Free Things to Do in Boston, August 2013

This month, roller skate to rap, get your groove on to gospel, and check out some of Boston's museum offerings—all without spending a penny.


Boston Children’s Museum Photo via Mikenan1 / Flickr

Boston Children Museum’s 100th Birthday Celebration

As part of the Highland Street Foundation’s Free Fun Fridays, the Boston Children’s Museum will bring its Big Cake Birthday Tour home to the museum itself. Children and their families are invited to enjoy street performers and the music of a woodwind quintet, as well as make birthday hats, dance, sing, and explore the thrilling exhibits of the museum itself. It’s the busiest day of the year for the Boston Children’s Museum, so come prepared for a (fun-)packed house.

August 2, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 308 Congress Street,

13th Annual Gospel Fest

Food for the soul, music to your ears (literally)… The uplifting sounds of gospel music will make their way to City Hall Plaza for the 13th consecutive year with the annual Gospel Fest. This year’s festival performers include Grammy award-winners Israel and the New Breed, Dotties Peoples, Kirk Franklin, and headliner Fred Hammond.

August 4, 5-8 p.m., City Hall Plaza,

Urban Music Festival: Roller Party

Imagine getting your groove on at a huge, outdoor dance party at the Marine Industrial Park set to the rap of Gilbere Forte and the beats of DJ Knife, among others. Now imagine getting your groove on at said huge, outdoor dance party while wearing roller skates. You can also roll your way over to the festival’s other offerings: food trucks, a graffiti wall, and the work of local artists.

August 10, 5-9 p.m., Pier 10 Park, Marine Industrial Park,

Free Self Defense Classes for Women

Ultimate Self Defense of South Boston is offering free self defense classes to the women of Boston for the month of August. The studio’s owner decided to provide the classes in light of recent attacks against women in the South Boston area. The classes are free, and the reward for attending—the ability to protect yourself—is invaluable.

Mondays and Wednesdays, 7-8 p.m., 12 B Street, South Boston,

Boston GreenFest

Admission to this three-day affair on City Hall Plaza is free. The festival offers fun and educational experiences on the theme of going green, as well as constant live entertainment, and contests like the One-Gallon Challenge, which dares you to see how far you can get on a gallon of gas. With plenty of childrens’ activities scheduled, it’s the perfect opportunity to teach the kids about going green and have gallons’ worth of fun doing it.

August 15-17, City Hall Plaza,

Patagonia’s Free Summer Yoga Series: Yin Yoga

Patagonia’s Boston location has been offering free post-work relaxation sessions all summer long, co-hosted by Samara Yoga of Somerville. Their August yoga series will be “yin yoga” with instructor Kari Jacobsen. Classes are free, but come with you own mat and call the store ahead to reserve your spot.

Tuesdays, 7:30-8:45 p.m., 346 Newbury Street,

Puppets on the Common

Professional puppeteer Charlotte Anne Dore of Rosalita’s Puppets brings her talents to the Boston Common’s Parkman Bandstand with a performance for kids of all ages. The performance is sure to be al fresco fun for the whole family.

August 14, 10:30-11:30 a.m., Parkman Bandstand, Boston Common,

Waterfront Performing Arts Series

The 8th Annual Waterfront Performing Arts Series will showcase the dance and musical talents of some of Boston’s top performers. Think everything from a bluegrass band to the Boston Ballet. The series will take place on Tuesday evenings, with another dose of art—a film screening—following each performance.

Tuesdays in August, 6-9:30 p.m., Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, Atlantic Ave. and Richmond St.,

Harborwalk Sounds 2013: Christian Li Group

The Institute of Contemporary Arts has partnered with Berklee College of Music for Harborwalk Sounds, a series of concerts. This particular installment lands on one of the ICA’s Free Thursday Nights, and will be a performance from the unique Christian Li Group, comprised of a pianist, sax player, drummer, acoustic bassist, and percussionist. Preview their sound on Youtube.

August 22, 6-8:30 p.m., 100 Northern Avenue,

Blink! at Faneuil Hall

Right up until Labor Day, Blink! at Faneuil Hall will host Summer Blink!, a light and sound extravaganza set to the song “Dirty Water” by the Standells. More than 350,000 lights illuminate the summer night at these free performances.

Every night, 8 p.m.,