It’s that time of year! When we’re all asked the question, “What are your summer plans?” Well, have no fear! We’ve compiled some family-friendly activities in Boston and beyond that are also budget-friendly. Having fun and enjoying the nice weather doesn’t have to be expensive or require a passport.
Discover Your Inner Child
A new park, complete with water features and a pirate ship, just opened next to the Boston Children's Museum in the Seaport District. “Martin’s Park,” which was built in honor of Boston Marathon bombing victim, Martin Richard, was created to reflect the way Martin lived. It’s peaceful, inviting and is intended to create a more inclusive community. Bring your kids to play on the jungle gym and watch a puppet show in the mini amphitheater, or come on your own and enjoy the skyline views. Everyone can experience Martin’s love for the outdoors. And if that’s not amazing enough, the park was also designed to withstand the impacts of climate change and will help protect the Seaport from sea level rise and flooding.
Free Friday Flicks at the Hatch Shell
If it’s entertainment you’re after, you’re in luck. Classic family-friendly movies are shown each Friday at the Hatch Shell from June 21-August 23. There’s an awesome lineup this summer, including Mary Poppins Returns and Captain Marvel. Movies begin at sunset, but plan to get there early to reserve a spot!
Hike at Blue Hills Reservation
Looking for something with a bit more physical activity? Pack a lunch and head to Blue Hills for a hike and picnic with the family (with scenic views as the reward)! Choose from a shorter, scenic hike or a more advanced path if you’re looking for a good workout. Map out your route here beforehand.
Visit the USS Constitution Museum
Tour the world’s oldest commissioned naval vessel currently afloat. The USS Constitution was built here in Boston’s own North End and now resides in Charlestown. Learn about the role Old Ironsides played in both war and peace for a small suggested donation between five to fifteen dollars.
Shakespeare on the Common
From July 17-August 4, experience the wonderful work of William Shakespeare for free at Shakespeare on the Common. Each summer, the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company puts on professional productions of Shakespeare at the Parkman Bandstand on Boston Common. Over 50,000 people of all ages visit the Common during the summer months to watch the CSC’s performances. The upcoming season features Shakespeare’s mystical dramedy, Cymbeline.
Walk the Freedom Trail
Explore Boston’s extensive history with a two and a half mile walk with stops at 16 notable sites. Whether it be The Old North Church, State House, or the USS Constitution you’re looking to learn about, participants are welcomed to join the trail at the beginning, middle, or even the very end. Download this map before you head out to follow the footsteps of America’s founding fathers!
Explore Castle Island
Watch airplanes fly overhead, walk the dog, or go for a swim at this unique 22-acre park in South Boston. Castle Island has something for everyone! It’s also home to Fort Independence, which served as an armory during the Civil War and was also used by the military in World War I and World War II. Free tours of the Fort are offered on weekends between 12-3:30pm. Hungry after all that? Plan ahead and pack a picnic basket or stop by the famous Sullivan’s for a lobster roll or ice cream!
Soak Up Some Culture with an Orchestral Concert
Grab your blankets, lawn chairs and picnic baskets! Boston Landmarks Orchestra performs free concerts at the Hatch Shell every Wednesday at 7 p.m. from July 17 to August 21. Landmarks Orchestra collaborates with other Boston-area artists and organizations to create unique cultural performances for the whole family. The director even sets up an area to the side of the stage called the “Maestro Zone,” where young people and the young at heart can follow along in leading the orchestra.
Experience Boston's Most Contemporary Park
The Rose Kennedy Greenway is a series of linear parks, connecting some of Boston’s oldest and liveliest neighborhoods. The Greenway hosts activities year-round, but particularly during the summer months. It’s home to an open-air market, free fitness classes, public concerts by Berklee College of Music’s finest artists, outdoor movies, water fountains for kids to cool off, food trucks, and so much more! Click here for a full list of events.
Visit the MFA
The Museum of Fine Arts has nearly 500,000 different pieces of art from ancient Egyptian to contemporary and everything in between. From now until August 4, visit the Toulouse-Lautrec and the Stars of Paris exhibit for an unforgettable evening that will transport you back in time to 19th-century Paris. On Wednesday nights after 4pm, admission is by voluntary contribution. Youth 17 and under receive free admission daily after 3pm and on weekends.
Star Gaze at the Coit Observatory at Boston University
If you’re after something a bit more dreamy, head to Public Open Night at the observatory starting on Wednesdays at 8:30pm to learn about astronomy with professional grade telescopes. As space fills quickly, reserve your ticket prior to arriving to ensure admission! Tickets go on sale the Thursday before Open Night at 11am.