Free Things to Do in Boston, August 2015

This month is packed with free events including the Beach Ball Flash Mob, Boston Tennis Week, Salem Jazz and Soul Festival, and more.

beach ball

Beach Ball Photo via Shutterstock

Beach Ball Flash Mob

Who says beach balls can only be enjoyed on the beach or at concerts—how about at a flash mob? On August 1, a flash mob will take over the Parkman Bandstand with 100 beach balls. Participants are encouraged to “go crazy” for ten minutes with their beach balls at the sound of a signal. Those who want to participate in the flash mob must print out a ticket, as beach balls are limited. Flash mobbers will be given beach balls before the start of the event and are also expected to inflate them on their own. Participants are asked to wear white with green, yellow, blue, or red (to reflect the appearance of a beach ball). The event is 18+.

Free, Saturday, August 1, 3-4 p.m., Boston Common,

Summer in the City at the Boston Harbor Hotel

Summer in the City continues at the Boston Harbor Hotel with a variety of soul, rat pack, and jazz musicians, as well as multiple movie features. Live music is offered every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, while classic film screenings take place every Friday under the stars.

Free, Tuesdays through Fridays, times vary, Boston Harbor Hotel,

Salem Maritime Festival

Set sail with a Salem tradition. The Salem Maritime Festival returns with events for the whole family. The 27th annual celebration will include music, free 90-minute harbor cruises, ship tours, craft demonstrations, and children’s activities. Bring the whole family to this day-long event and learn about Salem maritime history.

Free, Saturday, August 1, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Salem Maritime National Historic Site, 160 Derby Stree, Salem,

Family Film Festival at the Prudential

“Adventure is out there”—there at the Prudential Center’s Family Film Festival, which is hosting a lineup of classic children’s movies, including Up. Every Saturday in August, a new film will be screened in the South Garden. In addition to Up, featured films include Paddington, Ratatouille, Toy Story, and Despicable Me. Get there early to grab a spot on the lawn. Blankets and lawn chairs are encouraged.

Free, every Saturday starting August 1, 6 p.m., South Garden,

Commonwealth Concerts

Don’t know what to do before you settle down for Shakespeare on the Common? The Commonwealth Shakespeare Company is hosting free concerts before its August renditions of King Lear on the Common, featuring jazz talents from the New England Conservatory. Performances start 90 minutes before King Lear, so get there early to secure a seat. Blankets, lawn chairs, and snacks are welcome.

Free, Saturday, August 1, through Friday, August 7 (excluding Monday, August 3), 6:20-7 p.m., Boston Common,

Sylvester Baxter Riverfront Park Movie Series

Continuing into August, this movie series has a little bit of something for everyone. Starting August 1 with a showing of Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, the event also features Disney’s 2015 version of Cinderella, Alexander and the Very Bad Day, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Maleficent. Movies begin at dusk every Saturday.

Free, every Saturday starting August 1, dusk, Sylvester Baxter Riverfront Park,

Water Gun Fight

Bring out your inner child with the Banditos Misteriosos’ seventh annual giant water gun fight on the Cambridge Common. Choose a team and equip yourself with a water gun by August 3. Remember to bring your own supply of water and wear the color of your team. The hosts of the event want people to bring only water guns—no water balloons are allowed. Enjoy the last days of summer with an event like no other.

Free, Monday, August 3, 2 p.m., the Cambridge Common,

Boston Tennis Week

It may not be Wimbledon, but it’s sure to be a good time anyway. MatchOn has created an app to match tennis players in the area based on skill level. The app then tells players a location where to meet and play a match. After the game, both players record their scores on the app, which will change their skill levels. Boston Tennis Week is utilizing this app to create a unique experience for athletes. Those who use the app during Boston Tennis Week are eligible for prizes such as a free racquet, U.S. Open Tickets, tennis lessons and more.

Free, Monday, August 3, through Sunday, August 9, times and locations vary,

The Coolidge at the Greenway

Phone home with E.T. on August 4 at The Coolidge at the Greenway’s showing of the classic film. Take in the fresh summer air on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway. Bring snacks, drinks, lawn chairs, and blankets to complete your movie-viewing experience. The rain date for the event will be August 11.

Free, Tuesday, August 4, sunset, Wharf District Park, between India and Milk streets,

Hatch Shell Concerts

The Landmarks Orchestra continue their musical performances at the Hatch Shell throughout August with themed events such as Italian Night and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Sit and relax near the Charles or get up and dance as the Landmarks Orchestra plays the night away.

Free, every Wednesday starting August 5, 7-9 p.m., Hatch Shell,

Revere Beach Movie Night

Listen to the waves roll in and squish your toes in the sand while you enjoy a movie at Revere Beach every Thursday through August 20. This movie series features screenings of Over the Hedge, Frozen, and The Avengers. Locations rotate between Kelly’s Roast Beef and William G. Reinstein Bandstand. Enjoy a live DJ from 6 to 8p.m. before the start of the movie. Films start at dusk.

