Boston positively sauntered into summer this weekend, to the palpable delight of the sun-soaked thousands who hit the streets Saturday to enjoy the cloudless skies and gentle breeze.

Whether for tourists discovering the city for the first time or long-time residents rediscovering it, Boston stretched itself in the 78-degree sunshine like a princess awakening from slumber, putting on its finest jewels: harbor cruises, street markets, and even an early Independence Day parade.

Along the Rose Kennedy Greenway, people trotted toward the waterfront, swim trunks in hand, or strolled in the shade, pausing to admire carefully cultivated blooms. At Rings Fountain on Milk Street, dozens of children — and some adults — darted through the spraying jets, shrieking with joy.


“Boston on a day like today — there’s nothing better,” said Shannon Lawler, whose niece, 5-year-old Skylar Fitzgerald, took a break from the festivities to sip a Capri Sun.

Nicole Horst, who held her 4-month-old son as her 3-year-old dashed through the water, tried in vain to convince her older son to keep his shoes on.

“It’s wonderful that we have his space that everyone can enjoy on a day like this,” she said. “We all stick it out together in the winter as Bostonians, so it’s great to have this space where everyone can celebrate the beautiful days.”

“Tourists love it, we love it,” she said. “Living here, you don’t take these days for granted.”

At Christopher Columbus Park in the North End, young children climbed aboard Engine 8 from the Boston Fire Department, which was on display as part of the park’s Independence Day celebrations. Others lined up for free face-painting or watched a magician. A parade had wound its way through the park around noon.

Further down the Greenway, Courtney Ottavio, 32, and her sister, Jill Celata, 35, took a break from pushing Ottavio’s four-month-old son, Owen, in a stroller. They had started in the North End and planned to continue all the way to the Seaport.


“A day like this makes you want to go out and rediscover the city,” Celata said. “I drive through town every day because I work here, but it’s not until you get out and walk around that you know what’s going on.”

Hundreds perused the Greenway Open Market, a cropping of white tents that appears every Saturday from May through October along the wharf to sell crafts ranging from pillows to paintings to pottery.

For some Bostonians, the weather was almost too nice to handle.

“It’s usually pretty hot and humid,” said Erin Nelson, 30, who owns a tent selling dog collars and accessories at the market. “So I’m actually kind of cold today,” she laughed.

John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com.