date published: July 3, 2006

Apple rhubarb tart at Jasper White's Summer ShackDancin’ in the Moonlight
Some outsiders regard Boston as a traditional, buttoned-up city, but the Tango Society of Boston is out to change that impression. On July 10 at 7:30 p.m., follow the sound of seductive Argentine rhythms to the Weeks Memorial Footbridge at Memorial Drive near Harvard Square for Tango by Moonlight—an exotic and exciting evening event that allows participants to engage in one of the world’s most sensual dances with only the night air and the city skyline as a backdrop. Receive a free lesson, and dance the night away under the stars! Call 617-699-6246 for information.

Party Over Here, Party Over There
The rise in temperature must inspire the abandonment of worries and responsibilities—come summer in the Hub, there seem to be outdoor celebrations everywhere you turn. The Italian neighborhood of the North End—home to traditional feasts and processions all summer long—hosts the traditional St. Rocco Society Procession on July 9 and the St. Dominic Society Procession on July 16. Italian pride reaches its zenith, though, from July 14–16, when the Italia Unita Festival fills East Boston with traditional music, entertainment and fun activities like the world's largest Sausage Eating Contest (refer to listings). Meanwhile, the Latino community gets in on the action from July 13–16, with the Festival Betances, a cavalcade of Latino music, arts and cuisine (call 617-927-1707 for more information). And regardless of ethnicity, everyone can appreciate the joy of creating the perfect sandcastle. Visitors to the North Shore’s Revere Beach can marvel at the artful creations of sandcastle builders from around the world at the New England Sand Sculpting Invitational 2006 from July 10–16 (call 781-286-8190 for more information).

To Market We Will Go
Fresh New England fare doesn’t end with “chowda” and Boston cream pie, as evidenced by a trip to any of the city’s many farmers’ markets. The chaotic frenzy that is Haymarket has been selling fresh veggies, fruit and fish for centuries, and is open on Fridays and Saturdays. On Thursdays and Saturdays, The Boston Public Market on the Old Northern Avenue Bridge offers produce, bread, cheese, and more. Mondays and Wednesdays, City Hall Plaza is transformed into an open-air marketplace, as is Copley Square, in the shadow of Trinity Church, on Tuesdays and Fridays. Across the river, Cambridge is home to several locales that host markets, as well, including Central Square on Mondays, and outside the Charles Hotel (near Harvard Square) on Fridays and Sundays. Refer to listings.

Boston Pops
A Birthday Bash, Boston-style

Few cities in America have the breadth of history that Boston does, and on the Fourth of July that history and patriotic spirit are expressed to the fullest with a massive celebration of our country’s birth befitting the epicenter of the nation’s struggle for independence.

Boston’s weeklong Harborfest event comes to an end July 3 & 4 with a variety of fun events for the whole family. On July 3, local reggae group On the Drop performs at City Hall Plaza at noon. That same day, children are invited to travel back in time to the colonial era by playing Colonial Dress Up at the Old South Meeting House (refer to listing). Even though the Boston Tea Party Museum is temporarily closed for renovations, the Liberty Fleet of Tall Ships is offering an opportunity to re-enact the famed revolutionary event from 3–5 p.m. Besides enjoying the sights of the Boston Harbor, listen to the arguments from Sam Adams and the Sons of Liberty and watch the ships fire off their cannons before you get a chance to help throw tea overboard (call 617-742-0333 for more information).

July 4 offers many of the same activities, along with special events including the reading of the Declaration of Independence at the Old State House (refer to listing), a traditional oration in the “Cradle of Liberty,” Faneuil Hall, and the opportunity to watch the U.S.S. Constitution as it embarks on a turnaround cruise that takes it from Charlestown Navy Yard to Castle Island in South Boston. Or, you could bypass the Hub hoopla and spend the day picnicking on the Esplanade and staking a claim for the best possible spot to watch the Boston Pops (pictured above) perform its July 4 spectacular at the Hatch Shell, a tradition that dates back to 1924 under late Pops conductor Arthur Fiedler. This year, the Pops are joined by the bonafide kings of Boston rock—Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith—for what promises to be a spirited and patriotic display of musical bombast.

Speaking of bombast, the Pops show culminates in one of the nation’s largest July 4 fireworks displays, and if you aren’t able to get a prime spot along the Esplanade, another fine option is to do Independence Day in style at the Top of the Hub (refer to listing). There’s no place other than the TOH’s 52nd floor luxury restaurant where you can pretty much look down on the fireworks, and for $250 per person enjoy a gourmet dinner of surf and turf and peach cobbler. Call it exercising your patriotic right to the pursuit of happiness.

