During the summer months, Boston dresses up to celebrate the 4th of July in the best way possible. Independence Day activities are always excellent and family-friendly and include a variety of attractions such as parades, historical reenactments and fireworks.
There are so many things to see and do in Boston throughout the year and especially in the summer that you won't know which one to choose. I'll help you prepare your itinerary by telling you what are the 10 must-see activities in Boston in the summer.
1. Participate in the famous Boston Haborfest
Independence Day in the United States is the most important date in the country and all major cities have calendars of wonderful events to celebrate, Boston is one of those cities. The events usually start a few days before and usually culminate with an incredible fireworks show.
Throughout the week of the 4th of July, there are numerous Independence Day activities at Boston's best monuments, these events are family-friendly.
You can attend the flag raising ceremony at City Hall Plaza, followed by a parade to the Granary Burial Ground, where wreaths are laid at the patriots' graves. After that, the parade continues to the Old State House. Activities include the annual opening ceremony at Faneuil Hall, historical reenactments, live entertainment and more. See what Boston Haborfest is all about in this video from the last edition held in 2019.
2. Attend incredible live music concerts
During the first days of July, as is the annual tradition, Downtown Crossing will host a variety of musical performances that will be free and open to the public.
These concerts feature local bands that highlight Boston's multifaceted music scene.
Dozens of artists will perform live and take the stage to offer a varied line-up for all tastes during the event.
3. Enjoy a day of shopping at Newbury Street
The best time to visit Newbury Street is during the summer due to the weather. Newbury Street is the outdoor shopping center of Boston, so it is necessary to have good weather as an ally to be able to walk it in the best way. This avenue, about a mile long, is lined with quirky stores and cafes that are always bustling with people when the warm summer weather arrives.
Here you will find absolutely everything from the most luxurious to the cheapest items. There is an incredible mix of high-end stores and vintage boutiques in Newbury, which means there is something for every type of shopper.
After all that walking and shopping you can find a quiet spot to rest and indulge in one of Boston's famous brunches at one of the many cafes in the area. You can explore Newbery Street virtually before your trip to see what is available there.
4. Find a Food Truck and delight in Boston's amazing street food
There are a huge number of food trucks in Boston, especially during the summer. While you can eat at a food truck at other times of the year, summer is when you'll find the most options, as many of the owners are waiting for the good weather to kick off the season. Look for local favorites, such as Clover Food Lab, if you're a fan of vegetarian fast food.
If, instead, you prefer an appetizing dish suitable for the most demanding carnivorous palates, you can look for Roxy's Grilled Cheese & Burgers, author of the famous "Nicki Minaj Burger", you can eat it all day long.
Truck locations change very frequently, so it's best to check the websites before heading out. If you can't find the particular truck you were looking for, don't worry, most vendors also have physical locations. Check here for a calendar of food trucks in Boston.
5. Enjoy a day at the beach near Boston
Summer weather is optimal for visiting one of Boston's many beaches. As a coastal city, Boston has plenty of beaches, both within the city limits and along the coastline outside the city center.
You can find beaches in Boston stretching from the east coast of the city (Carson Beach, Revere Beach, Constitution Beach) to the north coast (Wingaersheek Beach, Good Harbor Beach, Crane Beach), and also along the south coast (Duxbury Beach, Horseneck State Beach, Wollaston Beach).
Before planning your itinerary I recommend consulting the official information about Boston's beaches, so you can better plan your visit.
6. Attend summer movie shows under the stars in Boston
Winter is long and very cold in Boston, perhaps that's why Bostonians love to be outdoors during the summer. There are plenty of places that offer family-friendly movies in the parks during the summer.
Some of the best places to watch summer movies, outdoors, under the stars in Boston are: The Hatch Shell, The Rose Kennedy Greenway, Prudental Center South Lawn, and Boston Common but there are also many more options.
To enjoy these activities like a true Bostonian, don't forget to bring a blanket and snacks for your Boston summer movie night under the stars.
These shows vary from year to year in their location, but you can find them in Boston's main parks, it's best to check when you arrive to see which ones will be available this season. This is a free activity.
7. Have fun at one of the Water Parks near Boston
In the summertime it gets very hot in Boston, so nearby water parks become popular destinations for splashing and cooling off. Kids of all ages love to slide and play during a hot summer day at these quintessential Boston destinations.
For younger children, sometimes all it takes is a local water park or pool to brighten their day. Boston has plenty of places in the city where kids can cool off and enjoy the water. One of the favorite places for Bostonians is the Frog Pond kiddie pool but there are also many more to choose from.
The city of Boston has a large number of public pools to keep cool and have fun all summer long. If you want to plan ahead your visit to the water parks you can consult this guide of the water parks in Boston and its surroundings where you will find the characteristics of each one of them and the updated prices.
8. Taste the delicious Boston Ice Cream and choose the best one at Scooper Bowl Ice Cream Party
Since we're talking about summer and ways to cool off, tell me who doesn't love an ice cream cone? The city of Boston has plenty of ice cream parlors, some of which have been around for generations.
