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Who says city dating has to be expensive? (Practically everyone.) If you want to have fun with someone on the cheap, look no further than this list of July cultural events that don’t require an admission fee.
Seriously. At Lawn on D on July 7, you can glide to the tunes of a DJ under a disco ball on a 30-by-40-foot rink made of synthetic ice. Borrow one of the venue’s 60 pairs of skates or bring your own. It’s all happening during Lawn on D’s Summer Block Party, at which you can also take salsa lessons, play mini golf, listen to live music, go rock climbing, play bubble soccer, and more. Plus, Blue Man Group will host the finals of its fifth annual Drum-Off Competition. (Saturday, July 7 from noon to 11 p.m.; Lawn on D, Boston; all ages)
If you envision a cozy date night relaxing on a blanket beneath the sky, you’re in luck: Several city venues are hosting outdoor movies this month. Watch classics like “The Wizard of Oz” (July 27) at the Boston Harbor Hotel and “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (July 22) at Christopher Columbus Park, or catch a family film like “Emoji Movie” (July 13) and “Cars 3” (July 27) at the Hatch Shell and “The Lion King” (July 7) and “Coco” (July 21) at the Prudential Center. (Various times and places; all ages)
Catch the music and excitement of a lion dance during the 15th Annual Chinatown Main Street Festival on July 7 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. You’ll also see Chinese folk dance and martial arts demonstrations, and have the chance to participate in crafts, shop vendor booths, and listen to Chinese opera. The fun will take place in Chinatown on Tyler, Harrison, Beach, and Hudson Streets. (Saturday, July 7 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, Boston; all ages)
Catch live music with a gorgeous backdrop when the Boston Public Library’s courtyard turns into a concert hall twice a week all summer long during the library’s “Concerts in the Courtyard” series. Artists performing in July include a Bob Marley tribute band, Lula Wiles, John Emil, and Jah Spirit. In the event of rain, the show is moved to the library’s Rabb Hall. (Wednesdays at 6 p.m. and Fridays at 12:30 p.m.; Boston Public Library, Boston; all ages)
Spend the day exploring a museum without paying a dime thanks to the Highland Street Foundation’s annual Free Fun Fridays program. On Fridays this summer through Aug. 31, admission will be waived at 100 different museums and attractions across the state. The program is packing some goodies in July: You can check out the The Sports Museum and Edward M. Kennedy Institute on July 13, the Museum of Fine Arts on July 20, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and Boston Athenaeum on July 27. (July 13, July 20, July 27; various places; all ages)
Take to the water during the Neponset Riverfest on July 14, when you and your date can kayak and canoe for free courtesy of Paddle Boston. Back on land, you can listen to live music, explore a tide pool with the New England Aquarium, climb a rock wall, learn how to cast a fishing line with Mass Fisheries, and more. (Saturday, July 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; DCR Neponset Park, Dorchester; all ages)
Increase your wine repertoire at The Urban Grape in the South End during the shop’s many free July tastings, which have names like “Resting Beach Face” (July 7) and “Fun Under the Sun” (July 14). During the former, participants will taste four $50 wines the shop says will help you achieve “a beach-y state of mind.” During the latter, a representative from Horizon Beverage will pour “reds, whites and rosés to enjoy all summer long.” The tastings take place Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays each week. (Thursdays and Fridays from 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 3 to 6 p.m.; 303 Columbus Ave., Boston; 21+)
You don’t have to take a road trip to Tanglewood in the Berkshires to enjoy the music of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. City dwellers can catch a live video presentation on a 15-by-27-foot screen on Boston Common on July 13, when the park hosts “Tanglewood in the City.” All you’ll need are lawn chairs or a blanket to enjoy the show, which will feature the music of Mozart, Wagner, and Schumann with Boston Symphony Orchestra assistant conductor Moritz Gnann and pianist Paul Lewis. Arrive early to participate in giveaways and buy snacks from food vendors. (Friday, July 13 at 8 p.m.; Boston Common, Boston; all ages)
You’ve probably spent time on the Esplanade, but do you know its history? If not, The Esplanade Association wants to change that during a 90-minute walking tour of the iconic park. The association will offer eight free ones through September — two of which will happen in July. The tours will cover about a mile of the Esplanade and 150 years of history. (Sunday, July 15 at 2 p.m. and Tuesday, July 24 at noon; Community Boating, Inc., Boston; all ages)
Roll up your sleeves and get ready to create art on the Rose Kennedy Greenway on July 28 and 29, during a nonprofit annual community art project called “FIGMENT Boston.” The program will be “an explosion of creative energy,” according to the event website. These FIGMENT art projects, which have taken place in cities around the world, invite community members of all ages to “play, dance, sing, create, engage, experiment, and explore their environment.” (Saturday, July 28 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday, July 29 from noon to 6 p.m.; Rose Kennedy Greenway, Boston; all ages)