10 easy and fun ideas for your summer bucket list
Before you know it, another Boston summer will be a thing of the past. But there’s still time to take advantage of those quintessential activities you always swear you’re going to do yet let slide into the “I should have done this” pile by the time fall rolls around. Here are 10 classic Boston summer experiences you need to jump on right now — before FOMO and inevitable autumn regret set in.
1. Eat soft serve ice cream on Revere Beach. There’s certain magic to life on Revere Beach. It may not be one of the country’s top tourist destinations (it once was), but it still has a special charm that screams Boston summer. Grab a large soft serve from Kell’s Kreme, and try it with a flavor burst (Kell’s term for syrup infusions in fun flavors like cheesecake and butterscotch.) The gargantuan size may be daunting, but the experience of sitting on a patch of sand while enjoying it is delightful. There may be a dead seagull next to you, but hey, we never said it was Nantucket.
Kell’s Kreme, 437 Revere Beach Blvd., Revere, kellskreme.weebly.com
2. Have a picnic on Georges Island and hunt for ghosts in Fort Warren. The perfect combination of natural wonder and eerie history, Georges Island is a 53-acre spread that’s home to Fort Warren, a Civil War-era structure that was used as both a training facility for Union soldiers and a prison for Confederate officers and government officials. Now, it’s a hotbed for history buffs who favor abandoned ruins and creepy urban legends, like that of the Lady in Black, who is rumored to haunt the island. Pack a picnic, hop the ferry from Boston or Hingham, and enjoy the afternoon in the sunshine.
3. Watch a movie outside. The era of drive-in movie theaters may be long gone, but you can still take in a flick outdoors. There are more highbrow options, like the Boston Harbor Hotel’s “Movies by Moonlight” on their harbor-side terrace (next up, Aug. 2 “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and Aug. 9 “Aquaman”) or options that require nothing more than a blanket and a patch of grass. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston hosts “Sunset Cinema” on their Huntington Avenue lawn once a month through mid-September (on Aug. 1, it’s “2001: A Space Odyssey”), and during August, Faneuil Hall Marketplace will convert the west end of the property into an outdoor cinema to play musicals on the big screen (Aug. 1 “Mamma Mia 2” and Aug. 8 “Hairspray”). There are also several other free outdoor screenings hosted throughout the summer months in local parks.
Boston Harbor Hotel, 70 Rowes Wharf, Boston. bhh.com; Museum of Fine Arts, Avenue of the Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., mfa.org; Faneuil Hall Marketplace, 1 Faneuil Hall Square, faneuilhallmarketplace.com
4. Ride a bike along the entire East Boston Greenway. Start off at Piers Park on the East Boston Waterfront, where you can grab a BlueBike. Pedal your way across the new installation on the Eastie Greenway at Gove and Bremen streets, an explosion of color surrounded by bright blue Adirondack chairs. Make your way through Bremen Street Park and beyond, where you’ll find the paved path running parallel to the Blue Line on one side, and a lush, elm tree-filled canopy on the other. After about 2½ miles, you’ll land at Eastie’s own Constitution Beach — a tame, crescent-shaped waterfront area that looks onto the runway at Logan.
Piers Park, 95 Marginal St., East Boston; Constitution Beach, 799 Bennington St., www.bluebikes.com/
5. Eat a hot dog at Simco’s in Mattapan. Hop aboard the Ashmont-Mattapan High-Speed Line, known for its charming, 1940s-era orange trolleys (which are especially charming when they’re functioning). The ride from Ashmont to Mattapan Square is quite scenic, zooming through the Cedar Grove Cemetery and over the Neponset River. From there, take the 10- to 12-minute walk to Simco’s, a classic hot dog stand easily recognizable by the giant ice cream cone sign out front. You may have to eat sitting on the curb, but table service is overrated anyway.
Simco’s, 1509 Blue Hill Ave., Mattapan. No website but you can find Simco’s on Facebook.
6. Visit the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden. The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum is located in the author’s hometown of Springfield, just an hour-and-a-half outside of Boston. If you pay for entrance to the museum, you also gain entrance to the other museums in the Springfield family, including the Science Museum and the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts. However, the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden outside the museum is totally free, and features a stunning outdoor collection of bronze sculptures made by Seuss’s beloved stepdaughter, Lark Grey Dimond-Cates. Catch classic characters like the Grinch and the Cat in the Hat in all their glory.
Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, 21 Edwards St, Springfield, www.seussinspringfield.org/
7. Hit a dive bar that lets you do scratchies while eating bar pizza. If the South Shore has a trademark dish, it’s bar pizza. It’s greasy, it’s informal, and it’s absolutely delicious. Naturally, it’s best enjoyed in a dank dive bar that you’re always slightly skeptical about entering. Spend a rainy afternoon with your friends in a classic dive, like Rags Tavern or S6 Sports Bar in Quincy. Take a seat next to a local, meander over to the scratch card machine, and make some memories.
Rags Tavern, 375 Washington St., Quincy; S6 Sports Bar, 1550 Hancock St., Quincy
8. Eat pasta on the street at one of the North End’s festivals. Eating pasta? Good. Eating pasta in the street? Even better. During the summer, the North End may be overcrowded with tourists toting Mike’s Pastry boxes, but that doesn’t mean locals can’t revel in the neighborhood, too. There are over a dozen Italian feasts and festivals that parade through the streets of the North End, turning the community into a joyous, music-filled extravaganza. The lineup of food vendors slinging arancini and bowls of ravioli make the experience even better. Coming up: St. Anthony’s Feast, Aug. 23, 24, and 25 on Endicott, Thacher, and North Margin streets.
9. Hit the water. You don’t have to be part of the country club set to hit the high seas. If you want to learn how to use a sailboat, Courageous Sailing in Charlestown will take you and three friends out for a two-hour cruise in a 10-foot keelboat with a trained instructor. Pack some snacks and enjoy lunch in the middle of the harbor. Or if you want to paddle on your own, head to one of the many spots around town where you can rent a kayak by the hour.
Courageous Sailing, Pier 4, Charlestown Navy Yard, Charlestown, courageoussailing.org; Charles River Canoe and Kayak, 1071 Soldier’s Field Road, Brighton, paddleboston.com; Boston Rowing Center, Barking Crab Marina, 88 Sleeper St., bostonrowingcenter.org
10. Use the MBTA’s unlimited weekend $10 commuter rail pass. Now that the MBTA has made their $10 weekend commuter rail pass a permanent fixture, there’s no reason to sit in traffic. Download the MBTA’s mTicket app, and take a morning train on the Newburyport/Rockport line from North Station. Grab a Newburyport train and get off in the historic coastal town, or board a Rockport train and keep going all the way to Manchester-by-the-Sea, where you can spend the day sunning yourself on Singing Beach.