sets behind Boston's city skyline
Gift Card - Looking for a special gift? Purchase a Classic Harbor Line gift card with a value of your choosing!
Boston Pops July 4th Concert & Fireworks 2021 - Breaking News!
Celebrate America's birthday on July 4th in Boston with a spectacular fireworks show. The event will be a little different this year due to the lingering impacts of the pandemic, but the imporant thing to know is that it will return to a live format (vs online last year) - just in slightly different locations!
Fireworks will take place over Boston Common (instead on over the Charles River), and will last for half an hour as usual. The Boston Pops July 4th Concert conducted by Keith Lockhart will be not in Boston this year, but instead at Tanglewood in Western Massachusetts, and will feature a wonderful lineup of special guests including the legendary Mavis Staples, musician Jon Batiste, the Six String Soldiers of the U.S. Army Field Band, and members of the U.S. Air Force Band's Singing Sergeants.
The concert starts at 8pm on July 4th, and will be broadcast (along with the fireworks) on Bloomberg TV, Bloomberg.com, and Boston's Channel 7 WHDH. Fireworks will start at approximately 10:30pm and last half an hour. Both the concert and fireworks show are free, but you must have a free ticket to enter the concert grounds, which has a capacity limited to 9,000 people for this event.
When: July 4
Where: Wollaston Beach, over Quincy Bay Cost: Free
July 4th fireworks over Quincy Bay will take place on Wollaston Beach in Quincy (directly south of Boston) as part of their annual Flag Day Parade & Fireworks Celebration.
A huge and colorful parade with plenty of brass bands and flags departs at 7pm from Coddington Street to Hancock Street to Merrymount Road and ending at Adams Field.
Fireworks begin at 9pm and last about 30-40 minutes. They are launched over Quincy Bay from Wollaston Beach, which is part of the 2.3-mile long Quincy Shore Reservation.
The easiest and most special way to enjoy the fireworks is on a Fireworks Cruise on the Northern Lights. The 3-hour scenic cruise departs from Boston and includes BBQ as well as viewing of the spectacular fireworks show over Quincy Bay, and then returns to Boston.
To see the fireworks from Wollaston Beach, take the T's Red Line to the North Quincy stop. The beach is about a .75 mile/15 minute walk from the station.
Although the Quincy Shore Reservation does have onsite parking (normally free) if you decide to drive, be aware that it will probably fill up early - possibly very early - on the 4th.
You'll have great views of the fireworks from anywhere along the Quincy Bay shoreline.
Boston Harborfest - 2021
Harborfest is Boston's gala celebration of American Independence, July 4th, and the joy of summer in Boston. Revolutionary War reenactments, live entertainment, Arts at Harborfest, cruises, an artisan craft fair, walking tours, and more exciting events showcase Boston's colonial, Revolutionary War, and maritime history.
Please note: No announcement has been made yet about Harborfest 2021
When: July 1-4
Where: Main events take place in Boston's Historic Downtown district, Downtown Crossing, along the Freedom Trail, and on the waterfront. Cost: Many events are free, with some ticketed tours and cruises.
Find concerts & shows for:January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December
<h2 id="greenway2">Lion Dances on Sundays in Boston's Chinatown</h2>
<figure class="image-fit"><a href="/rose-kennedy-greenway.html"><img src="/image-files/800-lion-dancers-chinatown.jpg" alt="Lion dancers in Boston's Chinatown" title="Lion dancers in Boston's Chinatown" ></a>
<figcaption class="caption">Lion dancers in Boston's Chinatown</figcaption>
<p>Head to Chinatown on Sundays to watch Lion Dances starting at the Chinatown Gate (Beach Street) on the Greenway at 12 noon, and then stop by one of the neighborhood's restaurants for Dim Sum. Dances continue on Sundays through July 3. </p>
Visit Cape Cod on the Fast Ferry
The easiest and fastest way to get to scenic Provincetown at the eastern tip of Cape Cod is on the "Fast Ferry" - a sleek and luxurious passenger-only catamaran that whisks you to this charming village in only 90 minutes.
Explore Provincetown's many art galleries, chic clothing boutiques, and picturesque lanes at your leisure.
Watch the sun set as you feast on clam chowder and a lobster roll at one of the many restaurants overlooking the water.
