Boston's Best Outdoor Festivals: A Guide

Boston's Best Outdoor Festivals: A Guide

The bustling city of Boston is famed for more than its rich history and sports culture; it's also home to a vibrant array of annual outdoor festivals. Covering a broad range of interests and offering everything from music, to food, to art, these gatherings inject a dose of lively energy into the city's atmosphere, drawing in locals and tourists alike. Whether you're a diehard festival lover or looking for something unique to add to your Boston itinerary, this guide will unveil the top outdoor festivals to mark on your calendar.

1. Boston Calling Music Festival

Every year, during the spring season, the Boston Calling Music Festival takes over the Harvard Athletic Complex for a memorable three-day musical extravaganza. Started in 2013, the festival has rapidly grown in popularity and has featured internationally recognized sensations such as Eminem, Mumford & Sons, and Sia. The event also hosts a comedy and film experience curated by Academy Award-winning actress, Natalie Portman.

2. The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular

No list would be complete without mentioning the stunning Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, an annual Fourth of July party. The Boston Pops Orchestra's performance is accompanied with the grand finale of a stunning fireworks display over the Charles River. It is a quintessential Boston experience that represents the city's patriotic spirit at its best.

3. Boston Local Food Festival

If you are a food lover, Boston's Local Food Festival is an absolute must. Featuring the best of locally sourced and produced food, this festival serves as a gastronomical celebration of New England's culinary industry. The goal is to promote the benefits of locally sourced foods and supporting small, sustainable farms. With dozens of vendors and cooking demonstrations, there's something tasty for everybody; the only requirement is a healthy appetite.

4. St. Patrick's Day Parade

Every March, South Boston transforms into a lively, green-filled celebration for the St. Patrick's Day Parade. This is one of the biggest events in the city and a true testament to Boston's strong Irish cultural roots. Revelers can expect eye-catching floats, bagpipe music, traditional Irish dances, and plenty of energetic revelry.

5. Boston Harborfest

As one of the country’s largest Fourth of July festivals, the Boston Harborfest serves as a weeklong celebration of Boston’s maritime and colonial history. This festival encapsulates Boston's rich history, offering over 200 daily events including historical reenactments, harbor cruises, walking tours, and concerts.

6. ArtBeat Festival

The ArtBeat Festival takes place in Davis Square, one of Boston's most vibrant neighborhoods. This community-centric festival is hosted by the Somerville Arts Council and features an array of local artists, musicians, and performers. It's a perfect opportunity to engage with Boston's diverse and creative art scene.

7. Outside The Box Festival

As Boston’s largest performing arts festival, the Outside The Box Festival aims to inspire and encourage creativity across all sectors of the community through showcasing local talents. The festival, which stretches over five days, features a range of performances from music, to dance, to theater, all offered free to the public.

These are some sundry offerings found within Boston's lively festival landscape. Whether you're a music enthusiast, a foodie, a history buff, or an art lover, there's something for every passion in this remarkable city.


With an events calendar as broad as Boston's, there are opportunities for fun and entertainment at every corner. Each festivity reflects the city's dazzling culture in its way, generating an inclusive and lively atmosphere where all are welcome. So, next time you find yourself in the great city of Boston, embrace its history, commemorate its heritage, sample its delicious food, and couple it with an outdoor festival experience that you will never forget.