The North Shore comes alive in the summer, with more shows, festivals, art exhibits, and events than anyone has time to keep up with—but we’ve got you covered. Here are some of our top things to do north of Boston this June and July, from outdoor markets with handmade art, to ways to experience the region’s many farms and scenic spots to tons of live music. Step out of your comfort zone and try something new this summer, starting with the events and happenings here.
Salem Arts Festival
June 2– 4
The fifteenth annual Salem Arts Festival is this June 2 through 4, celebrating local creators. Free and open to the public, the street festival draws around 8,000 people annually and features outdoor performances, a live mural slam on Artists’ Row, an artisan and makers market, and pop-up exhibits around town. The festival is put on by Salem Main Streets, Destination Salem, and Creative Collective.
CAM First Fridays: Art After Hours
June 2, July 7
Every first Friday of the month, admission is free to the Cape Ann Museum from 6 to 8 p.m. On June 2, guests will have one of the last opportunities to see Jeff Weaver’s This Unique Place, featuring his photos and drawings of Cape Ann; on July 7, visitors can tour the newly opened exhibit QuarryArt, highlighting photos of Cape Ann’s many quarries and their economic and cultural impact on the region.
Rockport Chamber Music Festival
June 9–July 9, July 25, August 12
This summer marks the 42nd annual Rockport Chamber Music Festival, which takes place from June 9 through July 9, with additional shows on July 25 and August 12. The annual festival at the Shalin Liu Performance Center on Cape Ann celebrates chamber music performed by world-renowned classical artists—highlights of this year’s festival include opening night by the Dover Quartet, pianist Marc-André Hamelin on June 25, and A Far Cry on July 6.
June 17, July 15
For the seventh annual summer, the Salem Flea will hold its outdoor market series on the third Saturday of the month through September. More than forty vendors will sell vintage goods and handmade art downtown in Salem’s Derby Square. Not around those days? The Salem Flea has a storefront marketplace open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the second floor of 11 Dodge Street Court. Plus, on June 24 and July 22, head to the Old Town Hall for the Girl Gang Craft Fair.
New PEM Exhibits
June 17 onward
Two new exhibits open at the Peabody Essex Museum this summer—As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic opens June 17 and features writings and photos on African diasporic culture, by Black artists and of Black subjects, while Bethany Collins, America: A Hymnal, an immersive audio exhibit, opens July 1 and explores the idea of America as a place where contrasting opinions and experiences come together.
Cider Hill Farm Festivals
June 17–25, July 15–16 & July 22–23
Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury has no shortage of activities this summer—events kick off with a Strawberry Festival on June 17 and 18, celebrating the June fruit with PYO strawberries and homemade strawberry treats. A month later, on July 15, 16, 22, and 23, it’s time for the Blueberry Festival, which also highlights PYO flowers season. Both festivals include live music, an outdoor hard cider bar, and hayrides. June 19 through 25 is the annual Pollinator Festival, a week of kid-friendly activities celebrating all things bees, butterflies, and ladybugs.
Father’s Day Bash at Appleton Farms
Celebrate dad at Appleton Farms on June 18 with a day of outdoor live music, barbecue, and brews. Spend the afternoon treating dad to lawn games, wood-fired pizza, beer from Rockport Brewing Co., Essex County Brewing Co., and Notch, and barbecue from Fat Belly Food Truck. Timed tickets, sold by the car, are available for noon or 2:30 p.m. and go for $15 for member cars and $20 for nonmember cars.
St. Peter’s Fiesta
St. Peter’s Fiesta returns to Gloucester this June 21 through 25. The five-day festival includes highlights like a 5K road race, live music every night, boat races, the greasy pole contest (in which participants attempt to walk the length of a greasy pole over the harbor), and the celebratory procession and mass of St. Peter on Sunday, along with the blessing of the fleet.
Castle Hill Picnic Concert Series
June 29–August 31
Each Thursday from June 29 through August 31, Castle Hill hosts its annual Picnic Concert Series out on the Grand Allee overlooking scenic Crane Beach. Bring your own lawn chairs, blanket, and food, or grab bites from onsite vendors Beefie Boys or Plat Du Jour, desserts from Down River Ice Cream or Q’s Nuts, and drinks from True North Ales and 1634 Meadery. Each week features a different band and genre, like reggae, big band swing, or a Beatles cover band.
North Shore Music Theatre’s The Sound of Music
July 11–July 23
One of Broadway’s most beloved shows returns to the North Shore this summer when North Shore Music Theatre puts on The Sound of Music at its Beverly theater. In pre-World War II Austria, a young novice is sent to become governess of the seven von Trapp children, winning the heart of Baron von Trapp and organizing the family into a musical act, the Trapp Family Singers. The original Broadway show won five Tony Awards, and the show’s Rodgers & Hammerstein score won both an Oscar and a Grammy.
2023 Bluefin Blowout
July 25 - July 27
The annual Bluefin Blowout benefiting the Alzheimer’s Association returns to the Cape Ann Marina this July 25 through 27. Presented by the Lyon-Waugh Auto Group, the yearly giant bluefin tuna fishing tournament brings some of the East Coast’s top tuna fishermen to Gloucester in late July. The festivities start on July 24 with the Bluefin Bash Fundraiser, and continue through July 27 for a weekend of live music, entertainment, vendors, and, of course, watching the catches arrive at the weigh-in station. Last year, 20 tuna were landed and more than $500,000 was raised for the cause.