During the summer in Boston, there is a great event for those with a sweet tooth, the Boston Ice Cream Fest. This unique event in the city of Boston gives locals and visitors with a sweet tooth the opportunity to consume as much ice cream as they wish. Another virtue of this event, in addition to satiating your gluttony, is that it is held for charity, with all proceeds going to the Dana Farber Jimmy Fund.
When you're done sampling the amazing variety of ice cream, you can also vote for the best flavor from among the 30 choices, many of them truly original. Plus, there's nothing in the rules that says you can't come back every day of the event. Take advantage and enjoy this sensational event, find all the details of the Boston Scooper Bowl Ice Cream Party.
9. Have fun sailing in Boston
If you are a boating enthusiast, the city of Boston is ideal for you. Along the Charles River harbor, Boston offers a wide range of boating opportunities.
If you have enough time, at Community Boating & Sailing you can take affordable sailing lessons for beginners and advanced sailors on a variety of boats, and kids can also take lessons and sail all summer long.
Another option is to enjoy sailing on one of the excellent boat tours and cruises Boston has to offer.
10. Visit the Historic Freedom Trail, also known as the Freedom Trail
During the summer, more specifically during the month of July, many of Boston's activities are centered around Independence Day and the history of America's road to freedom. One of those activities focused on historical events is the Freedom Trail or as the locals call it the Historic Freedom Trail.
If you are interested in history, this is an event not to be missed. By walking the Freedom Trail, you'll delve into the historical events leading up to Independence and experience more than 250 years of history in a single day.
You'll get to explore Boston's iconic Red Line and also enjoy special programs and activities at the Freedom Trail's 16 official historic sites. Most tours are led by guides dressed in 18th century attire. Boston breathes history, so I recommend you take a look at the best history tours in Boston to help you choose the one that best suits what you are looking for.
Summer weather in Boston
Boston summers have a fairly pleasant climate compared to other cities in the United States. Temperatures usually range between 21 and 27 degrees Celsius for most of the summer. Keep in mind that these months can be hot and sunny, but they can also be unbearably humid and it is difficult to know what kind of weather you will experience. August is known to be the driest month, as it tends to have the least rainfall of the whole year.
During the hottest days, it is recommended to get out of the city and go to the beach: this is when the ocean is at its warmest, but it can still be quite cold for those who are not used to it. Temperatures during the evenings are pleasant at this time of the year, ranging from 15 to 18 degrees Celsius.
Boston Summer Tourist Attraction in Boston
Because Boston is a coastal city, during the summer the influx of tourists is usually large. The multiplicity of options of nautical activities and beaches that the city offers makes Boston a very attractive destination in summer for foreign tourists, but also for many domestic tourists.
For this reason, it is recommended that you book your tours well in advance so that you can do everything you want during your stay in the city. If you don't, you run the risk of being sold out. You can start by booking a guided tour of the city and after getting to know the basics you can go deeper into those places that caught your attention.
Prices in Boston during the summer
As a general rule, prices during the summer months tend to be higher in all major cities, Boston does not escape the rule. A good way to save money during your trip to Boston is to buy a discount card for the city.
With these tourist passes, many of the attractions will be free and in others you will get great discounts. You will also get discounts at restaurants, stores and transportation.
What to pack for your summer visit to Boston
Remember to bring comfortable and light clothing for the day tours. Don't forget to bring comfortable shoes if you plan to do a lot of walking. There are many beaches and water parks to visit so don't forget to pack your bathing suit, sunscreen, hat and sunglasses. Temperatures drop considerably during the night so you may also want to pack a warm coat.
For tourist activities during the day, there is no established dress code; it is advisable to be as comfortable as possible. However, for evening activities, such as theater, concerts or dinners in restaurants, it is better to wear more formal clothes.
Useful tips for your trip to Boston in summer
- Plan your trip ahead of time, there are many things to see and do in Boston during the summer months. It is best to plan ahead and plan your activities.
- Book the tours and activities you plan to do in Boston during the summer in advance. There is a large influx of tourists during these months and it is best to secure tickets to attractions to avoid disappointment.
- Buy a tourist pass card. By purchasing a tourist pass you will be able to save a lot during your trip as prices increase during the summer in Boston.
- If it is your first trip to Boston it is advisable to hire a guided tour of the city to see the highlights. After this tour you will be able to deepen your visit to those places that interest you the most.
- When buying tickets for the different activities you are going to do, choose to do it through companies specialized in the sale of this type of products.
- If you do not speak English, download a translation application to make your interactions with the locals easier.
- Pay attention to the possible seasonal sales that several stores make in the last month of summer, you can find very good deals on a wide range of products, from clothing to technology.
- As in any city you visit for the first time, avoid getting separated from your group during the visits, always carry a card with the hotel address and a contact telephone number.
- During the night, avoid going to places you do not know, as in all big cities in the United States, there are neighborhoods that are not a very good option for nighttime sightseeing. It is advisable to ask your guide about this to avoid entering dangerous places.