Good Places to Eat While Enjoying Free Summer Events

J. Pace & Son have been supplying take-out food for Bostonians since the 1960s. They have locations in the North End, West End, and Seaport district.

Around the city, all summer long, free events invite us to grab a picnic and spend a few hours enjoying a concert, movie, play, or festival. As you plan to take advantage of these opportunities, here are a few places around the city where you can find good food near popular venues.

Hatch Shell Concerts & Films 

Whether you enter the Esplanade from the Back Bay or Beacon Hill, there is good food to be had close to a park bridge. Diana Tovar, from Savenor’s on Charles Street, says they have added a “Grab and Go” sandwich selection to their shop. It is also the perfect place to walk around and gather all the elements for a delicious picnic– fruit, cheese, desserts, and a few special treats.

Elsewhere on Charles Street, you could order take-out from Cafe Vanille, the Paramount, or Panificio. All three have great sandwiches and salads.

If you’re crossing to the park from Back Bay near the Mass Ave Bridge, you’ll be pleased with the value to be found at Marlboro Market on the corner of Marlborough Street. Their deli sandwiches are freshly made and reasonably priced.

For more exotic take out, create an Indian street food picnic from India Samraat on that block. Their appetizers and stuffed bread items are perfect for sharing with friends on a blanket.

Shakespeare & Other Boston Common Events 

The food selection around the Boston Common has improved recently. A Clover Food Lab truck is now stationed at the restored Brewer Plaza and new offerings from adjacent neighborhoods have proven their worth.

When you plan for your evening at this season’s Shakespeare on the Common presentation of Coriolanus, here are some options.

On St. James Avenue near Arlington is Bocco’s Wine and Cheese– a great stop for a picnic supper. They have prepared sandwiches; their famous bento boxes containing an enticing selection of cheese, salumi, bread, and olives; or you can always choose what catches your eye on the counter.

The Thinking Cup coffee shop across from the Common on Tremont Street is known for their great coffee but they also have a fine selection of sandwiches and pastries.

On Newbury Street, you can pick up very good sandwiches, pastry, and other picnic-ready items at L’Aroma Cafe.

Waterfront Nibbles 

The Greenway and other waterfront venues have a full schedule of summer events. The Boston Harbor Hotel hosts its Summer in the City Entertainment series that includes music most nights of the week and “Movies by Moonlight” on Fridays.

In the North End, traditional Italian Markets like J. Pace & Son can fill your cooler with hearty sandwiches, calzones, salads, cheeses, and cold cuts.

All along the Greenway, you’ll find food trucks and food carts. These offer great snacking or take out alternatives. 

What’s Happening When? 

The Neighborhood Round Up, Around the City, and Community News sections of these newspapers are a great place to read about and circle the events you would like to enjoy.

The Berklee Summer in the City series lists hundreds of concerts all across the area. From lunchtime concerts at the Prudential Center to a Music Fest on Georges Island. Go to for details.

There are individual listings available for all the popular venues. And, you’ll find sponsored events on the city’s website, the state’s DCR pages, and on things-to-do calendars.

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