When it comes to celebrating Independence Day, there really is no place better to do it than Boston. Taking place July 1st through the 5th in 2015, the Boston Harborfest is the largest Independence Day festival in the country. With more than 200 events taking place over the duration of the festival, the Harborfest includes music, walking tours, historical reenactments, entertainers and, of course, fireworks.
Every year, more than 3 million people from around the world visit Boston to participate in the Harborfest. To help fully embrace the history of Boston while also helping to spread out the fun, Harborfest activities take place in a variety of neighborhoods throughout the city. Activities center primarily around Historic Downtown, Boston Common, the Downtown Waterfront, the South Boston Waterfront, Charlestown, the North End and the Boston Harbor Islands National Park.
While the Harborfest features many activities and events each year, one of the most popular activities is the Boston Harbor “turnaround” cruise, which takes place on July 4th. This activity involves turning around the U.S.S. Constitution, a.k.a. “Old Ironsides”. The veteran ship saw action during the War of 1812 and can still be toured today. Of course, the Boston Pops Concerts and the July 4th Fireworks are also popular activities to enjoy during the Harborfest. This is not to say that there aren’t plenty of other fun things to do throughout the 6-day event. In fact, here are some events that start on July 1st and continue throughout the festival:
- Huzzah for Constitution: Celebration of the U.S.S. Constitution’s officers and crew taking place from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm each day at the Charlestown Navy Yard.
- Free Freedom Trail Tours: 60-minute Ranger-led tours along the Freedom Trail leaving from the Faneuil Hall Visitor’s Center. The “Meetings, Mobs and Martyrs” tour leaves on the hour from 9:00 to noon and from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. The “From Allegiance to Revolution” tour leaves every half-hour from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm.
- Scavenger Hunt: Where the Boston Tea Party Began: Free scavenger hunt included with admission to the Old South Meeting House. Available for participants ages 6 and up from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm.
- Twilight Duck Tour: Duck Tours at the Museum of Science providing views of the city as the sun sets. Departs daily at 6:30 pm and 7:00 pm. Cost is $35.99 for adults, $29.99 for seniors, students and military, $24.99 for children between the ages of 3 and 11 and $10.50 for children under the age of 3.
- Whiskers, Flippers and Fun: Seal Exhibit at New England Aquarium: A special exhibit where visitors learn about the behaviors of harbor seals. Training sessions take place at 9:45 am, 11:15 am and 3:45 pm at the New England Aquarium. Free to the public.
Additional special events will be taking place each day throughout the event. So, whether you can stay for the whole six-day festival or you only have a couple days available to devote to the fun, you are sure to find plenty of things to do at this year’s Boston Harborfest.