Free, every Thursday starting August 6, 6 p.m., locations vary,

Summer Concerts at Kendall Square

Listen to some of Berklee’s talented musicians on your lunch break at Kendall Square’s Summer Concert Series. August performances include Covey, The Zahili Gonzalez Zamora Project, Grey Season, and Iris Lune. Kendall Square has a variety of restaurants and a farmer’s market nearby where you can grab lunch on your way to the concerts.

Free, every Thursday starting August 6, 300 Athenaeum Street,

Berklee Summer in the City at Lawn on D

Take a lunch break at the Lawn on D accompanied with music from Berklee students. Play lawn games, grab food from one of the food trucks parked on the lawn, and take in the music every Friday from 12 to 2 p.m. An eclectic lineup of musicians is scheduled, with genres ranging from punk rock to folk/pop. Concerts go through the beginning of October.

Free, every Friday starting August 7, 12-2 p.m., Lawn on D,

Free Fun Fridays

Free, free, free. Free Fun Fridays continue through August with a ton of complimentary events including ferry rides to the Boston Harbor Islands, tours of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, and free admission to The Discovery Museums.

Free, various dates, times, and locations,

Free Movies at the Hatch Shell

Make sure you have both glass slippers when you make your way to the Hatch Shell for a showing of Disney’s 2015 movie Cinderella on August 7. The month’s movie selection is full of adventure, action, and magic. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Maleficent are all on the calendar.

Free, every Friday starting August 7, sunset, Hatch Shell,

PorchfestFEST @ Lawn on D

Want more Porchfest this summer? Lawn on D has your fill of the music event on August 8. Porchfest will take over Lawn on D with a smaller version of the event that took over JP in July, but with the same amount of music and fun. Listen to varieties of Motown, gospel, jazz, folk, country music, and more. Grab some food from The D Street Grille and sit back and enjoy the music (or get up and dance!).

Free, Saturday, August 8, 3-9 p.m., Lawn on D,


GospelFest returns with headliner Erica Campbell and a handful of other performers including the Boston Community Choir and Tamar St. Julien. The 15th annual event will take place at City Hall, where crowds in the thousands are expected to attend.

Free, Sunday, August 9, 5-8 p.m., City Hall Plaza,

Fisherman’s Feast

Celebrate history and culture at the 105th Fisherman’s Feast. The Italian festival is based on the history of Italian fishermen’s dedication to the Madonna del Soccorso (Our Lady of Help). Located in the North End, this annual festivity has music, live entertainment, and food. Bring your appetite for the four-day event.

Free, Thursday August 13, through Sunday, August 16, times vary, North End,

free events boston august 2015

Photograph by Renee L’Abbe

West End Children’s Festival 

The 10th annual West End Children’s Festival is fun for the whole family with food and attractions. A variety of vendors including Boston Duck Tours, Museum of Science, and Ben & Jerry’s will be at the event. “Each vendor will have a booth and will be hosting some sort of fun activity for the children,” says festival director Tatiana Mercado. In previous years the event has drawn in crowds in the thousands, and this year is predicted to do so again.

Free, Saturday, August 15, all day, Thoreau Path,

Salem Jazz and Soul Festival

Relax to the sounds of cool jazz and soul stylings at the Salem Jazz and Soul Festival. This two-day festival, organized in partnership with Berklee School of Music, showcases a variety of performers. Krewe de Groove brings a touch of New Orleans soul to the festival, while the North Shore Jazz Project All Stars will show off their jazz talents. The event will also have a beer garden, a music-education tent, and vendors. Remember to bring a lawn chair, blanket, snacks, and non-alcoholic drinks.

Free, Saturday, August 15-Sunday, August 16, 11 a.m.-7:15 p.m., The Salem Willows, Salem,

St. Anthony’s Feast

Prepare to feast with what National Geographic dubbed “the feast of all feasts.” The 96th annual celebration that began in Italy in 1919 is enjoyed by residents and tourists alike in the North End. The event includes parades, singers, contests, live entertainment, daily religious services, and food. Experience Italian culture with this massive celebration.

Free, Friday, August 28-Sunday, August 30, times vary, North End,


This party is bound to be a dancing good time! Bring the whole family and dance the night away on August 28. This monthly event is led by kids and features a live DJ. Dance lessons are provided as well. The event is open to all ages.

Free, Friday, August 28, 6-8 p.m., Boston Common,

Movies at the Milk Bottle

Join the Boston Children’s Museum for movie nights throughout August. The films will be shown by the Milk Bottle on the Fort Point Channel waterfront. Wall-E, Back to the Future, and Big Hero 6 are the featured films of the month. The movies start at dusk. Lawn chairs and blankets are encouraged. Popcorn will be provided.

Free, Friday, August 29, Dusk, the Milk Bottle, Fort Point Channel Waterfront,