Greenway Food Trucks: More that 35 trucks offer 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
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
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 - through September 30 (no class on July 1st) Where: Frog Pond at Boston Common Nearest T station: Green Line/Park Cost: Free Bring: Your own mat, blocks, towels, and belt
Landmarks Orchestra Concerts at the Hatch Shell 2021
The Boston Landmarks Orchestra has announced that their weekly free summer concerts will return this year at sites around the city and will offer a mix of classical, traditional, modern, and contemporary music - but no dates/locations are available yet, so please check back!
Boston Theater & Shows for July 2021
Top July Shows in Boston
Hamilton - Boston Opera House - July 6 - August 21
These special 1-day New England Coastal All-Day Tours on a luxury bus show you spectacular beaches, wetlands, quaint seaside villages, harbors, and lighthouses along the North Shore of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine.
Depending on when you go, you may also see the first displays of brilliant fall foliage along the New England coast.
You'll visit Hampton Beach and have plenty of time to photograph 19th century Nubble Light in York, Maine.
Don't miss this chance to see New England's glorious coast at its best!
Bastille Day, the French Fête Nationaleholiday celebrating the storming of the Bastille prison, the beginning of the French Revolution against the tyranny of the monarchy in 1789, and the birth of modern France occurs on July 14. Boston's French Cultural Center celebrates it on the preceding Friday by blocking off Marlborough between Berkeley and Claredon for a huge street party.
Look for high energy live Francophone music, dancing in the street, and complimentary French hors d'oeuvres and desserts, as well as delicious French food from the city's top French restaurants drinks including wine available for you to purchase. Come celebrate with 2,000 other revelers, sing "La Marseillaise," and raise a glass to Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité.
When: Friday July 12 from 6pm - 11pm (music ends at 10pm) - rain or shine Where: Marlborough Street, between Berkeley and Clarendon Nearest T station: Green Line/Arlington Cost: $34 in advance, $40 at the door; free for children under 10 (alert: tickets normally sell out well in advance) Tickets & more info: https://frenchculturalcenter.org
Berklee Summer in the City: Free Summer Concerts in Boston
Free outdoor concerts take place all over the city during the summer - and Berklee College of Music students, faculty, and alumni give over 400 of them between early June and 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 - so check the schedule at https://www.berklee.edu/events/summer
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), Wednesdays 6-7pm and Fridays 12:30-1:30pm, June 1-August. Music ranges from jazz to classical, folk to world, and are free. Concerts move indoor to Rabb Hall in case of bad weather. More info: https://www.bpl.org/concerts-in-the-courtyard/
Boston Calling Weekly Block Parties: Live performances by a different group every Thursday evening (except July 4th) from 5-8pm at Dewey Square on the Rose Kennedy Greenway through August 29. Cash bar for 21+ with beer and wine, plus food to purchase. Check out the weekly lineup on their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/bostoncallingblockparties
Museum of Science Exhibits - 2021
Arctic Adventure: Exploring with Technology - Find an Arctic fox, travel across a glacier, & more in this immersive exhibit
Science Behind Pixar: See how art and science create magic
Design Engineering Workshop - Design, build, and test solutions for everyday problems
With fascinating permanent exhibits for all ages, there's always something to see, do, and learn. Here are just a few of the most popular: Butterfly Garden (extra fee), Colossal Fossil: Triceratops Cliff, Cosmic Light, Dinosaurs, Hall of Human Life, Live Animal Care Center, Mathematica, Nanotechnology, Natural Mysteries, New England Habitats, The Light House - plus 17 more!
Boston's North End Italian Feasts and Festivals draw huge crowds to this historic neighborhood. You can smell the wonderful food, hear the music, and sense the excitement as you walk across the Greenway to Hanover Street, where many of the celebrations take place.
These festivals take place almost every weekend throughout the summer.
North End Festivals scheduled for July:
Madonna della Grazie's Procession - July 14, 2pm - Starts at St Leonard's Church (Hanover and Prince Streets)
St. Rocco's Procession - July 21, 1:30pm - Starts at US Coast Guard Base, Commercial Street
St. Joseph Procession - July 28, 1pm - Procession starts at St Joseph Society Club (Hanover Street)
Enjoy colorful open-air market booths selling crafts, lucky bamboo, traditional silk clothing, and lots more, plus Chinese folk dances, Lion dances, and martial arts on stage on the Greenway in this mid-summer festival in Chinatown. A great excuse for a tasty meal in one of these fun Chinatown restaurants.
