Over 50 FREE things to do in and around Boston

 

Looking for some fun things to do in Boston but don't have any money? The following list are all major tourist attractions in Boston and they are all FREE!

Please note that because of Covid-19 many of these museums/attractions have changed hours, and may even be closed. Please visit each website to confirm hours.


 

 

1. The Freedom Trail

Follow the Red Brick Road - Walk the Freedom Trail: Boston is a great walking city! Follow the red-brick 2.5 mile walking trail that will lead you to 16 nationally significant historic sites including Faneuil Hall, Paul Revere House, USS Constitution, the State House and more. Going on your own gives you the flexibility to take detours and explore beyond the trail. Here is a free map of the Freedom Trail. If you want a guided tour they are being offered for a fee.

Boston Freedom Trail Free
Boston Freedom Trail Free

 

2. Free Bowling!

Free bowling! Kids can bowl 2 free games a day for free at participating bowling centers all summer (May to September) throughout Massachusetts. For just an additional $29.99 up to four adults can bowl all summer as well (shoe rental is not included). Choose between ten pin and candlepin. This is a great activity for the whole family. Visit KidsBowlFree.com to sign up.


Boston Bowl, bowl for free

 

Discounted Tickets!

Boston City Pass Discounted tickets to museums

If your musuem/attraction is not on this list and you want to see Boston without spending a lot of money, you should check out the Boston City Pass. The card gives you discounted access to Boston's top sites and tours for one low price. You can save 43% or more over the cost of buying individual tickets!

 

3. The Discovery Museums

The Discovery Museums: The Discovery Museums in Acton offers "First Friday Nights Free!" From 4:30 PM to 8:30 PM both museums are open for free. There are two buildings situated on a 4 acre campus; the Children's Discovery Museum and the Science Discovery Museum.
They gratefully accept donations for the Acton Food Pantry.

 

4. Bunker Hill Monument

Climb to the Top of the Bunker Hill Monument: The Bunker Hill Monument is standing where the first major battle of the American Revolution fought on June 17, 1775 atop Breed's Hill. The monument is 221 feet tall and has 294 steps that will lead you to the pinnacle. From the top you will get great views of the Boston skyline.
In front of the obelisk is a statue of Col. William Prescott. During the battle, according to popular stories, he coined the famous Revolutionary War phrase, "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes".
The monument is located in Monument Square, Charlestown, MA. The Monument is open daily 9:00 am - 4:30 pm.

 

5. Samuel Adams Brewery

Samuel Adams Brewery: Take a free tour of the Samuel Adams Brewery. Learn all about Samuel Adams. Experience the entire brewing process, from start to finish. Sample a few of their award winning beers (you have to be 21 years old with a valid ID). They offer tours Monday - Friday. The tour last about 1 hour.

 

6. The Museum of Fine Arts

The Museum of Fine Arts Boston is offering Free admission to the MFA to College and University students, K-12 teachers, Bank of America's Museums on Us Program members and Military Active Duty and Veterans and Families on specific days (pleas see website). Or pay a modified admission pricing ($5 minimum) during the 3-4 pm entry time slot every Wednesday.

Free Admission to Museum of Fine Arts in Boston

 

7. The Massachusetts Historical Society

The Massachusetts Historical Society: Located on 1154 Boylston Street in Boston, the MHS is free and open to the public. The MHS is an independent research library and manuscript repository. They have millions of rare and unique documents and artifacts vital to the study of American history, many of them irreplaceable national treasures.

 

8. USS Constitution:

USS Constitution: Built in Boston and launched in 1797, the USS CONSTITUTION is the world's oldest commissioned warship afloat. When the ship, which is docked at the Charlestown Navy Yard, is open, it is free to visit on a first-come, first-served basis. Please be aware that visitors must pass through a security inspection and show federal or state photo identification, such as a driverís license or passport, before embarking on USS Constitution. Visitors under the age of 18 do not require a photo identification card.
The Museum has a suggested admission of $10-$15 for adults, $5-$10 for children.

 

9. The State house

The State House: Sitting on top of Beacon Hill, adjacent to the Boston Common on Beacon Street, the State House is the oldest surviving building in the area. The original wood dome was covered with copper in 1802 by Paul Revere's company. It was eventually gilded with gold leaf in 1874. During 1997, at a cost of more than $300,000, the dome was re-gilded, in 23k gold.
The tours are given weekdays year-round from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm, and are free of charge.


