In this post, we share dozens of great things to do in Boston during the month of July, including family-friendly, free, as well as nighttime activities and attractions.
This section will cover the ten most interesting events and activities taking place during the month of July in Boston.
Whenever possible, we will note if any of these ideas are free, good for families, or happening after dark.
For even more fun activities, make sure to read our full post about things to do in Boston.
There are a lot of famous and popular landmarks to see in Boston, and summertime is the perfect opportunity to go sightseeing.
If you need help finding your way around the city, the following pay-what-you-wish walking tours will be available in July:
- Freedom Trail Tour
- Cambridge/Harvard Tour
- Chinatown Tour
- Back Bay Tour
- Beacon Hill Crime Tour
- Little Italy Tour
Even if some of your favorite Independence Day activities have been canceled or closed off to the public due to the pandemic, you can still walk the Freedom Trail!
This trail includes many notable landmarks and locations which were important to the history of the United States of America, making them perfect sites to visit for the 4th of July.
While you might not be able to go inside these locations, you can at least visit and see them from the outside. This is also a great way to avoid crowds and prevent the spread of Covid-19!
3. Go Whale Watching
Although the size and scope of this type of activity is likely to be impacted in some way by Covid-19 restrictions, you will still be able to enjoy some whale watching in Boston this July.
The summer is actually one of the best times to see whales in this area, and prices are typically quite reasonable at around $50-$60 per person.
Chances are that there won't be as many people allowed on the boat at once, so you might want to consider getting tickets well in advance to avoid missing out.
4. Visit the New England Aquarium
Although ticket sales are limited due to restrictions related to the pandemic, the New England Aquarium is open for business and plans to welcome guests this July.
This is an excellent family activity, and since there will be fewer people allowed inside at one time, you won't have to worry about crowds.
Even if you can't afford tickets, you might still want to visit this attraction just to see their free exhibit: the Atlantic Harbor Seals!
These adorable aquatic animals are located just outside of the aquarium on the front plaza, and there is plexiglass allowing all visitors to come and see them during the day -- no ticket required!
Of course, if you do plan to get tickets, make sure you buy them well in advance. Due to their limited availability, they are already selling out for weeks at a time.
5. See a Popular Concert
Boston attracts a lot of notable musicians throughout the year, but there are even more great performances than usual during the summer months.
- Primus, Wolfmother, and The Sword | July 6th
- Justin Bieber | July 8th
- Gin Blossoms | July 11th
- New Kids on the Block w/ Bel Biv Devoe | July 16th
- Motley Crue w/ Def Leppard, Poison, and Joan Jett | July 17th
- Megadeth and Lamb of God | July 20th
Check this list of concerts in Boston during July to find even more great musical performances you can attend.
NOTE: Some of these concerts could be rescheduled or canceled due to the pandemic, but they are currently still scheduled for July 2021.
Although it’s currently the off-season for professional sports such as basketball and hockey, there are still a few great games to attend.
Summer means it's baseball time, so think about going to a Boston Red Sox game.
Alternatively, the MLS team New England Revolution will be playing a few games at Gillette Stadium in July as well.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The MLB is currently planning to invite fans back to the ballpark in 2021 with limited capacity, which means there will be fewer tickets sold.
If you want to see a game at Fenway, make sure to get your tickets ASAP!
While there aren't many musicals to see this month, you can expect at least one popular off-Broadway show. Hamilton will be making its way to the Citizens Bank Opera House from July 6th to July 31st.
In addition to that hit musical, you may also have the chance to see Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella just outside of Boston at the North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, MA from July 6th to 18th.
Although neither theatre has announced their plans for preventing the spread of Covid-19, there's a very good chance that they will sell fewer tickets than usual, take your temperature at the door, and require guests to wear masks.
8. Celebrate Independence Day
What better place to honor the history of our country than in Boston, where the seeds of the American Revolution were planted?
Among the many great ways to celebrate is attending a reading of the Declaration of Independence at Boston City Hall,
Afterward, there is a parade to the Old State House, a wreath-laying ceremony at the Granary Burying Ground and more.
At the end of the day, the Boston Pops will perform a traditional concert at the Hatch Shell followed by fireworks.
For more after dark attractions, make sure to read our things to do at night section.
NOTE: Some of these events might be canceled or taken digital to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.
