Boston may be the city of my birth.
So, of course, I’m a diehard fan of the town. It holds a particular place in my own heart.
Boston is a historic city with roots that stretch back again to the founding of the united states. If you ask me, Boston is more a assortment of small towns when compared to a big metropolis city like LA or NYC or Miami. We’re actually just a couple of townies. (Those Boston based movies that show hardcore neighborhood allegiance? They are i’m all over this!)
As a city with a whole lot of students, recent graduates, and teenagers, Boston is a comparatively cheap spot to visit as it includes a large amount of free what to see and do.
From music events to museums to walking tours to beer tours to parks and beaches, there are lots of ways to save throughout your visit.
Here’s a listing of 27 free things you can do and see in Boston!
Free What to See and Do in Boston
1. Walk the Freedom Trail Established in 1951, The Freedom Trail covers 16 historical sites and stretches 2.5 miles. This red-bricked trail will educate you on almost all you have to know about Boston’s history. You can download an audio podcast to accompany your walk or you can continue an organized tour led by among Boston’s many historic characters. Be prepared to spend a few couple hours walking the trail and far, much longer in the event that you enter every site along the trail.
It’s the easiest way to get yourself a feel for the town and its own history and hit a couple of historical sites along the way. In the event that you do a very important factor in Boston, do that.
2. Eat in Faneuil Hall Everyone should eat in Quincy Market at least one time. Grab your meal in one of the numerous restaurants in the colonnade, head outside to view the people pass, and revel in a street performer’s show. The hall is a meeting place in the town since the 1740s, and several speeches received here about American independence prior to the Revolutionary War. After you’re done eating, walk around and spend a day here people-watching
4 S Market St, +1 617-523-1300, faneuilhallmarketplace.com. Open Monday-Saturday from 10am-9pm and Sunday from 12pm-7pm.
3. CONSTRUCT in the normal That is essentially Boston’s version of Central Park, with the normal dating back again to 1634, rendering it the country’s oldest park. (Fun fact: There used to be always a many more fences surrounding the park, however in WWII the iron fences were taken and scrapped for the war effort.) Lie out, read a book, play some sports, or simply relax. Wander around to the nearby Public Gardens, or sit by Frog Pond. It’s an excellent way to enjoy your entire day without spending a dime. In the summertime, you can even ingest a free of charge Shakespearean play.
4. Catch a Concert at the Hatch Shell BRelax by the Charles River as artists play shows at the Hatch Shell. Built-in 1928, It’s here you can observe the famous Boston Pops play on July 4th in addition to a plethora of free summertime concerts. Sometimes the Hatch Shell even plays movies during the night.
47 David G Mugar Way, +1 617-626-1250, hatchshell.com. Start to see the website for an up-to-date set of events.
5. Check out Castle Island Castle Island is situated in South Boston and is well-known for the fort situated on it, Fort Independence (The fort was actually used as the first state prison. Ironic, huh?). The 22-acre island (which is technically a peninsula) extends in to the harbor and has excellent beaches together with running trails that are favored by the locals. There’s a picnic area here, and you could explore the old fort free of charge. The area gets pretty busy on the weekends through the summer and you could often see school groups exploring the fort through the spring.
6. Have a Tour of Harvard Founded in 1636, Harvard may be the oldest university in the us. Check out its home in Cambridge (Harvard Square Red Line train stop) and join a free of charge tour for more information about it. Find out about the university’s history, architecture, programs, and myths. When you’re finished, wander around the eclectic offerings of Harvard Square. There are a great number of good street musicians here. (Fun fact: Tracy Chapman got her start playing on the streets here.)
Harvard University, +1 617-495-1000, harvard.edu/on-campus/visit-harvard/tours.
8. Free Beer Tours Sam Adams, a significant Boston brewery named following the famous statesman and Founding Father Samuel Adams, offers free tours. They occur midafternoon and depart every 45 minutes. You get yourself a few free samples on the way, too. If you’re not over 21, don’t worry. You can still go and find out about how they make their beer and the annals of the brewery. You merely can’t sample it towards the end.
30 Germania St, +1 617-368-5080, samueladams.com. Tours can be found Monday-Thursday and on Saturdays from 10am-3pm. On Friday, tours can be found between 10am-5:30pm.
9. Explore the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain Over 260 acres of free public space is open here from sunrise to sunset. There are running trails, gardens, open lawns, and a great deal of flowers from across the world. Relax among the plants and have a step back from the fast pace of the town. This place is a lot quieter compared to the Public Gardens and will be offering a little more variety in vegetation. They also have an enormous Bonsai collection.
