More Free Things to Do In BostonThings you can see and do for free in Boston
The city of Boston, MA is brimming with culture, rich history and fun. This vibrant city has something for everyone and many incredible destinations can be enjoyed without even opening your wallet. Explore this robust list of (25) free and inexpensive ways to experience the best of all that Boston has to offer.
1, Take a free self guided walking tour along the 2.5 mile red brick walking trail of Boston's Freedom Trail. Absorb the rich history of the 16 nationally significant historic sites as you meander along the path. Discover a unique collection of museums, churches, cemeteries, parks, a ship, and historic markers that all tell the story of the American Revolution and our nation's early years.
2. Explore the extensive historically significant contributions of African Americans at The Museum of African American History. View the exhibits, walk the Black Heritage Trail, and learn about the compelling stories of black families who worshipped, educated their children, produced stunning art, and organized politically to advance the cause of freedom.
3. Climb the 294 steps to the top of the The Bunker Hill Monument. Delve into the history of the Battle at Bunker Hill and explore the grande 221 foot granite obelisk monument that represents the site of the first major battle of the American Revolution.
4. Go stargazing on the rooftop at the Coit Observatory at Boston University. Get a close up look at the night sky through telescopes and see outer space like you've never seen it before! The observatory is open and free to the public every Wednesday night at 8:30pm in the spring and summer and open at 7:30pm in the fall and winter, weather permitting.
5. Spend the day enjoying the outdoors on Castle Island & Fort Independence. Walk, jog, roller-blade, sun-bathe, or have a picnic throughout the 22-acre park. Sit back and marvel at the Logan airport planes as they take off and land in the distance. Be sure to stop at Sullivan's for a treat, be it a lobster roll or an ice cream. While visiting this land-bound island, take advantage of a free guided tour of historic Fort Independence daily from noon to 3:30pm from May - October.
6. Brush up on your fire prevention safety while viewing firehouse memorabilia at the Boston Fire Museum. This is one of the oldest fire departments in the United States and it is free to explore on Saturdays from 11am to 5pm. Examine the antique fire apparatus, intriguing fire alarm displays and artifacts, photo displays, and fire equipment.
7. Visit the Boston Children's Museum for just $1 on Friday evenings from 5:00pm - 9:00pm. The foyer features the 3 story New Balance climbing structure - a favorite with kids. Have fun in the bubble room, explore Peep's World, full of sand & water tables.
8. Spend a leisurely afternoon enjoying the beauty of the Charles River Esplanade. Run, jog or walk alongside the riverside's 20 mile stretch, watch the sailboats, have a picnic or enjoy some fun family lawn games.
9. While you appreciate your time on the Charles River, treat little visitors to a unique and challenging workout through play at the Esplanade Playspace next to the Charles River. Adventurous children ages 5-12 can zoom on the zipline, soar on the disk swing and climb the massive climbing net while enjoying spectacular views of the river.
10. Delve into the history of the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world at the U.S.S. Constitution Museum "Old Ironsides," built in the great city of Boston and launched in 1797. The historic ship is most memorable for its action in the War of 1812 when it defeated HMS Guerriere in a brief battle that projected the U.S. into a super naval power.
11. Climb aboard The U.S.S. Constitution and take the rare opportunity explore the top deck of this warship while it is dry dock for restoration. Sailors are on board to explain and answer questions about the history of the ship.
12. Experience the oasis of Boston Common, the oldest park in America and take advantage of all that Boston's 50 acre park has to offer. Wade in the water at the Frog Pond in the summer and ice skate on the pond in the winter months. Younger visitors can frolic at the Tadpole Playground while you relax on the park benches beneath the maple trees. Delight in the art sculptures, free summer theater performances and open space.
13. Savor the sweet scents of the flowers in the Boston Public Garden. Established in 1837 as the first public botanical garden in the United States, visitors can enjoy the Lagoon, Swan Boats, fountains, and much more. While you are there, take a whimsical picture with the famous Duckling Statues from the Make Way for Ducklings children's book.