Boston State House

 

10. Movie Night at the Hatch Shell

Movie night: Watch a free movie at the Hatch Shell. Grab a blanket, lawn chairs and some popcorn and settle in for an outdoor evening of films. During the summer only.


Free concerts at the Hatch Shell in Boston

 

11. Free Concerts at the Hatch Shell

Concerts: See a free concert at the Hatch Shell. The Hatch Shell is Boston's epicenter for large outdoor performances and open-air events. Grab a blanket, lawn chairs and maybe a picnic and settle in for a great concert with everything from classical to rock and roll music.
This is also where the famous 4th of July Boston celebrations take place where Keith Lockhart conducts the Boston Pops and where the fireworks take place.

 

12. Art Galleries

For the art lover: There are several art galleries on Newbury street; Copley Society of Art (Co/So), Arden Gallery, Galerie d'Orsay, Barbara Krakow Gallery, Child's Gallery, Beth Urdang Gallery, Axelle Fine Arts, Alpha Gallery Inc, DTR Modern Galleries, Lanoue Fine Art, CoSo Artist's Gallery, Royka's Fine Art Antiques Gallery, Vose Galleries of Boston, Inc., Guidos Frame Studio Art Gallery, Pucker Gallery, Gallery NAGA, Martin Lawrence Gallery, Miller Block Gallery, Lorand Gallery, The Guild of Boston Artists, International Poster Gallery, Robert Klein Gallery, Galleria Florentia, Iris Gallery, L'Attitude Gallery Sculpture Garden, Victoria Munroe Fine Art, St. George Gallery, SAC Gallery, Martha Richardson Fine Art, Quidley & Company, Acme Fine Art & Design and Newbury Fine Arts.
With artists from around the world you'll see a wide variety of different styles.

 

13. The Black Heritage Trail

The Black Heritage Trail: Put on your walking shoes! The Black Heritage Trail is a 1.6 mile walking tour that explores the history of Boston's 19th century African American community. On this trail you'll see Robert Gould Shaw and 54th Regiment Memorial, George Middleton House, The Phillips School, John J. Smith House, Charles Street Meeting House, Lewis and Harriet Hayden House, John Coburn House, Smith Court Residences, Abiel Smith School and The African Meeting House.
A self-guided walking tour map and guide is available. They also offer guided walking tours.

 

14. Art & Architecture Tours

Art & Architecture Tours: The Boston Public Library offer tours highlighting the architecture of Charles Follen McKim and Philip Johnson, as well as the many works of famed sculptors and painters. The tour last about an hour. Visit the webiste for hours.
You can also take a self-guided tour; the library has a guide.

 

15. The Commonwealth Museum

Commonwealth Museum: Come and see true national treasures! Located on 220 Morrissey Blvd., in Boston the Commonwealth Museum has rare original documents like the original Massachusetts Bay Charter, the Royal Charter, the Massachusetts Constitution and original copies of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights on display.
The museum is open Monday - Friday.

 

16. Little Italy - Boston's North End

"Little Italy": If you want authentic Italian food and baked goods visit the North End in Boston. The North End has unique streets and layout, plenty of Italian restaurants and bakeries and feasts.


North End Boston Little Italy

 

17. The Institute of Contemporary Art

More Art!: The Institute of Contemporary Art ICA Admission is FREE for all every Thursday from 5 to 9 PM during ICA Free Thursday Nights. Timed tickets are required for free days and nights. Timed tickets for Free Thursday Nights become available at 10 AM the morning of. Youth 18 and under always receive FREE museum admission.
When accompanied by kids 12 and under during Play Dates (the last Saturday of every month except December), up to 2 adults per family admitted free.


THE INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART, ICA

 

 

18. Faneuil Hall

Faneuil Hall: Faneuil Hall Marketplace feature lots of street performers; jugglers, musicians, living statuary, clowns, magicians, mimes and many more acts during the weekends.
You'll also find many stores and pushcarts for shopping and wide variety of restaurants.


Faneuil Hall Marketplace Free entertainment

 

19. BU Astronomy Department

BU Astronomy Department: This is a chance for you to come and observe the night sky through telescopes and binoculars and see things you otherwise might not get to see, and learn some astronomy as well.
Starting time is 7.30PM (fall and winter) and 8.30PM (spring and summer) most Wednesday evenings throughout the year, weather permitting.

 

20. Old North Church

Old North Church: The Old North Church was built in 1723, and is the oldest standing church building in Boston. This is the location where the famous "One if by land, and two if by sea" signal is said to have been sent.

