Fireworks, Harborfest, Concerts, Red Sox - Biggest July Events!
The Boston Events Calendar for July gets off to a rousing start the big annual July 4th Boston Pops concert at the Hatch Shell, and spectacular fireworks over the Charles River, plus Harborfest and fireworks over the Harbor on July 2 - but that's just the beginning of the month's fun events!
Exciting concerts during July include Taylor Swiftat Gillette Stadium, plus Steely Dan and Steve Winwood, the Doobie Brothers, Journey, Alanis Morissette, Harry Styles, Barenaked Ladies, Hot Tuna, Bon Jovi, Dave Matthews Band, and lots more top artists.
Theater fans can enjoy Anastasia at the Boston Opera House and Shakespeare on the Common.
Other top July attractions include Bastille Day celebrations, Free Friday Flicks on the Esplanade, and even a Pizza Festival on City Hall Plaza.
The weather is usually gorgeous, and events move outdoors. Cheer the Red Sox at Fenway Park, head to a nearby Boston beach, take a whale watching cruise from the downtown waterfront, and enjoy some of the many free concerts, art festivals, and other outdoor July events.
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
From the opening notes of the National Anthem to the closing bursts of real cannon fire as part of the 1812 Overture, the July 4th Boston Pops concert at the Hatch Shell celebrates Independence Day in spectacular fashion, followed by dazzling fireworks over the Charles River. Special guests this year include Queen Latifah, Arlo Guthrie, the Texas Tenors, and more.
The concert on the day before, July 3rd, gives music lovers a chance to enjoy familar favorites (but no fireworks at the end). Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart leads the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra during both concerts.
When: - Wednesday, July 3 - Oval opens at 5pm; concert begins at 8pm and ends at 10:00pm
- Thursday, July 4 - Oval opens at 9am; concert begins at 8pm, followed by fireworks from 10:30pm-11pm More information: Boston Pops and Fireworks
4th of July Fireworks
Boston's most spectacular firework display of the year follows the Pops Concert on the 4th.
Watch from tall buildings (Top of the Hub view is spectacular - but reserve early!), 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 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:
When: Saturday, July 2 at 6pm-10pm
Where: Long Wharf, Boston Downtown Waterfront, and Christopher Columbus Park, North End (next to Long Wharf Marriott) Cost: Free
The Inner Harbor will glow with lights as sailors decorate their boats for a festive Parade of Lights, followed by a spectacular fireworks display over the harbor as part of the gala Boston Harborfest celebration.
Enjoy the views along the Downtown Waterfront and Seaport shorelines - or treat yourself to front-row seats on these special Parade of Lights/Fireworks harbor cruises:
The 98th 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: July 5, 6, 7 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).
Harborfest is Boston's gala celebration of American Independence, July 4th, and the joy of summer in Boston. Revolutionary War reenactments, live entertainment, Chowderfest, Parade of Lights & Fireworks, Arts at Harborfest, cruises, exhibits, walking tours, and more exciting events showcase Boston's colonial, Revolutionary War, and maritime history.
When: July 1-7 (Dates to be confirmed for 2020)
Where: Main events take place at Faneuil Marketplace, Downtown Crossing, along the Freedom Trail, and on the waterfront - but with 200+ events, you'll also find events in other locations as well. Cost: Free to pricey - depends on the event! Some venues request donations.
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.
But don't wait too long - the Fast Ferry runs only through mid October.
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.
Find Special Deals on Boston Hotels & Apartments
Boston Cruises & Tours in July
Visiting Boston in July? You'll find lots of fun ways to see the city - hop on hop off trolleys, duck tours, lots of themed sightseeing cruises around the Harbor.
Or, if you want to have a sightseeing adventure beyond Boston, head out to the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary on a special 3-hour whale watching cruise to get close-up views of humpback whales, Atlantic dolphins, sea birds, and friendly porpoises from the three outdoor decks. It's a different world!
Boston's expansive City Hall Plaza turns into a giant picnic ground when the Boston Pizza Festival returns on July 13-14, 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 last year's event. Pizza slices and beverages sold on site.
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 5 - No Free Friday Flicks
July 12 - Mary Poppins Returns
- July 19 - Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
- July 26 - Bumblebee
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/
Queen Mary II in Boston
Queen Mary 2, the largest and most expensive passenger ship in the world and crown jewel of the Cunard shipping line, will sail into Boston's CruisePort at noon on July 4th as part of a cruise originating in New York.
The Queen Mary 2 will stay in Boston overnight for the July 4th fireworks on the following night, and depart on the 5th.
Planning to stop by to see the Queen Mary 2? Treat yourself to a meal or drink at one of the nearby Seaport restaurants and bars overlooking Boston Harbor.
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!
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!
