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10 Classic Boston Summer Activities

By Nadine Wright

Boston truly comes alive during the summer. Visitors and residents alike can enjoy an abundance of outdoor events and activities (many free!). Whether you catch a ballgame or spend an evening watching the boats in Boston Harbor, there are so many great things to do and see. Below are ten of our favorites that you won’t want to miss on your next trip to Boston!

Boston Duck Tour
They go on land, they go by sea, they’ll show you everything you want to see! The World War II style amphibious land vehicles will bring you on a guided sightseeing tour of Boston, with sights such as the golden-domed State House, Bunker Hill, Copley Square, Newbury Street, Quincy Market, TD Garden, and more. Tickets start at $39 for adults.

Red Sox Game
Catch a [ball] game at Boston’s famed and historic Fenway Park. As the oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball, Fenway has been home to the famed Green Monster and the Boston Red Sox since 1912. Tickets start as low as $20.

New England Aquarium & Whale Watch
The New England Aquarium, located right on Boston’s waterfront, is one of Boston’s premier visitor attractions. In addition to its marine exhibits, it also partners with Boston Harbor Cruises to provide very popular whale watches. Spend a few hours out on Boston Harbor and see the majestic creatures in their natural habitat! Tickets start at $27.95 (adult) for the aquarium and $53 (adult) for whale watches.

Freedom Walking Trail
Starting in the Boston Common, this 2.5 mile red brick trek around the city passes by 16 historically significant sites from the time of the American Revolution. There are daily walking tours providing various length options led by Freedom Trail Players (18th-century costumed guides). Explore from Boston Common to Faneuil Hall to the North End/Waterfront. Tickets for a guided tour start at $12 for adults.

Charles River Esplanade
Spend a few hours walking (or running) the popular 3 mile stretch along the Charles River. You’ll see sailboats, kayaks, crew teams, and more on the river itself. There are play structures, and even a spray desk, for children of all ages. During July and August, you can also check out the free “Friday Flicks” with the kids!

SoWa Open Market
SoWa Open Market is Boston’s largest celebration of local artists, farmers, chefs, brewers, and musicians. Held each Saturday and Sunday from April 29 to October 29, you’ll find a collection of artisanal handmade goods, a farmers market, food trucks, and an outdoor beer garden.

Harborwalk Sounds at the ICA
Check out this free summer concert series at ICA on Thursday nights (July 6-August 31) from 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm. A partnership with Berklee College of Music, Harborwalk Sounds brings together some of the city’s most talented young musicians to the waterfront. ICA admission is always free on Thursday nights, if you also wish to explore inside the museum.

North End Feasts
Experience all of the sights, smells, and tastes of Boston’s version of Italy - the North End. Every weekend is August features a variety of feasts in honor of several saints. Enjoy parades, strolling singers, live entertainment, contests, and an abundance of delicious Italian food. There is definitely fun for the whole family!

Spend a Day at the Beach
With the city’s location directly on the water, there are plenty of beach day opportunities directly in and nearby the city. Popular beach spots include Carson Beach in South Boston, Spectacle Island in Boston Harbor, and Revere Beach (America’s first public beach) located four miles north of downtown in the city of Revere. Cost: free to $17

The Lawn On D Powered by Citizens Bank
Located next to the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, The Lawn On D is a first-of-its-kind outdoor interactive space that brings together different communities, audiences, and residents for innovative programming and events. The Lawn On D is free and open to the public, but also available to rent for private events, and offers food and alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverages for purchase, plus monthly family events, live music, and assorted games such as bocce and cornhole.


Looking for more things to do in Boston? Check out our guide of What To Do for shopping, dining, arts & music, historic landmark, and sports & entertainment suggestions. To give you a better idea of Boston’s make-up, also check out our guide to all the neighborhoods of Boston.