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Things to Do

Fun things to do around Boston this summer

Your calendar of events, music, theater, and more for the season.

Circus Smirkus will be in Waltham July 28-30. handout


Summer Disco Party / June 23

Dance — er, roll the night away and honor disco queen Donna Summer. This roller-disco party on City Hall Plaza features a performance by Summer’s sister Mary Gaines Bernard. Bring your own sequined bell bottoms; skates will be available to rent. Free. 617-635-3911; boston.gov

The Central Flea / June 25

Prospect Street in Central Square transforms into a “Brooklyn-style” shopping destination. Local vendors will sell vintage and antique finds, handmade crafts, imported goods, and more as live music plays and food trucks cook. Free. newenglandopenmarkets.com

Boston Harborfest / June 29 - July 4 


Celebrate Independence Day in a Revolutionary War hot spot. Festivities include modern activities like scavenger hunts, tours of significant sites like the Old North Church, and, on the Fourth, a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence. Various locations. Most events free. 617-439-7700; bostonharborfest.com

JP Porchfest / July 8

On more than 90 porches throughout Jamaica Plain, over 200 bands will stage casual outdoor concerts. In addition to local musicians and dancers, artists will perform spoken word poetry, theater, and comedy. Free. jpporchfest.org

ArtBeat 2017 / July 14-15

With 75 craft vendors, live music and dance performances, and more, this Davis Square festival is a hotbed of creativity. This year’s theme is “voice” and using art as a form of activism and speech. 617-625-6600; somervilleartscouncil.org

“Old Ironsides” Afloat Again! / July 23

After being on dry land for two years while being restored, the USS Constitution will make its way back into the water at the Charlestown Navy Yard looking as good as new. The adjacent museum dedicated to the 220-year-old vessel will be open all night after the frigate returns to the harbor. 617-426-1812; ussconstitutionmuseum.org


3d Annual Summer Gospel Fest / August 5

Institute Park in Worcester plays host to a celebration of gospel music from rap to reggae to contemporary and beyond. This year’s theme is love. Come for the tunes, stay for the food, activities, and giveaways, including free pie. Free. spirituallyfabulous.com


Outdoor Summer Film Series / June 29, July 13, July 27, August 10

Wellesley College’s Davis Museum stays open late to host outdoor screenings of The Little Mermaid, Song of the Sea, Ponyo, and The Iron Giant with free popcorn for everyone — plus free beer for parents (21+). Free. 781-283-2051; wellesley.edu

WGBH FunFest / July 15

Kid-friendly musicians Ben Rudnick & Friends, Matt Heaton, and Semi Good Lookin’ Band will be hitting the stage. While enjoying all-you-can-eat ice cream, kids can get their faces painted, jump in a bouncy house, and meet Arthur and Clifford the Big Red Dog. $10 per person, $35 for four. wgbh.org

Kidz Bop Kids: Best Time Ever Tour / July 19

Youngsters can see kids just like them on stage singing family-friendly versions of pop hits. The national tour comes to the Cape Cod Melody Tent, delighting families with songs both kids and parents can groove to. From $36.50. 508-775-5630; melodytent.org

Circus Smirkus / July 28-30

Clowns between the ages of 10 and 18 make up this youth circus troupe. For seven weeks, they take their show Midnight at the Museum and their big top tent around New England, including a stop at Gore Place in Waltham. Adults $26, ages 7-12 $22, ages 2-6 $18. 802-533-7443; smirkus.org


Aesop’s Fables / August 9-12

The Lion and the Mouse, Boston favorite The Tortoise and the Hare, and more classic tales for children become larger than life at Brookline’s Puppet Showplace Theater. Red Herring Puppets stages the stories with artistic puppetry, music, and rhyme. $12. 617-731-6400; puppetshowplace.org


Make Music Boston / June 21

To celebrate the summer solstice, Boston will bustle with live music at venues all over town, including Boston Common, the Lawn on D, the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, the Museum of Fine Arts, CityPOP Egleston, and Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Dozens of artists will take part in the local incarnation of international Make Music Day. Free. makemusicboston.org

