The New England metropolis of Boston is teeming with great events during the summer season – and here are 10 of the best taking place this year.
Boston is one of America’s most popular tourist destinations, with many drawn here by the city’s rich cultural and entertainment scenes. If you’re planning a visit to the capital of Massachusetts this summer and would like to add some great events to your itinerary, we’ve looked at the schedule and picked out 10 to look out for.
Celebrating Boston’s rich maritime and revolutionary history, Boston HarborFest features hundreds of family-friendly activities over Independence Day week, including historical re-enactments, Freedom Trail walks, boat tours, live music and entertainment, and much more. Among the best-attended events each year is the flag raising ceremony on City Hall Plaza followed by a parade to the Granary Burial Ground, where wreaths are laid on the graves of patriots.
Downtown Crossing, Washington Street, Dedham / 3 July 2021
‘Body Language’ exhibition
The work of acclaimed American conceptual artist and collagist Barbara Kruger, this exhibition features a striking and provocative image of two overlapping bodies that is designed to prompt us to reconsider the representation of women, power, and sexuality, and the historical concept of “gaze.” The images, which borrow details from Italian Renaissance master’s Titian’s iconic painting Diana and Actaeon, are overlaid with text to press home the symbolism and messaging of the depictions.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 25 Evans Way / 29 June 2021 – 1 February 2022
Summer of Play
Created to raise awareness of the importance of play for children after a year of reduced opportunities, Summer of Play features a fun-packed programme of activities incorporating hands-on making, creating, exploring, and playing both inside and outside the Boston Children’s Museum. Science, art, music, and special family events together with entertaining exhibits, including the redesigned PlaySpace and a brand new turtle tank, all combine to make for a fantastic summer season for little ones. Among the main highlights will be a colourful family carnival on 30 July.
Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress Street / Through 22 August 2021
The City of Champions
Located on Levels 5 & 6 of TD Garden with a half-mile of exhibits on Boston sports history, The Sports Museum has a new exhibit called The City of Champions this summer, which is a ring display that features all twelve 21st Century championship rings from the Boston Celtics, Boston Bruins, Boston Red Sox, and New England Patriots. This exhibit is presented by Jostens. To see it and take a guided tour of the museum, visit www.sportsmuseum.org to purchase your tickets in advance.
The Sports Museum, 100 Legends Way / Summer 2021
Exploring the West End
The West End Museum is hitting the streets this summer with exciting walking tours. Join the “Exploring the West End” Saturday and after-work tours, highlighting the historic places & people that made up “the greatest neighborhood this side of heaven.” You’ll hear what life was like for the thousands of immigrants who lived in tenements and created one of the city’s most vibrant areas. You’ll also learn about the urban renewal project that changed the neighborhood forever. Learn more about The West End Museum’s summer tours at www.thewestendmuseum.org.
The West End Museum, 150 Lomasney Way / Summer 2021
‘Figures of Speech’ exhibition
Spread across an immersive space at the Institute of Contemporary Art, this exhibition showcases the career highlights of genre-bending American artist and designer Virgil Abloh. It will offer an in-depth look at defining highlights of Abloh’s vast body of work, including signature clothing collections, video documentation of iconic fashion shows, distinctive furniture and graphic design work, and collaborative projects with contemporary artists.
Institute of Contemporary Art, 25 Harbor Shore Drive / 3 July – 26 September 2021
This July the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum will play host to an immersive and educational Summer Science series live at the museum. Designed for children aged 7-12, the first day will explore the science behind watersheds, an area of land that drains all the streams and rainfall to a common outlet such as the outflow of a reservoir, mouth of a bay. Kids will conduct their own lab tests on water from a nearby stream, then, with the help of a large-scale watershed model, they’ll see how various pollutants can impact our water system and consider what kinds of things both water experts and the public alike can do to stop them.
Metropolitan Waterworks Museum, 2450 Beacon Street, Chestnut Hill / 7 July 2021
Shakespeare on the Common
This year’s annual family-friendly Shakespeare in the Park production of free open-air theatre will feature The Tempest, the Bard’s final play. Spectators are encouraged to bring blankets and folding chairs for maximum comfort as they watch the actors on stage above a grassy slope as this classic Shakespearean story about magic, betrayal, revenge, and family loyalties plays out before them. Replicated in cities across the US, the event was created to spread awareness of Shakespeare’s influence and scope through the language, stories, characters, and themes that bind us together in a shared cultural legacy.
Parkman Bandstand, Boston Common / 21 July – 8 August 2021
Summer Block Party
A major highlight of Boston’s summer calendar, the annual Lawn On D block party takes place over Independence Day weekend, featuring live music, a movie night, tasty food and drinks, endless lawn games, bubble soccer, mini golf, salsa dancing, rock climbing, temporary tattoos, and hands-on activities for all ages, culminating with a fun-filled party on the Sunday. Highlights for 2021 include a chance to see the finalists of the Blue Man Group Boston Drum-Off, who will be showing off their creativity, technical ability, and drumming skills in front of a panel of judges.
The Lawn on D, 420 D Street / 6 – 7 July 2021
‘New Light: Encounters and Connections’ exhibition
Spanning cultures and geographies, and sometimes millennia too, this exhibition presents more than 60 works of art from across the Museum of Fine Art’s collection, many of which are on view for the first time. Organised into 21 “conversations”, each featuring a contemporary piece recently added to the collection juxtaposed with rarely seen objects acquired earlier in the museum’s history, the exhibition includes works by emerging as well as local or Boston-born artists. Highlights include an ancient Egyptian carving of a princess to experimental miniature vases made by French ceramicist Auguste Delaherche.
Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Avenue / 3 July 2021 – 6 February 2022
By Paul Joseph