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Travel / Free Things to Do in Boston in Summer 2015

Friday, July 10


Boston is a goldmine for free summer events! Whether you want music, theatre, museums, movies, or a mix of it all, Boston has it from June through August. 

Even though we're halfway (!!!) through summer and I'm very late on this post, I feel it's worth publishing anyway. There are still so many amazing free things coming up, some of which I definitely plan on doing.

D Street ArtLAB // First of all, I adore the Lawn on D. They have epic, glowing swings that hopefully will become an annual thing! But they also offer a rotating cast of art and events. Not all of them (like the concerts) are free, but the art on the lawn certainly is. Many of the art pieces are there through fall, but some are short affairs, such as "Intrude" from July 9-12. 
Lawn on D, 420 D Street; 7AM-10PM Daily; see the full schedule

Outside the Box Festival // First, a disclaimer: a friend is the volunteer coordinator for this event, and it's funded by an alum of my college. But, all biases aside, last year was great and I'm sure their second time around will be even better! Each of the days features a different mix of dances, performances, music, and things to do. Best of all, they really cater to any age, so bring your entire family for one day--or all six!
Boston Common; July 14-19; see the full schedule

Free Fun Fridays with Highland Street Foundation // You know all of those amazing museums that don't have any free days and you just can't justify paying for a ticket if you don't know if you'll enjoy it? Now's your chance to try them out! There are seven more Fridays, each with seven museums or "cultural venues" to explore for free. And they aren't all in Boston: upcoming days include the Emily Dickinson Museum (Amherst), Old Sturbridge Village (Sturbridge), and Plimoth Plantation (Plymoth).
Various Locations; Fridays; see the full schedule

Shakespeare on the Common // Each year, the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company choose a play by the Bard and puts it on, for free, in the Boston Common. I'm pleased to say this will be my fifth summer attending Shakespeare on the Common! This year is King Lear, a favorite of mine, and I can't wait to see their adaptation.
Boston Common; July 22-August 9; Tue-Sat. at 8PM, Sun. at 7 pm

Boston Calling Block Party // The twice-yearly Boston Calling festivals have quickly become city favorites, and the organizers make sure no one forgets who they are in between the big concerts. It's impossible to find a lineup for these "block parties," but I trust it's quality music given their great history (this upcoming big festival features Alabama Shakes and Of Monsters and Men). Bear in mind that these are 21+ (and unfortunately, drinks aren't free).
Dewey Square; Thursdays from 5-8PM, 21+

Friday Flicks at the DCR Hatch Shell // I don't know about anyone else, but I love movies! Grab a blanket, friends, and snacks, and head to the Charles River for family-friendly movies. It's like a drive-in, but in a city, and without the hassle of needing your radio to hear. Plus, there are usually freebies, like chips and ice cream, and sometimes contests for silly things like frisbees and T-shirts. (There are a plethora of other free movie screenings in Boston this summer, but the ones at the Hatch Shell are my personal favorite.)
DCR Hatch Shell, The Esplanade; Fridays at 6PM; see the full schedule

Concerts in the Courtyard at the BPL // Although the only performers I know in the schedule are the Handel and Haydn Society, what could be better than free music in the beautiful courtyard of the Boston Public Library?
Central Library in Copley Square; June 3-August 28; Wed. at 6PM, Fri. at 12:30PM; see the full schedule

This list is anything but comprehensive--if you need more variety try this longer Boston Budget post, and if you're looking for free fitness classes, look no further than this link :)

On my definite to do list are the D Street ArtLAB ("Intrude," two-story tall inflatable rabbits, is this weekend!), Outside the Box, and Shakespeare on the Common. I think I may try to go to a BPL Friday concert as well! Which of these events appeals most to you? Does your city offer free events in the summer?
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P.S. Don't forget you can attend the Museum of Fine Arts for free on Wednesdays after 4PM  and the Institute of Contemporary Arts for free on Thursdays from 5-9PM. And if your first name is "Isabella" you can sign up for lifetime free access to the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum (strongly considering naming all of my children Isabella...)!

P.P.S. If you're at all like me, you enjoy coloring and pretending you're still a child. Adult coloring books are very on trend at the moment (all of Johanna Basford's books are on my wish list), and it's also good for you. But if you don't want to spend too much money on your coloring habit, check out this list of free coloring sources from The Mad House blog!

