The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has fully reopened and residents and travelers alike can enjoy all that Boston has to offer this summer, including events we missed last year and new activations in the city. The “Summer in Boston: See You Soon” campaign is in full swing and visitors are encouraged to share their experiences on social media with #SeeYouSoonBOS.
While the opportunities for entertainment, outdoor adventures, culture and dining in Greater Boston are endless, the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau (GBCVB) has compiled a chronological “Top 10” list to feature some of the highlights of the summer season that encompass every neighborhood of the city.
- Boston Black Restaurant Month and Roxbury Restaurant Week: #BostonBlackRestaurantMonth continues through June 30 and encourages diners to celebrate the food, culture and community of the city’s Black-owned restaurants. A dining guide is available at www.bostonblackrestaurants.com. Roxbury Restaurant Week spotlights that specific neighborhood’s wealth of diverse restaurants from June 13 to June 19, culminating with the Museum of Fine Art’s “Summer of Soul” premiere. Participating restaurants include Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen, Dudley Cafe, Fort Hill Bar & Grill, Haley House Bakery Café, Merengue Restaurant, Nôs Casa Cafe, Slade’s Bar & Grill, Soleil, and Suya Joint.
- Juneteenth: Juneteenth is an annual state holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved people in America. A full roundup of Juneteenth commemorations in the state is available here, including One Night in Boston, with music, film and other festivities in Roxbury’s Nubian Square; Reflecting Attucks, a temporary exhibit on the life and legacy of Crispus Attucks; the MFA Juneteenth Community Celebration; and civic landmarks along the Black Heritage Trail.
- Boston Harborfest, July 3 Harbor Fireworks and 4th of July Boston Common Fireworks: The annual tradition of Boston Harborfest is back with hundreds of activities over Independence Day Week, including the highlight of the weekend: the return of fireworks over beautiful Boston Harbor on July 3. The family-friendly favorite Harborfest celebrates Boston’s maritime culture and history with events including the Downtown Crossing (DTX) Arts Market, local musical performances, and a Float Your Boat parade where local boaters can win prizes for the most creative and most fun boat, with the grand prize going to the boat that best captures the spirit of independence. A full schedule is available at https://www.bostonharborfest.com/schedule/. And there will be not one, but two fireworks displays returning this year: on the 4th of July, an amazing fireworks show over Boston Common will delight visitors and locals alike with the simulcast of the Boston Pops playing at Tanglewood as the soundtrack. More details are available at www.bso.org.
- Shakespeare on the Common: This year’s free performance will be The Tempest, directed by Steven Maler, on the Boston Common running from July 21 through August 8. This is the 25th anniversary production and will star John Douglas Thompson, a Tony Award nominee who also recently starred in the HBO hit “Mare of Easttown.” The production will remain free, but due to expected capacity constraints, attendees will be asked to register ahead of time. Registration will open the week of June 21.
- A Taste of Ethnic Boston: Clearly food is a running theme when looking at the best that
Boston has to offer! The Taste of Ethnic Boston takes place on July 27 and celebrates the city’s cultural diversity through food with more than 20 of Boston’s top ethnic restaurants. The ticketed event serves to showcase Boston’s Top Neighborhood Culturally Diverse Restaurants, chefs, and food and beverage vendors.
- Concerts at “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark,” Fenway Park: The Plainridge Park Casino Fenway Concert Series has an iconic lineup not to be missed, with artists for every musical taste, beginning with Guns N’ Roses on August 3, featuring local favorites New Kids on the Block on August 6 for their only concert anywhere this year, and culminating with the Jonas Brothers in the fall on October 1.
- Dine Out Boston: The signature GBCVB culinary event takes place August 8-21, providing locals and visitors an opportunity to sample area restaurants at special prices with lunch and dinner prix fixe menus that feature choice dishes. Participating restaurants include old favorites and new culinary hot spots, with everything from Asian to Argentinian fare to French, Italian, seafood, tapas and sushi.
- Explore Boston’s Neighborhoods, including the return of North End Feasts: Every Boston neighborhood has something amazing to offer this season. Back Bay, Chinatown, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, East Boston, the North End, Seaport and the South End all have neighborhood tours and many have outdoor farmers and artisan markets, as well as a variety of incredible restaurants and beautiful public art. Arts and culture also abound. For example, Chinatown will host the August Moon Festival in mid-August and Roxbury will host Savor the Square on various monthly dates through October. The Seaport neighborhood also boasts a variety of rotating art installations that provide perfect “Instagrammable” moments. Every Boston neighborhood has something magical, but the feasts in Boston’s Italian enclave of the North End are a special treat and are returning in-person this summer. The Fisherman’s Feast is August 12 through August 15 and features the famous Flight of the Angel on the final night of festivities, and Saint Anthony’s Feast, which has been celebrated for over 100 years, is August 27 through August 29.
- On-the-Water Fun and Outdoor Recreation: Visitors cannot come to Boston and miss out on an opportunity to enjoy time near and/or out on the water, either on the beautiful Boston Harbor or on the serene Charles River. Boston also has plenty to offer for those who prefer “one if by land” outdoor activities. The activities run the gamut: ferries to the Boston Harbor Islands, which are only minutes from downtown Boston by boat and offer swimming, kayaking, hiking and camping; the self-guided Boston Harborwalk; the gorgeous the Rose Kennedy Greenway, which features fitness classes, food trucks, beer gardens, and arts markets; walking, biking or running along the Charles River Esplanade, or getting on a canoe, kayak or paddleboard from Charles River Canoe and Kayak; and exploring the flora and fauna of the Emerald Necklace or the Arnold Arboretum. Tour options also provide something for everyone – Boston Harbor City Cruises have historic cruises, sunset cruises and even the Codzilla, a favorite for families who don’t mind getting wet as they whip around the Harbor. Boston Duck Tours is one of Boston’s most popular tour, traversing both land and sea from Back Back to Boston Common and into the Charles River to explore some of the city’s most famous landmarks. For a longer excursion, whale watches from Boston Harbor City Cruises and the New England Aquarium are a fascinating choice, providing front-row seats to see these amazing marine mammals.
- Museums: Last but most certainly not least, Boston is home to iconic museums. History buffs may want to venture to the Boston Tea Party Museum, the Old North Church & Historic Site or the Museum of African American History. Art lovers can check out the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Institute of Contemporary Art and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Summer exhibitions include Ekua Holmes at the MFA, beginning July 17, and Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech,” opening July 3 at the ICA. Also opening July 3, at the ICA Watershed, is a magnificent and monumental sculptural installation by Dominican artist Firelei Báez.
This comprehensive list highlights many of Boston’s most iconic offerings yet there is so much more to be seen, heard, tasted and felt in the area. Learn more at www.bostonusa.com.
Image credit: Kyle Klein