Boston — Boston, Massachusetts is one of the major American cities that should be on your travel bucket list, if it’s not already.
Founded as the capital of Massachusetts in 1630, Boston has a rich and varied history that can be explored even centuries after its inauguration. Summertime is ideal for taking advantage of the city's legacy in fun and recreational ways. Here are some activities that are popular summer activities for locals, residents and visitors alike, and are highly recommended for immersing in the city's culture.
Attend a Red Sox game at Fenway Park
A summer in Boston would be incomplete without a visit to Fenway Park, dubbed “America's Most Beloved Ballpark.”
Watching the Red Sox at least once during the baseball season is probably the most popular summer activity in Boston because the in-city, metropolitan ballpark is easy and quick to get to via public transportation, and the smell of Fenway Franks is divine!
Additionally, partaking in the 21-year old tradition of singing Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” at the bottom of the eighth inning at every home game, as well as displaying complete sportsmanship as Bostonians do in their own unique way, is unlike any other societal phenomenon.
You’ll be hard pressed to find another park in the country that is as deeply embedded in a culture as Fenway Park is in Boston.
Enjoy live music in the city through the Berklee College of Music’s Summer in the City concert series
For music lovers, the annual Berklee Summer in the City concert series features free performances and festivals throughout Greater Boston by Berklee students, faculty and alumni at beloved venues throughout the city and beyond from May to October.
As part of its 2023 lineup, the series will bring light and sound to beloved locations throughout the city, including the Boston Public Library, the Boston Harbor Islands, Brewer Fountain Plaza at the Boston Common Garden, and the Institute of Contemporary Art. The series will present a variety of musical genres, including blues, Latin, jazz, R&B, soul, pop, hip-hop, folk and classical.
‘View Boston’ from the Prudential Center
View Boston is a new observation deck offering breathtaking views from high above the heart of Boston. Located on the 50th, 51st and 52nd floors of the historic Prudential Center, 360-degree breathtaking views of the city, state-of-the-art immersive exhibits, and more attractions atop one of the tallest buildings in New England are available for residents and visitors of all ages.
Popular observation decks are throughout the world, and in a city like Boston with diverse neighborhoods, unique topography and historic landmarks, this vantage point is unmatched.
Ride the Swan Boats at Boston Public Garden
To find some peace and quiet in the midst of a bustling city, visit 193-year old Boston Public Garden — the country's oldest park and first public botanical garden — to ride its famous Swan Boats, which date back to the 1870s. Exclusively available once the weather is warm, the historic Swan Boats are hidden in the ponds and urban oasis of Boston Public Garden and still run by the original owner's descendants more than 130 years later, providing the quintessential and historic Boston experience.
Find green relaxation and explore history at Boston Common Garden
Boston “The Common” Common Garden is just across the street from Boston Public Garden, giving the impression the two are truly connected to each other. However, history and the landscape indicate that it was formed a century earlier than Boston Public Garden. Enjoy a picnic or a stroll on the green lawn in a flowery setting, which both beautifies Beacon Street and Boston.
The “Embrace” memorial dedicated to Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King came to Boston and attracted large sums of people since its opening in January 2023. It sits on The Common’s Freedom Plaza — which honors 69 local civil rights leaders from the 1950s to the 1970s.
Dr. King was a visible member of Boston's Black community, leading a rally from Roxbury — a predominantly Black neighborhood — to The Common in 1965. King also studied systematic theology at Boston University's graduate school, and Scott King studied music education at the New England Conservatory of Music. The two met in Boston during their studies, making it fit that their meaningful mark is in this historic central location.
In terms of other historical landmarks that have played a large role in pop culture that can be found in this area, Cheers, the bar associated with the retro sitcom of the same namesake, as well as the bench from 1997 Boston-based feature film “Good Will Hunting,” where Robin Williams delivers one of the most iconic monologues in cinematic history.
Exploring these gardens provides convenient access to other parts of the city such as Beacon Hill, Back Bay, the South End, Chinatown and Cambridge.
Take advantage of local vendors and the sunshine at SoWa Open Market every Sunday
During the summer months, Sundays are the best days to find outdoor festivals, markets and activities. Bostonians take advantage of the warm weather at any point available, given how brutal the winter months can be.
You can browse vintage and modern offerings from dozens of local vendors at the SoWa markets, which are organized by handmade craft stands. They feature everything from one-of-a-kind paintings to Boston-themed home goods by local South End galleries, offering something for everyone.
Fit for all ages, you'll also find produce and food stands from local farmers and artisans where visitors can sample gourmet foods, stock up on fresh produce and expand their taste palettes in a lively atmosphere.
Trinity Alicia (she/her/hers) is a Boston-based journalist. Follow her on Twitter: @trinityaliciaa.
Edited by Nykeya Woods