One thing is for sure, you'll most likely still be able to visit several historic sites from throughout American history!
We recommend walking the Freedom Trail if you're feeling especially patriotic.
9. See a Show at the Hatch Shell
In addition to the Independence Day concert, this popular open-air venue on the Esplanade will host several additional events throughout the month. See The Hatch Shell website for details.
One of the best opportunities will be a preview Boston Pops concert on the night before Independence Day. The only catch is that there won’t be fireworks after the show.
All of these attractions are entirely free for all visitors. Check our free things to do section for more affordable fun in Boston this month.
Also, check our family-friendly section for even more activities your children will enjoy.
NOTE: There have been no announcements made about the Hatch Shell schedule in July of 2021.
Although they may open back up this summer, it's impossible to tell what their plans will be or how the pandemic will impact this activity.
10. Grab a Slice at the Boston Pizza Festival
Pizza lovers won’t want to miss this opportunity to try a variety of unique and interesting dishes from several different vendors.
The Boston Pizza Festival will welcome restaurants from around the country to show off some of their best food on July 13th & 14th.
After trying a bunch of samples, visitors will have a chance to vote for their favorite pizza at the event.
Even if you can’t make it out to this festival, you might want to consider taking our Little Italy Food Tour to discover some of the best Italian eateries in Boston.
NOTE: The Boston Pizza Festival took a different approach in 2020, and they have yet to announce their schedule for 2021.
11. Go to Boston Harborfest
Throughout the whole week leading up to and after Independence Day, Boston celebrates its rich American history with a variety of fun events.
Here are a few of the more notable activities that take place during Harborfest:
Enjoy colonial reenactments, speeches, and other various traditions at Faneuil Hall on July 1st.
Head to Downtown Crossing to taste several free samples of chowder from Boston’s best restaurants.
From July 1st - 7th, there will be special programs, activities, and even costumed guides at 16 different sites on this historic trail.
Parade of Light & Fireworks
Starting on July 2nd, the Inner Harbor will be lined with festively lit boats and the event will finish off with an awesome fireworks display.
For more details, make sure to read the Boston Harborfest schedule.
To find even more free activities, make sure to check our free things to do section.
NOTE: Boston Harborfest was canceled due to Covid-19 in 2020, and they have yet to announce any plans for 2021.
BONUS: Consider Getting a Tourist Attraction Discount Pass
There are a lot of great attractions to visit in Boston during the summer, and admission to many of them is included with at least one tourist pass.
This is a great way to save 50% or more on tickets to the most popular locations in the city.
Here are a few of the best activities available with a Boston tourist pass:
- Boston Duck Tour
- Whale Watching
- Fenway Park Tour
- Boston Harbor Cruise
- Hop-on-Hop-off Trolley Tour
- Red Sox Game Ticket
- New England Aquarium
- Skywalk Observatory
- Franklin Park Zoo
- Six Flags New England
Some of these locations offer skip-the-line privileges to pass holders, helping you save time as well.
For more details, make sure to read our post about Boston tourist passes.
The following section will cover some of the best activities and events in Boston during the month of July.
Check our other sections for even more ideas like Boston Harborfest, free shows at the Hatch Shell, and Independence Day celebrations, the Boston Triathlon.
For a list of free activities, you can enjoy throughout the year, read our full post covering free things to do in Boston.
See the Harbor Seals at New England Aquarium
Tickets to this attraction may not be free, but they do offer one exhibit that you can see without paying a dime.
Their Harbor Seals attraction is located right outside the ticket booth, and you don’t have to enter the aquarium to see it.
All you have to do is walk up and take a look at the seals as they wander around the exhibit!
NOTE: The New England Aquarium also offers a whale watching cruise during the summer which is included with the Go Boston Card.
Attend the Chinatown Main Street Festival
If you love Chinese culture, there’ll be an excellent chance to celebrate it at this festival on July 6th.
In addition to displays of martial arts, lion dances and more, there will also be Chinese opera, dough art, folk dancing and more.
Although admission is entirely free, you may want to bring some money along for food and other items sold by vendors.
Even if you can’t make it to the Chinatown Main Street Festival, you might also want to take our Boston Chinatown tour to learn more about the area.
NOTE: This event was canceled in 2020 and they have yet to announce their plans for 2021.
