10 things to do in Boston this Mother’s Day weekend

BosTen is your weekly guide to events and cool happenings in and around Boston.

Participants in free fitness classes at Seaport Sweat. Photo Courtesy of Seaport by WS Development

While more and more Massachusetts businesses and cultural institutions are reopening as COVID-19 vaccination efforts continue, many residents are still staying home due to the coronavirus pandemic. With that in mind, this week’s BosTen offers a mix of in-person and virtual 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].

Catch some of the most buzzed-about films of 2021 at IFFBoston

For the second year in a row, Boston’s biggest film festival of the year will be all-virtual. With the Somerville, Brattle, and Coolidge theatres still closed, Independent Film Festival Boston will beam more than 75 films into your living rooms over 11 days. Despite the virtual setting, IFFBoston has put together a killer lineup. Must-see titles include Questlove’s Sundance favorite “The Summer of Soul,” an absorbing documentary about the 1969 Harlem Culture Festival that celebrated Black artists and music at the same time and in the same way Woodstock honored rock and roll; and “The Oxy Kingpins,” which showcases multiple levels of Boston-area connections to the nationwide opioid crisis, from low-level street dealers to white-collar pharmaceutical executives who largely escape punishment. Tickets for individual films are available on the IFFBoston website.


Rent a kayak or paddle board on the Charles River

If your mother is more of an outdoorsy type, take the family to the Charles River Esplanade for a weekend excursion on the water. Community Boating on the Esplanade will rent kayaks and standup paddle boards every day this weekend, with 2-hour rentals available for $32. Boaters and boarders alike will have a chance to paddle through the Charles River Basin and Frederick Law Olmsted’s esplanade lagoon system while enjoying some of the best views downtown Boston has to offer.

Enjoy the spring foliage at Arnold Arboretum

Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum may not be holding its annual lilac festival due to COVID-19, but the verdant urban oasis in Jamaica Plain is still a go-to spot to witness springtime in all its glory. With the weekend forecast looking better after a wet work week, the weather should be perfect for strolling among the 409 lilac bushes and thousands of other plants on the park’s grounds.


Take in a free film festival with ReelAbilities

Massachusetts has recently played host to two critically acclaimed films featuring deaf or hearing-impaired communities, with the Oscar-winning “Sound of Metal” and the Sundance Film Festival darling “CODA” both filmed in the Bay State. This week, Bostonians will get to experience ReelAbilities, an entire festival dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories, and artistic expressions of people with different abilities. Presented by Boston Jewish Film, the tenth edition of ReelAbilities begins this Thursday with films like “Crutch,” a documentary about renowned breakdancer/skateboarder/artist Bill Shannon; and “In Perfect Key,” a documentary about a mother who seeks out the first person ever diagnosed with autism in order to better connect with her autistic son. Passes to ReelAbilities are free (though a $15 donation is suggested), and can be found on the Boston Jewish Film website.


Get your free outdoor fitness on at Seaport Sweat

Starting this week, Boston’s Seaport neighborhood is kicking off six months of free outdoor fitness classes with its Seaport Sweat programming. Daily free workout classes from certified instructors include Zumba with Nicole Derosiers, Yoga Sculpt with Dani Ferreira, Vinyasa Flow with Britney Willingham, and Kick It By Eliza with Eliza Shirazi. While the classes may be free, advanced registration is required. Check out Seaport at WS Development’s Eventbrite page to register for the class of your choice.

Enjoy a Mother’s Day-themed concert from the Boston Pops

For the first time in its 136-year history, the Boston Pops spring season is 100 percent online, giving viewers a range of jazz, pop, big band, musical theater, and more in the comfort of their own homes. The season kicks off this Thursday at noon with “The Boston Pops Celebrates Mother’s Day: Honoring Women,” during which Keith Lockhart will lead the Pops in music by and about women such as composers Clara Schumann, Joan Tower, Carole King, and ABBA. Tickets for the virtual concerts can be found on the Boston Pops website.


Grab some used books from Gore Place

Need a last-minute gift for your bookworm mother? On Friday and Saturday, Gore Place in Waltham will host a two-day sale of gently used books from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Don’t tell Mom, but these books are an absolute bargain, with prices set at $1 for paperbacks and $2 for hardcovers.

Stream “The Handmaid’s Tale”

With season 4 of the award-winning dystopian drama recently premiering on Hulu April 28, now is a good time to catch up on the Margaret Atwood adaptation. In the Puritanical near-future New England society known as Gilead, women are second-class citizens, largely reserved for slavery and breeding. The show has progressed beyond the original 1985 novel at this point, with Offred (Elisabeth Moss, “Mad Men”) on the run in the newest season.


Take a ride on the newly reopened Swan Boats

After flying the coop for all of 2020, the Public Garden’s beloved swan boats are back in the lagoon for the 2021 season. With the botanical garden’s blooms back in season, the avian vessels offer one of the best vantage points to appreciate the Public Garden in all its glory. Tickets can be purchased on the Swan Boats website.

Enjoy an Irish-themed Mother’s Day celebration

For the mothers who love live music, head to the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton to celebrate Mother’s Day with a three-course Irish lunch under the tent. Choose from options like baked scrod and roasted honey ham, then sit back and enjoy live music from 1-4 p.m. courtesy of Boston’s own Strawberry Hill Band. E-mail [email protected] to register.

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