Free Things to Do in Boston, July 2015

This month is packed with free events including the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, Outside the Box music festival, Revere Beach Sand Sculpting Festival, and JP Porchfest.

Photo by Olga Khvan

The Revere Beach Sand Sculpting Festival takes place July 24-26 | Photo by Olga Khvan


ParkARTS is back to transform area parks into venues for fun, family-friendly events and activities. Hosted by Mayor Walsh, the program will bring marionette puppet shows, movie nights, art workshops, recreational activities, and several concert series to 13 city neighborhoods.

Free; dates, times, and locations vary,


​Art and nature come together in this David Buckley Borden exhibit at the Innovation and Design Building. The installation features five distinct spaces—the Landscape Installation Gallery, the Trifecta Editions Print Gallery, the Design Research Library, the Fashion Cabin, and the Hibernaculum Shop. Visitors can explore David Buckley’s designs and thought process through July 31.

Free, Tuesdays-Saturdays, 12 p.m.-6 p.m., The Innovation and Design Building,

Somerville Outdoor Movie Series

This month, Cinema Somerville is hosting a lineup of movies for all ages, but it’s far from the typical summer series filled with children’s animated films. The outdoor event kicks off with dark comedy Little Shop of Horrors on July 1, followed by Three Stooges, Popeye & Bugs Bunny, The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, and more throughout July. “We are telling people BYOP, bring your own picnic,” says Erica Jones, director of the event. And don’t forget a blanket or lawn chair—seating will be limited.

Free, Wednesday, July 1, 7:30 p.m., Somerville Community Growing Center, Somerville,

Free Freedom Trail Tour

Take a walk through history with free Freedom Trail Tours. The 60-minute tour starts at Faneuil Hall, goes through the North End to Paul Revere’s house, and ends up at the Old North Church. Space is limited to 30 people a tour, so get there early, bring your best walking shoes, and be prepared to experience Boston’s vast history.

Free, Every day through August, Starting July 1, times vary, Faneuil Hall Marketplace,

Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular 

Red, white, and Spectacular! A beloved tradition, the 42nd annual Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular features a performance by the Boston Pops and a fireworks show that is not to be missed. It’s open to the public, but space is limited, so get to the Hatch Shell early to secure your spot on the lawn for one of the most anticipated events of the year. Don’t forget to bring your blankets, but make sure to check what other items are allowed and prohibited on the event grounds here.

Free, Friday, July 3-Saturday, July 4, times vary, Hatch Shell,

Free Fun Fridays

July is packed with free admission to museums and other cultural venues as the Highland Street Foundation’s Free Fun Fridays continue. The Boston Children’s Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Arnold Arboretum, and many, many more are all free on Fridays in July.

Free, every Friday, times and locations vary,

Samuel Adams Independence Bash 

Start celebrating Independence Day early with Sam Adams. The Sam Adams Independence Bash is bound to be a good time with beer samplings, live music by Under the Covers, and giveaways. After a long day of work, kick back with a refreshing beer at Ned Devine’s, and start your holiday weekend off right. After 10 p.m., there is a $10 cover charge, so get there early. Must be 21+ to gain entry.

Free, Thursday, July 3, 9 p.m.-10 p.m., Ned Devine’s, Faneuil Hall Marketplace,

City of Cambridge’s Summer in the City

Get into the groove of summer with Summer in the City, an events program full of music, dance, theatre, movies, and more. The multicultural performances are an interactive way to learn and experience ​art in motion, and are open to all ages.

Free, Starts Tuesday, July 7, 10 a.m., various locations in Cambridge,

Free Friday Flicks 

This July, phone home with E.T. when Free Friday Flicks at the Hatch Shell returns. The lineup includes Paddington, Big Hero 6, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Blankets, lawn chairs, and snacks are encouraged. Free Friday Flicks lasts until August. ​

Free, Fridays, Starting July 10, times vary, Hatch Shell,

Samuel Adams Flight Night

Let your tastebuds take flight at Sam Adam’s Flight Night every Wednesday through September. Beer lovers, rejoice—this free event includes complimentary flights of Sam Adams samplings ranging from Sam Adams Boston Lager, Summer Ale, more limited releases, and experimental styles. “Our hop garden is also open, so guests can relax with friends and family,” says public relations manager Michelle Diamandis. Reservations are not required. This event lasts until September.

Free, Every Wednesday, 5 p.m.-7 p.m., Samuel Adams Boston Brewery, Boston,

Family Film Festival at the Prudential

Beat the summer heat with a showing of Frozen. This​ summer’s lineup of movies at the Prudential Center is fun for the whole family with movies like The Boxtrolls and ​Big Hero 6. Grab the kids and your coziest blanket and catch a different movie every Saturday starting July 11 through the end of the summer.

