When I first moved to Boston, I often (privately) joked that running was one of the only things to do here. Yes, that is an obvious exaggeration, but come April, it doesn’t seem like that much of a stretch. It’s Marathon time, after all. It’s a literal holiday that ties in with the appearance of spring. Turns out, people like to be outside when the skies are blue and the temperature reliably breaks 50 degrees fahrenheit. Who knew?

Anyway, if running a marathon isn’t your thing, there are dozens of city-wide events that will get you out cheering and revelling — or even banging out a 5K before recovering with pastries at Levain. Plus, April is home to Record Store Day (party in Bow Market!) and National Park Week (free entry!). At the very least, go outside to go inside, to a restaurant, and savor some regional Greek food severely underrepresented in the city. It’s spring! A new start! Discover something wonderful! Watch "John Wick: Chapter 4!"

Bar Vlaha

1653 Beacon St. Brookline

Go congratulate the folks at Bar Vlaha, for April is the restaurant’s first whole month in business. The restaurant, which celebrates the cuisine of the shepherding Vlach people of Northern and Central Greece, features a menu punctuated with lamb, kumquat, snail, boar, and no shortage of regional wines and cheeses.

First Monday at Jordan Hall: Ligeti, Schubert
Monday, Apr. 3, 7:30 p.m.
Jordan Hall
Free, reservation required

First Mondays return to Jordan Hall with a program that pairs Ligeti’s frantic 1982 "Trio for Violin, Horn, and Piano" with Schubert’s searching String Quartet No. 15, the final quartet of his short career. Artistic Director Laurence Lesser has dropped some program notes, in video form.

Eric Lu and Earl Lee on Chin, Mozart, Schumann
Thursday, Apr. 6, 7:30 p.m. | Friday, Apr.7, 1:30 p.m. | Saturday, Apr. 8, 8:00 p.m.
Symphony Hall
Tickets start at $39

Three works, three centuries, and one moody program. Boston Symphony Orchestra Assistant Conductor Earl Lee makes steps into his full program debut with the Orchestra, alongside young pianist and Leeds Competition first place-winner Eric Lu. Their program includes Mozart’s familiar but no-less-dramatic Piano Concerto No. 20, and Unsuk Chin’s 5-minute foreboding, single-movement horror show, 2020’s "Subito con forza." Schumann’s confident, hopelessly romantic second symphony, composed in the throes of a personal depression, rounds out the program.

This is a headshot  of a young man. He has short black hair, he's wearing a black, opened collar shirt. He is facing left.
BSO Assistant Conductor Earl Lee
Boston Symphony Orchestra

Abolition Forgery: A History of the Afterlives of Slavery

Wednesday, Apr. 12, Noon

In this virtually accessible lecture, Ndubueze L. Mbah presents his theory of “abolition forgery”, where anti-slavery and abolitionist projects intentionally gave way to the capitalist exploitation that was a product of slavery itself.

Puccini's Wagnerisimo

Friday, Apr. 14, 2:00-3:30 p.m.
Boston Public Library: Rabb Lecture Hall

Operatic giants Richard Wagner and Giacomo Puccini are not often thought of as an artistic brace — the interplay between the composers of "Der Ring des Nibelungen," "Tannhäuser," and "Parsifal" on one hand; and "Turandot," "Tosca," and "La Bohème," on the other, is not something one would consider readily apparent. The Boston Wagner Society and Boston University Associate Professor of Music, Dr. Deborah Burton, invites us to challenge this understanding, however, as she presents musical examples evincing a “secret” admiration the Italian held for the German composer that defied the artistic nationalism that characterized their outputs.

This is a black and white photograph. A headshot of Italian composer Giacomo Puccini is on the left. On the right is a headshot of German composer Richard Wagner
Giacomo Pucini (left) and Richard Wagner (right)
Public Domain

Shakeout + Levain Bakery & Coffee
Sunday, Apr. 16, 10 a.m.
Corner of Boylston and Charles (By Arlington T stop)
Free with reservation

Support your favorite marathon runner, or get into the spirit of civic races yourself with this easy-paced 5K run presented by Bakline. The three-mile Sunday morning shakeout begins at Boylston and Charles Street, and finishes at the Levain on Newbury. Yes, there will be coffee and pastries. It’s Levain on a Sunday morning, any other outcome would be cruel.

NEC Jazz Orchestra + Jim McNeely: To You, the Music of Thad Jones

Thursday, Apr. 20, 7:30 p.m.
New England Conservatory: Jordan Hall

Trumpeter Thad Jones was a jazz gem. In fact, I’m listening to his 1956 album "Detroit–New York Junction" (a truly stellar recording featuring Oscar Pettiford and an early-career Tommy Flanagan). But Detroit and New York only tell a partial story of Jones’s four-decade recording career: from 1972-1973 he taught at the New England Conservatory. For this concert, pianist and composer Jim McNeely links up with the NEC Orchestra for an evening of tribute to Jones’ most influential project, the big band he led with drummer Mel Lewis from 1965-1978.

A man is playing the trumpet. He stands against a black background. He is wearing a white short sleeved shirt, which is trimmed with colorful embroidery.
Thad Jones, 1970
David Redfern Getty Images

Vinyl Index Presents Record Store Day 2023
Saturday, Apr. 22, 9 a.m. - Sunday, Apr. 23, 1 a.m.
Bow Market
Free Reservations

Some of the greatest record store day experiences are around the friends and strangers you hang out with during the day in the afternoon, even if you wake up too late to grab that "Space Jam" soundtrack. This year, Vinyl Index is hosting a party where music matters most, so get an early start at Bow Market to sort through their stock. Eat some music-themed victuals, groove out to Soulelujah’s afternoon set, then stick around for the RSD afterparty with the DJs of Social Studies.

Records and Headphones
Vinyl + Grado Headphones
Mark Solarski, Unsplash Wikimedia Commons

Free Entry for First Day of National Park Week

Saturday, Apr. 22
Any national park that charges an entry fee

Maybe records aren’t your thing, but "America’s Best Idea" is. Bully for you — it turns out that Apr. 22 is the beginning of National Park Week, and one of the National Parks Service’s entrance fee-free days, which means you can learn and explore on the government’s dollar. Since not all parks charge entrance fees, this only applies to the ones that do. In the Bay State, that means free entry to Lowell National Historic Park and Cape Cod National Seashore. This spring, ask what your country can do for you.

This is a photograph of a large backyard and farm. In the foreground  are flower gardens bordered by a manicured lawn. In the background is is a manicured lawn. Down the center are rows of flowers and foliage.In the background is a large, Federal style home built in the 17th century.
Located in Quincy, Massachusetts, Adams National Historical Park tells the story of four generations of the Adams family (from 1720 to 1927).
National Park Service, Public Domain

Beyond the Page: Celebrating National Poetry Month

Wednesday, Apr. 26, 7-8 p.m.

The last week of April is also the last week of National Poetry Month. On this evening, settle in for a series of readings from Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola and Youth Poet Laureate Anjalequa Leynneyah Verona Birkett. Joining them is multidisciplinary artist and 2022 Boston Music Awards Spoken Word Artist of the Year Amanda Shea .

This is a headshot of poet Porsha Olayiwola. She is sitting against a red backdrop. She is wearing a black and white striped shirt. Her hair is pulled into a topknot. She is wearing round framed glasses. The rims are gold, the temples are red.  She is smiling,
Porsha Olayiwola on the set of Open Studio, 2019
Howard G. Powell Jr. WGBH News