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Things to Do in Boston in July

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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.


TOP 11 EVENTS AND THINGS TO DO IN JULY

This section will cover the eleven 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.


1. Go on a Sightseeing Tour

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:

We also have GPS enabled audio tours and self-guided tours available for those who prefer exploring the city at their own pace.

Boston is also home to a variety of hop-on-hop-off trolley tours, boat tours, and even duck tours which cover most of the major sites in the area.


2. 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.

We offer a pay-what-you-want Freedom Trail walking tour which covers the most historic locations, but you can also just follow our Freedom Trail Map and take a self-guided tour.


3. Go Whale Watching

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 $55-$77 per adult and a lower price per child.

Some groups offer discounts with memberships in organizations like AAA and AARP.


4. Visit the New England Aquarium

The visit to the New England Aquarium is an excellent family activity.

They are open from Monday-Friday, 9AM-5PM, and on weekends from 9AM-6PM.

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!

They are currently functioning under a timed-ticketing procedure due to covid so ask that you purchase tickets ahead of 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.

Check this list of concerts in Boston during July to find even more great musical performances you can attend.

Hotels.com: $99 or Less

6. Watch the Red Sox Play

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 2022 as well.

If you want to see a game at Fenway, make sure to get your tickets ASAP!

EXTRA TIP: The Go Boston Card includes tickets to both a Boston Red Sox game and tour of historic Fenway Park.


7. Go to a Musical

While there aren't many musicals to see this month, one popular Broadway show is on tour. Wicked will be making its way to the Citizens Bank Opera House from July 1st to July 17th, 2022.

In addition to that hit musical, you may also have the chance to see The Neil Diamond Musical: A Beautiful Noise just outside of Boston at the Emerson Colonial Theatre from July 1st -July 31st.

And 1776 The Musical recures weekly between July 1st and July 23rd, Tuesdays-Saturdays at the American Repertory Theatre.


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.

One thing is for sure, you'll be able to visit several historic sites from throughout American history. We recommend walking the Freedom Trail if you're feeling especially patriotic.

For more after dark attractions, make sure to read our things to do at night post.


9. See a Show at the Hatch Shell

In addition to the Independence Day concert, this popular open-air venue on the Esplanade usually hosts several additional events throughout the month.

See The Hatch Shell website for details.

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.

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, now it's its fourth year, will welcome restaurants from around the country to show off some of their best food.

This takes place from July 9th - July 10th, 2022 in Boston City Hall Plaza.

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.


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 just a  few of the more notable activities that take place during Harborfest:

Opening Ceremony

On July 1st, roving colonial re-enactors and staff from the USS Constitution will engage with visitors, and the 215th Army Band perform in Downtown Crossing.

Chowderfest

On July 2nd, head to Downtown Crossing to taste several free samples of chowder from Boston’s best restaurants.

The Middlesex County Volunteers Fife & Drams

On July 3rd, the ensumble that performs dance and folk music from the 17th, 18th, and early 19th century will be strolling between Franklin St. and Washington St.

Parade of Light & Fireworks

On July 2nd, from 9:00 PM to 9:45PM, those at Boston's Inner Harbor, will see fireworks lauched from a barge in Boston's Long Wharf while festively lit boats line the harbor.

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.


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.


FREE THINGS TO DO IN JULY

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!

If you do decide to enter the New England Aquarium afterward, admission is included at a discount with at least one Boston tourist pass.


Attend the Chinatown Main Street Summer Festival

If you love Chinese culture, there’ll be an excellent chance to celebrate it at this festival on July 2st, 2022.

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.


Visit the Frog Pont in Boston Common

During the summer, Boston Common turns on the water at their Frog Pond, allowing young kids to splash around and cool off on a hot day.

If you're looking for something else to do, consider heading to the Boston Public Garden on the Western side of the park where you can get Swan Boat rentals for a very low price.

Tickets are included with the Go Boston card.

NOTE: The Freedom Trail will take you right through Boston Common, so you may want to consider making a stop here while you're walking the historic trail.


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.


