Gondolas, Tango And Star-Gazing: Some Of Boston's Hidden Summer Gems

Download Audio

It's the middle of summer in Boston and finding something to do is pretty easy. There's a lot to do outdoors, from boating on the Charles to heading up to beautiful North Shore beaches. There's also music, theater, not to mention baseball at Fenway (if rooting for last-place teams is your thing).

You can also go off the beaten path, because the state is chock-full of lesser-known places, so-called underground gems. But finding them takes a little research and it helps if you know someone who can let you in on the region's secrets.


Jon Marcus, co-founder of, author of "Unknown New England," and higher education editor at The Hechinger Report. He tweets @JonMarcusBoston and @MySecretBoston.

Jon Marcus' Hidden Gems

-- Boston Cannons lacrosse games feature tailgating and all the extras, too, but with reasonable ticket prices, free parking and no traffic.

-- The developers of FP3, a group of connected industrial buildings renovated into pricey loft-style condos, have given the artists their own space, with an art gallery on its first floor open free to a public that generally doesn’t know it’s there.

-- Gondola di Venezia has two gondolas, available by reservation for any occasion but especially popular with lovebirds who practice the Italian tradition of kissing under bridges—and men who pop the question.

-- The Boston Tango Society gathers each full moon beginning at 8 p.m., which includes demos, lessons and tango lovers of all sorts.

-- More than a third of the visitors to the USS Constitution miss the USS Cassin Young, a World War II destroyer moored barely 50 yards away.

-- Join the free monthly stargazing on the third Thursday of every month (except in June, July and August) at the Harvard College Observatory.

-- Put aside your earthly pursuits midweek and find the hidden staircase from the fifth floor to the roof of Boston University’s College of Arts and Sciences building, where you can contemplate the heavens from the Judson B. Coit Observatory during public viewings Wednesday nights.

-- Out of sight on the roof of the Museum of Science parking garage, the Gilliland Observatory offers free Friday-night stargazing in the spring, summer and fall.

-- The Madonna Queen National Shrine is one of those secrets that hide in plain sight. It’s hard to miss—a 35-foot bronze-and-copper statue of the Madonna 216 feet up at the top of Orient Heights (you’ve probably seen it from the runway at Logan)—but many people do.

-- The Music and Movie Fridays series at the Boston Harbor Hotel offers tourists and locals a chance to revisit Hollywood film classics right on the harborfront.

Listeners' Hidden Gems

-- Laurie: Babson Boulder Trail in Gloucester

-- Audrey: Boston Harbor Rowe Wharf Sea Grille Summer Series

-- Amelia: Glendale Falls in Middlefield

-- Robert: Boston Breakers, the pro women's soccer team

-- Liz: Piazza in the middle of the Boston Public Library

What are your hidden gems? Leave suggestions in the comments section below.



  • "Think you know Boston? Think again. Let Boston’s best travel blog (according to the Guardian newspaper) lead you to the secrets of the city, and the favorite people, places and things as recommended by residents and visitors, like a great dish at a family-run restaurant, a killer drink, an amazing deal, or a landmark or historic site you never knew existed. One of the world’s largest collections of Hollywood memorabilia, for example."

Radio Boston: Where To Go To Get Off New England's Beaten Path This Summer

  • "Get out on the water: the best secret on Boston Harbor is the MBTA F-4 water shuttle between the New England Aquarium and the Charlestown Navy Yard, which is free for kids 11 and under and $1.70 for adults. At the Navy Yard see the USS Constitution for free, as well as a World War II destroyer on display. If the Aquarium is too pricey, see the harbor seal show outside for free."

This segment aired on July 15, 2015.



More from Radio Boston

Listen Live