10 things to do in Boston this 4th of July weekend

Virtual fireworks, Black Lives Matter vigils, and more events in the Greater Boston area this July 4 weekend.

Lin-Manuel Miranda portrays Alexander Hamilton, left, and Phillipa Soo portrays Eliza Hamilton in a filmed version of the original Broadway production of "Hamilton." Disney Plus

With many Fourth of July celebrations canceled, protests against police brutality and vigils honoring George Floyd continuing, and many residents choosing to stay home due to the coronavirus pandemic, this week’s BosTen offers a mix of things to do this weekend. Have an idea about what we should cover? Leave us a comment on this article or in the BosTen Facebook group, or email us at [email protected].

Black Lives Matter vigil

The vigils and marches inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement will continue through the holiday weekend, including a Thursday evening vigil against white supremacy at the First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain. The hourlong event will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Reading Frederick Douglass Together

Among Frederick Douglass’ most famous speeches is “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?,” an address he delivered to the Anti-Slavery Society in 1852. To honor his memory, organizations nationwide will stage readings of the address, including locally via the Somerville Museum. The collaborative reading will be broadcast on the Somerville Media Center’s Facebook page starting Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

Watch “Hamilton” on Disney Plus

Getting a ticket to the original Broadway run of “Hamilton” was a notably difficult proposition. Now, you can enjoy the show from the comfort of your own home with Disney Plus, which is releasing a filming from one of its 2016 shows on July 3. What better way to celebrate our country’s independence than watching Lin Manuel-Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., Daveed Diggs, and the rest of the colonial cast?

Celebrate virtually with the USS Constitution Museum

The USS Constitution Museum will stream special programming on its Facebook page on July 4, including a 21-gun salute, a virtual tour of the ship, and a trivia contest. The cannon concoction can be ordered online at the museum website and will be available via contactless pickup.

Celebrate the 4th with the National Archives

The National Archives will hold its first-ever virtual Fourth of July celebration, featuring programming in hourlong blocks like reenactors staging a discussion between Thomas Jefferson, Abigail Adams, and other historical figures. The livestream will conclude with a reading of the Declaration of Independence by Soledad O’Brien. The fun begins at 11 a.m. with the reading set to begin at 4 p.m.

James Taylor Fenway Park concert livestream

James Taylor was set to play Fenway Park again this summer, but had to cancel the show due to COVID-19 concerns. That’s why this Saturday, the longtime Massachusetts resident will livestream his 2015 Fenway Park concert, with donations during the show benefiting the Red Sox Foundation and Crew Nation, a new Live Nation campaign to raise funds for venues during the pandemic. The show will stream at 2 p.m. on the singer-songwriter’s Instagram and 5 p.m. on his Facebook.

Watch ‘A Boston Pops Salute to Our Heroes’

Back in May, Boston’s annual Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular was canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the Keith Lockhart and co. will still provide patriotic entertainment with “A Boston Pops Salute to Our Heroes,” a pre-recorded performance airing July 4 at 8 p.m. The program will pay tribute to frontline workers and those who lost their lives during the coronavirus pandemic with a mix of new performances, “all-time favorite moments” from recent celebrations, and “a retrospective fireworks extravaganza.” You can watch the Boston fireworks spectacular locally on WHDH-TV and nationally on Bloomberg Television, Bloomberg Radio, and on the Bloomberg website.

Watch “A Capitol Fourth” on PBS

PBS will broadcast its annual Fourth of July show from the nation’s capital at 8 p.m. John Stamos and Vanessa Williams will emcee the 2020 edition, which will feature performances by artists like Patti LaBelle, John Fogerty, The Temptations, and Trace Adkins, as well as footage from previous editions. The show will conclude with live fireworks from Washington D.C., with PBS promising more cameras than ever will capture the pyrotechnics.

Watch Macy’s Fireworks Spectacular

As if you don’t have enough choices for July 4 viewing already, you can also tune into NBC Saturday night to watch Macy’s annual fireworks show at 8 p.m. Macy’s has changed the playbook a bit this year due to the coronavirus, holding unannounced five-minute displays all week before the grand finale hosted by “Today” anchor Craig Melvin on July 4. Musical guests expected to make virtual appearances include John Legend, Black Eyed Peas, Brad Paisley, The Killers, Tim McGraw, and the recently renamed Lady A.

Catch a drive-in movie

While town Fourth of July fireworks celebrations have largely been canceled, you can still gather outdoors after sunset to witness a spectacle of sorts at a number of drive-in theaters in Massachusetts. Classic ‘80s fare is on the menu this weekend, with the Mendon Twin and Wellfleet Drive-In showing 1984’s “Ghostbusters,” Northfield Drive-In showing “Spaceballs” and “Three Amigos,” and the Leicester Triple and Marshfield pop-up drive-in showing “Back to the Future.”


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