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 1st - 2nd at the Harvanrd Athletic Complex.


Listen to Music in the Parks

The 2022 ParkARTS Citywide Neighborhood Summer Series runs from July 11th-August 10th, 2022.

Just a sampling:

On July 11, you'll find Living on a Bad Name, a Bon Jovie tribute.

On July 13, you'll find Lydia "The Lovely Singer" Harrell who uses her magical voice to cover jazz and soul music.

On July 19, you'll find the band The Dope Lotus. Their music is for "those who love funky soulful music with distinctive voices, solid grooves, and poetic lyrics.

For a full calendar of concerts check here.

And remember, these concerts are completely free!


Visit SOWA First Fridays

The first friday in July (and in fact all year long), the "artists, galleries,shops, and showrooms of the SoWa art + Design District" welcome the public in.

Between 5PM and 9PM visitors can meet the artists, view their exhibitions, and enjoy the talents of these creative people.

For more fun after the sun goes down, check our nighttime activities section.

For a list of free activities, you can enjoy throughout the year, read our full post covering free things to do in Boston.


NIGHTTIME ACTIVITIES

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.

Hotels.com: $99 or Less

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.


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 in 2022 from July 20th - August 7th on Boston Common.

Much Ado About Nothing, one of Shakespear's most popular plays, will be performed.

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! Chairs though can be rented for $10 and audience members are allowed to bring along food items.

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:  Depending on the covid situation in July 2022, they may "institute a pre-reservation system to restrict crowd size and promote social distancing"


Go to a Bastille Day Celebration

Thisevent is a great way to celebrate the best of  French food, drink, and music.

For adults, French appetizers will be passed, glasses of rosé de Provence will be offered, and a jazz band will play French songs.

For kids there will be board games, storytime in French, facepainting, and giant games.

The event takes place on the second floor of (the air-conditioned) Las Voile Brookline.

Tickets are $70 and children under 12 are free.


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 Bill Mahar

If you enjoy the musings of this Emmy nominated comedian and satirist, this for is for you.

On July 9th, Bill Mahar makes his way to the Shubert Theater in the heart of Boston.

Reviews  call him "exceptionally funny" and say he is an "hysterical wit".  Tickets can be found here.

NOTE: This theater is right down the street from Boston Common and other notable sites.


Have a Blast at Lawn on D

This outdoor space is set up like an adult playground. Think circlular LED swings that change color, lawn games like Bocce, Cornhole, JENGA, Ping Pong, Giant Chess, Lawn Checkers, along with food and drinks.

Hours for food, drinks, and games are:

  • Thursday 3:00pm - 10:30pm
  • Friday & Saturday 12:00pm - 11:00pm
  • Sunday 12:00pm - 10:30pm.

Check the calendar to ensure it's open before heading out as they sometimes close for private events.

Those who want to make table reservations need to book them two weeks in advance. There will also be a mobile food truck serving quick food options.


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 and the Mugar Omni Theater all summer long.

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.


FAMILY-FRIENDLY THINGS TO DO IN JULY

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.


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 22nd - 24th, 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!


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 16th starting at noon at Plaza Betances in Boston. It is entirely free to attend.


Take the Kids to on a Firefly Walk

Guided nighttime tours are led along the trails and through the gardens of Tower Hill Botanical Gardens in search of fireflies.

Children are given a small activity packet to take home "and continue their firefly studies".

Tours are one hour long and take place at 8:00 PM July 7th and on July 14th.

$15 for children and $18 for an adult.


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 16th at Davis Square in Somerville and the festival will be entirely free for everyone.


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 runs from July 29-July 31, 2022, with the parade taking place on the last day.

About The Author

Brian Burgess

Brian was born in Cambridge and has been living in the Boston area all his life. He is a graduate of Boston's Emerson College with a degree in communications with a journalism/history focus. He has been leading tours for Free Tours By Foot Boston since it was started in the city of Boston in 2012, and enjoys sharing his knowledge of Boston's rich history with not only the guests on his tours, but with everyone he meets.
Updated: July 11th, 2022
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