50 things to do this summer
Italian feast and saint festivals in the North End
This summer, head over to the North End to experience a scene straight out of old Italy; the Italian district is host to a number of annual feasts and festivals celebrating Italian saints. The streets will be full of participants and bystanders alike, all watching the confetti fly, the banners sway and the processions make their way through the narrow cobblestone streets. The biggest celebrations are the Fisherman’s Feast of the Madonna on August 12–15 and Saint Anthony’s Feast from August 26–29, where you can expect great food, boisterous crowds and statues covered in dollar bills.
Free outdoor music
What’s better than good music? Good free music! This summer Jazz Boston presents local jazz concerts on Thayer Street in the South End every first Saturday of the month. If orchestral music is more your thing, the Hatch Shell will have free music from the Boston Pops and Landmark’s Orchestra every Wednesday through the end of August, with concerts from Eddie Money and KC & The Sunshine Band sprinkled in for good measure.
Free stargazing at the BU Observatory
Granted, the BU Observatory is open year-round, but it’s much more pleasant to hang out up there for the evening when you can see the stars instead of your breath. Every Wednesday night (weather permitting) Coit Observatory opens up its facilities for public viewings of the stars. The viewing starts at 8:30, lasting about hour, and promises to finally teach you your Andromedas from your Milky Ways. Free, 8:30–9:30pm; Wednesdays, 725 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston (617-353-2630, bu.edu)
Take the T to the beach
Did you know that there are a number of awesome beaches just a short train ride away from Boston? Crane Beach provides a shuttle bus from the commuter rail station throughout the summer, and also boasts some of the best salt marshes around, so you can take in some nature while getting some sun. Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea, and Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester are all accessible by public transportation. If you’re not content with merely relaxing by the waves, hop on the train to Plum Island, where you can lie on the beach and also explore the quaint seaside town of Newburyport all in one day—just keep an eye on the time so you don’t miss that last train home. (mbta.com)