Things to Do This Weekend in Boston

Keep your weekend full with our roundup of fun events around Boston. And don’t miss our list of iconic things to do around Boston.

Jump to:

Weekend Events and Activities

Free Things to Do

Family-Friendly Events

Weekend Events and Activities

percy jackson

Photo of The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical by Jeremy Daniel

MULTIPLE DAYS

THEATER

Steel Magnolias

Though the 1989 film adaptation, with its iconic ensemble cast, is much better known, Steel Magnolias was a play first, written by Robert Harling, who based the character Shelby on his own sister. And it makes sense: the film, centering on the hair salon where the main characters come to gab about everything under the sun, is famously dialogue-driven, like a play has to be. Harling also adapted the screenplay, so fans of the film will find very similar fare in the play, presented here by Hub Theater Company.

Pay-what-you-can, Friday through August 3, Club Café, 209 Columbus Ave., Boston

The Night Café

The Night Café is positioned somewhere between an immersive theater experience like Sleep No More and a group adventure game such as an escape room. How you experience the interactive pop-up depends on your sense of adventure—and the kind of ticket you buy. You can just chill in the 1950’s beat-style café for insomniacs, or try to solve puzzles, or take a trip to the “Dream Corridor”. You’re encouraged to wear your best “beatnik” outfit—for style tips, google “Judy Funnie”.

$40-$85, Friday and Saturday, Auspicious Phoenix Productions, 64 Joy St., Somerville

sword of trust

Image via IFC Films

MOVIES

Sword of Trust

Marc Maron steps out from behind the podcast mic to star in this dark comedy about a pawnbroker who’s brought an unusual item—a Confederate sword. Upon discovering its enormous monetary value, he hits the road to shop it around to a bunch of unsavory Lost Cause types across the Deep South. The sword might seem like a classic McGuffin—a random object that serves merely to drive the plot—but in today’s political climate, no Confederate object is just a McGuffin.

$13, now playing, Kendall Square Cinema, 355 Binney St., Cambridge

El Mundo de Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino has always been a slippery writer and director, never clarifying where his earnestness begins and his irony ends. But if this series, consisting mostly of double features pairing a Tarantino film with one of its major influences, demonstrates anything, it’s that when it comes to his love of movies themselves, there’s no ambiguity. His more recent films are the focus here, including Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds, and Django Unchained.

$10-12, Friday through July 22, Brattle Theater, 40 Brattle St., Cambridge

FRIDAY

MUSIC

Frank Vignola’s Hot Jazz Guitar Trio

Is Frank Vignola fully human? This jury is out. Certainly, someone who averages 3 or 4 gigs a week across the world, performs flawlessly in a variety of shifting styles, does session work with a motley crew of legendary pop stars, creates dozens of instructional books/videos, and makes it all look easy is not an ordinary human. He lacks charisma, perhaps, but he doesn’t need it: Vignola’s all business, dazzling with the smoothness and seamlessness of his skill alone.

$28, 7:30 p.m., Regattabar, 1 Bennett St,, Cambridge

the ladles

Photo provided

The Ladles

Katie Martucci, Caroline Kuhn, and Lucia Purpura-Pontoniere, the three women who make up local group the Ladles, will knock you down with their sharp, clear harmonies. Their music usually feels like folk, but it draws from wherever such close harmonizing has found a home, including chamber pop, swing, Motown, classical choral music, and even psychedelia. It’s a unique fusion that gives them a stirring, distinct sound.

$15, 8 p.m., Club Passim, 47 Palmer St., Cambridge

SATURDAY

COMEDY

Ladylike!

This is the very last Ladylike! show in Boston. The all-woman comedy showcase—which the organizers claim to be the only one in the city—is transforming into Ladyspike Media and leaving Boston for Los Angeles. Obviously, someone is going to have to step up and start a new all-woman showcase… perhaps it could be you? Performers include Erin Spencer, Nora Panahi, Dawn Hartill, Mel V, Jai Demeule, Isha Patnaik, and Maylin Pavletic.

$12, 11 p.m., ImprovBoston, 40 Prospect St., Cambridge

SUNDAY

COMEDY

Weird Al Yankovic

Considering that Weird Al’s original band was just Al on accordion and percussionist John “Bermuda” Schwartz banging on the accordion case, there’s something almost beautiful about the fact that, four decades later, he’s touring with a full symphony orchestra for his most grandiose show yet. He hasn’t released a new album since 2014’s Mandatory Fun, but with a backlog including such goofball gems as “My Bologna”, “Like a Surgeon”, “Amish Paradise”, and “White and Nerdy”, he hardly needs to.

$58-$68, 7:30 p.m. Rockland Trust Bank Pavilion, 290 Northern Ave., Boston

MUSIC

Local H

Before the White Stripes and the Black Keys, there was Local H, a Chicago-based alternative rock two piece comprised of singer-guitarist Scott Lucas and a succession of drummers. Local H released three albums for Island Records in the mid-late 90’s, yielding the hit “Bound for the Floor”. Their dark humor distinguished them in the oh-so-serious world of post-grunge, winning them attention later via their rippin’ cover of Britney Spears’ “Toxic” and the cathartic anti-West Coast anthem “California Songs”.

$15-$17, 7 p.m., Brighton Music Hall, 158 Brighton Ave., Allston

Free Things to Do

ART

The Basement Archives: Ghosts of WFNX: Vol.2

Back in the day, WFNX was one of the biggest Boston area alt-rock stations. As major names passed through the station’s studios, DJ Julie Kramer got them on camera, including Elvis Costello, Joe Strummer, Iggy Pop, Sonic Youth, and many more. This exhibition (Vol. 1 took place in Lynn last year) shows over 100 of those pics. The opening reception is Saturday night from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. RSVP at the link above.

Through December 31, Boston Center for Adult Education, 122 Arlington St., Boston

festival betances

Photo courtesy IBA Boston

FESTIVALS

Festival Betances

This festival of Latin American culture draws more than 3,000 people each year. You’ll see all the typical outdoor festival stuff—a parade, live performances, a smorgasbord of food, arts and crafts and other kids’ activities, plus one less typical attraction, the greased pole competition. This year, for the first time, all the performing artists at the festival are female. There doesn’t appear to be any particular thematic reason for this, but why the heck not, right?

Saturday and Sunday, Plaza Betances, 100 W. Dedham St., Boston

Family-Friendly Events

THEATER

The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical

The Percy Jackson series is one of the biggest YA fiction brands to piggy-back on Harry Potter’s success, spawning books, graphic novels, and movies, and now an off-Broadway musical. To a layperson, the two franchises seem similar: an ordinary teenage boy discovers he’s an heir to extraordinary and arcane powers, and also that he must save the world. But Percy is unique for colliding Greek mythology (our hero is half god) and modern life, giving it a distinct flavor despite the similar DNA.

$20-$115, through July 28, Huntington Avenue Theater, 264 Huntington Ave., Boston

MUSEUMS

Moon Landing 50th: One Giant Anniversary

The Museum of Science offers special programming this weekend to celebrate the first moon landing, including talks from Apollo 11 engineers, planetarium shows (including one on a theoretical journey to Mars), hands-on activities, and presentations on current technology for return to the moon and bodies further afield. The permanent exhibit To the Moon, opened in 2009 and featuring full-scale models of the Apollo and Mercury capsules, is still on view as well.

$26 ($21 for kids 3-11), Friday and Saturday, Museum of Science, 1 Science Park, Boston