Boston in the Summer
Founded in 1630, Boston is simultaneously one of the most historic cities in the United States and a vibrant, dynamic metropolis that remains one of the top destinations in the country. During the summer, Bostonians and visitors alike take full advantage of the warm weather to immerse themselves in the city’s wide variety of outdoor activities, cultural attractions, neighborhood events, and nightlife.
There are countless places of historical interest in Boston and its environs. To help you navigate the city that QS has ranked #11 in the world and #1 in the US for students, we have provided a general guide to some of 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—click for information about hours of operation, special exhibits, and directions.
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.
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
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 are just some of the museums in Boston, Cambridge, and beyond. Click on the name of the museum for information about exhibits, hours of operation, and directions.
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston Children’s Museum
Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum
deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum
Harvard Museum of Natural History
Harvard University Art Museums (the Fogg Art Museum, the Busch-Reisinger Museum, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum)
Historic New England Homes, Farms & Landscapes
Institute of Contemporary Art
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
MassArt Art Museum
Museum of African American History
Museum of Fine Arts
Museum of Science
New England Aquarium and Simons Theatre
Nichols House Museum
Old South Meeting House
Old State House
Peabody Essex Museum
Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology
Sports Museum of New England
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.
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.
BosTix 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 are more interested in restored classics, art house features, foreign films, limited-release movies, documentaries, or cult classics, check out the Coolidge Corner Theatre, the Landmark Kendall Square Cinema, the Brattle Theatre, and the Museum of Fine Arts. Some 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. 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
Castle Island, Pleasure Bay, M Street Beach, and Carson Beach
Charles River Reservation & Esplanade
The Emerald Necklace
Forest Hills Cemetery
Franklin Park Zoo
Middlesex Fells Reservation
Minute Man National Historic Park
Mount Auburn Cemetery
Rose Kennedy Greenway
Savin Hill & Malibu Beach
Walden Pond State Reservation
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 some 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:
Click on the name of the shopping area below for more information. MBTA directions are from any surface 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.
Boston Public Market
Directions: Take any Green Line train inbound to Haymarket.
Directions: Take any Green Line train inbound to Park Street. Change to Red Line outbound and go four stops to Harvard Square.
The Landmark Center Shops and Time Out Market
Includes: Blick Art Materials, Regal Fenway & RPX cinema, REI, Time Out Market, Trillium Brewing Company, 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.
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.
Cannons Lacrosse Club
The Cannons Lacrosse Club is part of the Premier Lacrosse League. Prior to 2020, they were known as the Boston Cannons.
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.