 

21. Arnold Arboretum

Arnold Arboretum: Visit the Arnold Arboretum located in the Jamaica Plain section of Boston. It's a botanical garden with the largest collection of trees in North America with over 15,000 different types of plants and trees from around the world. Open every day from sunrise to sunset. There is a visitor center located inside the main gate on the Arborway. In spring general tours are available from the Hunnewell Building every Saturday at 10.30am, every Sunday at 1pm and every Wednesday at 12.15pm. Sorry, no picnicking, fires or barbecues.

 

22. Boston Common

Boston Common: This is the oldest public park in the U.S., located downtown Boston. Enjoy a picnic on the grass in the summer or cool off in the Frog Pond's giant spray fountain & wading pool. In the winter you can skate across the Frog Pond. There is also a playground for children to enjoy. The Boston Common is 50 acres in size.
From mid-April to the end of October the Boston Common has a 20-seat carousel that was built in 1947. There is a charge for the carousel ($3.00/ride).

 

23. Boston Public Garden

Public Garden: This is a beautifully landscaped historic public botanical garden of nearly 4 acres. Public Garden is well known for its foot pedal-powered Swan Boats. You can see all the various statues in the area, including George Washington, Edward Everett Hale and the famous "Make Way for Ducklings" statues. The public garden is open all day, 365 days a year.


Boston Public Garden Make way for ducklings

 

24. Castle Island

Castle Island: Visit Castle Island to explore fort Independence, a granite fort built between 1834 and 1851. Located on a 22-acre park with a picnic area (they have a snack bar with hamburgers, fries, clams, ice cream and drinks). Fort Independence and Castle Island are on the State and National Registers of Historic Places, and the fort is a National Historic Landmark. There are signs so you can take a self-guided tour. Free tours are being offered every Saturday and Sunday from 12-3.30PM. The tour last about 30 minutes. This is a great space for kids to explore and the beach and a playground is nearby. Open year round and located in South Boston.

 

25. New England Holocaust Memorial

New England Holocaust Memorial: Located between Congress and Union Streets in Boston. Take a self-guided tour through glass pillars with steam rising from the holes below the ground. Each glass column, which represents a concentration camp, is lined with numbers representing those who perished during the Holocaust. You can also read some moving quotes from survivors.


Holocaust memorial Boston

 

26. The Fuller Craft Museum

Fuller Craft Museum offers free admission every Thursday 5:00 - 9:00 pm. Located in Brockton. Visit the Fuller Craft Museum website for more information.

 

27. Harvard Art Museum

Art: Harvard Art Museum offers free admission to All students with a valid ID, Harvard ID holders (plus one guest), Harvard Art Museums Friends, Youth under 18, Cambridge residents (proof of residency required), MTA (Massachusetts Teachers Association) Members (valid ID required), Massachusetts residents - Saturdays from 10am-noon (proof of residency required), Active duty military personnel, plus up to five family members, in collaboration with NEA Blue Star Museums (year round), Individuals with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits or an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card, plus up to five family members.

 

28. The Museum of Bad Art!

Bad art!: The Museum Of Bad Art (MOBA) is the world's only museum dedicated to the collection, preservation, exhibition and celebration of bad art in all its forms. Located in the basement of the Somerville Theater in Davis Square. Admission is free with a movie ticket or with a free pass from the museum, that you can ask them for on the website.

 

29. Ring Fountain

Cool off: The Rings Fountain located in the Wharf Districts Parks is a great way to cool off on a hot summer day. 64 nozzles shoot up in the air in a circle. The fountains are on May-October daily.

 

30. The Esplanade

The Esplanade: The Esplanade is a 17 mile long stretch of land along the Charles River. A lot of people jog, bike or rollerblade here. Along the way you'll pass the Hatch Shell, playgrounds, gondola rides, a small cafe and of course plenty of green space to sit down, relax and take in the beautiful view. This is also the place to be on the 4th of July!

 

 

31. Splash Funtain at Christian Science Plaza

Another fountain: The Splash Fountain at Christian Science Plaza has 180 water jets. It is open May-October every day, weather permitting.

 

32. Artesani Playground & Wading Pool:

Artesani Playground & Wading Pool: Artesani is located along the Charles River at 1255 Soldiers Field Rd. in Boston's Brighton. Picnic tables, showers, changing room, lifeguards on duty, 2 playgrounds and easy parking. A lot of people bring portable BBQ's and have birthday parties there.