Pronoun / June 26

Up-and-coming indie artist pronoun, a.k.a. Alyse Vellturo, comes home to Boston to perform an 18+ show at Great Scott. The Berklee alum has performed at South by Southwest and lit up Spotify with her single “A Million Other Things.” From $10. 617-566-9014; greatscottboston.com

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill: Soul2Soul the World Tour / July 7-8

The king and queen of country music will rock the TD Garden. In addition to hits from their extensive solo catalogs, the duo will perform “Speak to a Girl,” the first track from an album scheduled for release later this year. From $31. 800-745-3000; tdgarden.com


Reggae in the Park / July 14

This lively concert combines the great outdoors, animals, and breezy island tunes. Jamaican performers Beres Hammond and Sizzla will take the stage in the greeting area at Franklin Park Zoo, and food vendors will be on site. $58. 617-991-4512; reggaeintheparkboston.com

Diana Ross: In the Name of Love Tour / July 27

The Motown queen heads to the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion to perform Supremes hits like “Where Did Our Love Go” and more, plus singles from her solo career like “I’m Coming Out.”  From $76. 800-982-2787; livenation.com

Lowell Folk Festival / July 28-30

Musical performances of all genres — Afro-Venezuelan, African-American gospel, zydeco, Appalachian song, and more — take over the streets of downtown Lowell. Equally diverse food, street performers, and artwork accompany the tunes. Free. 978-970-5000; lowellfolkfestival.org

Hans Zimmer / July 29

Film composer Hans Zimmer opens up about his decades-long career. In a two-part show at the Boch Center Wang Theatre, Zimmer will play his works from movies like Gladiator, then showcase reimaginings of his work in Inception and more. From $49.50. 800-982-2787; bochcenter.org

Belle and Sebastian with Andrew Bird / August 2

Scottish favorites Belle and Sebastian are on tour in support of their ninth and latest album, Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance. Joining them at the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion is Andrew Bird, whose folksy sound will add to an evening of soft, heartfelt music. 800-982-2787; livenation.com


Earth Wind & Fire and Chic / August 5

Get Le Freak on at this groovy show, part of 2054 The Tour. Soul and R&B super group Earth Wind & Fire is on the road with Chic, featuring music legend Nile Rodgers, and causing ’70s flashbacks across the country. Part of the TD Garden seating area will offer extra room for the audience to dance. From $35. 800-745-3000; tdgarden.com

Jimmy Buffett / August 19

Margaritaville branches out to the Xfinity Center in Mansfield. Sing along with your fellow Parrotheads as Jimmy Buffett performs hits from his almost 50-year career with the Coral Reefer Band. From $82. 800-745-3000; livenation.com


Ignite: Luminarium’s 7th Anniversary Gala & Showcase / June 24

The contemporary dance troupe celebrates its anniversary with a one-of-a-kind event at the Somerville Armory. Drink beer, bid on items in the silent auction, and enjoy “birthday” cake. $30. 617-477-4494; luminariumdance.org

Tango in the Park / Starting July 8

Argentine tango comes to Rowes Wharf Plaza on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway on summer Saturdays. Take a lesson in the romantic dance style from professionals, accompanied by both traditional and modern music. Free. bostontangointhepark.com

Open Rehearsal: New Work for Goldberg Variations / July 15

Classical pianist Simone Dinnerstein and choreographer Pam Tanowitz wrap up a week in residence at the ICA with a performance by seven dancers set to Bach’s Goldberg Variations. (They plan to return in December with the finished piece.) Free with museum admission. 617-478-3103; icaboston.org

The Future of Our Worlds / July 22-23

African-American women’s dance collective Skeleton Architecture spends a week at the ICA exploring group creation and improvisation, leading up to public workshops on Saturday and a final performance on Sunday. Free with museum admission. 617-478-3103; icaboston.org

Landmarks Dance Carnival / August 23

Students from Camp Harbor View and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston partner with the Boston Landmarks Orchestra for a performance of multicultural music and dance. Irish and Brazilian dancers will help set the mood and get the Hatch Shell audience on its feet. Free. 617-987-2000; landmarksorchestra.org