125 Arborway, +1 617-524-1718, arboretum.harvard.edu. Open daily from 7am-7pm.
10. Tour the Massachusetts State House If history is your cup of tea, have a tour of the State House. You’ll find out about the building’s history, architecture, and the way the state works. Built-in 1798, this National Historic Landmark is really worth making the effort to see. Guided tours organized by volunteers and so are available weekdays between 10am-3:30pm and last around 30-45 minutes (if you can also have a self-guided tour but its less fun).
24 Beacon St, +1 617-727-3676, malegislature.gov. Open weekdays from 8am-6pm, but tours are just available from 10am-3:30pm. Admission is free.
11. Climb the Bunker Hill Monument The Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775 was among the first major battles through the American Revolutionary War. As the British eventually took the field, the American’s wore the British forces down a lot more than was expected. Following the battle, the British were a lot more cautious within their advance, which gave the American forces a lot more time to get ready for the coming war. The monument stands 221-feet, and you may climb to the very best free of charge. Gleam nearby museum which can be free.
Monument Square, +1617-242-5601, nps.gov/bost/learn/historyculture/bhm.htm. Open daily from 9:30am-5pm. Admission is free.
12. Go to the USS Constitution Commissioned in 1797 and named by George Washington, “Old Ironsides” is much frigate that was found in the War of 1812 and later in the Civil War. It’s the oldest ship on earth that’s still afloat, and its own popularity has stopped it from being scrapped on multiple occasions. The ship is permanently docked in the harbor and free tours can be found every thirty minutes. It’s an excellent way to acquire a sense of what life at sea was life over 200 years back!
Charlestown Navy Yard, +1 617-426-1812, ussconstitutionmuseum.org. The ship is open daily from 10am-4pm (with long hours in the summertime) and the museum is open 10am-5pm (with long hours in the summer aswell). Admission is free, although museum includes a suggested donation of $10-15.
13. Have a Tour of MIT The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is among the most famous universities on the planet, known because of its expertise in engineering and research. The campus, situated in Cambridge, is scores of buildings that are worth exploring to obtain a sense of what campus life is similar to also to see some very interesting art and architecture. You can grab a free of charge map from the info office and have a self-guided tour to explore this historic campus.
77 Massachusetts Ave, +1 617-253-1000, mit.edu.
14. Explore the Black Heritage Trail There are 14 sites located around Beacon Hill that define this walking tour, covering important elements of African-American history. Massachusetts was the first state to declare slavery illegal (in 1783) and you could learn a whole lot about the annals of slavery and the African-American experience by firmly taking this tour. Free maps can be found at the Abiel Smith School if you wish to accomplish a self-guided tour, though there are lots of companies that also arrange guided tours (with the map it’s very easy to accomplish yourself though).
15. Go Stargazing The Coit Observatory at Boston University offers free stargazing with telescopes and binoculars every Wednesday evening (weather permitting). It requires place outside (obviously) so just be sure to dress for the elements. There is bound space so you have to reserve your spot beforehand.
725 Commonwealth Avenue, +1 617-353-2630, bu.edu/astronomy/events/public-open-night-at-the-observatory. Viewings are Wednesday evenings at 7:30pm in the autumn and winter and 8:30pm in the spring and summer.
16. Search for a Free Museum or MEMORIAL Boston includes a large amount of world-class museums and galleries, with many offering free entry. Below are a few museums and galleries offering free entry on certain days:
- Institute of Contemporary Art – This contemporary memorial is free on Thursdays from 5pm-9pm.
- Commonwealth Museum – This museum explores the annals of Massachusetts and is free each day.
- Harvard Museum of Natural History – This natural history museum has exhibitions showcasing dinosaurs, animals, and minerals (including meteorites). It’s absolve to Massachusetts residents every Sunday morning from 9am-12pm (year-round), and Wednesdays from 3pm-5pm (September through May). Masachusetts teachers (K-12) may also visit free, and Massachusetts residents who present Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards at the admission desk with up to 5 guests.
- Harvard University Art Museums – Home to both modern and historical art exhibitions, these museums are free on Saturday from 10am-12pm.
- Museum of Fine Arts – Home to over 450,000 bits of artwork, this museum is free on Wednesdays after 4pm, aswell as on certain holidays (Memorial Day, MLK Jr. Day).