 

33. History and Cultural Heritage

History and Cultural Heritage: The Brighton-Allston Heritage Museum was founded in 2007. They collect and exhibits art, artifacts, archives, objects, and photographs related to the history, heritage, culture, and art of Brighton and Allston, MA.

 

34. John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site

John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site: Home and birthplace of the 35th President. The grounds are accessible year-round, however the house is open late-May to the end of October, Wednesday through Sunday from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm only. Entrance to the John Fitzgerald Kennedy NHS house museum, visitor center, and bookstore is free.

 

35. Ice Skating

Ice skating: Great activity for all ages. Call your local rink for hours. If you don't have your own skates you can rent them for a small fee.


Free Ice skating rink in Boston

 

36. Memorial Drive Recreation

Memorial Drive Memorial Drive Recreation. Every Sunday from the last Sunday in April until the 2nd Sunday of November from 11:00am to 7:00pm the State Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) close off Memorial Drive (between Western Avenue and Mount Auburn Street) and it is open to recreation. Bike, Walk, inline skate, walk, jog or run on the street!

 

37. Davis Museum at Wellesley College

Art: The Davis Museum at Wellesley College offers free admission every day Tuesday-Sunday. Founded more than 120 years ago by the first President of Wellesley College, it is one of the oldest and most acclaimed academic fine art museums in the United States.

 

38. ParkArts

ParkArts: Enjoy citywide neighborhood concerts, orchestra, symphony, puppet shows, festival, movie nights and workshops. (Youth workshops are open to Boston residents only.) Check location and dates. (Summer only)
Click here for location and dates for the free watercolor, photography and art and craft workshops, two children's festivals and puppet shows.
Click here for dates and location for Mayor's Wednesday Night Concerts, Tito Puente Latin Series, Citywide Neighborhood Concerts, Movie Nights, Jazz concerts, Boston Landmarks Orchestra and Metropolitan Wind Symphony.

 

39. MIT Mumeum

MIT Museum: Explore invention, ideas, and innovation. MIT Museum for:
Free for children under 5
Free for MIT ID holders (students, faculty, staff, spouses, alumni) with one free guest.
Free last Sunday of each month, September through June.

 

40. The Harvard Museum of Natural History

Natural History: The Harvard Museum of Natural History offers free admission to Massachusetts residents every Sunday morning (year-round) from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and on Wednesdays from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm (September through May). Proof of residency required. This offer is not available to commercial groups.

 

41. Art Complex Museum

Japanese Tea Ceremony: Free admission for all to the Art Complex Museum in Duxbury Wednesday-Sunday, 1-4 PM. Enjoy traditional Japanese tea ceremonies and concerts, view american paintings, prints, Shaker furniture and Asian art. The tea ceremony and concerts are only a few times a year.

 

42. Purgatory Chasm State Reservation

Purgatory Chasm State Reservation: Put on your hiking shoes and walk the trails that lead to a wide variety of rock formations; The Corn Crib, The Coffin, The Pulpit, Lovers' Leap and Fat Man's Misery. There are plenty of picnic tables so bring something to eat. The Purgatory Chasm is located at 198 Purgatory Rd., Sutton, MA.


Pergatory Chasm Sutton MA

 

43. Longy School of Music of Bard College

Free music: Longy School of Music of Bard College offers free concerts to the public. Visit their website for dates and times. Concert locations: Edward M. Pickman Hall, Wolfinsohn Recital Room and Homburger Recital Room are located at 27 Garden Street in Cambridge. Recital Room N1 is at 33 Garden Street.

 

44. Boston Landmarks Orchestra

Orchestra: The Boston Landmarks Orchestra offers great music for free every summer!

 

45. Free Workshop

Free Workshop: Every week the Home Depot offers free workshops for adult and for kids. (Once a month for kids.) Learn do-it-yourself skills.


Home Depot Free Workshops

 

46. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Free Museum: Enjoy FREE admission to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum if your name is Isabella (for life!!). Also Free for U.S. Military and families, visitors 17 and under, university members, and if it is your birthday!


Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Free Admission

 

47. Waterwork Museum

Another Free Museum: Enjoy FREE admission to the Waterworks Museum in Boston. Look at the remarkable machinery, the massive wrenches that kept the pumps running, and the beautiful architecture.
WINTER HOURS (Jan 1 - March 31): Wed-Sun: 11am-4pm.
SUMMER HOURS (April 1 - Dec 31): Wed: 11am-9pm, Th-Sun: 11am-4pm


Waterworks Museum Free admission Boston, MA

 

48. BU Art Gallery

Art Gallery: Free admission to the BU Art Gallery on 855 Commonwealth Avenue, in Boston. The exhibitions focus on international, national, and regional art developments, chiefly in the twentieth century.
Hours: Tues - Fri 10am - 5pm, Sat - Sun 1 - 5pm

 

49. Cape Cod Chip Factory

Cape Cod Chips: Take a free self-guided tour of the Cape Cod Chip factory and get a free bag of chips! Located at 100 Breed's Hill Road in Hyannis, MA 02601. Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

 

50. Rollerskating

Free Rollerskating: Kids under the age of 12 get to skate for free once a week. Choose your skating center at KidsSkateFree.com and sign up.

 

51. Leventhal Map Center

The Leventhal Map Center located in the Boston Public Library's McKim Building in Copley Square is a place to explore history, geography and world events through their collection of maps dating from the 15th century to the present. Visit their gallery and learning center FREE to view exhibitions, and Kids Map Club with puzzles, books, globes, memory games and map related activities. Visit their website at https://www.leventhalmap.org/.

 

52. Seals!

Seals! Outside the New England Aquarium you can see a 42,000 gallon outdoor tank with Atlantic Harbor seals playing and swimming. The exhibit is sponsored by the New England Aquarium and there is no fee.

 

53. Indoor Skatepark

FREE indoor skatepark! The Orchard Conservatory Skatepark, located in Allston, is a large free indoor skatepark opened for the public. They are offering various unique and inspiring terrain on each floor that is fun for all skill levels. The only thing that is required is a valid waiver.

 

54. Granary Burying Ground

Walk through Boston's third-oldest cemetery, Granary Burying Ground, that was established in 1660. This historic cemetery has 2,300 markers. This is the final resting place for Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, John Hancock and many others.
The Granary Burying Ground is located on Tremont Street in Boston.

 

55. The New England Patriot's

Want to watch the Patriot's pratice? Come to the Patriot's Training Camp locted at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.
Call the training camp information hotline at 508-549-0001 for daily updates throughout the camp (July-August).

 

56. Boston University Art Galleries

Boston University Art Galleries are committed to a culturally inclusive and interdisciplinary interpretation of art and culture. Free Tuesday to Sunday. Closed on holidays wit reduces hours in the summer.

 

57. Walk to the sea!

In 2008 Mayor Thomas Menino dedicated the Norman B. Leventhal Walk to the Sea. On this walk you'll discover four centuries of Boston history. There are 8 stops on this walk. Start at the State House in Beacon Hill, then continue on to the King's Chapel, Government Center, Old State House, Financial District, Customs House, Rose Kennedy Greenway and end at the Long Wharf.

 

 

For Boston Residents

 

1. Aquarium: During the school year (September-June) the New England Aquarium offers free admission for up to 4 people to the aquarium available through the Boston Public Library. You must have a Metro Boston Library Network library card to be able to reserve a pass.

 

2. Museum of Science: The Museum of Science offers free admission for up to 4 people available through the Boston Public Library. You must have a Metro Boston Library Network library card to be able to reserve a pass.

 

3. Larz Anderson Auto Museum: The Larz Anderson Auto Museum offers free admission for one family available through the Boston Public Library. You must have a Metro Boston Library Network library card to be able to reserve a pass.

Larz Anderson Auto Museum discount

 

The following are not free but discounted and almost free!

 

1. Museums: If you are a Boston Resident and have a library card you can pick up a free or discounted pass for:
Boston by Foot (member privileges on any tours)
Boston Children's Museum (1/2 price)
Department of Conservation and Recreation (hang tag - free parking for 1 vehicle at state park facilities that charge a parking fee)
Museum of Fine Arts (discounted pass)
Museum of Science (free pass!)
New England Aquarium (free pass! September-June only)
Institute of Contemporary Art ICA (discounted pass)
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (discounted pass, weekdays)
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum (discounted pass)
Larz Anderson Auto Museum (free admission)
Zoo New England (discounted pass)

 

2. Boston Children's Museum: Every Friday night from 5-9pm the admission is only $1. Visit the museum for more information.

 

3. Swan Boats: Taking a Swan Boat ride is a cute, quick and inexpensive way to enjoy the park and water! The Swan Boats have been a part of the Boston experience for over 130 years. Only $3.50 for adults and $2.00 for children (ages 2-15 years) Children under 2 is free.

 

 

Check out our list of Free things on your birthday!




The information provided in this document is intended for informational purposes only and is subject to change without notice. Information may be changed or updated without notice.