Take the Family to SomerFest
If you’re planning to spend some time in Somerville, consider heading out to this neighborhood on July 19th for their annual outdoor festival.
SomerFest will include live music, magic shows, comedy performances and raffles/giveaways for visitors.
Although admission to this event is entirely free, all profits from items sold at the festival will be donated to charity.
This year, SomerFest will be held at Bow Market in the Union Square neighborhood.
NOTE: This event will take place just a few blocks from LEGOLAND, which is included with at least one Boston tourist pass.
COVID-19 UPDATE: This event has not yet been scheduled for July of 2021. Check their calendar for more information.
Enjoy Concerts in the Courtyard
Even if you miss events like the Latin Music Festival or Jazz in the Park, there will still be an opportunity to hear live music at Boston Central Library.
Throughout the summer, a series of one-hour concerts will be taking place every Wednesday in the courtyard of the library.
There will be a wide range of genres represented at Concerts in the Courtyard, including classical, jazz, folk and world music.
In addition to the music, this library also offers free tours covering the artwork on display and the architecture of the building.
NOTE: This event was taken digital in 2020 to prevent the spread of Covid-19, and they have not made any announcements about its return in 2021.
See the World Naked Bike Ride
This annual event takes place in several cities around the world each summer, and it always seems to turn a few heads.
Boston’s World Naked Bike Ride will take place on July 20th this year, and visitors can expect hundreds of cyclists to participate.
In years past, the ride has taken place from 6 pm - 8 pm and the route has taken them throughout Boston’s Back Bay and around Fenway Park.
Last year, a live band performed music to lead the riders out from their gathering point.
While it might not be free to participate, it won’t cost a thing to come and watch this curious and interesting event.
COVID-19 UPDATE: This event was canceled in 2020 and they have not announced its return in 2021.
Go to the Latin Music Festival
Fans of Latin music will be happy to hear that the 12th annual Caliente! Latin Music Festival will be taking place on July 20th this year.
In years past, this event has featured notable award-winning musicians to perform for the crowd, and visitors can probably expect that trend to continue!
The festival will take place at City Hall Plaza, and it’s entirely free to attend.
TIP: If you get hungry, head to nearby Faneuil Hall for a great selection of restaurants.
NOTE: There are no indications that this event will be held in 2021, but that could change.
Grab a Bite at Boston JerkFest
If you’re looking for a good alternative to the Boston Pizza Festival, this celebration of Caribbean food should do the trick.
Visitors will have the chance to try out a variety of authentic Caribbean and Jamaican jerk spiced food from several different vendors.
In addition to the food, there will also be chef demos, a kids/family zone, a fashion showcase, and live music.
While admission is free, you should plan on bringing some cash for the food.
The 7th Annual Boston JerkFest will be held on July 5th - 6th at the Haley House.
NOTE: This event was taken digital in 2020, and there are no indications that they plan to bring back the traditional festival in 2021 as of yet.
Listen to Jazz in the Park
Whether you’re in the mood for a different kind of concert or you just want to hear some free live music, this summer series is right up your alley.
Throughout the month of July, there will be four different jazz performances held at The Greenway, including the following artists:
- MIXCLA | July 9th
- Gabrielle Goodman | July 16th
- Scanzonati | July 23rd
- Sawaari | July 30th
Each musician/group brings with them an interesting take on the jazz genre, including fusions of Latin, Funk, Mediterranean and World music.
Better still, all of these concerts are entirely free to attend!
NOTE: If you’re looking for free live music, you may also want to look into the Latin Music Festival and Concerts in the Courtyard.
COVID-19 UPDATE: This event was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, but it may return again in 2021.
Go to Figment Boston
On July 27th & 28th, this annual celebration of participatory art will take place once again at the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
During the Figment Boston event, the park will be filled with unique and original artwork that visitors can actually interact with.
In years past, they have had art varying from multimedia projects that recreate classic video games to a swarm of digital jellyfish.
The best part is that most of the exhibits and installations on display light up after dark, making this a great activity to enjoy at night.
For more fun after the sun goes down, check our nighttime activities section.
NOTE: This event was not held in 2020, and there is no information indicating it will return in 2021.
For a list of free activities, you can enjoy throughout the year, read our full post covering free things to do in Boston.
The following section includes fun activities to enjoy after dark in Boston during the month of July.
