More cheap fun is forthcoming, but I felt like giving my angle on a couple of the big Boston events.
I didn't mention it below, but I've observed that bars around Faneuil Hall were teeming with sailors (men & women) during previous Navy Weeks.
It also looks like tonight's free beer & nosh (with RSVP) at the Tavern in Allston still has room...
Shhh!: There's a hot tip for checking out the USS Constitution on Wednesday 7/4 in the comments. (Thanks, aek!)
THUR 6/28 thru WED 7/4
at City Hall Plaza and other spots around Boston
Many under $10 or FREE
It's a good week to have visitors in town. They have plenty to see and do after walking the Freedom Trail (which is a great way to see historical highlights and demonstrate that Boston is a walking town).
The majority of this historical/cultural infotainment (tours, presentations, reenactments, etc) are probably more interesting to visitors than residents, but it doesn't hurt to see something new/old in your town.
For example, non-politicians can get a tour of the State House on the weekdays (6/28, 6/29, 7/2, 7/3) from 10am to 3:30pm that probably start on the half-hour. If you make a reservation (617-727-3676), 45-minute tours of the grounds will begin at noon from 6/29 to 7/1.
The average Bostonian does benefit by the increase in free samples and entertainment as they walk through Government Center and Faneuil Hall. If you can stand listening to Mayor Mumbles -- or can time it right -- you could grab a piece of cake at today's opening ceremony at Faneuil Hall (scheduled from noon to 12:30pm).
Most of the cheap/free stufff on weekdays occur during the day, and many of the offerings repeat over the week around the downtown and surrounding areas.
Of course there's a lot to see on the weekends and Independence Day. On 7/4, one could hang out at Castle Island to see the USS Constition, tour Fort Independence, and have a carton of fried clams from Sully's. Take a look and see if anything piques your interest...
SAT 6/30 thru THUR 7/5
Boston Navy Week
at Various Locations
OpSail Tall Ships 2012
at Various Locations
As we celebrate the bicentennial of the War of 1812, we're reminded that the USS Constitution earned its nickname "Old Ironsides" 200 years ago and has been afloat ever since. So Navy Week and the visit of the tall ships are really entwined as quite a few of the tall ships will be US and foreign naval ships.
The Google map is my attempt at making a helpful resource that includes locations and visiting hours. I think this is accurate based on various sources. Besides the links above, I suggest the Harborfest ship schedule, the USS Constitution Museum info, and the BostonUSA page.
While most Harborfest activities occur every year, the special occasion is the parade of nautical grace of the upcoming week. I visited the Tall Ships by the World Trade Center in 2009, and it was a wonderful experience to see how they're put together around giant masts and miles of rope.
Of course, the Constitution's annual turnaround in the Harbor on Independence Day is special sight even though the old gal gets a lot of help these days. Besides touring the ships around the Harbor, there are other cool things to see.
Teams of sailors from international crews challenge each other in a tug-of-war tournament at City Hall Plaza on SAT 6/30 from 4:30pm to 6pm.
The Leap Frogs are parachuting onto Puopolo Park (North End) at 10am and Boston Common at 2pm on 7/2 & 7/3, then landing at the Seaport's Fan Pier at noon on 7/4. That's also around the time that the Blue Angels and other planes are flying over Boston.
The sailors in Charlestown perform "Early 19th Century Gun Drills" at least once a day from 6/28 to 7/3 with the US Coast Guard Silent Drill Team showing their modern tricks on 7/2 (3:30pm).
The open ship schedule is probably something like this. A matrix might have been a better format...
Fish PierSome other things to consider: Visitors to ships should plan on wearing comfortable clothes and shoes. The ships are not handicapped accessible. US naval ships will have security checks similar to most airports (and photography is permitted).
SAT 6/30 -- 4pm to 10pm
SUN 7/1 -- Noon to 10pm
MON 7/2 -- 4pm to 10pm
TUES 7/3 -- 4pm to 10pm
WED 7/4 -- Noon to 10pm
THUR 7/5 -- 4pm to 10pm
Black Falcon Cruise Terminal
SAT 6/30 -- Noon to 8pm
SUN 7/1 -- Noon to 8pm
MON 7/2 -- 4pm to 8pm
TUES 7/3 -- 4pm to 8pm
WED 7/4 -- Noon to 8pm
THUR 7/5 -- 4pm to 8pm
North Jetty, Seaport
SAT 6/30 -- Noon to 4pm
SUN 7/1 -- Noon to 6pm
MON 7/2 -- Noon to 6pm
TUES 7/3 -- Noon to 6pm
Charlestown Navy Yard
THUR 6/28 to THUR 7/5 -- 10am to 6pm
USS Constitution -- 6/28 & 6/29 only
USCGC Barque Eagle -- 6/28 thru 7/3
HMCS Goose Bay (Canada), HMCS Moncton (Canada) -- 7/1 & 7/2 only
US Coast Guard Station
SAT 6/30 -- Noon to 4pm
SUN 7/1 -- Noon to 4pm