Summer is finally here and there’s no better time to get outside with the kids than right now. Whether you’re headed to the beach or going on a picnic, outdoor fun abounds during this season. And one of the best ways to soak it up is at Boston’s many summer festivals. The 10 listed here are all super kid-friendly and will make for a perfect summer day.
Top image is of Boston's Dragon Boat Festival. Photo courtesy of Massachusetts Office of Tourism
Dragon Boat Festival
Where: Weeks Footbridge, Charles River
When: June 10-11
Watch more than 50 teams race their dramatic looking dragon boats on the Charles all weekend, starting at 7 am each day. There are also arts and crafts, delicious Asian food, and lots of cultural performances to keep kids entertained each day.
Summer Solstice Celebration
Where: Harvard Museums of Science & Culture, Cambridge
When: June 21 from 5 pm-9 pm
Summer festival season starts with a bang at the Summer Solstice Celebration at the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture. This free event is sure to perk up your Monday with live music, dance and activities for all ages. The event also includes free admission to Harvard Semitic Museum, Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Peabody Museum of Archeology & Ethnology and Harvard Museum of Natural History. Get dinner and dessert from Bon Me and Ben & Jerry’s.
Where: Verrill Farm, Concord
When: June 24 from 11 am-3 pm
Local strawberry season is a true sign of summer and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate these succulent fruits than at the Strawberry Festival at Verrill Farm. Come to the farm to pick your own strawberries and enjoy treats like strawberry shortcakes. Live music sets the scene for hay and pony rides throughout the day. Budding chefs can even enter the Strawberry Dessert Contest. If you're looking for even more fruity fun, check out these other local strawberry festivals.
There's a flurry of patriotic fun to be had at Harborfest. Photo courtesy of the Massachusetts Office of Tourism
When: June 30-July 4
One of Boston’s most patriotic festivals, Harborfest, takes place over four days in early July to celebrate our country’s independence. Events are spread out throughout the city and many are family friendly. Top picks with kids include live music and a movie screening of Yankee Doodle Dandy at Christopher Columbus Park and the Long Wharf Concert & Fireworks.
Where: Davis Square, Somerville
When: July 14-15
Somerville has a ton of festivals throughout the year, but one of the best—and most kid-friendly—is ArtBeat. The fun kicks off Friday night with live music in Seven Hills Park in Davis Square. Bring a picnic or buy food from one of the many vendors and make an evening of it. The main festival takes place on Saturday when Davis Square gets shut down to cars and opens to pedestrians. There’s more live music, food, kids’ activities, and of course, art.
Kids can get in on the action at the Revere Beach Sand Sculpting Festival. Photo courtesy of Kristin Shoemaker via Flickr
Revere Beach Sand Sculpting Festival
Where: Revere Beach
When: July 21-23
The Revere Beach Sand Sculpting Festival is the largest such event on the East Coast, drawing 500,000 spectators. Every summer, artists work with nothing but sand and water to create works of art on the beach that are quite a sight. In addition to the sand masterpieces, the festival includes a Kid’s Zone and Learning Center, plus food trucks, amusement rides and fireworks.
Lowell Folk Festival
Where: Downtown Lowell
When: July 28-30
Take in sounds from around the world, including music from Ireland, Africa, Portugal, Greece and many other locales, at the Lowell Folk Festival. In addition to the lively tunes, there’s a craft fair, food vendors and street performers like jugglers and international dance troupes. This kid-friendly festival even has a Family Activity Area with crafts and games like bean bag and ring toss.
West End Children’s Festival
Where: Thoreau Path, Boston
When: August 19 from noon-3 pm
Come to the West End of Boston for its annual Children’s Festival, one of the largest family events in the neighborhood. The afternoon will include games, food and entertainment completely free for attendees. There will be kids’ activities like interactive arts and crafts, athletic programming and cultural experiences led by various Boston businesses and organizations.
Where: Assembly Row
When: Sept 8-10 from noon-8 pm
If you're looking for the perfect end-of-summer family fest, Riverfest has it all. From live music to a sidewalk sale to dedicated children's activities, there is something for every family member (for free!). Be sure to stay for the epic fireworks display at sunset.
A colorful parade at the Cambridge Carnival. Photo courtesy of gGraphy at Flickr
When: September 10 from noon-7 pm
Cambridge Carnival, a celebration rooted in African traditions, is the city’s largest festival. One of the highlights of this colorful, diverse fest is a lively parade with unique music and costumes. The carnival also features a KidsFest that includes stilt walking demos, storytelling, face painting, balloon art and much more.
Boston Mini Maker Faire
Where: Boston Children’s Museum
When: Sept 17 from 10 am-5 pm
The Mini Maker Faire is coming back to the area outside the Children’s Museum on Fort Point Channel this summer. The all-ages event celebrates creativity in all its forms, from technology and engineering to arts and crafts and design. The whole family can get in on the action and everyone will be inspired by the innovation on display.
Original piece posted in 2016; updated by Lucie T in 2017
Revere Beach Sand Sculpting Festival. Photo by Matt Chan/CC BY-ND 2.0