Don’t forget to check our other sections for even more activities you can enjoy at night such as Figment Boston, Hatch Shell events, Concerts, Sporting events, Musicals, Independence Day celebrations and more.
For more great ideas, read our full post covering things to do at night in Boston.
Take an Evening Cruise
Summer is one of the best times to take a cruise in Boston Harbor, and there will be several companies offering evening cruises.
In addition to specialty cruises for Independence Day, some companies also offer sunset and dinner cruise options throughout the week.
Whether you want to see the skyline as the sun sets or when the city lights up after dark, there will be plenty of services available in July.
For more details, make sure to read our post covering Boston cruises.
NOTE: Some cruises are included with Boston tourist passes.
Visit the Skywalk Observatory After Dark
If you want to get a good look at the entire city either at sunset or after the sun goes down, consider making a trip to this popular observation deck.
The Skywalk Observatory is open until 10 pm every night of the year, giving you plenty of opportunities to enjoy sunsets and see the city lights after dark.
While there are other decks you can visit in Boston, the Skywalk is widely considered to be one of the best in the area.
Best of all, if you have a tourist pass, admission might actually be included at no additional cost!
NOTE: To learn more about this and other viewing areas in the city, read our post covering each major Boston observation deck.
See Shakespeare on the Common
In addition to all the fun you can have with your kids at the Frog Pond, Boston Common will also be hosting a summer series of classic Shakespeare plays.
This annual event takes place from Tuesday - Saturday at 8 pm, allowing visitors to enjoy a free production at the Parkman Bandstand after dark.
There will also be shows on Sundays at 7 pm, which is the perfect time to enjoy a nice sunset.
Shakespeare on the Common doesn’t cost a thing and there are no tickets sold, so all you need to do is show up and get a good spot!
TIP: If you’re looking for something to do before the show, don’t forget that our Freedom Trail Tour runs through Boston Common.
NOTE: Although they are making every attempt to bring this activity back for 2021, there have been no dates announced for Shakespeare in the Common in July.
Go to the Bastille Day Street Party
This annual event is one of the biggest French festivals in Boston, and it’s a great way to celebrate the variety of cultures throughout the city.
In addition to live music and dancing, there will also be plenty of excellent food and drinks to enjoy.
General Admission will be $34 online or $40 at the event. Kids under 10 get in for free.
If you plan on bringing your family, make sure to stop by the kid’s table between 6 pm - 8:30 pm.
The entire Bastille Day Street Party runs from 6 pm - 11 pm on July 12th at Marlborough Street (between Berkeley and Clarendon).
NOTE: There's no indication that this event will be held in 2021, but there's definitely a chance they will bring it back!
Laugh it Up at a Comedy Show
If you’re in the mood for a good laugh, consider attending a performance from a notable comedian. The following shows are scheduled for July:
If you’re looking for an affordable alternative, there are several great clubs and venues that offer free open mic comedy nights.
See RuPaul’s Drag Race
If you love fashion and you’re a fan of RuPaul, this event is sure to be a hit.
On July 10th, the season 11 tour of RuPaul’s Drag Race will make its way to Shubert Theater in the heart of Boston.
Audiences can expect each of the queens from this season of the show to perform on stage, showing off their talent throughout the night.
NOTE: This theater is right down the street from Boston Common and other notable sites.
Attend Summer Inn the City
Head to the Ink Block’s rooftop courtyard on July 15th from 6 pm - 9 pm for a fun night of food, drinks, music, and special giveaways.
Guests can expect a fresh oyster bar, made-to-order tacos, swiss pretzels, Taza chocolate, craft beers from Samuel Adams and more.
Tickets for Summer Inn the City are $50 each and they include the cost of all food and drinks.
As this is a benefit event, proceeds will be donated to help end homelessness in Boston.
NOTE: This event has not been scheduled for 2021.
Attend Summer Thursdays at the Museum of Science
Every summer, the Museum of Science holds a special event known as Summer Thursdays.
The series will focus on the story of Medusa, with several performances, film screenings, collaborations, and other fun activities.
The Summer Thursday series will take place at the Charles Hayden Planetarium on July 25th from 7:30 pm - 9 pm.
Although the Museum of Science is usually a family-friendly location, this event is specifically intended for adult audiences over the age of 18.
NOTE: General admission tickets to the Museum of Science are included with at least one Boston tourist pass.