—Alex Harris and Josh Wardrop

Laying Down The Claw
No visit to New England is complete without sampling plenty of fresh seafood, including every Bostonian’s favorite—fresh local lobster. Jasper White’s Summer Shack (refer to listing), with locations in the Back Bay and Cambridge, features down-home décor and top-notch clam shack-style fare, including the traditional clambake—complete with a one-pound lobster, steamers, corn, potatoes, chorizo and an egg—for $28. Meanwhile, those who prefer a more portable lobster feast can delight in that New England staple, the lobster roll, in Harvard Square at Charlie’s Kitchen (10 Eliot St., Cambridge, 617-492-9646)—where its famous double lobster roll special is a bargain at around $10—or at Massachusetts seaside mainstay Kelly’s Roast Beef (410 Revere Beach Blvd., Revere, 781-284-9129) where, come summer, lobster rolls even exceed the famous roast beef sandwiches in popularity.

Jazz performances at Downtown Crossing and South Station

Get Jazzed
Some say jazz only belongs in smoky, after-hours clubs, but they’ve obviously never experienced the joy of free Jazz in July shows at Downtown Crossing. These free outdoor concerts take place at 12:30 p.m. on Mondays in South Station, Wednesdays on Summer Street in Downtown Crossing, and Fridays in front of Borders on the corner of School and Washington streets. Each concert features a different group of performers, including the John Licata Quartet (July 5) and the Bill Tracy Consortium (July 7). Refer to listing.

I Scream, You Scream
There’s never a bad season for ice cream, but nothing completes a summer night like a scoop or two of everyone’s favorite simple yet scrumptious dessert. The newest sensation in Boston is Cold Stone Creamery (refer to listing), where exuberant employees will mix-in all manner of candy, fruit, nuts and toppings to create a customized flavor, or serve you samples of brand-new summer specials like Sprinkleberry and Wacky Watermelon. Other great spots to grab a cone in the city include J.P. Licks (352 Newbury St., 617-236-1666, other locations), Herrell’s (15 Dunster St, Cambridge, 617-497-2179, other locations) and Lizzy’s (29 Church St., Cambridge, 617-354-2911—we recommend the grapenut), all of which will leave you cool, collected and satisfied.

Cold Stone Creamery

Boston celebrates Bastille Day

The French Library and Cultural CenterThis month, Frenchmen the world over will celebrate the 1789 event that marked the end of the French monarchy and the beginning of the modern day republic—Bastille Day. Boston won’t be mistaken for Paris anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean the Hub won’t make room amidst its own Independence Day festivities this month to mark the occasion.

The city’s biggest display of organized Francophilia is the French Library and Cultural Center’s (pictured right) annual Bastille Day Street Party, taking place on the holiday, July 14 from 6–11 p.m. To accommodate the expected 3,000 plus revelers, Marlborough Street in the Back Bay will be blocked off between Berkeley and Clarendon streets. With four non-stop hours of live music–courtesy of bands Daby Toure, Amadou & Mariam, and hip hop trio Daara J—dancing in the streets while singing the “Marseillaise” will only seem natural. And as partying with such joie de vivre is bound to work up an appetite, revelers will enjoy the a la carte fare and drinks provided by local French eateries. Refer to listing.

For a more low-key way to embrace French culture, the 11th Boston French Film Festival at the Museum of Fine Arts should offer that certain je ne sais quoi for cinema lovers. From July 6–23, French films with English subtitles from some of the most esteemed French actors and directors of all time will be presented, including Palais Royale! starring Catherine Deneuve and Costa-Gavras’ The Ax. Refer to listing.

While at the MFA, art lovers can take in masterpieces by renowned French artists like Degas, Monet and Renoir, or enjoy the museum’s special Americans in Paris, 1860–1900 exhibit. Refer to story.

And the city’s many fine French restaurants will be busy this month, celebrating not only Bastille Day but the famed bike race the Tour De France, which runs through July 23. Brasserie Jo (refer to listing) will broadcast the race and follow the bicyclists as they pass through different regions, while featuring rotating daily specials reflecting the culinary influences of those regions.

—Erin La Rosa

Sheryl CrowCatch a Movie
Even if overly air-conditioned theaters and sky-high ticket prices aren’t your style, that doesn’t mean that you have to skip that Friday night movie date. Check out the Movies by Moonlight series on Rowes Wharf for under-the-stars viewings of classics like Roman Holiday on July 7 or The Magnificent Seven on July 14, beginning at dusk. Or grab a spot on the lawn in front of the Hatch Shell on July 7 & 14 at sunset to catch a showing of Free Friday Flicks that are appropriate for the whole family. Refer to listing.

Fenway Rocks
Most of the hits to be found inside the walls of Boston’s hardball Ground Zero—Fenway Park—come ringing off the bats of Red Sox sluggers like David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez. But this month, it’ll be Top 40 hits echoing through Fenway as two of the pop world’s biggest acts—Sheryl Crow and the Dave Matthews Band—unite for two shows at the park on July 7 & 8. And, on July 12 at 6 p.m., Sox GM (and occasional rocker) Theo Epstein and ESPN reporter (and occasional rocker) Peter Gammons bring their phenomenally popular Hot Stove, Cool Music benefit concert back to Fenway for a second consecutive year. Performers on the bill for the show (which raises money for various Boston-area charities) include Buffalo Tom, Kay Hanley, Juliana Hatfield and The Click Five and will be emceed by comedian Mike O’Malley (“Yes, Dear”). Refer to listings.

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