Things to Do This Weekend in Boston

Plan the perfect weekend in Boston with our list of weekend events and activities.

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.

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Free Things to Do

Family-Friendly Events

T the musical

Image provided

MULTIPLE DAYS

THEATER

T: an MBTA Musical

Described by its producers as “part love story, part melodrama, part scavenger hunt,” this comedy centers on our city’s beloved, creaky, loud, and very old mass transit system. Three ordinary commuters, frustrated by the T for reasons frequent riders don’t need to have explicated, come upon a map that will lead them to the man in charge. But at what cost? And will that cost suddenly rise before they’ve put enough money on their CharlieCards?

$29, Friday through December 17, The Rockwell, 255 Elm St., Somerville

Lorena: a Tabloid Epic

Boston Playwrights’ Theater presents Eliana Pipes’ dramatization of the notorious story of Lorena Bobbitt, an abused wife who, in 1993, took revenge on her husband by cutting off his penis. Both became folk heroes and/or folk villains, depending on who you asked. The play embodies the media circus that surrounded the case, with the playwright appearing as a character attempting to protect Lorena from the story unfolding, the truth and lies of which are not theirs to alter.

$10-$35, Thursday through October 24, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 949 Comm. Ave., Boston

MUSIC

Boston Symphony Orchestra: Still, Strauss, and Sibelius

This program from the BSO centers on Finnish composer Jean Sibelius’ sole violin concerto, known for its intensity, with the starring role performed by Georgian violinist Lisa Batiashvili. Andris Nelsons also leads the orchestra through William Grant Still’s Threnody: In Memoriam Jan Sibelius and Die Frau ohne Schatten (“Woman Without a Shadow”) by Richard Strauss, who conducted an early performance of Sibelius’ violin concerto back in 1905.

$20-$124, Thursday through October 19, Symphony Hall, 301 Mass. Ave., Boston

attica

Courtesy of GlobeDocs Film Festival

MOVIES

GlobeDocs Film Festival

Curated by the Boston Globe, this festival features some of the best recent documentary films. Two major themes this year, especially among the in-person screenings, are biographies, including works on Julia Child, Jacques Cousteau, Leonard Bernstein, and Arthur Ashe, and films on historic and contemporary social justice topics, including the centerpiece film, Attica, which revisits the 1971 uprising at the prison of the same name. As with most post-Covid film festivals, several other selections will be available to view virtually.

$15, Wednesday through Sunday, Brattle Theater, 40 Brattle St., Cambridge, and Coolidge Corner Theater, 290 Harvard St., Brookline

greg groover

Image of Greg Groover provided

FRIDAY

MUSIC

Jazz Urbane Café at the ICA

This concert, featuring saxophonist Gregory Groover, Jr., harpist Charles Overton, and recently retired Berklee College of Music professor Dr. Bill Banfield’s big band Imagine Orchestra, serves as a preview of the Jazz Urbane Café, a new music venue and restaurant slated to open in Roxbury’s Nubian Square next year. The café is Banfield’s project, an outgrowth of his record label of the same name.

$20, 8 p.m., Institute of Contemporary Art, 25 Harbor Shore Dr., Boston

COMEDY

Carolyn Plummer

Local comic Carolyn Plummer has a gruff but endearing observational style. “I’m the high energy portion of the show,” she announces flatly at the opening of a 2019 Comedy Studio set. In her bio she boasts of having performed far off the beaten path, claiming to have worked at “clubs, colleges, dead animal lodges, theatres and corporations.” If one of those venue types stick out to you as unusual, you are not alone.

$20, 8 p.m., Nick’s Comedy Stop, 100 Warrenton St., Boston

SATURDAY

COMEDY

Amanda Seales Presents Smart, Funny, and Black

Amanda Seales has been on TV since she was a kid in the ’90s, gravitating toward standup comedy as she grew up. She also has a master’s in African-American studies from Columbia, and her comedy deftly weaves serious social issues with the ephemera of pop culture. HBO released her first comedy special, I Be Knowin’, in 2019, but she’s probably most recognizable as Tiffany from another HBO property, Insecure. On this tour, she’s hosting a full-on game show, Smart, Funny, and Black.

$36-$46, 7 p.m., The Wilbur Theater, 246 Tremont St., Boston

lucy dacus

Image courtesy of Matador Records

MUSIC

Lucy Dacus

Indie pop singer-songwriter Lucy Dacus has built up a strong reputation with her three solo albums, the most recent of which, Home Video, came out this year. Her low-key style, marked her breezy, almost sleepy vocals, belies its own emotional depths. Even when she plays a little harder, like on Home Video’s third track, “First Time”, her music is still surrounded by a romantic, daydream mist, as if it’s bearing witness to the process of experience fading into memory.

$25-$40, 6:30 p.m., House of Blues, 15 Lansdowne St., Boston

gaza mon amour

Image via Les Films du Tambour

SUNDAY

MOVIES

Gaza Mon Amour

The Nasser brothers’ latest film, Gaza Mon Amour, is the only in-person screening for this year’s Boston Palestine Film Festival. Our hero is Issa, an older bachelor and fisherman whose latest haul includes an ancient and conspicuously well-hung statue of Apollo, whose penis he accidentally breaks off. He’s also in love with a woman who works in the marketplace where he sells his catch. As you might guess, these two plot points will humorously connect.

$13, 3 p.m., Coolidge Corner Theater, 290 Harvard St., Brookline

Free Events

BOOKS

Boston Book Festival

Like so many other annual festivals, this year’s Boston Book Festival has gone for a mix of virtual and in-person events, but it remains a smorgasbord for bookworms of all sorts, packed with readings in genres ranging from poetry to YA to journalism to speculative fiction. Journalist Bob Woodward and poet Tracy K. Smith are just a couple famous names on list of notable guests, a list much too big to include here in full—check the link above for the full schedule.

Thursday through October 24, various locations, Boston area

MUSIC

The American Symphony of Soul

This primo party band has been providing funk and soul to Boston since 2011, establishing themselves with a residency at the Middle East. With nine members, they really do sound like a symphony of soul. Their 2016 album Swept Up mixes progressive elements with the classic recipe that makes the genre so irresistible, running the gamut and rarely repeating itself. They have yet to release a follow-up, but when your debut is this strong, you can afford to wait.

Friday, 10 p.m., The Beehive, 541 Tremont St., Boston

harvard ghost tour

Image courtesy Boston Historical Tours

Family-Friendly Events

TOURS

Harvard Square Ghost Tour

Tis the season for macabre history, and you’ll get gobs of it on this tour, promising “gruesome murders, bloody battles, untimely death, and plenty of irreverent humor.” Your period-dressed guide will take you from Harvard Yard to the Old Burial Ground, spinning out sleepover-worthy yarns along the way. Given some of the gruesome content of these tales, the tour might be better for families with older kids—unless your family is the Addams Family.

$25, through October 31, meets in front of Harvard COOP, 1500 Mass. Ave., Cambridge

ACTIVITIES

Backyartists Halloween Art and Sensory Party

Preschool-age kids will have fun at this seasonally-themed event from Backyartists. They’ll hear stories, sing songs, do some “ooey gooey process art,” and engage in other sensory amusement. Process art, a focus for Backyartists, is a creative activity that’s more about learning to manipulate materials than finishing anything in particular, which makes it perfect for curious, growing minds.

$30, Saturday, 3:30 p.m., Play Union, 378 Somerville Ave., Somerville