If you’re on the hunt for some summer fun, look no further! We’ve rounded up a list of 9 places you can see free outdoor concerts in and around the Boston and New-England area this summer. So, grab a blanket, chair, sunscreen, and bug spray, and check out what talent these local spots have to offer!
BROOKLINE, MA — SUMMER CONCERT SERIES AT FISHER HILL RESERVOIR PARK
Grab a picnic blanket and a spot on the greenspace at Fisher Hill Reservoir Park, and enjoy some live music at their summer concert series. The four shows planned for this season are Vanessa Trien & the Jumping Monkeys on July 12th, Mystic Jammers on July 19th, the Daybreakers on August 9th, and Vibe Check on August 16th. The series is put on by Brookline Recreation, who are also advertising a bonus show, “The Sunset Concert,” on August 2nd in an extra unique location: Brookline Golf Course.
CAMBRIDGE, MA — CLUB PASSIM CONCERT SERIES & BERKLEE AFTER FIVE CONCERT SERIES
The Urban Park Roof Garden is one of Cambridge’s best-kept secrets. The green oasis, located on the roof of a parking garage in Kendall Square, opened in June of 2022 and has since hosted a variety of events, from workouts to cooking classes. This year it offers not just one, but two free outdoor summer concert lineups.
First up is the Club Passim Concert Series, running weekly all summer long, from June 7th to August 30th. Perfect for those with their lunchtimes free from work, the acoustic concerts are from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. every Wednesday. Be sure to catch some of the talented acts this summer, such as longtime Boston folk musician Eric Royer on August 16th! Watch as Royer plays bass, drums, two guitars, and the harmonica, plus sings all at the same time using his self-made musical contraption.
The second of the Urban Park Roof Garden’s set of summer shows is a part of the Berklee Summer in the City Concert Series (more info on that below). Tuesdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., visitors to the rooftop can see the wide variety of talent that Berklee has to offer!
ALL AROUND GREATER BOSTON, MA — BERKLEE SUMMER IN THE CITY CONCERT SERIES
From May through early October, the Berklee Summer in the City Concert Series puts on a whopping 400+ free performances across Greater Boston. Hundreds of shows means a huge array of genres and talent. You can catch Berklee School of Music students, alumni, and professors playing everything from jazz to pop to classical. By visiting their website, you can browse what shows to catch either by clicking through their list of venues, or exploring their interactive map with flagged locations. Venue highlights this summer include the Boston Public Library, the Institute of Contemporary Art, and Club Passim.
CAMBRIDGE, MA — CX SUMMER NIGHTS
With live music, local brews, food trucks, lawn games, a photo booth, a plant truck, and more, CX Summer Nights is a hot spot for summer fun! And to sweeten the deal, money raised at the events goes straight back into the community, with all proceeds going to East Cambridge Business Association. CX Summer Nights, located at Cambridge Crossing, runs across dates in June, July, and August. You can check their calendar of events to stay in the loop on when the next Summer Night is taking place. With what is sure to be a great show, be sure to catch local band Couch play on July 20th!
JAMAICA PLAIN, MA — THURSDAYS ON THE LAWN AT THE LORING GREENOUGH HOUSE
The Loring Greenough House writes on their website that their Thursdays On the Lawn are “a party, a reunion, a meeting place, a food fest, a community celebration all rolled into one.” The event takes place weekly on Thursdays, from 4 p.m. to dusk. It features a rotating lineup of musicians, food trucks, a beer garden, and family-friendly activities, meaning there’s something for everyone. Grab a picnic blanket, head to JP, and check out what Thursdays On The Lawn has to offer!
BOSTON, MA — BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY’S CONCERTS IN THE COURTYARD
Libraries are typically known for their quiet, making it quite the surprise that twice weekly all summer long, the Boston Public Library serves as a venue for musical performances. The performances are part of what they call Concerts in the Courtyard. It features hour-long sets from a specially curated lineup of local artists. Concerts in the Courtyard take place at 12:30 p.m. on Fridays—perfect for those working near the BPL who have lunch break—and at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesdays. Check out a Jamaica Plain Saxophone Quartet on Friday, July 21st, or Italian pianist Cesare Panizzi on Wednesday, August 2nd, or really any show you can get to, because you are sure to enjoy!
BOSTON, MA — UNCOMMON STAGE
Not only is the Boston Common the perfect location for a summer stroll, but now, it is home to the Uncommon Stage—Boston’s newest outdoor concert venue! Located on the corner of Tremont and Boylston Street, the Uncommon Stage will feature performances from a variety of local singer-songwriters, bands, and DJs all summer long. This venue is also unique because of its ongoing collaboration with Trillium Brewing Company, so if you are looking for the perfect spot to grab a beer, listen to live music, and soak up the summer sun, look no further! Concert dates and times vary, so make sure to check out the Uncommon Stage Calendar to see upcoming performances.
BOSTON, MA — HATCH SHELL CONCERTS ON THE ESPLANADE
This summer, Landmarks Orchestra is bringing a wholly unique concert experience to the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade. The orchestra—known for celebrating composers of color, women composers, and community collaboration—has curated a season of immersive performances. On July 26th, head to the Hatch Shell to see “Seen-UnSeen: The Symphonic Legacy of Black American Women,” featuring a performance from the Grammy Award-winning drummer Terri Lyne Carrington. Additionally, the orchestra frequently adds elements of dance to these stunning symphonic performances—ballet lovers won’t want to miss their performance of Tchaikovsky’s “Sleeping Beauty” on August 23rd. The power of these performances paired with the venue’s idyllic location (the lush banks of the Charles River) is sure to give attendees a summer concert experience that they’ll never forget.
A BOSTON NEIGHBORHOOD NEAR YOU — PARKARTS CITYWIDE NEIGHBORHOOD CONCERTS & TITO PUENTE LATIN MUSIC SERIES
ParkARTS is bringing free outdoor concerts to Boston’s parks. Sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Department, this series is all about accessibility—with performances in various Boston neighborhoods and a large assortment of musical genres and styles, there is something for everyone to love. For example, Tito Puente Latin Music Series is all about enjoying Latin Caribbean music in Boston’s beautiful parks! Get ready to dance and clap along to infectious rhythms on Thursday evenings all summer long. Catch Clave & Blues at Mission Hill Playground—a performance that’s sure to be spectacular! On July 31st, hear Conscious Reggae Band in Mattapan as you soak up some summer sun, or head to South Boston on August 9th for all things 90s with Be Kind Rewind 90s.