Free Things to Do in Boston, July 2013

This month, head to one of Boston's many arts festivals, try your hand at an outdoor fitness bootcamp, or catch an open-air play—all for free.


Photo via Kahala / Flickr

Shakespeare on the Common: The Two Gentlemen of Verona

The Commonwealth Shakespeare Company presents its 18th annual season of free Shakespeare performed as Sir William intended: in the open air. This year’s performance is dedicated to outgoing Mayor Tom Menino. The Two Gentlemen of Verona, a sordid tale of two friends venturing to Milan, serves up love, lust, and betrayal—all the makings of a real juicy summer blockbuster. Grab your lawn chair, pack your picnic, and cozy up to the Boston Common stage almost any night this July.

July 6-28, Boston Common,


Summer Arts Weekend

WGBH, Citizens Bank, and the Boston Globe have joined forces to host the Summer Arts Weekend, bringing the best of Boston’s art and music to the Back Bay for a second consecutive year. Head to Copley Square on Friday, July 26, for blues and jazz acts including the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and Saturday for family-friendly performers like the Airborne Comedians. The series culminates on Sunday with the weekend’s biggest name—27-time Grammy award-winning country singer Alison Krauss.

July 26-28, Copley Square,


Lowell Folk Festival

The Lowell Folk Festival is touted as the largest free folk festival in the nation. The three-day affair is a multicultural, multi-sensory experience. Performances include Western swing, Gospel, and bluegrass music, Dominican merengue dancing, and circus acrobatics. Between shows, try crafts like ornamental wood carving, check out the family activities area, and enjoy culinary delights from all over the map.

July 26-28, Downtown Lowell, Gorham St.,


5th Annual “Caliente,” a Celebration of Latin Music

Spend a hot night with some hot music this July at the city’s 5th Annual “Caliente.” The celebration of Latin arts and culture includes dance acts and music from the internationally known Grammy-Award winning artist Jerry Rivera.

Saturday, July 13, 7-9 p.m., City Hall Plaza,


Boston Harbor Fest

This Fourth of July-themed festival celebrates our nation’s independence and Boston’s rich history. The six-day festival includes city tours by land and water, scavenger hunts, and chowders to sample. Families with children will especially enjoy Wednesday, July 3, when kids can pop bubbles from a bubble machine, marvel at juggling and balloon art, and have their faces painted in stars and stripes.

July 2-7, City Hall Plaza,


Family Film Festival

Magic 106.7 will host a series of family movie screenings this summer on the Prudential Center’s South Garden beginning on July 6 with The Lorax. Next up will be Hotel Transylvania followed by Wreck-It Ralph and Brave later this month. Arrive early for a chance to win gift card giveaways and free picnic blankets.

July 6-August 24, Prudential Center South Garden,


Zumba Classes at the Esplanade Hatch Shell

Beginning Tuesday, July 23, cardio junkies can get their fix with an hour of upbeat Zumba at the Esplanade Hatch Shell. The free classes are put on by Healthworks and the Esplanade Association. And it’s not just Zumba that’s free this summer: click for more free fitness on the Esplanade.

July 23-August 26, 6 p.m., Boston Esplanade at the Hatch Shell,


Ultimate Bootcamp at the Waterfront Arts Festival

As part of the Boston Harbor Association’s Summer Arts Festival, grab your friends and head to the water to burn off all those summer treats. Don’t worry, it’s designed for beginners and intermediate fitness levels. Register ahead of time to secure your sweaty spot.

July 27, 10-11 a.m., South Boston Maritime Park,


Open Streets on the Avenue of the Arts 

Head to Huntington Avenue the afternoon of Sunday, July 14, for free programming from The Fenway Alliance and Circle the Streets, an “open streets, open parks” initiative from the Emerald Necklace Conservatory. Programming for the day includes live music, children’s activities, yoga, and biking—all out on the open streets.

July 14, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Huntington Ave.,


Tours of Wilson Farm

Wilson Farm in Lexington will offer free tours of their grounds for kids (ages 5 and up) and adults on July 11 and 25. Children will get a lesson in all things furry and fruity when they learn about how Wilson grows fresh produce and raises their chickens, while the adults tour will cover more advanced topics like growing tips, irrigation, etc. Best of all, the tours promise goodies to take home. RSVP to secure a spot.

July 11 and 25, various times, Wilson Farm, Lexington,


Berklee Summer in the City Performances

Take your lunch by the water this Fourth of July with the calming musical stylings of recent Berklee graduate Moira Lo Bianco, who will serenade you at Atlantic Wharf with her unique Middle Eastern-meets-classic-meets-jazz style. Or, spare yourself the Independence Day crowds and head to the South Shore Conservatory on the 5th for some of Nile Alexander’s R&B. Or, if rock covers are more your thing, catch Christine Moad on the 8th at Berk Recital Hall. Whatever your musical fancy, this free summer concert series brought to you by Berklee College of Music has something to satisfy. The series runs all summer long.

July 1-September 28, various times and locations,


ArtBeat 2013

This month, the Somerville Arts Council will host ArtBeat 2013, a weekend of dance, music, visual art, and food. This year’s theme is “micro,” by all of the word’s various interpretations. For example, you might feast on some gourmet, microwaved (oxymoronic?) treats while feasting your eyes on some art made of tiny micro-patterns.

July 19-20, Davis Square,


Samuel Adams Brewery Tour

Sure, the Sam Adams Brewery offers tours all year round, but when is there a better time to sample some ice cold brews than in the dead of the hot Boston summer? On Mondays through Thursdays, these tours depart between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tours run from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Fridays, and again until 3 p.m. on Saturdays.

Samuel Adams Brewery, 30 Germania St., Boston,


Outside the Box Arts Festival

Between July 13 and 20, any public space around the city might magically transform into a performance space. The lineup for this nine-day event includes performances from the Boston Children’s Chorus, Los Lonely Boys, and the Jest in Time Circus—and that’s just on Saturday the 13th. Head to the event website for the full programming schedule.

July 13-20, various locations,