Boston: Beantown, The Cradle of Liberty, The Athens of America, the Hub of the Universe, and most importantly: my home. A place truly near and dear to my heart, Boston is a vibrant city full of delicious seafood, terrible drivers (the lovely Massholes), and the best sports team in the world.

I may be a little biased on the sports team end, but I am an avid Patriots, Bruins, Red Sox, and Celtics fan. While Boston winters can bring ice-cold weather and feet of snow, the summer continuously proves to be an absolute blast. That’s why we decided to put together a comprehensive guide to spending summer in Boston. Grab your Dunkin’ Donuts and head into Boston for these fun summer activities. And, to maximize your time here we also suggest a few of our favorite pieces of gear to bring along with you and our favorite taprooms to grab a drink nearby. It’s going to be a wicked summer.

Your Guide to Summer in Boston

Hike at Blue Hills Reservation

hiking at blue hills reservation

Right outside the bustle of downtown Boston lies Blue Hills Reservation. Stretching over 7,000 acres of land with 125 miles of trails, Blue Hills provides hikers with a view of the entire skyline of the city. It’s a must-stop on our guide to Boston summers. And it’s the perfect place to go on a hike with friends and family after a long week.

What you’ll need:

Hiking daypack – Pack all your hiking essentials in this daypack. This light waterproof bag will help you carry your water bottle, phone, and anything else you may need on your hike.
Water bottle – Hikes can be strenuous, so remember to bring a water bottle and hydrate! I recommend a Hydro Flask, it’ll keep your drinks ice cold.
Portable hammock – As one who can barely walk half a mile without being exhausted, I definitely need to take breaks while hiking. Bring this portable hammock and lounge at the top of the mountain while enjoying some city views.

Best places to drink nearby:

vitamin sea boston guide

Widowmaker Brewing – One of our Spooky Brews veterans, Widowmaker started as a homebrewing passion project in the basement of Co-owner Ryan Lavery. A short drive from Blue Hills, this Braintree-based brewery currently offers styles like its core NEIPA Blue Comet along with fresh releases such as the recently dropped Big IPA, a Triple IPA collab with Untold Brewing. Pick up beers after your hike with a quick phone call or an online order for curbside pickup. Curbside currently remains open Wednesday to Saturday from 12 – 8 PM and Sunday from 12 – 4 PM. If looking to sit and drink with friends, we recommend heading to the Quincy Beer Garden which is open Wednesday to Saturday throughout the summer.

Castle Island Brewing Co. – Brewing one of our top pilsners of the summer, Castle Island Brewing Co. brings juicy brews to customers year-round with the idea that we should all be excellent to each other. Best known for their rotating double IPAs (like the cult classic Robot Ears hazy IPA), the brewery is currently bringing the party to their parking lot due to COVID-19. They’re open Thursday to Sunday, but making a reservation is highly recommended. You can also order ahead online for quick curbside pickup.

Vitamin Sea Brewing – We love Vitamin Sea so much that we named it our best brewery of 2019. A short fifteen-minute drive from Blue Hills, Vitamin Sea Brewing’s plush IPAs, lush fruited sours, sweet stouts, and creative collabs, along with owner Dino Funari’s teddy bear-like personality, won over our hearts. Currently offering Can To Go Sales only, Vitamin Sea’s current beers include Rail to Rail lager, a DIPA collab with The Elovaters, and Due East NEIPA. And, if you aren’t in the mood for a beer, they also offer nitro cold brew coffee.

Whale Watching

boston summer whale watching

Whale, whale, whale, what do we have here? Yes, a classic activity for Bostonians and all incoming tourists: a whale watch off of Boston Harbor. It’s a cliche for a summer Boston guide, but it’s truly a whale of a time! From humpbacks to finbacks, you’ll have the opportunity to see several different species of large whales.

What you’ll need:

Sunglasses – Dodge the blazing sun with a pair of stylish sunglasses.
Windbreaker – As one who has been whale watching before, I can tell you that it gets a little windy. Don’t forget to pack a windbreaker.
Polaroid – Capture the moment a whale breaks the surface. Take cool action shots of the whales with a Polaroid.

Best place to drink nearby:

trillium boston breweries guide

Trillium Brewing Co.: A revered name in Boston, Trillium Brewing Company’s Fort Point taproom is just a short walk from whale watching. Founded in March 2013, the brewery has made a name for itself with new-school offerings like the Insert Hip Hop Reference There, a collab with Monkish, and new, inspired beers such as Channel Charge DIPA. The brewery is currently open for contactless pickup, home delivery, and onsite outdoor draft and snacks.

