From film screenings to concerts on the harbor, culture gets a breath of fresh air in Boston. This is your chance to make the most of a sunny, but all-too-brief, season.
Catch a flick under the stars.
On Fridays in August, families spread out on the Esplanade for long-established favorite Free Friday Flicks—screenings include the Smith/Jones-led “Men in Black 3” and Tim Burton’s hilarious “Beetlejuice.” DCR Hatch Memorial Shell, Storrow Drive, Boston
Couples in need of cocktails or fish and chips can check out Boston Harbor Hotel’s more refined Summer in the City series featuring Movie Night Fridays through Aug. 29 with silver screen classics like “Vertigo” and “Cool Hand Luke.” Rowes Wharf, Boston
On Saturdays through Aug. 30, movies like “The Little Mermaid” and “Despicable Me 2” captivate the under-10 set on the South Garden of the Prudential Center for the Magic 106.7 Family Film Festival. The Shops at Prudential Center, 800 Boylston St., Boston
Forget about being cooped up in a theater or a club.
Not only is Boston Public Library an incredible repository of literature and art, it acts as concert hall on Wednesday evenings and Friday afternoons for Concerts in the Courtyard. Head for the idyllic central garden tucked inside the McKim building, where local musicians serenade passersby with sounds of jazz, pop, funk and world music. Catch indie folk singers Darlingside (Aug. 6), Boston Lyric Opera (Aug. 8), improv trumpeter Jason Palmer (Aug. 15) and jazz-blues act The Ron Murphy Band (Aug. 27). Full schedule online. 700 Boylston St., 617.536.5400
There's a music two-fer at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston. Harborwalk Sounds is a free Thursday night live music series featuring Berklee College of Music’s best acts. Snag a seat on the outdoor pavilion with Boston Harbor as a backdrop and hear notes from Australian singer-pianist Sarah McKenzie (Aug. 7), South Korean jazz singer Song Yi Jeon (Aug. 14), Oyinda and Bigfoot Wallace’s ethereal electronica (Aug. 21) and female funk-pop collective Common Thread (Aug. 28). 6-8:30 pm. On Fridays, the ICA introduces Wavelengths its inaugural DJ and concert presentations featuring avant-garde artists from Boston and beyond, including Thomas Arsenault’s Mas Ysa (Aug. 8), Juliana Huxtable of NYC (Aug. 15), and local synth poppers Hooray for Earth (Aug. 22). The series wraps Aug. 29 with a summer DJ party. Special bonus: featured pop-up restaurants, like Island Creek Oysters and Pastoral. $15-20. 100 Northern Ave., Boston
Boston Harbor Hotel’s Summer in the City series continues weekly with three nights of performances, local soul bands on Tuesday, Sinatra-era classics on Wednesday and blues vocalists like Toni Lynn Washington and Greg Burroughs on Thursday. Rowes Wharf, Boston
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston's Concerts in the Courtyard features veteran folksinger Patty Larkin (Aug. 6), the jazzy Hot Club of Cowtown (Aug. 13), mandolinist Sierra Hall (Aug. 14), world music/avant-garde group the Debo Band (Aug. 20), and David Maxwell and Maximum Blues (Aug. 27). $30. 465 Huntington Ave., Boston
On Wednesday evenings, Boston Landmarks Orchestra sets up shop at the Hatch Memorial Shell hosting a variety of free concerts aimed at the classical crowd. On Aug. 6, Boston Lyric Opera and conductor David Angus perform bits from operas by Mozart and Verdi along with the orchestra. Following concerts include spirituals, rhapsodies and American standards.
Don't miss out on these summer-only experiences.
Snag a cabana and a ginger caipirinha for a sexy day spent at RTP @ the Colonnade Hotel, Boston’s only outdoor roof-top pool, towering 12 stories over the Back Bay and featuring sights like the Christian Science Plaza, the Prudential Center, and Huntington Avenue. While this season marks the pool’s 43rd, it debuts a completely redesigned experience filled with chic chaises longues, bamboo flooring, and a new full-service bar. Chef Nick Calias’ menu is as hot as a sunny day, with dishes like chilled Yucatan “Volcano” shrimp and spice-rubbed swordfish tacos. RTP is busi- est at night (until 10 pm), but early risers can participate in the Sunrise Salutation yoga class on Wednesdays at 7 am. Open to public M-F 8 am-5 pm ($40), M-F 5-10 pm (free), Sa-Su hotel guests only. 120 Huntington Ave., Boston
Make the most of the Rose Kennedy Greenway. A verdant escape amid the Financial District, this park features a ton of things to do. Take a spin on the whimsical, ‘old-fashioned,’ custom-built Greenway Carousel; $3 gets you a seat on a googley-eyed cod. Or, splash it up in the lively and popular Rings Fountain or the Chinatown Stream. Appreciate the work of contemporary artists like Matthew Ritchie. Grab a grassy seat for live music: Boston Calling Block Party in Dewey Square Thursday and Berklee grads on Friday near the North End. Or shop for fruit, snacks and locally made ice cream at Boston Public Market (M-Th) and artisan-made wares at Greenway Open Market (Sa).
Although the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area is located just offshore of the city, many local landlubbers don’t even realize they’re there. (Fun fact: Author Dennis Lehane set his psycho-horror story “Shutter Island” on one.) Seven are served by ferry, which makes it very easy to beat the heat and try fun new things, from free beginner sea kayaking lessons or family kite-making and flying on Spectacle Island, to the Peddocks Island-based history and geology talks and free tours of turn-of-the-century Fort Andrews, to all things Civil War on Georges Island, including a kid dress-up event with clothes from the 1860s and lawn games of the era like Graces and Hoops. Adults favor sunset clambakes and the walking tour/digital photography class that captures nature at its best.