11 Free Things to Do in Boston, August 2014

Check out these free events happening around Boston this month, including the annual R.O.Y Kickball Event, the August Moon Festival in Chinatown, and Boston Greenfest.

roy kickball

R.O.Y.’s Annual Kickball Event takes place August 2. / Photo provided by Michael Bryant Photography

Reclaim Our Youth Annual Kickball Event

Reclaim Our Youth is back again this summer with their third annual free kickball game that’s open to the public. “We create events that encourage ‘adults’ to participate in youthful and recreational activities. It gives adults a chance to not only be ‘kids’ for a few hours, but to show their own children good old-fashioned fun,” says Reclaim Our Youth cofounder, Michelle Cook. With past years boasting more than 300 guests, all ages are welcome to participate in the kickball game and other activities throughout the afternoon.

Free, Saturday, August 2, 12-6 p.m., Playstead Ballfields, Pierpont Road at Playstead Road, Boston, franklinparkcoalition.org.

National Night Out DJ Dance Party

You can sit around with friends, have an outdoor picnic, or stand up and dance at this outdoor dance party—it’s all up to you. Held at the Elma Lewis Playhouse in the Park in Roxbury, all ages are welcome to attend. Roxbury native DJ Brother Charles Clemons of TOUCH 106.1 FM and Nomadik, who once had a radio show at Emerson College, will DJ the lively event.

Free, Tuesday, August 5, 6-8 p.m., Elma Lewis Playhouse in the Park, Glen Road and Circuit Drive, Roxbury, franklinparkcoalition.org.

August Moon Festival in Chinatown

Held in the 8th lunar month, the August Moon Festival celebrates a major Chinese holiday. Head to Chinatown for food, music, and parades, all while enjoying dance, singing, and martial arts performances. Be sure to try a moon cake, a tasty treat with special significance to the festival and Chinese holiday.

Free, August 10, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Harrison St. and Beech St., Boston, 617-542-2574, bostoncentral.com.

Gospel Fest

Celebrating its 14th year, Gospel Fest showcases talented local and national gospel performers. Headlining this year is J.J. Hairston, director and composer of American gospel choir Youthful Praise. Over the years, Gospel Fest has spotlighted many esteemed gospel singers including Kirk Franklin, Israel Houghton, and Dottie Peoples. Each year, this festival gathers more than 15,000 people to come enjoy the music—and if they’re feeling up to it, to join in on the singing.

Free, Sunday, August 10, 4-8 p.m., City Hall Plaza, 1 Congress St., Boston, 617-635-3911, cityofboston.gov.

Boston Greenfest

This free festival is “filled with learning experiences to address the important changes we need to make in our daily lives and our neighborhoods,” according to their website. Greenfest is held to unite Boston “to find solutions to make our city a healthy and sustainable place to live.” The festival showcases healthy-living products, interactive workshops, and live entertainment. Highlights include a wine and beer garden, a local food emporium, and a fashion show with eco-friendly clothing.

Free, Friday, August 15, and Saturday, August 16, 12-10 p.m., and Sunday, August 17, 12-5 p.m., City Hall Plaza, 1 Congress St., Boston, bostongreenfest.org.

Salem Jazz and Soul Festival

Held rain or shine, the Salem Jazz and Soul Festival has a lot to offer. Enjoy a beer garden, free music-education classes, and more. This year’s lineup includes New Orleans tenor saxophonist Amadee Castanell, the 17-piece Cape Ann Big Band, and Switzerland composer Alissia and the Funketeers.

Free, Saturday, August 16, and Sunday, August 17, 11 a.m.-7:15 p.m, Salem Willows, 167 Fore Ave., Salem, 617-491-7444, salemjazzsoul.com.

Boston Arts (Ahts) Festival

Using a playful take on Boston’s notorious accent, the Boston “Ahts” Festival includes more than 60 Boston artists, arts groups, and performers. With what started in 2003 as a one-day event, the festival has expanded to two days in order to fully celebrate the city’s finest talent. Past years have included performers such as the Boston Ballet, the Blue Man Group, and the Boston Pops.

Free, Saturday, August 30, to Sunday, August 31, 12-6 p.m., Christopher Columbus Park, 220 Atlantic Ave., Boston, cityofboston.gov.

Summer in the City at Boston Harbor Hotel

The Boston Harbor Hotel is hosting its 17th year of concerts, open to the public and free of charge. The music series holds concerts three times a week with different themes each day: Summer Soul Tuesdays, Rat Pack Wednesdays, and Blues Barge Thursdays. Friday’s events are a variety of classic movies—in August, look forward to Cool Hand Luke, West Side Story, and more.

Free, live music Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights, movies on Friday nights, Boston Harbor Hotel, 70 Rowes Wharf, Boston, full lineup.

Concerts in the Courtyard at the BPL

These popular music series have something for everyone, including everything from pop and R&B to jazz and folk. The free music takes place in the McKim Courtyard every Wednesday afternoon and Fridays at lunchtime. August’s highlights includes the Boston Lyric Opera and folk singer Caitlin Canty.

Free, Wednesdays at 6 p.m. and Fridays at 12:30 p.m., Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St., Boston, full lineup.

Outdoor Movies

Pack up some chairs, blankets, and a picnic dinner, and head on over to various spots in Boston showing free movies this summer. Between WBZ Free Friday Flicks, Screen on the Green in Jamaica Plain, the Family Film Festival at the Prudential Center, Sunday Night Movies at Christopher Columbus Park, the Riverfront Park Movie Series at Assembly Row, and Mayor Walsh’s Movie Nights, there are a lot of movies being shown in August to choose from.

Free, full lineups.

Free Fun Fridays

The Highland Street Foundation holds free trips to local museums and cultural venues. “Our mission at Highland Street Foundation is to increase access and opportunities for children and families across Massachusetts,” says HSF executive director Blake Jordan. “Free Fun Fridays allow us to reach out to communities and bring new audiences into some of our most treasured museums and arts institutions.” Make a day-trip exciting by choosing from a long list of cultural institutions waiving admission on select Fridays all summer long. August highlights include free days at Plimouth Plantation, Boston Children’s Museum, and Buttonwood Park Zoo.

Free, Fridays, full lineup.