14. Celebrate your birthday or jubilate if your name is Isabella with free admission to the Isabella Gardener Museum. View the more than 2,500 paintings, sculptures, tapestries, furniture, manuscripts, rare books and decorative arts that are housed in this 15th century Venetian style dwelling. Enjoy the stunning courtyard garden that blooms year round and catch a glimpse of the breathtaking hanging nasturtiums in April.
15. Take the kids for some outdoor fun at Thomas Menino Playpark in Charlestown. This frolicsome park features over 60 pieces of inclusive play equipment set upon 15,000 square feet of rubber terrain. Multiple slides, a climbing area, a swing set, a seesaw and a handicap accessible carousel provide unyielding fun for all abilities.
16. Learn the historical significance of Old North Church where the event that kindled the American Revolution took place. Visit the tallest steeple in Boston from June to October and you can tour the bell tower, reenact the delivery of Paul Revere's message, hold up your mock lanterns to warn that the British are coming by sea and not land and view the crypts.
17. Launch a canoe, kayak or paddle board off of the Fort Point Pier and savor a relaxing excursion on the channel. The pier offers a free launch site for non motorized watercraft. Enjoy the ease of transporting your watercraft at the only public launch in any U.S. major metropolitan downtown with car parking at the dock.
18. Grab a light jacket and take a scenic stroll along the Harborwalk; a public walkway that connects the very best that Boston Harbor has to offer and connects Boston's neighborhoods to the city's highlights. Meander through the piers, the modern buildings, historic sites, by the aquarium, & restaurants. Enjoy the scenic views of Boston's skyline as you breathe in the ocean air along the 38 miles of walkway.
19. Prepare to be captivated by the elegant and awe-inspiring Museum of Fine Arts. Explore one of the most comprehensive collections of fine art in the world for free on Wednesdays from 4:00pm - 9:45pm! Take your time and marvel at a few hundred thousand works of art ranging from ancient to contemporary that decorate the museum's massive architectural stature.
20, Consider taking a guided tour of the Boston Public Library. Learn all about the history of the building and the stunning architecture and art displayed outside and inside the stately building. Grab a book and settle down in the glorious reading room with vaulted ceilings and tons of natural light, do some research or trace your genealogy in Boston's state of the art library.
(Photo Credit: Brian Johnson - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0)
21. Take a walk through the The Commonwealth Museum for a short visit to view and learn about some of Massachusetts' history. Admire a few of the most notable objects that the museum houses; including Paul Revere's original engraving of the Boston Massacre and original copies of the Bill of Rights and other major documents important to Massachusetts and national history.
22. Just across the street is historic Quincy Market & Faneuil Hall. You can find all sorts of things to see & do amid the cobblestone walkways including shopping, eating at the massive food court, people watching, and live entertainment. During the summer you'll get to enjoy entertaining street performers & musicians, arts & crafts for kids, and free chess tables here & there.
23. Take a stroll through the beautiful 15 acre Rose Kennedy Greenway. Enjoy diverse plantings, unique architectural features, historic landmarks, food trucks, interactive fountains, rotating art exhibits, a really cool carousel, and the beautiful Boston Harbor and waterfront as you go!
24. The Harvard Museum of Natural History offers free admission to MA residents every Sunday morning (year-round) from 9:00am to 12:00pm and on Wednesdays from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm (September through May). Proof of residency required.
25. Continue enriching your noggin at The MIT Museum, which also offers free admission to visitors on the last Sunday of each month, September through June.
26. Explore the unique Beacon Hill neighborhood. In addition to the quaint, historic townhouses, and the famous Cheers restaurant landmark, visitors can enjoy shopping & dining along Charles Street. It's a quick walk to either the Esplanade & Charles River area, or the Boston Common & Public Garden.
Boston really is a terrific walking city. You really can see & do so much without the use of a car. Want to find even more ideas for visiting Boston on the cheap? For more exciting Things to do in Boston, visit our events calendar.