Free, Saturdays, Starting July 11, 6 p.m., South Garden,

Greenway Open Market

Enjoy the summer air and browse a variety of art, clothes, and accessories at the Greenway Open Market. After shopping, grab food from one of the food trucks parked at the market and enjoy it on the Greenway or by the harbor.

​​Free, Saturdays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway,

Photograph by Olga Khvan

Photograph by Olga Khvan

Jamaica Plain Porchfest

Last year, more than 60 bands performed on 35 porches in JP. This year, the event expands to 67 porches and goes beyond just music, delving into the realms of dance, theater, spoken word, storytelling, circus arts, and bike tours.

Free, Saturday, July 11, 12 p.m.-6 p.m., Jamaica Plain,

Swimmable Charles

Cool off in the Charles River this July with Swimmable Charles’ City Splash. The river was awarded the Thiess International Riverprize in 2011, and was named the cleanest urban river in America. Bring your family, friends, and a towel. This annual event for ages 10 and up has two dates on July 14 and July 25.

Free, Tuesday, July 14 and Saturday, July 25, times vary, Fiedler Field of the Boston Esplanade,

Outside the Box 

This giant, fun-filled, creative, six-day event is full of performances by an eclectic group of artists. The lineup features performances by The Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Benkadi Drum and Dance, Airborne Comedians, Puppeteers Cooperative, Kacey Musgraves, and many more. The festival begins Tuesday and continues all week long. The event will also have themed country music and rock music nights.

Free, Tuesday, July 14-Sunday, July 19, times vary, Boston Common,

The Coolidge at the Greenway

That pigeon walking next to you probably isn’t a threat, but the ones in Alfred Hitchcock’s ​The Birds are! This horror movie classic is coming to the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, who, in partnership with The Coolidge, is hosting a movie series continuing through August. Food, drinks, and lawn chairs are allowed at the event. Bring a significant other, a blanket, a pillow, or something else to hold on to as this thriller is sure to have you on the edge of your seat.

Free, Tuesday, July 14, Sunset, Wharf District Park, Between India Street and Milk Street,

Hatch Shell Concerts

​The Hatch Shell is hosting classical concerts by Landmarks Orchestra throughout July. After the Boston Pops’ Fourth of July shows on July 3 and July 4, Landmarks Orchestra will perform every Thursday. Some classics to look forward to are adaptations of “On the Waterfront” by Leonard Bernstein, “Carmina Burana” by Carl Orff, “La noche de los Mayas” by Revueltas, and more.

Free, Thursdays, Starting July 16, times vary, Hatch Shell,

Boston Children’s Museum’s Play Day 

Calling kids (and adults) of all ages, Lawn on D is hosting a giant playscape. The playscape will have games to play and activities to explore, including Tangle, a web of fun that participants can twist around the space, creating a web-like effect. The D Street Grille will be open during the event with food and drinks for purchase.

Free, Saturday, July 18, 12 p.m.-6 p.m., The Lawn on D,

Somerville ArtBeat

ArtBeat has a little bit of something for everyone: food, entertainment, interactive activities, and art. This event is a pulse of energy as it draws in crowds in the thousands. Celebrating its 29th year, ArtBeat continues to evolve, and this year’s theme is loops. ​Around 80 art vendors will be at the event, in addition to bands and dance troupes.

Free, Saturday, July 18, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Davis Square, Somerville,

Shakespeare on the Common presents King Lear

Get swept up in the drama that is King Lear. This is the first time in the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s 20-season run that they are performing the classic play. There will be showings on the Boston Common every Tuesday through Sunday all the way through August.

Free, Tuesdays-Sundays, Starting July 22, times vary, Boston Common,

Boston Summer Arts Weekend

​Copley Square will be the site of Boston Summer Arts Weekend 2015. Performances by Grammy Award-winning musicians Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, Grammy-nominated musician Bettye LaVette, and many more will take place all weekend long. The event also features an art walk on July 23 from 5-8 p.m. down Newbury Street, where galleries and New England artists will display pieces of their work.

​Free, Saturday, July 25-Sunday, July 26, times vary, Copley Square,

Figment Boston

Explore interactive art on the Rose Kennedy Greenway and expand your definition of what art is. Additionally, Figment Boston will offer music and dance performances, as well as an “After Dark Dance Party” on July 25. Check the Facebook page for more event details.

Free, Saturday, July 25-Sunday, July 26, Rose Kennedy Greenway,

Revere Beach Sand Sculpting Festival

Bring your castle molds and toy shovels—it’s sand sculpting weekend at Revere (or maybe leave it to the pros). The Revere Beach Sand Sculpting Festival offers fun at the beach with vendors, food, music, amusement rides, fireworks, and incredible sand sculptures. The sculptures from last year came in all shapes and sizes, from elaborate sand castles to life-size people. See what the sculptors bring to this year’s festival July 24-July 26.

Free, Friday, July 24-Sunday, July 26, Revere Beach, Revere,