Sunday Evening Jazz Cruise - End your weekend on the perfect note by grooving to live jazz as you watch the ever-changing sunset colors as the sun sets behind Boston's city skyline
Winter City Lights Cruise - Unwind on this 1-hour cruise with soothing classical music in the background, perhaps a tasty drink in your hand, and city lights sparking all around you
Winter Sunset Cruise - Grab a cocktail and apps 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
Live Irish Music Cruise - Get ready for fun on this rockin' Celtic cruise with a live Irish band playing classic Boston Irish songs, traditional Irish tunes, top hits, and your requests
Adirondack III Sailing Cruises:
ICA Boston Art Show - July
ICA Boston presents Less is More: Maximalist Art & Design (June 26 thru September 22). This show brings together paintings, sculpture, ceramics, and more that maximize decorative elements in a rebellion against modernalism and minimalism. You'll see a variety of cultural spheres, traditions, new ideas, and innovative materials as the artists celebrate non-Western art, design, and fashion.
A visit to the Institute of Contemporary Art to see this show gives you the perfect excuse for exploring the South Boston Waterfront and nearby Fort Point areas.
This is the city's fastest-developing (and possibly trendiest) neighborhood - and with several top museums, Harborwalk, the Rockland Trust Pavilion, and more restaurants than you can count (with new places opening almost every month), there's plenty to do here.
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.
Francophone acts Shamarr Allen and Bon Bon Vivant will bring a New Orleans vibe and plenty of high-energy music for dancing in the streets. Complimentary French hors d'oeuvres and desserts are offered. Delicious French food from the city's top French restaurants drinks including wine will be 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
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
Landmarks Orchestra Concerts at the Hatch Shell
The Boston Landmarks Orchestra's weekly free summer Esplanade concerts attract large crowds to the Hatch Shell each July and August with its mix of classical, traditional, modern, and contemporary music. Concerts start at 7pm and run about 2 hours. Bring and blanket or low folding chairs to sit on, and a picnic dinner.
The Landmarks Concert schedule for July:
July 10 - 6-8pm - Season Tune-Up Party - No concert this week, but come try out real orchestral instruments at a "Musical Playground," listen to recordings of favorite classics, and enjoy some snacks - great for families with young kids
July 17 - Symphonic Space Odyssey: 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing - Selections from Leroy Anderson, Richard Strauss, John Williams, Dvorak, and Philip Glass"
July 24 - Longwood Symphony Orchestra - Selections from John Williams, Rossini, and Dvorak
July 31 - Deep River - Selections from Jerome Kern, George Walker, William Grant Still
What I Eat: Around the World in 25 Diets - Now through June 30, 2020 - See similarities and differences in the ways diffferent cultures approach and consume food through these fantastic photos and stories - Free with museum admission.
Dogs! A Science Tail - Feb 9 - June 30, 2020 - Understand the science behind why we love dogs, and understand how they see, hear, and smell the world - Free with museum admission.
With 29 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
Fun Events & Activities on the Rose Kennedy Greenway
Fun Greenway events and things to do this summer:
Boston Calling Block Parties held at Dewey Square (between Pearl and Oliver Streets) across from the InterContinental Hotel on Thursday evenings, 5-8pm, May 10-August 30; different local band each week, plus a cash bar for 21+
Trillium Beer Garden in the Wharf District Parks (High Street and Atlantic Ave) featuring draft beers by Trillium Brewing Company and barrels of Westpoint Rivers Winery. Opens at 2pm weekdays and 11am weekends. 21+
City Winery Open Air Wine Garden on Dewey Square, with beer and cider by Harpoon Brewery. Opens at 3:30pm on Wednesday and Friday, 1pm on Saturday, and 11am on Sunday. 21+
Farmers Market in Dewey Square run by Boston Public Market offering fresh produce, meat, cheese, breads and pastries, ice cream, and more: Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:30am - 6:30pm through November 21.
Greenway Food Trucks: Generally on weekdays (but not holidays) in Dewey Square, by the Carousel, Rings Fountain (Milk Street), State Street, and Rowes Wharf areas of the Greenway
Greenway Open Market on Saturdays through October, 11am-5pm in the Wharf District Parks
Enjoy free outdoor movies, croquet, and celebrations at Christopher 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 - Concerts, Art, Games
Lawn on D, a playground for adults located behind the Convention Center in the South Boston Waterfront, is the site of beanbag and other games plus art installations throughout the summer, along with a rotating series of food trucks.
But even when no special events are underway, the Lawn gives you a perfect place to just chill under the summer sun.
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 July
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.
With so much going on and (usually) hot, sunny weather, July is the perfect time to visit Boston for a day, a weekend, or a longer vacation. These fun trolley tours, bus tours, and special destinations let you enjoy Boston at its best!
Check out all our tips on how to find discounts, deals, and promo codes for Boston hotels. Whether you're looking for bargain accommodations or want to pay less for luxury, we'll show you How to Save on Hotels in Boston.