‘Shining City Upon a Hill’, ‘America’s Walking City’, ‘Bean City’, ‘City of Champions’, ‘City of Notions’ – no matter what moniker you assign for it! It will always be one of the most well cherished cities in the US and it has earned it! Packed with amazing architectures and iconic landmarks this city is the home for many firsts. It’s an epochal innovation hub, one of the top most student friendly cities and hosts some of the most prestigious institutions around the entire world – like Harvard, MIT.
The top-notch quality of life along with the beautiful urban atmosphere this city has everything a world-class city has to offer! If you are still wondering which city we are talking about and guessed ‘Boston’… then, well! you are at the right place!
Laying on the lap of the state of Massachusetts the city of Boston is jammed with wealthy features and amazing historical sites. But, did you know how amazingly giving the Bean City can be? We will find that out while exploring some of the great things you can do around the city of Boston that won’t cost you a dime!
Boston Freedom Trail
It would be a shame to start off the list without mentioning some of the most iconic tourist spots that you can explore for free while being in Boston. The city has so many great places to offer that the list can go on forever. However, let’s start with a walk on the historic Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail has the history of American revolution weaved into every bit of it. The freedom trail has approximately 16 monumental landmarks such as churches, museums, cemeteries, parks etc. All of these carry major significance of the history of American history and will take you back to a different timeline. Aside from this 2.5-mile trail there are Black Heritage Trail and Irish Trail.
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Then what are you waiting for? Get your backpack and leave for a walk around the city with your audio podcast on – to assist you. Voila! Within hours you will be taken into a whole another timeline for sure!
Museums and Art galleries
As we are still exploring the glorious history of America let’s take it a little further! Boston has tons of beautiful museums and art galleries for every enthusiast that don’t cost a thing.
There are plenty museums, art galleries and notable sights for free, like – Massachusetts Historical Society, The Ether Dom, Boston custom House, The Plumbing Museum, Boston Esplanade, Harvard Museum of Natural History, Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, Harvard Art Museum, MIT Museum, Commonwealth Museum, Waterworks Museum, Boston University Art Gallery.
Institute of Contemporary Art, Fuller Craft Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Pay-what-you-want after 4 pm on Wednesdays, Museum of Bad Art – these art galleries and museums have their distinctive schedule regarding when it is open for free entry.
Before heading to any of the local art galleries or museums check the timings and map and you are good to go!
Stargazing and Observatories
If you are looking for a fine night with your friends or your beloved one for free and also have a thirst for astronomy then definitely check out the observatories around Boston! In this regard our best recommended place would be Coit Observatory. Coit has Wednesdays fixed for everyone to enjoy the beautiful night sky.
But there is a catch! The entry depends on the weather and the clarity of the sky and also you have to pre-book your seats! Yes, it can be a little troublesome to get a spot as it’s a quite popular destination for stargazers and well equipped. Also, there are after session free astronomy classes that are provided for free. Our suggestion – try to attend those! It’s for free!
You can, however, try something that won’t even need a pre-booking. Just head towards the Boston Common, Boston Public Garden or Paul Revere Landing Park with your small telescope and your loved one with a flask of hot coffee!
The Charles River
The city of Boston is literally hugging the Charles river! It would be crime not taking the advantage of the beauty that the river is. Have a good walk along the Charles River Esplanade that is about 17 miles long and the surrounding areas offer quite pretty treats.
You can go for boating, kayaking or canoeing or just enjoy the warm sunny weather with your kids in the nearby playground and meet interesting Bostonians or head to a nice café to enjoy your afternoon coffee.
Faneuil Hall Marketplace
This is literally the best window-shopping place that you will find around. This iconic marketplace not only offers great stores and shops but also has a lot to see and enjoy. A true lively urban life can be enjoyed from here.
You can have nice free treats like chess lessons, reading rooms, puppet shows, dance nights, ping pong tables, fitness classes, street performers, pool, street magicians etc. It’s a wonderful place to chill around with your friends or kids for free and explore this happening place right in the center of the city.
Being in the cities like Boston and missing out on the chance of free ice skating is not a very great idea. There are tons of places to go ice skating while visiting Boston in winter.
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If you are looking for the perfect holiday date without spending a penny then you can go for the Harvard ice skating rink. There are other ice skating rinks where the skates are rental based but the skating has no fees whatsoever. Some of the most famous rinks that are totally free for the public in Boston are – Warrior Ice Arena, Community Ice Skating at Kendall Square, Steriti Memorial Rink, Kelly Outdoor Rink, Skating Club of Boston etc.
Tour of MIT and Harvard University
While in Boston, it would be a shame to not take the opportunity to pay a free visit to some of the most prestigious educational institutions – MIT and Harvard! Located in Cambridge these two places need to be visited. The architectures, landmarks packed with history and amazingly thrilling educational experiences will surely put you in a whole another mood while visiting MIT and Harvard. Even though both are quite separate from each other and have features and stories of their own, you can fix up two different days for exploring them both to the fullest.
