Picture yourself strolling through the lush grounds of the Boston Common, caffeinated beverage in hand. Take in the sprawling verdant fields, gurgling fountains, and monuments as you plan which museum, memorial, or art exhibit to visit next.
While Beantown may be a hub of Revolutionary War history and cosmopolitan culture, that doesn't mean you have to spend a fortune on your Boston vacation. Follow along to discover the 13 best free things to do in Boston.
Dive into our nation’s stirring legacy when you walk the 2.5 miles of the Freedom Trail. Or set your sights on celestial bodies at Boston University’s observatory.
History nerds will be in heaven as many of the city’s top historical sites offer free tours and entry. Climb the Bunker Hill Monument, or pay a visit to George Washington’s beloved Ironside.
Whether you are on the hunt for free activities in Boston or want to up your alone time with some scintillating things to do in Boston by yourself, we’ve got you covered.
Ready to tackle free things to do in Boston today? Read on…
Can’t wait to check out Fenway and eat your weight in baked beans? Before you embark on all of the free things to do in Boston this weekend you’ll need to acquire some A+ accommodations. Savor Public Garden and Beacon Hill views, or enjoy modern amenities such as state-of-the-art fitness centers and swimming pools.
Snuggle up in your well-appointed suite or devour a warm chocolate chip cookie upon check-in. From comfortable and cozy to luxuriously modern we offer Boston Hotels for every budget and style. As always, book without hesitation knowing you are guaranteed our lowest rates online.
Free Things to Do in Boston
Pack those walking shoes because it’s time to get in those steps! While we love the T, you’ll see more of the City on the Hill and conquer even more fun free things to do in Boston when you hit the streets. See Paul Revere's home, chug a free brew, or soak in some sunshine by Frog Pond.
Tour the Freedom Trail
Walk in the hallowed footsteps of Revolutionary history when you take on over 2 miles of notable Boston landmarks and attractions with the Freedom Trail. A riveting collection of 16 nationally significant sites, visitors can cover as much of the trail as they like.
See Benjamin Franklin’s statue, pay your respects at the Granary Burying Ground, or peek into the Old State House. From the somber locale of the Boston Massacre to Paul Revere's humble abode, you could easily spend days exploring each cultural asset.
Psst..want a more involved Freedom Trail experience? Get a VIP-worthy tour and see Boston’s famed Little Italy with the Freedom Trail & Boston's North End Walking Tour.
Museum of Fine Arts
Take a breather from fife drums, patriots, and Redcoats and nurture your creative side with a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts. One of the largest art museums in the world, it boasts a comprehensive collection of more than 450,000 works.
From mummies to Monet, to masterpieces from the Italian Renaissance, revel in works from every era. Admission to the museum is free every Wednesday after 5 pm, and the museum offers complimentary admission to Boston residents on select days.
Sam Adams Brewery
Turns out our founding fathers must have known a thing or two about beer! Named after patriot Samuel Adams, the Sam Adams Brewery has been slinging suds for almost 20 years. Discover the dedication to hops, fermentation, and more when you tour the brewhouse and indulge in some free beer samples. Since the brewery is always concocting new lagers, ales, and IPAs, you'll always have something fresh to try.*
*Basic tours start at $10 and include a variety of free beer samples.
Stargazing at Boston University
Obsessed with all things space? Get a gander at thousands of stars, constellations, and maybe even a planet or two when you embrace your inner astronomer at the Judson B. Coit Observatory. Head over to Boston University’s sprawling campus to enjoy this completely gratis evening affair.
Throughout the year, weather permitting visitors can take turns with telescopes and binoculars to peer at the moon, Saturn, and everything in between.
Please note that while this event is free, you must reserve tickets ahead of time. Space is limited and tickets are capped at five per person, so make your plans accordingly.
Places to Visit in Boston for Free
Yearning for free things in Boston that come with a side of food? While you may have to shell out to eat, you can window shop, browse, and devour with your eyes the many delights of Faneuil Hall. An integral stop on the Freedom Trail, this multipurpose marketplace has served as a prominent meeting place for over 200 years.
Today, locals and tourists alike congregate here to savor lobster rolls, oysters, ice cream, and more. In addition to tons of tempting eats, Faneuil is home to heaps of street musicians, magicians, and acrobats. Don’t forget to grab your Clam Chowda to go and get a jump on souvenir shopping with over 40 pushcart vendors.
Institute of Contemporary Art
Intriguing multimedia explorations of contemporary themes come to life at the Institute of Contemporary Art. Their stunning South Boston waterfront location makes for the perfect springboard to savor works from both local and international artists.
Get lost in the pieces created from found objects, such as rope, nets, and sand, or find yourself moved to tears by a photograph. The museum’s admission is free every Thursday evening from 5 - 9 pm.* Additionally, the museum always provides free entry to youths, ages 18 and under.