A Walk on the Freedom Trail

boston freedom trail summer guide

Boston is a city chock full of history. From learning about the Boston Tea Party to Paul Revere, I have been drilled on all Massachusetts history as a fellow native. For the Boston newcomers, the Freedom Trail is the perfect place to learn about the rich history of Boston. And to enjoy relaxing stroll through the city! So get ready to hear the story of the American Revolution and beyond.

What you’ll need:

Hat – Show some more Boston Sports pride during the trail with this stylish, comfortable Red Sox hat.
Sunscreen – On a hot summer day in Boston it is so easy to get a sunburn (speaking from personal experience). so make sure to apply some sunscreen before you start the trail.
Walking shoes – A 2.5-mile walk in flip flops is not fun. So, we highly recommend bringing a sturdy comfortable pair of walking shoes/sneakers. Your feet will thank us later.

Best place to drink nearby:

night shift santilli

Night Shift Brewing Lovejoy Wharf: One of Night Shift’s flagship IPAs or newest single-hop release will be the perfect way to end the long walk that is the Freedom Trail. A favorite brewery of ours to drink at in Boston, Night Shift has been pumping out a stellar range of beers from light lagers to IPAs to decadent stouts since 2012. COVID-19 hasn’t stopped this Everett-based brewery. With adjusted hours Wednesday – Sunday, their Lovejoy Wharf location has beer on tap and to-go plus bags of freshly roasted coffee beans.

Picnic in Boston Public Garden

boston public garden summer guide

A warm sunny day in Boston always calls for a picnic. Right in the heart of the city, the Boston Public Garden proves to be the perfect spot with an abundance of flowers and a calming lake. Any serious guide to summer in Boston requires a stop in the Public Garden. After the picnic, go take a ride in a swan boat; it’s a Boston tradition.

What you’ll need:

Wine picnic table holder – Picnic essentials (listed in order of importance): wine, cheese, crackers. This portable folding wine picnic table can perfectly fit your wine glasses and bottles with space to enjoy snacks.
Extra-large picnic blanket – Enjoy traditional Boston foods like lobster rolls and clam chowder on this extra-large blanket. Having a fun picnic blanket automatically makes your picnic better. Sorry, I don’t make the rules.
Hop Culture Bottle Opener – Crack open your favorite beer or wine with this stylish, portable Hop Culture Bottle Opener.

Best places to drink nearby:

lamplighter in boston summer

Lamplighter Brewing Co. – Relative newcomers to the Boston scene, Lamplighter has hit the city hard with delicious aroma-packed and flavor-driven beer and a gorgeous taproom. In fact, we named the Cambridge-based taproom one of our top five breweries to visit in Boston. Because of COVID, Lamplighter has decided to close their taproom for the time being. But their retail counter will remain open daily from 12:00 – 8:00 pm, with coffee from Pepita from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Check out their online store for merch and gift cards, with shipping options available for beer.

Cambridge Brewing Co. – Known for being one of New England’s longest-running breweries, Cambridge Brewing has been producing excellent Belgian style beers under the care of brewmaster Will Meyers. Besides great beer, the brewery’s kitchen has remained open during COVID-19 serving up some incredible food from Executive Chef David Drew.

Beach at Castle Island Park

boston harbor summer guide

Massachusetts boasts some of the best beaches around, whether it’s in Boston, Cape Cod, or Martha’s Vineyard. Spend the day sunbathing or swimming at Castle Island Park.

What you’ll need:

Beach blanket – Avoid getting sand everywhere with this lightweight waterproof beach blanket.
Beach ball – Enjoy some fun in the sun with this classic beach ball.
Patriots sweatshirt – Even beaches can get a little breezy, so don’t forget to pack a sweatshirt. And show your Boston pride with this Patriots sweatshirt.

Best places to drink nearby:

harpoon beer and pretzel

Harpoon Brewery – Right near the harbor sits Harpoon Brewery. Since 1986, the brewery has been loving beer and life. Now open indoors and outdoors, the Harpoon Beer Hall is a socially distanced space serving various foods ranging from pizza, pretzels to sausage, and lobster rolls. They also offer beer, cider, and hard seltzer to go.

Whether you love Boston for its revered history, passionate sports fans, or classic lobster rolls and seafood, take advantage of everything Beantown has to offer this summer.

Unless otherwise noted, all of the products featured on Hop Culture are independently chosen by our editorial team. However, Hop Culture may earn a commission from purchases made through affiliate links on the site.

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