Boston Fourth of July: Beyond the Pops


The Fourth of July is almost upon us, and soon enough, masses of people will be planting their feet, seats and picnic baskets by the Charles to take in the annual Boston Pops outdoor concert.

Now, nothing against the celebration — it’s a tradition and definitely a must-hit for first-timers — but if you’ve been there and done that already, and wish there were some way to have fun and have a little elbow room, too … We’ve got just the ticket:

July 4th with Shakespeare and Co.
What does William Shakespeare have to do with the American Revolution? We’re not sure, either, but the men in tights at Shakespeare and Company seem to think there’s a connection – at least, enough to put on their “Revolutionary Moments” performance. It’s a show solely dedicated to showcasing Shakespeare’s influence on the land of the free, the home of the brave, and the place where everyone reads Romeo and Juliet in the seventh grade. After that, enjoy the BBQ and listen to a one-hour reading of the Declaration of Independence in the outdoor theatre, with live acoustic music and a sing-along. Memorization of the Declaration not required.

“Revolutionary Moments” with Shakespeare and Co. will be held on July 4th at 12 p.m. at the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, 70 Kemble St., Lenox, MA, 01240. Tickets are $15, or $5 for patrons aged 18 and under. The reading of the Declaration of Independence will be held at 3 p.m at Bankside Meadow and admission is free. BBQ food offered a la carte. More information at

Community Boating 4th of July SAILabration Fundraiser
For obvious reasons, boats are not allowed to sail on the Charles for the Fourth of July — but that doesn’t stop Community Boating from sailabrating. Sit on the docks or in one of their sailboats for a view so good you feel like you can touch the fireworks. Enjoy a gourmet cookout from b.good hamburgers, watch the Boston Pops Concert from a 26-inch big screen, and dip your toes into the Charles.

SAILabration will be held on July 4th from 4 p.m. to the end of the fireworks at the Community Boating House on the esplanade between the Hatch Shell and the Longfellow Bridge next to the Charles Circle footbridge. Tickets are $100 ($50 is tax deductible) for adults, $50 for community boating members, $50 for teens (13-17), and $25 for children (7-12). For more information,

Museum of Science Roof Party
Stargazing at the planetarium is certainly pretty, but try watching the Fourth of July fireworks over the Charles from the roof of the Museum of Science. You’ll get an outta-this-world view (oh, yeah: we said it), plus enough space that you’re not left sitting on top of someone’s dinner/feet/grandma. Mind you, there is one catch: It’s a members-only event. So you’ll want to join the MoS pretty quickly if you want to spread your blanket and enjoy the view without the bloodshed. While you wait for the show, bug the docent about the chemical reactions behind pyrotechnics (that’s science-speak for fireworks).

The Museum of Science Roof Party will be held on July 4th at 5:30 p.m on the garage roof of the Museum of Science, 1 Science Park, Boston, MA, 02114. Tickets are $26 for adults and $16 for children 3-11. Prepackaged meals are available for advanced purchase. More information at

Fourth of July 80s and 90s Boston Harbor Cruise
Nothing says July 4, 1776, like a throwback to the 80s and 90s. Well, that might not be completely true, by why not celebrate the birth of America on a boat by shaking your booty to anachronisms anyway? Sing along to Bon Jovi and Smashing Pumpkins, enjoy the full bar and food, watch the fireworks, and mourn for the days when the hair was bigger and the drinks were cheaper.

The cruise will be held on July 4th from 7 p.m., leaving from Long Wharf Gate 2 (near the Aquarium). Tickets are $32 in advance, and $40 on the dock. Food plates are $10. More information at

Footloose on the Freedom Trail

The Fourth of July means many things: freedom, revolution, fireworks, and … barbecues. Delicious, yes, but not always the healthiest. Fortunately, guilty partiers can preempt their remorse early at Footloose on the Freedom Trail, an educational 2.5 mile saunter through the heart of Boston. Catch your breath at the Boston Massacre site, take a picture in front of Revere’s House, and finally, stretch your legs at the Old State House, where you can hear the Declaration of Independence read aloud. It’s a chance to learn about the Revolution, partake in the downtown festivities, and work your calves all at the same time. If you haven’t fully satisfied your Boston History fix for the day, visit the U.S.S. Constitution Museum at the Charlestown Navy Yard.

Footloose on the Freedom Trail will be held on July 4th from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The tour begins on the steps in front of the State House on Beacon St. and ends at the Charlestown Navy Yard. Tickets are $20 per person and $5 for members. More information at

EMMA ROSENBERG is a web intern at Boston magazine.