No shortage of al fresco concerts this summer

The MFA’s courtyard is an intimate concert space.
Charlotte Zoller
The MFA’s courtyard is an intimate concert space.

Say what you will about summer in New England — yesterday was dreary; today is gorgeous — but this city gives you plenty of reasons to get outside and hear live music. Here’s a sampling of where to experience al fresco concerts. (Insider’s tip: In case of inclement weather, check with the venue to ensure the event is still happening. In most cases, it will move indoors.)


There are few summer pleasures greater than evenings in the MFA’s scenic courtyard, as the wind whips through the trees and music fills the air. As usual, this year’s programming is across the musical map, from Malian singer-songwriter Fatoumata Diawara (July 17) and seasoned folkies Patty Larkin (July 31) and Peter Yarrow (Aug. 7) to zydeco master C.J. Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band (Aug. 14) and a collaboration between experimental guitarists Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge (Aug. 15). Through Aug. 28, Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m., Museum of Fine Arts. Tickets: $30, $24 for students, seniors, and members. 800-440-6975,


For once there’s no need to keep it down when you’re at the library. Not unlike the offerings on the shelves indoors, this lunchtime series in the BPL’s stately courtyard offers a little something for everyone, from jazz (Lance Houston Jazz Quartet, July 19) to classical (Amaryllis Chamber Ensemble, July 26) to blues (Sarah Borrello, Aug. 16). Through Aug. 30, Fridays at 12:30 p.m., Central Library in Copley Square. Free. 617-536-5400,



Club Passim has long been one of the area’s premiere listening rooms, and in the summer the venerable Harvard Square venue takes its programming onto the streets. Artists who would typically appear at Passim play its two weekly series for lunchtime crowds. The Kendall Square Concert Series offers multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriters (Kellen Zakula, July 10), rowdy roots-rockers (Sarah Blacker, Aug. 14), and folk-pop luminaries (Anne Heaton, Sept. 4). On Thursday afternoons, Passim partners with Berklee College of Music to showcase some of its star students in the acoustic world, including the Western Den (July 18) and Bronwyn Keith-Hynes (Aug. 15). Kendall Square Concert Series run through Sept. 4, Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m., Kendall Square (300 Athenaeum St.). Free. Passim/Berklee Summer Concert Series runs through Sept. 12, Thursdays at 1 p.m., next to Club Passim in the alley between Church and Brattle streets. Free. 617-492-7679,

Jana Leon
Elizabeth Mitchell plays the Regattabar courtyard July 14.


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As part of Berklee Summer in the City, Regattabar presents a free Monday night series with jazz artists of all stripes in the upper courtyard of the Charles Hotel, which houses the music venue. For the wee ones, Regattabar also features a kids’ summer music series on Sunday afternoons from July 14 through Aug. 25, with a variety of family-friendly entertainers such as Elizabeth Mitchell (July 14), Sol y Canto (July 28), and Vanessa Trien (Aug. 18). Those shows begin at 4:30 p.m., and advance tickets are $12. Through Aug. 5, Mondays from 6 to 8 p.m., Regattabar, Cambridge. 617-395-7757,


Also partnered with Berklee, the ICA hosts its free HarborWalk Sounds series on Thursday evenings, displaying some of the school’s rising talent from a range of genres: African roots music (Wambura Mitaru Synergy, July 11), Americana (We Avalanche with the Dwells, July 18), R&B (Cocoa Jackson Lane, Aug. 15), and free-form jazz (Christian Li Group, Aug. 22), among other artists. In August, the ICA comes alive on Friday nights with its popular DJs on the Harbor series, with a particularly strong lineup this year: electro-pop duo Tanlines (Aug. 9), a DJ set from rapper Le1f (Aug. 16), and a night of global dance music courtesy of Picó Picante & Que Bajo?! (Aug. 30). HarborWalk Sounds runs July 11-Aug. 29, Thursdays from 6 to 8:30 p.m., Institute of Contemporary Art (Putnam Investments Plaza). Free. DJs on the Harbor runs Aug. 9-30, select Fridays from 7:30 to 11 p.m. Tickets: $15, $10 for students and members. 617-478-3103,


Throw on your boat shoes and your party hat and hit the high seas with this series, which is offering a smorgasbord of sounds including the fab Fab Four cover band Beatlejuice (July 14), the incisive folk pop of gifted singer-songwriter Lori McKenna (July 21), the grandiose histrionics of the Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra (Aug. 10), the solo stylings of Blue October frontman Justin Furstenfeld (Aug. 11), a ska fiesta with Bim Skala Bim (Aug. 18), and rockers Max Creek (Aug. 25).
July 14-Aug. 25. Saturdays and Sundays. World Trade Center Pier, 200 Seaport Blvd. Varying times and prices. 617-431-1175,

Kayana Szymczak for the Boston Globe
Steve Reidell of the Hood Internet re-cently playing a Rock On! Concert Cruise.


If you’ve been thinking that you want to combine your love for tribute bands with your desire to take a cruise then this series has you covered all summer. Whether you’re a fan of Sublime (Badfish, July 12), Pearl Jam (King Jeremy Pearl Jam Tribute Supergroup featuring members of Backseat Lover and Itchy Fish, July 19), Grateful Dead (Playin’ Dead, Ship of Fools 7, Aug. 2), or Talking Heads (Start Making Sense, Aug. 17) you can enjoy the homages and high times on the harbor. July 12-Aug. 30. Varying days, times, prices. 60 Rowes Wharf.



Downtown will be alive with music this summer as the city spices up the plaza with a variety of shows. Latin music fans can head down for the “Caliente Latin Festival” featuring Jerry Rivera on July 13. The Stylistics hit the scene with their classic soul sounds on July 24. Fred Hammond heads up GospelFest on July 28. For fans of Ol’ Blue Eyes, Michael Dutra will perform “Strictly Sinatra” on Aug. 7. The Boston Urban Music Project presents the “Expanding on the Peace Hip Hop Concert” on Aug. 10. And the eternally cool Roberta Flack will kill us all softly on Aug. 28. July 13-Aug. 28. Various days times. Free.


This popular free series that caters to kids and adults moves to a new location this summer, the Shattuck Picnic Grove. The daytime events with groups like OrigiNation & Boston Rhythm Riders are interactive performances where the whole family can get in on learning new dance steps. And at night, the series offers the old school grooves of the E-Water Band (July 9), R&B vocalist Athene Wilson (July 16), the funky Midnight Crew (July 23), and the dance band Intense City (July 30). July 9-30. Tuesdays,
11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Free.


Here’s a lovely way to break up your work week. Spend your Wednesdays with the Landmarks Orchestra under the stars, by the banks of river Charles. The Orchestra will present a varied menu of composers including Brahms, Strauss, Gottschalk, Copland, Beethoven, and Cole Porter. The orchestra will do several collaborative performances as well, including shows with the Boston Lyric Opera, the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, and what they’re dubbing a “pocket-sized salsa orchestra” for a night inspired by Latin-American song and dance. July 17-Aug. 28. Wednesdays.
7 p.m. Free. DCR Hatch Shell. 617-626-4970,

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