What To Do In Boston This Summer, Because You Can Only Spend So Long In A Swan Boat

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There is nothing like summer in New England, especially in Boston. The city turns into a blissful playground of outdoor concerts, theater, al fresco dining, and rooftop gatherings—not to mention sea breezes from the beaches and harbor side waterfront views. Boston's parks blossom to their full potential.

Tour guides can give you a rundown of the city’s well-known summer destinations— Swan Boats in the Public Garden, Boston Common, Fenway Park and the Faneuil Hall Marketplace. While these sites are certainly worth a visit, you’ll find the locals of Boston frequenting lesser known locations throughout the city. This is why we partnered with Crocs to create a guide to having fun in the sunshine like a true Boston native. From grabbing the traditional lobster roll to watching the best fireworks show ever, here's how to take advantage of the sunny skies.

Best Outdoor Dining

The Barking Crab

Dining outside adds a certain something to your typical foodie experience, and there’s nothing better than people-watching with a friend while a cool summer breeze passes by. For a fun night out (crab-claw-cracking tools included), visit waterfront spot The Barking Crab, right on the edge of Fort Point Channel. It’s the quintessential laid-back summer restaurant, complete with nautical ambience, oyster shooters, and all the luscious King Crab legs you could dream of.

Stephanie's On Newbury

Craving trendy shops rather than buckets of seafood? Dine al fresco at upscale American restaurant Stephanie’s on Newbury. If you can snag a seat on the patio, you'll be able to watch thousands of shoppers stroll down gorgeous Newbury Street. Stephanie’s also boasts a huge menu, with offerings from the quintessential lobster roll to the popular pecan-crusted goat cheese salad.

Best Outdoor Performance Venues

The Hatch Shell on the Esplanade

The Boston Pops perform at the outdoor Hatch Shell on the Esplanade every summer, and mind-blowing fireworks light up the Charles River as the evening wears on. Even better? The Pops frequently feature nationally-recognized performing acts, from The Beach Boys to Jennifer Hudson to Martina McBride. While being at the Hatch Shell is an experience in its own right, you'll want to catch their beloved Fourth of July performance to get the full effect.

Best Place To Have Fun By Foot

Freedom Trail

In Boston, you can take a hike without even leaving the city limits. For the directionally challenged, there’s even a red line (or red brick road) drawn on the street that will lead the way. What are we talking about? Boston’s historic 2.5 mile Freedom Trail, a path that guides you on a walking tour of 16 of the city’s most important historic locations. It begins on the Boston Common near the Park Street T stop, and you can download a map or app to follow it with or without a guide. You’ll get to see the city on foot, and learn its history while you’re at it—score!

Best Outdoor Nightlife

The Whiskey Priest

A roof deck. On the waterfront. With live bands. Sold, sold, sold. Irish bar and restaurant The Whiskey Priest (off Seaport Boulevard) features dining and DJ-accompanied dancing on Thursdays, and bands every Friday and Saturday night. It’s the perfect place for a casual, rollicking Boston summer night out on the water -- without actually taking to sea.

Best Outdoor Festivals

South End Open Market @ SoWa

The South End Open Market @ SoWa, situated in the heart of one of Boston's most picturesque neighborhoods, takes place each Sunday from May through October. It features the indie-chic work of local artisans from all around New England, selling items from vibrant design pieces to hand-crafted jewelry to unique clothing. Added bonus: the gourmet food trucks of the city flock to 540 Harrison Ave. every Sunday.

Outside The Box

Exciting news for summer in Boston: the Outside The Box performing arts festival is returning to the city this year for six days from July 14-19. It will feature over 70 acts, as well as a variety of cultural and foodie offerings for festival-goers. This festival is kid-friendly and offers entertainment options from dance troupes to local theater to country music performances.

Best Places To Cool Off

Revere Beach

Boston locals often cool off at the nostalgia-inducing Revere Beach. Known as “America’s First Public Beach,” it was founded in 1896. Revere also hosts an insanely impressive sand-sculpting festival every summer; this year it takes place July 24-26.

Best View

Top Of The Hub

There’s no question about it: The view from the Top of the Hub restaurant at the tippy-top of the Prudential Center is one of the most breathtaking sights in Boston. With brunch and dinner on offer, you can stop by in the morning for mimosas and eggs Benedict, then come back for dinner to grab a delicious seared swordfish, all while taking in the best panorama of the city. If you prefer, stop by without grabbing a bite to eat just to enjoy the views from the lounge with beverage in hand.

This post is sponsored by Crocs.