TIP: This activity may not be held in 2021 due to the pandemic.
This section will cover a lot of great things that you can do with your family in Boston during the month of July.
For even more excellent attractions and events, take a look at our other sections for ideas like taking the kids to a spray pool, Hatch Shell events, sporting events, Independence Day celebrations, the Boston Triathlon and more.
Make sure to check our post about things to do with your kids in Boston for additional family-friendly activities.
Take the Kids to a Spray Pool
If it’s a particularly hot day, you might want to take your children to one of the spray parks in Boston.
The most popular location is called the Frog Pond in Boston Common. During the summer months, they have a spray pool where kids can run around and cool off.
Alternatively, you may also want to visit the Esplanade where you’ll find the Alfond Memorial Spray Deck.
Both of these public pools are free to visit, and they’re pretty close to other popular sites like the Freedom Trail and the Hatch Shell.
Attend the WGBH FunFest
Although their Craft Beer Festival might not be the best family-friendly activity, WGBH will also be hosting a FunFest earlier on the same day.
This festival will include all-you-can-eat ice cream, bounce houses, face painting, carnival games and some of the most popular PBS characters.
In addition to all the activities for children, there will also be live stage entertainment including music and other performances.
Tickets start at $10 per person, but 4-ticket family packs are available at a discount for only $35.
The WGBH FunFest will run from 10 am - 4 pm on July 13th.
NOTE: This event has not been scheduled for 2021.
Go to the Sand Sculpting Festival
The beach is always a popular location to visit in the summer, but it’ll be especially popular during this special event.
From July 26th - 28th, the Revere Beach International Sand Sculpting Festival will draw some of the best sand artists in the world to create a variety of unique sculptures.
While it doesn’t cost anything to come and see these works of art with the family, you might want to bring some cash for food and other vendors.
This beach is just North of Boston, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to get here from the city. Just be ready for some traffic, because this event has drawn millions of visitors in the past!
NOTE: The 2021 date of this festival has yet to be determined.
Attend Festival Betances
This celebration of Latin culture has been held annually for more than 50 years in Boston, and it’s a great activity for families.
Festival Betances includes a lot of great live music and dance performances from both local and international artists.
In addition to the entertainment, there will also be a parade, a greased pole competition, arts & crafts, face painting, inflatables and other kid-friendly things to do.
This festival will take place on July 20th - 21st at Plaza Betances in Boston, and it is entirely free to attend.
NOTE: This was turned into a digital event for 2020, and they have yet to announce their plans for 2021.
Take the Kids to Neponset RiverFest
If you don’t mind a short road trip South of the city, this festival includes a lot of great activities for families.
Visitors can expect live music, climbing walls, spray pools, hands-on exhibits, science projects, arts & crafts, food and more.
Neponset RiverFest is a celebration of the natural salt marshes and wetlands in the area, so you can also expect opportunities for kayaking, paddleboarding and other fun things to do.
This event will take place on July 20th at DCR Neponset Park in Dorchester, which is just a 60-90 minute drive outside of Boston.
There are no tickets required, but you might want to bring a blanket and a picnic for lunch.
NOTE: Plans for 2021 have yet to be determined, but they are working on bringing back the Neponset RiverFest this year.
Experience the Art Beat Festival
This is one of the biggest and most interesting art festivals in the Boston area, and it will include a lot of fun activities for all ages.
In addition to all the artwork you can expect to see, there will also be live music from dozens of bands, performances from dance troupes and more.
Visitors can also expect over 70 different craft vendors and a variety of different foods available for sale.
This year’s theme will be “Consumed,” and most of the art on display will attempt to answer what this idea means to the artist.
Art Beat will begin at 11 am on July 13th at Davis Square in Somerville and the festival will be entirely free for everyone.
NOTE: This event was made digital in 2020, and it looks like they will keep it that way in 2021.
Go to the Puerto Rican Festival
If you can’t get enough of celebrating Latino culture at Festival Betances, this is another great event to consider.
The main event is a parade which starts at the Hynes Convention Center and ends at City Hall Plaza.
There will also be a lot of live music, carnival rides, and plenty of vendors providing classic Puerto Rican foods for sale.
While the festival itself is entirely free, you might want to bring some money along to get some food.
The Puerto Rican Festival typically runs in late July, with the parade taking place on the last day.