Put Away that Wallet: 10 Free Things to Do in Boston

I love travelling, but sometimes it can be expensive. I don’t want to spend my vacation doing a ton of expensive tourist events, or have to pay $20 to walk through the door of some museum every day for a week.

Why not put a list together of free things to do. Since I’m from Boston, I figure why not start here? There is a ton of free things to do in Boston and it’s a great city to head to on vacation.

So, put away your wallet and check out some of these free things to do and see.

Walk The Freedom Trail

The Freedom Trail map
The Freedom Trail map

Why not start with the Freedom Trail? It winds all over Boston, giving you a great look at a variety of different areas and neighborhoods. If you want a more detailed look at the Freedom Trail, hit up this in depth post I wrote about it.

Climb the Bunker Hill Monument

In Charlestown, you will see a monument that looks suspiciously like the Washington Monument, it’s actually the Bunker Hill Monument commemorating a battle during the Revolutionary War. What you might not know is that you can climb to the top of it and get a pretty awesome view of Boston.

Visit the Boston Athenaeum

The Boston Athenaeum has been around since 1807 and has hosted a variety of intellectuals and scholars in that time. It has a huge collection of all sorts of interesting Boston related items. On Tuesday and Thursday afternoons this normally members only spot gives free tours.

Tour the Commonwealth Museum

The Old State House for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
The Old State House for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Want to know more about the history of the Commonwealth? Then this is the place to go. After all, it ties in pretty closely with the history of America, so it makes for a pretty cool learning event. The Commonwealth Museum features a rotating set of exhibits that cover all aspects of the history of Massachusetts.

Wander the Boston African American National Historic Site

Beyond the Freedom Trail, Boston has another trail that covers some really important events in history. The Boston African American National Historic Siteactually offers free guided tours by National Parks Service rangers that will explore some of this important area of history.

Sample the Sam Adams Brewery

This is one of my favorite things to do in Boston and I always bring friends from out of town to the brewery. Sam Adams is one beer that is pretty synonymous with Boston and the beer is pretty good too, in my opinion at least. A brewery tour is always pretty interesting, and a little sample at the end doesn’t hurt either!

View the Institute of Contemporary Art

This funky building hangs over the water in the old industrial area of Boston. Now, it is filled with some pretty cool artwork featuring internationally known artists and sculptors. The view out into the harbor are pretty incredible as well. But, the best part of the ICA is it’s free for everyone every Thursday from 5pm until they close at 9pm.

Explore the Boston Public Library

The Boston Public Library
The Boston Public Library

The Boston Public Library is actually the oldest in the United States. Located right in the Back Bay area of Boston the building has a prime spot for people watching. It also offers free tours during the week with a library volunteer who will show you some of the collections of noted architects, sculptors and painters.

Wander the The State House

The Massachusetts State House is one of the most distinctive buildings in all of Boston. Easily spotted from the Boston Common it sits atop a hill and has a bright golden dome. Some of the most famous men in American history have worked from within the State House and John Hancock owned the land it was built upon. The State House offers free tours weekdays by expert volunteers.

View from the Coit Observatory

Boston University’s Coit Observatory has a program that allows the public to come, for free, and check out the night sky from their observatory using some of their telescopes and binoculars. Of course, mostly it depends on the weather, but if you are in Boston on a Wednesday night, be sure to swing by the observatory on Commonwealth Ave. and learn what you can see from the night sky.

There you have it, enjoy some of these tours and don’t worry about having to spend any money. If you are in the Boston area during the summer, also check out the Hatch Shell Concert Series, and the SoWa Open Market for more free things to do in Boston.

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