Mary Poppins / June 23 - August 20

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! The story of the magical nanny Mary Poppins and young Jane and Michael Banks plays the outdoor theater at Prescott Park, on the Portsmouth waterfront. Blanket $55, table $45. 603-436-2848; prescottpark.org

Angels in America, Part 1 and Part 2 / July 20 and 27

The National Theatre broadcast of Tony Kushner’s groundbreaking play about the AIDS crisis features Andrew Garfield, Nathan Lane, James McArdle, Denise Gough, and Russell Tovey “captured live” from London. Each part is about four hours long. At the Regal Fenway Stadium 13 and other venues. ntlive.nationaltheatre.org.uk

Finding Neverland / August 8-20

Finding Neverland imagines the story of J.M. Barrie, the playwright who created Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, and Captain Hook. The touring company of the Broadway musical based on the movie of the same name comes to the Boston Opera House. From $40. 866-523-7469; boston.broadway.com


Tim and Eric: 10 Year Anniversary Awesome Tour / July 12-13

Get weird with one of comedy’s most idiosyncratic duos. The Berklee Performance Center is a stop on the tour celebrating the 2007 debut of Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim’s Adult Swim cult classic, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! From $42.50. 617-747-2261; berklee.edu

Cure for the Common Comedy / August 27

Chicago improv institution The Second City, which kick-started the careers of legends like Chris Farley, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Mike Myers, and countless others, brings its latest stars-to-be to the Wilbur. $25. 617-248-9700; thewilbur.com


Roxbury International Film Festival / June 22 - July 1

Catch documentaries, shorts, and features about everything from an Afro-Cuban a cappella group to Parliament Funkadelic, divisions within the black community to sports as a vehicle out of the inner city, and much more. Events take place at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Haley House Bakery Cafe, and Hibernian Hall. roxburyinternationalfilmfestival.com

The Coolidge at the Greenway / June 27, July 18, August 8

Lie back under the stars and watch classic films in the Wharf District Park on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway. The Coolidge Corner Theatre presents 35mm prints of Twister (1996), Back to the Future (1985), and the 1933 hit King Kong. Free. 617-734-2500; coolidge.org

Films at the Gate Festival / August 25-27

This annual event at Chinatown Park fosters unity and focuses on the Asian-American experience. The schedule includes classic kung fu films as well as shorter contemporary movies made by immigrants and community members. Free. 617-482-2380; asiancdc.org


Juneteenth /June 21

An artful celebration of African-American culture, Juneteenth includes a one-man play about jazz musician Charlie “Bird” Parker, special exhibitions, and more. The holiday (actually June 19) commemorates the freeing of slaves at the end of the Civil War. Free. 617-267-9300; mfa.org

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Neighborhood Nights / July 13, July 27, August 10

Art making and live music combine to welcome locals to these family-friendly events. The first features yoga and planting. The second focuses on jazz and the Boston art scene. The series finishes with a block party outside the museum. Free after 5 p.m. 617-566-1401; gardnermuseum.org

Aaron Curry: Grove /Opening July 15

Three vibrant, zany sculptures alight on the front lawn of the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. The abstract work of Los Angeles-based artist Aaron Curry draws on cartoons, science fiction, and stagecraft. Adults $14, seniors $12, students $10, 12 and under free. 781-259-8355; decordova.org

Dana Schutz / Opening July 26

The ICA showcases Dana Schutz, whose painting of Emmett Till made waves at this year’s Whitney Biennial. She creates large-scale works with people in action, often focused on women doing everyday tasks or breaking boundaries. Adults $13, seniors $13, students $10, 17 and under free. 617-478-3103; icaboston.org

It’s Alive! /Opening August 12

Beware: Rare posters, props, costumes, and more from some of history’s scariest horror and sci-fi films are coming to the Peabody Essex Museum. Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett’s personal collection explores the evolution of the genre from 1931’s Frankenstein to 1979’s Alien. $20 adults, $18 seniors, $12 students, 12 and under free. 978-745-9500; pem.org  

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