For a self-guided tour all you will need is to pick up a map for free or if you are lucky enough, you can take a friend who can guide you. But, for a group of friends visiting the campuses it will be a treat for sure! You can seek help from the locals or the information centres or the guide books that have everything explained for a hassle-free tour. Both the institutions offer vastly different and exquisite elements which you surely wouldn’t like to miss.
Hiking in the Blue Hills
For all the outdoor activity junkies Boston has a great option to offer and that too for free. It’s exploring the Blue Hills Reservation. Even though it’s a half an hour tour from the main Boston City it’s a place worth visiting.
The reservation area is of total 7000 acres. It includes 125 miles of trails where you can get for a nice exploration on a sunny day. Along with that, it has approximately 22 hills and the Great Blue Hill is the most iconic one after which the whole area is named. You can go hiking and trekking in the hills. There are other facilities available like fishing, boating, birding, rock climbing and it’s a great free option for family outings on any sunny day.
Looking for a great place to visit on a sunny day around Boston? With great food, great outing spaces and some sprinkle of history – Castle Island is the best place that can offer all of these. Castle Island is basically a peninsula that is situated in South Boston and it’s laying in the lap of the famous Boston Harbour. As it’s free for the public, this can be a great weekend escape for anyone.
Fun fact! Despite the name, the Castle Island isn’t even an island anymore. It is attached with the mainland Boston city with a small piece of land that makes it a peninsula. You can go there with your kids and family for a nice picnic or weekend outing, barbeque and have some good food if you want to spend some bucks or bring some of your own to cut the cost. One can also go for parasailing, biking or for a simple walk along the harbour.
Some of the great architectural monuments of the island would definitely be the Fort of Independence. So, anyone can have a great tour of the historical sites and easily have a fun time in Castle Island, Boston.
Forest Hill Cemetery
If you are wanting to go somewhere quieter and more peaceful this might be a place to visit. Open for the public this cemetery has beautiful European architecture, lush green gardens, arboretum, great sculptures and statues. You can easily have a walk around the entire cemetery and take a good look at all the beauty it has to offer. Not only that, this iconic place also hosts the graves of many legendary personas like playwright Eugene O’Neil, Poet E.E Cummings, Martin Milmore, Reggie Lewis, Joseph Warren.
This place is a great escape from the city within the city. Many people come here for birding and relaxing after a long day. On the other hand, a great number of people come here to admire the beauty of this entire area that is packed with history.
Black Heritage Trail
Along with the other two trails – the great Freedom Trail and Irish Trail this one is another iconic trail that Boston has to offer. Black Heritage Trails hold a great value regarding the African-American history that takes us back to a whole another timeline.
The Black Heritage Trail is exactly what it sounds like! It is an exquisite long trail with beautiful historical monuments and landmarks. Laying in the Beacon Hill neighbourhood of Boston, this is a lot more than just a free trail to explore.
Music and Comedy Nights
For the ones who like to have light headed evenings or nights with friends and loved ones in a pure urban atmosphere, Boston has got you covered! There are plenty of music cafes and comedy clubs filled with warmth and ‘good times’ – all around the city.
A lot of them are there for free and offer free public sessions now and then every week. There you can watch others perform, mingle with the locals, have a good hearty laugh while having a nice hot coffee or light drink and if you’re brave enough you can also perform! Some of such interesting places are – Improv Boston, Cityside Comedy Club, The Bebop, 6B Lounge, Herter Park, Amphitheatre etc.
Free Beer Tours
Among many of the famous breweries and distilleries around Boston Samuel Adams Boston Brewery is the most iconic one undoubtedly. What’s even greater is they offer free beer tastings now and then. There is a wide range of beers and a long history that they proudly cherish and living up to. So, even if you don’t want to spend a dime you can have a nice time here if beer tasting sounds like your thing.
They have fixed sessions in the week when the brewery tour is open for the public. However, they request some donation for charity which is about $2 from each person. But, it’s not compulsory to donate even though it can be a small encouragement and a great gesture. The underage ones don’t need to be upset about the tour either, as you all can still take great free lessons on the brewing tours except the tasting part.
Other Notable Places
There are plenty of other places to visit for free in Boston that have great architecture, great historical value or offer good fun times with ease. Such as Massachusetts State House, Jamaica Plain, Bunker Hill Monument, tour to the USS Constitution, Irish trail, Lawn on D etc. the city is packed with amazing cafes, offers great nightlife, beautiful gardens and parks that can be a treat for both kids and adults.
As we have said it’s not only a great city for solo travel. It also has places where you can take your kids for a great outing for free. Such as New England Aquarium, Boston Children’s Museum, Tadpole Playground, Buckley Playground, DeFilippo Playground, Myrtle Street Playground, Charles Bank Playground, Eliot Norton Park, Back Bay Playground, Esplanade Playground etc.
Interesting fact! Boston is also one of the most student friendly cities of the world that makes sense why it’s a choice of the new generation youth too. There are beautiful libraries, book shops, book clubs where you can have a good time with the inner bibliophile of yours.
So, by now we are sure it is clear that the number of free yet amazing things the city of Boston has to offer is endless. It’s near to impossible to list them all down. Rather, it’s an experience that can only be enjoyed while exploring the ‘City of Champions’ itself!