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Maximizing the dogs days of summer in Boston

August 2, 2018

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The sun may be setting on summer, but that doesn’t mean the City is slowing down.

Looking for a free fitness class to help jumpstart your metabolism? Want to enjoy a concert under the stars in the City? We have you covered. City of Boston staff have been busy adding information to in recent weeks. We wanted to highlight some of these programs and events as you try to squeeze the most out of your summer.

Puppets in the parks?

Summer is a busy time for the Parks and Recreation Department, and 2018 is no different. One of the biggest programs they run during the summer is ParkARTS. No matter what you’re looking to do, ParkARTS has something for you.

Throughout the summer, parks are transformed into music venues where Latin groups, swing bands, and full orchestras share the stage. Children’s Artists Workshops give kids the chance to express their creativity while working on fun projects with local artists. Budding artists, ages nine and up, can also take part in watercolor workshops. Movie nights take place every week. There are even puppet shows featuring marionettes made by a professional actor-puppeteer.

Rosalita’s Puppets Marionette Performances at Boston parks
Experience the unique charm of Rosalita’s Puppets featuring marionettes made by professional actor-puppeteer Charlotte Anne Dore.

You can find upcoming events, and a full list of all of the programs, on the ParkARTS website. Most of these free, family-friendly events run through September.

Speaking of events…

There’s always something happening at City Hall. Thanks to the City’s Tourism Department, we now have an even more robust events page to keep you updated on what’s happening. Here are some big events you should keep on your radar.

18th annual GospelFest
(August 12, from 5 - 8 p.m.)

The Mayor's Community Gospel Choir opening a recent GospelFest.
The Mayor's Community Gospel Choir opening a recent GospelFest.

GospelFest is New England’s largest Gospel music celebration and is free and open to all. This gospel festival blends contemporary and traditional gospel melodies, all while showcasing national and local gospel talent.

3rd annual Country in the City Concert
(September 19, from 7 - 9 p.m.)

The 3rd annual Country in the City Concert brings national country talent to the City Hall Plaza stage. Come for the country music, stay for the food trucks!

3rd annual Boston Social Fitness Festival
(September 15, from 7 a.m. - 3 p.m.)

Boston Social Fitness Festival is a free, day-long celebration of getting Boston moving. The event features fun activities for all ages and fitness levels.

Looking for more free ways to get fit?

The fitness festival isn’t the only way you can get moving. Through the end of September, the Parks and Recreation is hosting its summer fitness series in parks across Boston.

These free events have everything. Want to get your heart pumping? Try one of the bootcamps, Zumba, or a cardio dance class. Looking to slow things down? Consider taking a yoga or tai chi class. You can find a weekly class schedule and upcoming events on the summer fitness series website.

Free meals for Boston youth

Last summer, the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics launched the City’s Lunch on the Lawn program. The basic idea? Youth ages 18 and younger could come to City Hall and get a free lunch, with no registration or ID required. The City wanted to make it easy for youth to access a free, healthy meal right in downtown Boston.

This summer, the Office of Food Access picked up the program and expanded it to more than 100 sites across the City. Summer Eats is delivering critical support to children that rely on school meals throughout the year.

food access
Children enjoying a free meal.

The City initiative is part of a larger effort from the state’s Child Nutrition Outreach Program. The state created a Summer Meal site search where you can use your address to find a location near you, or across the whole state of Massachusetts.

Re-imagining Imagine Boston 2030

Imagine Boston 2030 is the first citywide plan in 50 years. The plan defines a vision for Boston leading up to its 400th birthday and beyond.

As of right now, Imagine Boston has a separate website from But, we wanted to make sure the City’s site reflected the importance of the program. Instead of only giving residents the ability to download the full plan as a pdf, we created a more immersive experience.

The updated Imagine Boston 2030 website allows you to interact with our:

  • plan initiatives
  • metrics dashboard
  • data explorer
  • Imagine Boston videos, and
  • Upham’s Corner activation events.

This update comes just in time for a number of summer of events at Upham’s Corner, including our corner market kickoff. We also expect the Imagine Boston team to release a year one report in the coming months.

This blog post was written by Molly Trowbridge, a summer content fellow for the Digital Team. She's currently going into her senior year at UMass Amherst, where she's majoring in Communications and English. Connect with her on LinkedIn.