A roundup of our 2023 summer arts guides — and a few editor's picks

Mark Morris Dance Group will perform 'The Look of Love' at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival 2023. (Courtesy Molly Bartels/Jacob's Pillow)
Mark Morris Dance Group will perform 'The Look of Love' at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival 2023. (Courtesy Molly Bartels/Jacob's Pillow)

Editor's Note: This is an excerpt from WBUR's Saturday morning newsletter, The Weekender. If you like what you read and want it in your inbox, sign up here

The official start of summer arrives in a few days, and experts are predicting a record travel season. Maybe you already have your bags packed for that long-awaited summer vacay.

Boston might feel a bit humdrum in comparison, but those magical moments you look forward to on vacation — live music, catching a movie or just laying out on the beach and reading a book — can happen right here at home, too.

WBUR’s arts and culture team has been busy rounding up this summer’s top local concerts, film fests and shows. We’ve even got new music to jam out to and books to bring along on your next trip.

Here’s a look at our fresh slate of 2023 summer arts guides, along with my personal favorites from each of them:


Feast your eyes on independent fiction and documentary films, listen to filmmaker panels or even plan a little vacation around attending any of these six film festivals happening across New England. The events span from Boston to Nantucket to Provincetown, with free and family-friendly options available, too.

  • I’ve got my eye on: A ticket for the Nantucket ferry, so I can get down to the Nantucket Film Festival happening June 20-26. A day at the beach and a night at the movies, what could be better?


The hills of Western Massachusetts are alive with the sound of music. The Tanglewood classical music series in Lenox returns this year from June 22 to August 27, but that won’t be your only chance to take in some tuneful melodies this summer. Here are 13 classical music festivals our editors think you’ll love, and seven albums with songs across genres you’ll want to queue up for your next road trip.

  • Currently playing in my car: Meshell Ndegeocello’s “The Omnichord Real Book”. It’s the perfect background music for a groovy summer drive.


Dance showcases, festivals and classes are returning for a season of indoor and outdoor performances. Take in a ballet performance on Martha’s Vineyard or catch the regional debuts of many international and national dance companies. There are even opportunities to join in the fun yourself at festivals in Beverly and Lewiston, Maine. Find the full list here.

  • Shake a leg: The first of Beverly’s two “Summer Salsa by the Sea” gatherings will be held this Tuesday. Go dance on your own or bring a partner — there’s no experience necessary.


Among the wide variety of fresh visual art exhibits at New England museums lies a common theme. This year, many curators are showing collections that explore the relationship between humans and nature, from Edvard Munch’s “Trembling Earth” (on display at the Clark Institute in Williamstown) to a surprising deep dive into seaweed at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

  • A small but big deal: I’m most excited about the Museum of Fine Arts’ exhibit on miniaturization debuting in July: “Tiny Treasures: The Magic of Miniatures.”


What’s a lazy summer’s day without a good book to read? A page-turner can make even the quietest moments incredibly exciting. If you’re looking for something new to read, you’ll want to look over our summer books guide — featuring thrilling stories full of magic, suspense, mystery and more.

  • Going on my shelf: “The Quickening: Creation and Community at the Ends of the Earth” by Elizabeth Rush, a creative nonfiction tale about climate change.

P.S.— For book recommendations that hit closer to home, remember our seasonal Beach Books newsletter is continuing every week through the summer. Every Wednesday, we’ll send you new recs with a New England tie perfect for reading on the sand — or anywhere, really.

Sign up for the WBUR Weekender


Hanna Ali Associate Producer
Hanna Ali is an associate producer for newsletters at WBUR.



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