Six Free Things To Do With Mom on Mother's Day


Get a dose of spring at the Arboretum's annual Lilac Sunday this Mother's Day. (Photo courtesy of the Archives of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University.)

If you’re scrambling for something to do on Mother’s Day in Boston (that both you and Mom will enjoy!), we have you covered. Check out these events from music and arts to outdoor activities — and bonus: they’re all free.

Lilac Sunday

Spring came early this year, which means this is one of your last chances to see the lilacs in full bloom at the Arboretum. Lilac Sunday falls on Mother’s Day this year, making it a great spot to bring Mom for the afternoon. There will be garden tours all day along with performances from local jazz and blues bands, J-Way String Quartet, Lloyd Thayer, and Delta Swingers Trio with Erin Harpe. The big bonus this year is the food trucks. Clover, the Cupcakery, Lefty’s Silver Cart and the Slush King will serve food all day at the festival. Lilac Sunday, May 13, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, 617-524-1718,

MassArt Spring Sale

Massachusetts College of Art and Design students and alumni are selling their creations during Mother’s Day weekend. Wares include everything from paintings to blown glass and hand-made jewelry with all proceeds benefiting financial assistance for MassArt students. Admission is free, so bring Mom along to shop, or just to browse the work of talented local artists. MassArt Spring Sale, May 7 through 12, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Towers Building, 621 Huntington Ave, 617-879-7000,

Wine Tasting at Coolidge Corner Wine and Spirits

This local wine shop offers free tasting every Friday and Saturday. Come sample new red and white wines, and possibly find a new family favorite with Mom. Wine tasting, Fridays 6 to 8 p.m., Saturdays 4 to 7 p.m., Coolidge Corner Wine and Spirits, 1300 Beacon St., Brookline, 617-566-2800,

Free Zoo Admission

For Mother’s Day, Franklin and Stone Zoos are offering free admission for all moms. The zoos are also celebrating their animal moms that day, making it a good time to bring your little one for a visit. Franklin Zoo, 1 Franklin Park Rd.; Stone Zoo, 149 Pond St., Stoneham, Sunday, May 13, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., 617-541-5466,

musikFabrik at Harvard

German ensemble musikFabrik, or Music Factory, will play music by Harvard Group for New Music (HGNM) composers during this free concert. The 16-person ensemble performs a wide range of contemporary music, traveling around the world to play unknown works. The HGNM is a group of graduate music students who perform each other’s works, and commission four guest ensembles each year. musikFabrik, Saturday, May 12, 8 p.m., Paine Concert Hall, Fanny Peabody Mason Music Building, 17 Oxford St., Cambridge, 617-495-2791,

Art Galleries

Thanks to the SoWa artist’s guild, the South End is brimming with galleries featuring local artists. Stroll along Harrison Avenue and you will find art exhibits galore, or go to the galleries in the artists guild building. The building is home to over 30 artist studios with many display rooms for public viewing. Here are a few galleries to be sure to hit up:

Carroll & Sons Gallery: Stephen Tourlentes’ “Of Length and Measure” is being shown through May 19. His black-and-white photographs are usually taken at night and have an eeriness that is hard to turn away from. Carroll & Sons Gallery, 450 Harrison Ave., Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., 617-482-2477,

Chase Young Gallery: Michael Zigmond’s oil paintings are being shown through May 27. His still-lifes of flowers, fruit, and glassware are so realistic, you feel as if you could reach out and touch the 3-dimensional objects themselves. Chase Young Gallery, 450 Harrison Ave. #57, Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m to 6 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., 617-859-7222,

Galeria Cubana: Showing exclusively Cuban art, this gallery shows work from a variety of artists with the goal of creating a dialogue between U.S. and Cuban culture. Mostly abstract art, the gallery has pieces in a variety of mediums including oils and acrylics, watercolor, and prints. Galeria Cubana, 460 Harrison Ave., Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., 617-292-2822,

Steven Zevitas Gallery: Alex Lukas’ prints will be shown through June 2. Lukas’ mixture of watercolor, acrylic, and silk screen creates an unusual, romantic effect that also pays strong attention to detail. Steven Zevitas Gallery, 450 Harrison Ave. #47, Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., 617-778-5265 x22,