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 July 1 - August 26; 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
July 6: Lego Movie 2
July 13: Mary Poppins Returns
July 20: Incredibles 2
July 27: Ralph Breaks the Internet
Over 500,000 spectators gather at Revere Beach during the course of the big 4-day New England Sand Sculpting Festival to watch 15 renowned master sculptors from around the world work their magic with individual 12 ton allotments of sand imported from Hudson NH, plus water. Sculptors compete for $14,000 in prize money, and the sculptures they create will amaze you with their detail and artistry.
With music performances, a food truck festival, amusement rides, and crafts activities on site as well, you'll find plenty of family entertainment - and don't forget to bring your swimsuits, sunscreen, and towels for the beach!
Fireworks provide the grand finale for the sand sculpting festival.
When: July 26-28; sculptors work from 8am until 8pm - plus fireworks at 9pm on Sunday Where: Revere Beach, Revere (about 2 miles north of Boston, but easy to get to by subway) Nearest T station: Blue Line/Wonderland - the beach is just 2 blocks away Cost: Free
Enjoy free outdoor movies, croquet, and celebrations at Columbus Park in Boston's North End.
Here's the summer lineup:
Croquet - Wednesdays, June 5-Aug 28, 5:30-7:30pm - Play croquet on the West Lawn. Don't know how? A member of the sponsoring organization (Friends of Christopher Columbus Park) will be on hand to teach you Lawn Games - Saturdays July 20-September 14, noon - 4pm - Corn hole, giant jenga, ladder golf, & more! Independence Day Celebration & Fireworks -
Children's parade, cartoon charachters, jugglers, magicians, face painting, and more kids activities from noon-4pm on Saturday, June 29 Movies in the Park - Sundays July 21 through August 26, 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
Lawn on D
Lawn on D, a playground for adults (kids are welcome too) located behind the Convention Center in the South Boston Waterfront, is normally where you'll find fun swings and outdoor seating, beanbag and other games, and art installations throughout the summer, along with a rotating series of food trucks.
But like almost everything else, Lawn on D will be different this year.
There won't be any swings or games due to health and safety concerns - but the Lawn will be transformed into a giant outdoor dining venue with 180 carefully-spaced tables, 700 seats, and food and beverages provided by Rebel Restaurants.
Boston's most spectacular firework display of the year follows the Pops Concert on the 4th.
Watch from tall buildings, rooftops, or the banks of the Charles River.
When: Thursday, July 4 at 10:30pm, immediately following the Boston Pops Concert - ends at about 11pm Where: Charles River, between the Longfellow and Mass Ave Bridges Nearest T stations: Depends on where you plan to sit - use Red Line/Harvard Square if you plan to be on the Cambridge side, and Green Line/Arlington or Red Line/Charles-MGH for the Boston side. Cost: Free More information: Boston Fireworks
USS Constitution Turn-Around Cruise on July 4
The USS Constitution makes her annual turn-around cruise in Boston Harbor each Fourth of July to celebrate our nation's independence.
The magnificent 204 foot-long wood-hulled ship which first launched in 1797 and is the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world will sail out to Fort Independence on Castle Island, exchange a 21-gun salute, and then turn around and head back into the Inner Harbor and exchange cannon fire with Boston's Coast Guard Base in the North End.
Departure from Charlestown Navy Yard's Pier One normally takes place at 10:45am and she returns to her Navy Yard berth across from the USS Constitution Museum at 2pm.
Watch from points along the harbor or Castle Island, or even better, from the water on the Schooner Adirondack III or the Northern Lights (not offered in 2021).
One of the most popular summer Boston events, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company presents The Tempest, one of the Bard's romantic comedies, 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 and August (Exact dates TBD) at 8pm on Tuesdays through Saturdays, 7pm on Sundays, plus a 3pm matinee (note - no performances on Mondays); performances 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; chairs in a small special priority section near the stage are available in return for a donation of $75 or more, with proceeds to benefit CSC.
Free Friday Flicks at the Hatch Shell
Enjoy free outdoor concerts at the Hatch Shell on Boston's Esplanade throughout July and 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, pack a picnic, and head for an evening of entertainment under the stars.
The July movie lineup includes:
- July 10 - Frozen 2
- July 17 - Toy Story 4
- July 24- Dolittle
- July 31 - Aladdin
When: Movie starts at sundown (about 8:15 in July)
More information, including the movie schedule and weather cancellations: Call the Free Friday Flicks Hotline at 617-787-7200
Puerto Rican Festival & Parade
The annual Puerto Rican Festival takes place on July 26 (5pm-11pm), 27 (noon-11pm), and 28 (noon-11pm)on City Hall Plaza and features Puerto Rican music, entertainment, carnival rides including a ferris wheel, and vendors. Free admission.