*Please note it is recommended to reserve these free tickets in advance.
Visit the USS Constitution
Huzzah! Pay your respects to the oldest commissioned ship in the United States Navy, Old Ironsides when you make your way to the Charlestown Navy Yard. The USS Constitution is free to visit year-round, and guests of all ages can explore the fascinating history of this three-masted wooden-hulled heavy frigate.
After America’s independence, Congress authorized the construction of six warships which would become our fledgling nation’s navy. Originally launched in 1797, Ironsides would earn glory during the War of 1812. Dive into the legacy of the USS Constitution as you speak and ask questions with onboard active duty U.S. Navy Sailors who serve as this noble vessel’s historians.
For a complete experience, be sure to stop by the nearby USS Constitution Museum after your visit.
A dazzling jewel in the ‘Emerald Necklace’ of Boston, the Common is a celebrated oasis of nature, history, and communal relaxation. The Boston Common holds the distinction of being America’s oldest park and features 350 years of spellbinding history.
From Colonial militias meetups to Victory Gardens during WWI, this sacred green space is ripe with attractions and activities. Stroll by the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, throw around a frisbee, or tour the Central Burying Ground. For a refreshing respite, splash around the Frog Pond during summer, or enjoy ice skating and hot cocoa during the cooler months.
Bunker Hill Monument
Love to nerd out on American history? Test your enduring knowledge of Middle School Social studies at the Bunker Hill Monument. A National Park Service Site, this monument was erected to acknowledge one of the first major battles between the British and the Patriots during the American Revolutionary War.
The Battle of Bunker Hill was a viciously bloody fight that took place throughout the landscape of rolling hills and fenced pastures across the Charles River from Boston. Officially dedicated in 1843, the towering granite monument stands 221 feet tall atop Breed’s Hill.
Admission to this historic monument is always free, and we highly recommend participating in the 294-step climb to the top to witness the sweeping views of the Charles River, the USS Constitution, St. Francis Church, and Logan Airport,
Boston Public Library
Calling all bookworms! If your idea of a good time is curling up with a thick novel and a piping hot cup of tea, you must make a beeline to the Boston Public Library. The art and design of the Central Library is unparalleled and, in fact, has often been used as a quintessential example of 19th-century architecture in America.
Since 1848 the Boston Public Library has served as a beacon of free literacy and was, in fact, the first public library to lend books, have a branch library, and a children's room.
Utilize the library’s vast array of services or tour their impressive collection of 23 million items, all sans library card. Set your sights on invaluable original works, manuscripts, drawings, and more. Highlights of the library’s impressive collection include first edition folios by William Shakespeare, original music scores from Mozart to Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf;" and the personal library of President John Adams.
Prefer sweeping staircases and grand vestibules? Throughout the year free architecture tours are also offered to the public.
No longer an Island thanks to a narrow strip of land connecting her to the mainland, Castle Island still provides plenty of complimentary fun in the form of fresh ocean air. Easily accessible by both public transit and/or vehicle, visitors flock here to experience one of Boston’s most appealing waterfront parks.
Castle Island contains a wealth of recreation including sparkling beaches, green paths, playgrounds, and Fort Independence. Jog or bike along the island’s many trails or pack up a hearty picnic to enjoy in between swims at Pleasure Bay Beach.
Take some time to explore the even less crowded Southern Beaches, and be sure to indulge in some local Boston delights (fried clams, lobster rolls, and chowder) at Sully's before calling it a day.
Not visiting during swimsuit season? Watch in wonder as planes land and take off at Boston Logan Airport, or sign up for a free half-hour tour of Fort Independence. This granite bastion is one of the oldest continuously fortified sites of English origin in the country.
Massachusetts State House
Her glinting golden dome is instantly recognizable and has become the symbol of the Boston state government for over two centuries. The Massachusetts State House functions both as the state capital and seat of government for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Located in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston, the State House is easily accessible by public transit or on foot. Part of the Freedom Trail, this grand building boasts spacious marble-floored corridors, portraits of Massachusetts governors, and murals depicting the state's unique heritage.
View the Senate Chambers and the Hall of Flags, or stop to admire the intricate stained glass window above the main staircase.
Steeped in history and peppered by the most prestigious universities, many may assume a visit to the Athens of America is an extravagant affair. However, Boston is abundant with free activities, attractions, and sights.
Appreciate the dreamy Impressionist quality of Monet’s works at the Museum of Fine Arts. Or clap along with the talented street musicians and buskers by Faneuil Hall.
Feel the political power emanate from Boston’s golden dome center of government. Or celebrate afternoons of sandy, sunny fun with an impromptu beach trip to Castle Island.
From sudsy fun at our founding father’s favorite brewery to low-key frisbee hangs in Boston Common, there’s no end to the things to do in Boston for free.
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