Boston in the Summer
Founded in 1630, Boston is one of the most historic cities in the United States and also a vibrant, dynamic metropolis that remains one of the top destinations in the country. During the summer, Bostonians take full advantage of the warm weather, venturing out for the city’s wide variety of outdoor activities, cultural attractions, neighborhood events, and nightlife.
To help you learn about the city and get you started in enjoying its possibilities, we have provided a general guide to the many activities and attractions that Boston has to offer. You’ll find links to information on everything from sporting events to shopping to sightseeing. We’re sure that you will discover many things to enjoy as you explore the city. For subway and bus maps, visit the MBTA website.
Important Note: Please keep in mind that many city services, museums, entertainment venues, theatres, shops, and restaurants have adjusted or suspended hours of operation due to mandatory state and local safety standards related to the COVID-19 crisis. We encourage you to do your research—find out what is open and learn about precautionary measures in place by going to the organization’s website or making a phone call before visiting.
There are countless places of historical interest in Boston and its environs. We have highlighted just a few of the most popular. Click on the destination for information about hours of operation, special exhibits, and directions.
Faneuil Hall Marketplace
A market and meeting place since 1742, Faneuil Hall is often referred to as the “Cradle of Liberty.” This well-known stop on the Freedom Trail consists of North Market, Quincy Market, and South Market, and is now a popular destination with over 70 shops and restaurants.
The Freedom Trail is a walking tour of Boston’s most historic sites and is easily identified by the red lines on the sidewalk. Begin the walk from the Visitor Center at 15 State Street, Boston. Wear comfortable shoes: this tour covers 2.5 miles and 16 historical sites.
Paul Revere House
The oldest building in downtown Boston, this landmark is known for being the residence of Paul Revere when he left for his famous 1775 “Midnight Ride” to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams that British troops were preparing to march into the countryside to arrest them.
Known as “Old Ironsides,” the USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned ship in the world (that is still afloat). Located at Charlestown Navy Yard, the USS Constitution Museum brings the ship’s history alive.
Below is a listing of just some of the museums in Boston and Cambridge. Click on the name of the museum for information about exhibits, hours of operation, and directions.
Boston Center for the Arts
Harvard Museum of Natural History
Harvard University Art Museums (including the Fogg Art Museum, the Busch-Reisinger Museum, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum)
Institute of Contemporary Art
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
Museum of African American History
Museum of Fine Arts
Museum of Science
New England Aquarium
Nichols House Museum
Old South Meeting House
Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology
Music, theater, movies
Whether you love performing arts, consider yourself a movie buff, or enjoy listening to live music or readings, Boston offers a wealth of entertainment—much of it now available virtually.
In late spring, an up-to-date listing of summer art events, including those that offer free admission to BU students, can be found at bu.edu/arts/summer. This content is updated throughout the summer. A calendar of events in the arts can also be found at calendar.artsboston.org.
BoxTix at Faneuil Hall or Copley Square offers half-price tickets on the day of performance for many performing arts events.
The Boston area has many movie theaters. For mainstream fare nearby, the Regal Fenway & RPX is close to the BU campus at the Landmark Center, 201 Brookline Avenue. The AMC Boston Common 19 is located downtown at 175 Tremont Street.
If you’re more interested in restored classics, art house features, foreign films, limited-release movies, documentaries, or cult classics, check out the Coolidge Corner Theatre, Kendall Square Cinema, Brattle Theatre, and the Museum of Fine Arts. Several of these theatres also offer virtual screenings.
Greater Boston has an extraordinary wealth of green space. Whether you want to visit one of Boston’s city parks or explore further afield, here are a few options that are easily accessible. Remember to check the park’s website for operating status and restrictions. Click on the name of the park for information about special events and directions.
Blue Hills Reservation
Boston Common & The Public Garden
Boston Harbor Islands
Charles River Reservation & Esplanade
The Emerald Necklace
Franklin Park Zoo
Middlesex Fells Reservation
Mount Auburn Cemetery
Rose Kennedy Greenway
Savin Hill & Malibu Beach
There are plenty of fresh-air activities to get involved in during the summer in Boston. For those seeking a little adventure—on the water or on two wheels—or for those wishing to pursue a little outdoor recreation, there are plenty of nearby options to consider.
The BU Fitness & Recreation Center (FitRec) also offers several outdoor activities. Some of these include:
Note that some businesses may have closed or adjusted their hours. Please plan accordingly. Click on the name of the shopping area below for more information. MBTA directions are from any above-ground stop on Commonwealth Avenue.
Directions: Take any Green Line train inbound to Park Street. Disembark and wait on the same platform for the Green Line train to Lechmere Station. Disembark at Lechmere, walk to 1st Street, take a right, and continue to CambridgeSide.
Directions: Take any Green Line train inbound to Copley Square.
Directions: Take any Green Line train inbound to Park Street. Exit station and cross Tremont Street to Winter Street. Walk down Winter Street to Washington Street.
Directions: Take any Green Line train inbound to Park Street. Change to Red Line outbound and go four stops to Harvard Square.
Landmark Center/Time Out Market
Includes: Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, Blick Art Materials, Regal Fenway & RPX cinema, REI, Staples, Time Out Market, and others.
Directions: Starting at Marsh Chapel, cross Commonwealth Avenue and walk down St. Mary’s Street. After crossing the bridge, make a left and walk along Park Drive. Cross Beacon Street and continue over the bridge. The Landmark Center will be on your left.
Directions: Take any Green Line train inbound to Hynes Convention Center.
Directions: Take any Green Line train inbound to Hynes Convention Center or Copley Square. The mall is located in the Prudential Center on Boylston Street.
While attendance at sporting events will be determined, the games continue. Click on the team name for information about tickets, venues, and directions.
Boston Red Sox
Boston’s professional baseball team—and 2018 World Series Champions—play at Fenway Park, located in Kenmore Square, just steps from the BU campus.
Located in a region with distinct seasonal changes, Boston’s weather is rarely predictable. While summer is typically ruled by blue skies and warm coastal breezes, June can be more like spring than summer—temperatures can range from very hot to quite cool. July and August can be very hot and humid, with sudden thunderstorms bringing a bit of relief. Be sure to pack a light sweater and an umbrella with your shorts and sandals.
The National Weather Service is a reliable source for current weather conditions and forecasts.