25 comments:

  1. AH! I'm going to be in Boston next weekend so this is PERFECT! Thanks so much for sharing, I can't wait to go! Do you have any suggestions for a place to go for drinks & music? My boyfriend and I like to do that instead of eating out!

    Thanks! xoxo

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  2. I just want to jump on a plane to Boston and do all of these things during summer. Especially Friday Flicks!! There's so much good stuff packed into this post and I really wish I was over there to get involved with it!

    Jessica | Jessica Grace

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  3. There's a lot going on in Boston! That's really great though that there are so many diverse activities to choose from! I feel like Charlotte really, really lacks in this area which is why I constantly find myself saying "there's nothing to do in Charlotte!"

    xoxo,
    Meghan
    Southern Belle Secrets

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  4. Thanks for sharing a link to my summer roundup Julia! You're right-- there's so much fun and free things to do here! -Kate

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  5. I've never been to Boston but I would really love to visit one day. The Shakespeare on the Common sounds like a lot of fun and the concerts in the courtyard sound so nice too! (:

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  6. Oh, how I wish I could visit Boston now! I love all these free activities! These all sound like so much fun!

    Mikayla | A Seersucker State of Mind.

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  7. OMG, bookmarking this! I'm heading to Boston later this year!!!

    xo,
    Stephanie
    Diary of a Debutante
    www.thediaryofadebutante.com

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  8. I'm hoping to gain an internship in Boston either this winter or next summer. I've heard it is absolutely beautiful- I hope that I end up getting to put these to use!
    Alexandra | www.cloudyskiesandsunshine.com

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  9. i have to send this to my friend who lives in Boston! She would really appreciate these ideas. :) I always love anything free and fun!

    Lauren
    The Fashionista's Diary

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  10. I have always wanted to go to Boston! Thanks for compiling such an awesome list of free things to do when visiting :)

    XX, SS || A Little Seersucker Sass

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  11. I'm dying to go to Boston.
    This is such a great list.

    xoxo, Jenny || Breakfast at Lillys

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  12. I haven't been to Boston in forever but I want to plan a trip! I love that you posted a list of free things to do - I should write something similar for NYC!

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  13. I have not been to Boston yet but It has always been on my travel list. I loved that you posted free things to do. I'm going to have to remember these for a future trip. Thanks for sharing.

    xoxo, Danielle
    www.glamrme.com

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  14. I've never been to Boston, but this makes me want to go ASAP! Thank you for all of the great ideas...I especially love that they are free!

    xo Ashley
    Twenties Girl Style

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  15. This is so awesome! Someone who lives in Boston or is traveling to Boston, this is perfect! I'm always looking for new free things to do in my town!

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  16. This is awesome! Two of my good friends from college both live in Boston and I've been meaning to visit! The art Lab sounds right up my alley, Montreal has musical swings that they put up every spring! Love movies, so the Friday Flicks sound sweet too!

    Alessandra | blog.pumpup.com

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  17. I've been dying to visit Boston. I'm going to save this page for when I go. These all look like great recommendations!

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  18. What an amazing list! I haven't been to Boston in years, and when I was there it was only for a business overnighter. All day conferences, I never got to see anything! I've gotta get back, the Boston Calling Block Party sounds awesome! :)

    xx | Steph @ The Lovely Essentials & Jenssen's Designs

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  19. I've heard about the Boston Calling block parties before and they sound so fun! Hoping to go to one sometime!

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  20. wow there are so many amazing things to do in Boston! I would love to visit one day!

    http://wonderfulandweirdbeautyandlife.blogspot.co.uk

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  21. What a cool, unique list of to-do's. Haven't been to Boston, but anything Shakespeare sounds up my alley!

    Coming Up Roses

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  22. I need to visit Boston soon! I've never been, and it looks like such a fun city! Love that you have so many free things to do in the summer!

    xo, Alicia | Alicia Tenise

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  23. Boston sounds like such a fun city! And even better that this is all free!

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  24. Such a great list! I've been wanting to visit Boston (I've never been before).

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  25. I've never been to Boston but I want to plan a trip. I would love to visit one day!

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