BOSTON SUMMER: Family-Friendly Events in and around Boston

By Victoria@celebratetheweekend
In Boston and New England
Jul 5th, 2016
1 Comment

4th of July weekend “officially” started a busy summer of concerts, festivals and other fun events within 1-2 hour of driving from Boston.  Here is my  FAMILY-FRIENDLY BOSTON SUMMER LIST.


Magic 106.7 Family Film Festival at Prudential’s South Garden offers free showings of family-friendly movies   starting at the sundown every Saturday July 2-August 27.  “Wizard of Oz” is showing next weekend, July 9.  Here is the link for the full summer line-up.  Entertainment, children’s activities and giveaways start at 6pm.  (Picnic blankets and beach chairs are welcome. Discounted parking at Prudential Center Garage with $10 purchase). Check out my post about our last summer’s experience here .

Summer in Boston 2016

Pre-movie activities at the Family Film Fest at the Pru (2015)

2.  Berklee Summer in the City Concert Series

Numerous free musical performances  are offered throughout the Greater Boston area from May through September as part of the Summer in the City concert series.  Here is a listing of all events .  Enjoy world-class performances while visiting favorite Boston destinations, including Greenway, Atlantic Wharf, Harbor Islands, Prudential Center and many others.

Summer in Boston 2016

Steam Sculpture on Greenway.

3. Shakespeare on the Boston Common: July 20- August 7

Commonwealth Shakespeare Company continues its Boston summer tradition of Free Shakespeare On The Common (in its 21st season) with “Love Labour Lost at Parkman Bandstand in Boston Common.

FREE fully-staged productions are Tuesday-Saturday at 8pm, Sundays at 7pm; July 20-August 7th. More information about this program here.

4. WaterFires in Providence, RI

You have to take a drive to nearby Providence, Rhode Island, for this one- but it is well worth it.  Here is the summer  SCHEDULE of full and partial lightings.  FULL installations light up 80+ braziers from Waterplace Park to Memorial/South Main Street Park – and the next full show is on July 9.  The event starts shortly after sunset (which is around 8:22 pm on July 9) and continues until half past midnight. Note that fire marshal’s regulations do not permit folding chairs to be set up on any of the river walks (for safe passage of all the visitors) – so prepare to stroll.

7 Ways to Enjoy Summer in MA and RI off the beach

Photo Credit: WaterFire Providence; Photo by Jennifer Bedford

5.  Tanglewood Picnic (and a Concert!) in the Berkshires

Our family’s summer is not complete without a picnic at Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox (Massachusetts Berkshires).  Tanglewood is summer home of Boston Symphony and Boston Pops Orchestras, as well as  numerous guest performers of various musical genres.  Read our post about Tanglewood for families here highlighting special family experiences throughout the summer.   Tanglewood is approximately a 2-hour drive of Boston, so day trips are possible.  Lawn tickets start at $10 (free for kids under 17).  HERE is a link to a full summer 2016 program.

Family Summer Fun around Boston

Vi and friend Sasha at a Tanglewood concert last summer

6. Free Summer Dance Performances at Jacobs Pillow (Becket, MA)

If you are planning your visit to the Berkshires for longer than a day, be sure to visit Jacobs Pillow – national historical landmark and a site of America’s longest-running international dance festival.   The festival not only brings world’s leading dance companies to the Berkshires every summer, but offers free family-friendly outdoor performances via its Inside/Out Series  on Wednesdays-Saturdays during the Festival.  Be sure to check out the grounds tours and pre-show talks.


7 Ways to Enjoy Summer in Massachusetts and Rhode Island off the beach

Inside/Out Performance at Jacobs Pillow a couple of summers ago

7. Family Beach Concerts at Easton Beach, Newport, RI

There is nothing wrong with spending your summer at the beach, but it is even more fun when you could enjoy a family concert at the end of your day in the sun.  One of my favorite beaches within a driving distance from Boston, Newport‘s Easton Beach offers Family Night Concert Series on Tuesdays at 6 and Thursday night Children’s. programming. Check out this summer’s schedule HERE.  (Free carousel rides are a big draw during these special family programs.)

Easton Beach  is located at the end of the world famous cliff walk with its beautiful ocean vistas and access to historical Newport Mansions.

8.  Thursday Concert Series at Crane Estate in Ipswich, MA

The Crane Estate (in the care of the Trustees of Reservations) is celebrating 20 years of Picnic Concerts this summer.  They invite you to bring a picnic supper, explore the grounds, dance on the lawn, and experience some of the region’s best bands.  The season begins on July 7 with Picnic Palooza, a friendly picnic competition.  (Prizes will be awarded for Most Elegant Spread, Best Beach Picnic, and Best 1996 Throwback Picnic.) Here is the entire concert schedule for summer 2016.

Crane Estate, Ipswich

Crane Estate, Ipswich

9. Attending a Museum on a Friday- for FREE!

Numerous Massachusetts Museums open their doors for FREE on each Friday in the summer (a project by Highland Street Foundation) June 29-August 29.  This coming Friday, July 8,  Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Plimoth Plantation and Easton’s Children’s Museum are among the participating institutions. Here is the full list of the museums for each Friday of summer 2016.

Have a happy summer!


This post is linking up with #WeekendWanderlust collection of travel stories via A Brit & A Southerner Blog


1 Comment to “BOSTON SUMMER: Family-Friendly Events in and around Boston”

  1. Cathy says:

    I love Crane Estate and the beach, reminds me I’m due for another visit!
    Cathy recently posted…What do teenagers think of Fathom Cruises?My Profile

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