Boston 4th of July Weekend 2017 – 10+ Fun Things to Do in July

Going to be in Boston for the 4th of July weekend? Check out our picks for fun activities, events, and more to celebrate our nation’s birthday in the beautiful historic city of Boston.

If you’re looking for Boston 4th of July Weekend 2017 ideas, check out some of these local activities and fun things do in Boston in July, including…

  • Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular
  • Boston Harborfest
  • Walking tour of The Freedom Trail
  • A Fenway Park Tour
  • and more…

Save on Admission to Popular Attractions

Regular admission to a number of these attractions are included on the Go Boston Card.

Choose as you go from dozens of Boston attractions & activities and save up to 55% off combined admission vs paying at the gate.

See all available passes and Boston attractions – Learn more.

Please note, some of these special July and 4th of July weekend events may be separately ticketed and not included on the Go Boston Card.

Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular – Charles River Esplanade
July 4, 2017

boston attractions

By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Patrick Gearhiser [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Each year the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular is the centerpiece of Boston’s 4th of July celebrations.

A free, fabulous live music extravaganza with orchestral performances by the renowned Boston Pops and accompanying vocal performances by local and national stars begins at 8:30 pm Monday, July 4th, on the Charles River Esplanade.

The fireworks themselves will be shot from a number of massive barges that float in the middle of the Charles River. Expect a stunning, half hour-long display of colorful fireworks, set off to finely choreographed music. Keep an eye out for special red, white, and blue fireworks! Bring a camera to capture a few shots of this iconic Boston event.

We recommend any spot along the Charles (it’s a little bit easier to find a seat than at Boston Harbor) or, if you can manage, a spot on Harvard Bridge or the bridge that leads into Paul Revere Park in Charlestown. The annual 4th of July fireworks display draws nearly half a million people to the area.

There’s also a free concert on Sunday, July 3rd at 8:30 pm (although it won’t have any fireworks along with it!)

Getting In: These Boston 4th of July events are free to attend.

Boston Harborfest 2017 – Boston Harbor
June 30- July 2, 2017

The city’s most historic 4th of July festival pays tribute to Boston’s colonial and maritime heritage.

You won’t want to miss out on the 2017 Boston Harborfest. This popular local festival is filled with tons of fun and patriotic, exciting events and things to do like revolutionary re-enactments, free concerts and tours, museum exhibits, cruises, and more.

Most events are being held (you guessed it) on the famous Boston Harbor waterfront. There will also be many participating Boston attractions in the historic downtown area of the city.

Getting In: Boston Harborfest events are free to attend.

Walking Tour of The Freedom Trail

The-Freedom-Trail-Foundation-Walking-Tour-3You could also opt to explore the wealth of historical attractions in Boston – after all, the city played an integral role in the American Revolution and our move towards independence.

Take a walking tour of the Freedom Trail to retrace the footsteps of our early patriots and important historical landmarks, including the Paul Revere House, the Old North Church, the Old South Meeting House, and the Old State House Museum.

Getting In: Freedom Trail Walking Tour tickets are included with the Go Boston Card.

Fenway Park Tour

Fenway-Park-Tour-1While unfortunately the Red Sox are on a long roadtrip during the the early part of July this year, you can still explore the history and fun of Fenway Park on a guided tour.

See all of the park’s historic features, from Pesky’s Pole to Williamsburg to the Lone Red Seat.

Get behind-the-scenes access to areas of the park that most visitors don’t see, too, like press areas and player locker rooms and more.

However, if you’re visiting later in July, then you won’t want to miss the rivalry matchup between the Red Sox and the New York Yankees. The series begins on July 14, 2017.

Getting In: Fenway Park Tour tickets are included with the Go Boston Card.

Summer in the City – Boston Harbor Hotel
Tuesdays – Fridays throughout July

This free festival hosted at the Boston Harbor Hotel lasts all summer long and features a top-notch selection of music and movies the whole family can enjoy. Music ranges from soul to blues to jazz and more, and classic movies are shown each Friday.

This 4th of July, you’ll get to choose from a movie on the day of, or opt to see one the Frida before. Enjoy live waterfront entertainment and al fresco dining at one of the most beautiful hotels in the entire city.

The film schedule has yet to be released for 2017, so check back for more details!

Getting In: Summer in the City film viewings are free to attend

Outdoor Activities

Ride a bike along the river!

Ride a bike along the river!

There are also plenty of festive Boston attractions and things to do during July 4th weekend celebrations. Since July in Boston will be quite warm, you’ll enjoy spending much of your day outdoors.

Check out a Boston bike rental and cruise along the Charles River bike path to watch the firemen and celebration officials set up the fireworks.

You’ve probably seen the famous duck boats on television or in a movie but never had the chance to see them in person. You can remedy that problem and have a quacking good time by going on a Boston Duck Tour.

The tour will take you by some of the top sites in the city including Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market, Bunker Hill, Battery Wharf and of course, the Charles River.

Getting In: Boston Bike Rentals are included with the Go Boston Card. Boston Duck Tour tickets are available as a premium attraction option on the 3-, 5-, and 7-Day Go Boston Cards.

Water Activities & Cruises

Charles-Riverboat-Cruise-4If you want to cool off from the July heat,  enjoy a bit of the water with a USS Constitution Cruise through the Boston Harbor.

This fun excursion out to Old Ironsides is informative and entertaining, as you learn about the history of this famed vessel and her many storied adventures.

Another great option is the Charles River Cruise, which showcases the sights along this famous waterway dividing Boston and Cambridge, like MIT’s campus, Beacon Hill, the Boston Esplanade, and much more.

Getting In: USS Constitution Cruise tickets and Charles River Cruise tickets are both included with the Go Boston Card.

Art Museums & Special Exhibits

institute-of-contemporary-art-boston-museumsArt lovers are always in for a treat with a visit to Boston. With a wide selection of premier art institutions from the iconic Museum of Fine Arts to the cutting edge ICA and more, you’ll find something to inspire you any day of the year.

This July, a number of special exhibits are around to provide that extra bit of excitement for your visit. The MFA is hosting an exhibit of fascinating Inuit Art (beginning July 1), plus Chinese “bapo” (or puzzle) painting (beginning June 17) and “Matisse in the Studio” (closing July 9).

At the Institute of Contemporary Art (or ICA), you’ll find an exhibit of new acquisitions (ongoing), a Steve McQueen film (ongoing), and a showcase of exceptional art from Boston artists (closing July 9).

Getting In: MFA tickets and Institute of Contemporary Art tickets are both included with the Go Boston Card.

Shakespeare on the Common

Love to get in some quality theater, but don’t always have the budget for tickets? Take advantage of one of Boston’s most popular free summer activities on the Boston Common – Shakespeare on the Common.

This free performance by talented local actors is a delight each year, and residents flock to the Common with picnics, blankets, and chairs to enjoy the show. If you want a spot near the stage, you’ll have to arrive early.

This year’s performance is the unbeatable Romeo and Juliet. The play is on from late July to early August, with 2017 dates yet to be confirmed. Showtimes are typically 8 pm during the week and 7 pm on the weekends.

Getting In: Shakespeare on the Common performances are free to attend.

Remember to Save on Attraction Admission

There you go – plenty of fun ideas for things to do in Boston in July to help you plan your 4th of July weekend itinerary.

Remember, many of these great ideas are included on the Go Boston Card, where you can save up to 55% on combined admission vs paying at the gate.

We really hope you consider adding a few of these popular options to your upcoming plans. Enjoy!

Go Boston Card


  1. Hanna says

    There are no fireworks scheduled for July 1 this year. The only fireworks will be on the 4th over the Charles.

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