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Movies in the park, beaches, rooftop bars, and more of Christopher Muther’s favorite Boston summertime things

A couple enjoys sunset at Pleasure Bay Beach in South Boston.Christopher Muther/Globe Staff

Can someone please explain the fascination with getting out of Boston for the summer? I understand the lure of the Cape and Islands, the call of coastal Maine, and the lovely sandy-bottom lakes and ponds with minnows waiting to tickle your ankles. But there are advantages to staying in Boston. The streets have emptied (just avoid Newbury Street and the North End at all costs), and the weather is finally suitable for grabbing a Blue Bike and peddling along the Emerald Necklace. Students are (nearly) gone, traffic is (somewhat) less soul-crushing, and you can (usually) get a table at that restaurant you’ve been meaning to check out.

Have I sold you yet?


Let me offer a teaser of some of my favorite things, and my list is more fun than anything Rodgers and Hammerstein ever set to music. What’s the big deal about brown paper packages tied up with string anyway? OK, I’m getting sidetracked. “The Sound of Music” can do that. Let me walk you through a few of my favorite Boston summertime things, no whiskers, kittens, or warm woolen mittens required.

PLEASURE BAY BEACH, South Boston: City denizens head for Castle Island, as well they should. The fried clams and soft serve ice cream at Sullivan’s go together like Ernie and Bert. The bros and baes of Southie are partial to M Street Beach. But between those two hot spots lies the more relaxed Pleasure Bay Beach. At dusk, I walk past the yacht clubs that hide behind two-story hedges and head to Pleasure Bay. On a hot night, I continue the walk to Head Island, where the temperature is always 10 degrees cooler, and you can watch the sun sink behind the Boston Skyline.

The Boston Walking City Trail runs 27 miles through several acres of urban green space. It ends at the summit of the Beacon Hill Monument. Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

BOSTON WALKING CITY TRAIL: You’ve walked the Freedom Trail, sauntered along the Emerald Necklace, and finished the Boston Harbor Walk more than once or twice. What’s left? Hiking enthusiast and author Miles Howard has mapped out a 27-mile trail that connects 17 neighborhoods and 30 urban green spaces. Called the Boston Walking City Trail, it begins at the Neponset River Greenway and ends at the summit of the Bunker Hill Monument. Howard has divided the trail into four segments, so there’s no pressure to complete all 27 miles at a time. This is an unofficial trail, but Howard offers an in-depth guide on his website, including options to download printable maps and turn-by-turn trail directions. www.bostontrails.org


DCR MOVIES IN THE PARK, Hatch Memorial Shell on the Charles River Esplanade (Friday), Castle Island (Thursday), Sylvester Baxter Park Somerville (Saturday): When my nieces were still at the stage when they thought I was cool (that yacht has left the marina), I’d bring them to see movies at the Hatch Shell, and they loved it. Get there early to stake out your real estate, bring your dinner, and wait for the sun to set. Movies are family-friendly. You can find the entire schedule at www.mass.gov.

Patrons soak up the scenery at the Lookout Rooftop Bar at the Envoy Hotel in the Seaport.Christopher Muther/Globe Staff

LOOKOUT ROOFTOP BAR, Seaport Boston: The proliferation of hotels in Boston is great for out-of-towners, but it also has gifted locals with some amazing rooftop bars. The grandpapi of them all is the Lookout at the Envoy. It’s massive, has a wide-ranging menu of beers, wine, and spirits, and it even has fire pits. Yes, please. In nearby South Boston, the Cambria serves food and adult beverages high above the city, and in Cambridge, you can dine al fresco at the Blue Owl on the rooftop of the Sonder. When it comes to culinary choices, the Blue Owl is the best of the batch.


Lookout Rooftop Bar, 70 Sleeper St., Boston. 617-530-1538, theenvoyhotel.com; Cambria Boston Rooftop Lounge, 6 West Broadway, Boston. 617-752-6681, cambriaboston.com/dining; Sonder 907 Main, 907 Main St., Cambridge. 617-300-0956, blueowlcentralsq.com

ENJOY BOSTON HARBOR IN SOMEONE ELSE’S BOAT: Unless your name is Uncle Pennybags, opportunities to spend time in a private boat on the harbor come along as frequently as a solar eclipse. Not anymore, my friends. A company called Boston Electric Boats lets you pretend you own a boat. Find 12 of your closest friends and rent a boat for $500 for two hours. That may sound pricey, but according to my abacus, that’s about $42 a person. The boats are easy to maneuver, and the top speed is a whopping 6 mph, so it’s pure leisure. BYOWhatever-you-want. If you can’t find a designated captain in your group, you also have the option to hire someone to drive for you.

India Wharf Marina, East India Row, Boston. 617-981-5684, electricboatsboston.com

Christopher Muther can be reached at christopher.muther@globe.com. Follow him @Chris_Muther and Instagram @chris_muther.