On Sunday, July 28, the festival's huge Grand Parade kicks off at Hynes Convention Center (900 Boylston Street) at 12 noon, marches down Boylston Street to the Common, turns left onto Tremont Street, and heads to City Hall Plaza. More information: https://www.puertoricanfestivalofma.org/
Summer in the City - July Events
Boston Harbor Hotel's popular "Summer in the City" series lets you kick back and enjoy free music and movies overlooking the waterfront throughout the summer from June 6 until August 30.
Listen to music between 6pm - 10pm as musicians perform on the Blues Barge on Tuesday (Pop-Soul), Wednesday (Rat Pack), and Thursday (Blues Barge).
On Fridays, enjoy music (starts at 4:30) and Movies By Moonlight - your favorite classics projected on a large screen over the Harbor- starts at dusk.
Combine these events with a drink at the hotel's Rowes Wharf Sea Grill and dinner at Meritage for the perfect summer evening.
July 5 - The Parent Trap
July 12 - Moana
July 19 - Jurassic Park
July 26 - Sleepless in Seattle
Figment brings an explosion of creative energy to the Greenway each summer for one weekend of participatory art and culture on July 27 (11am-11pm) and July 26 (12 noon - 6pm).
This free event transforms the entire length of the Greenway from the North End Parks to Dewey Square (across from South Station) into a massive collaborative artwork. Expect to see performances, sculptures, activities, art, photographs, dance, and more.
Bring sunscreen and a water bottle, and come have fun!
Fun Free Fridays give you free admission to top Massachusetts cultural venues 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.
Here is the schedule for Boston area destinations during July:
- Cape Cod Maritime Museum (Hyannis)
- The Old Manse
- Pilgrim Hall Museum (Plymouth)
- The Telephone Museum (Waltham)
- Museum of Fine Arts
- New England Quilt Museum (Lowell)
- The Hall at Patriot Place (Foxboro)
- Boston Children's Museum
- Arnold Arboretum
- Battleship Cove (Fall River)
- Peabody Essex Museum (Salem)
- Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
- Commonwealth Shakespeare
- Larz Anderson Auto Museum (Brookline)
Outside the Box Free Performing Arts Festival in Boston
Outside the Box, Boston's largest performing arts festival, transforms the Common by erecting six stages and tents where over 100 local artists and groups stage theater, dance performances, and music for 5 days from July 13-17.
Most events take place on Thursday through Sunday from 12 noon - 9pm.
With so much going on at the festival, you can just walk around Boston Common and find the performances you like best. But if you want to plan ahead, check the festival's schedule on the Out of the Box website.
Mashpee Wampanoag Powwow - Postponed
The 99th annual Mashpee Wampanoag Powwow takes place on traditional tribal lands on Cape Cod just an hour south of Boston. Dancers, drummers, and other participants celebrate Mashpee Wampanoag culture during this 3-day historical festival with dancing, drumming, games, food, art, jewelry, and crafts. Special events include a Fireball spiritual healing ceremony on Saturday evening at sundown, and a traditional Clambake and crowning of the Mashpee Wampanoag Powwow Princess on Sunday afternoon.
When: Postponed; new dates to be announced Where: Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Powwow Grounds, 483 Great Neck Road South, Mashpee, MA Tickets: $12; Elders $10, free for children 4 and under More information: 774-413-0520
The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is part of the Wampanoag Nation of people living in Southeastern Massachusetts and Eastern Rhode Island for more than 12,000 years.
Find out more about the Wampanoags from the Stone Age to the present by visiting the Mashpee Wampanoag Museum (414 Main Street, Mashpee, MA; website).
Boston Pizza Festival at City Hall Plaza - 2022
Boston's expansive City Hall Plaza turns into a giant picnic ground when the Boston Pizza Festival returns on July 10-11 (to be confirmed) bringing pizza, entertainment such as pizza tossing shows and live music, adult and other beverages, and games to this family-friendly celebration of summer.
Fans devoured over 27,000 pizzas by top local pizza makers such as Pizzeria Regino, Bricco, Antico Forno, Babbo, and Serafina at Boston's most recent event. Pizza slices and beverages sold on site.