- Warren Anatomical Museum – A macabre museum with Civil War-era medical tools and some “medical mysteries” that’s free each day.
17. Have a Free Walking Tour As the city’s plethora of food tours, wine tours, and historical tours will definitely cost money, both Free Tours on foot and Strawberry Tours offer free walking tours around the town. They’re the best way to get oriented and start to see the major sights without breaking the lender. Be sure that you tip your guides!
18. The Lawn on D This huge greenspace is relatively not used to the town (when I was growing up, there is nothing in this area and you’ll never go there) and there are a variety of free activities happening all year round (check their website for the most recent). There’s public seating, free Wi-Fi, art exhibitions, and some games like ping pong and bocce.
+1 877-393-3393, signatureboston.com/lawn-on-d. Open daily from 7am-10pm (hours can vary greatly for events). Admission is free.
19. Go Hiking in the Blue Hills This park is a bit taken care of, but it’s definitely worth a visit (particularly if you get access to a car). The 7,000-acre park houses over 100 miles of trails and will be offering some panoramic viewpoints in the event that you feel like stretching your legs and taking a hike. Additionally, there are a lot of activities to keep you entertained, such as for example boating, fishing, skiing, and climbing (according to the season). In the event that you continue the weekends in the summertime, make it happen early to beat the crowds.
20. Start to see the Skinny House Located at 44 Hull Street in the North End, this narrow house was built soon after the Civil War when Joseph Euestus came home to find his brother had bought out over fifty percent of the land these were meant to share. Since his brother had built an enormous mansion on the house, Joseph built a 4-story home to block his view. The odd building definitely sticks out and it’s worth seeing with your personal eyes. Even though the home is 10-feet wide, it still sold for nearly $1,000,000 USD in 2017!
21. Browse for Books at Brattle Book Shop Located a stone dispose of from the Boston Common, this family-run used bookstore houses over 250,000 items. Books, postcards, maps – and a lot of other assorted items call this place home. It’s among the oldest bookstores in the united states, having originally opened in 1825! Furthermore to your standard used books, the store can be home to all types of first editions and antique books. If you’re a book lover like me, you can’t miss this place.
9 West Street, +1 617-542-0210, brattlebookshop.com. Open Monday-Saturday from 9am-5:30pm.
22. Visit Forest Hills Cemetery This serene Victorian cemetery sits on almost 300 acres of land and may be the resting host to a few noteworthy individuals, including the playwright Eugene O’Neill and the poet E.E Cummings. In 2006, within an exhibition, sculptures, including miniature buildings, were put into the cemetery.
95 Forest Hills Avenue, +1 617-524-0128, foresthillscemetery.com. Gates open daily at 7am with closing hours varying by season (check the sign upon entry to see when the cemetery closes).
23. Stroll Along the Charles River The Charles River Esplanade is a 17-mile stretch of along the banks of Boston’s Charles River. It’s an excellent place to get a walk or a run, benefit from the view from a cafe, and even leave onto the water to canoe or kayak. On a sunshiney day, you’ll find a great deal of locals here.
If you’re traveling with kids, there’s a great playground just west of the finish of Storrow Drive which has a splash pad in addition to playground equipment for both older and youngsters.
24. Hit the Beach If you’re visiting through the warm summertime, hit the beach to cool off. Winthrop and Revere Beach is situated just under one hour from downtown (via public transportation) and is open throughout the year (lifeguards are working from June-September). Both are two of the most famous beaches in the region through the summer. Revere Beach has ended 3-miles long and easy and simple to get too. Additionally, there are a great deal of amazing beachfront eateries here too. Go eat at the initial Kelly’s. It’s a Boston institution.
Revere beach has more stores, restaurants, and will be a lot bigger. Winthrop beach will be a lot quieter.
25. Go Ice Skating If you’re visiting Boston in the wintertime, you will find loads of places around the town to go ice skating. There exists a free rink at Harvard that’s open to the general public. You’ll still have to rent skates (which costs $5) however the skating itself is free. It’s a terrific way to enjoy Boston’s chilly winter season.
26. Tour the Custom House Built-in the 17th century, that is probably the most recognizable buildings in the town. It had been built right against the water on reclaimed land so when the customs office moved a tower was put into the original foundation. Built-in 1915, the tower addition made the Custom House the tallest building in the town. It’s owned by Marriott Hotels now, if you can still have a free tour (by appointment) to move up to the observation deck on the 26th floor.
3 McKinley Square, +1 617-310-6300, marriott.com/hotels/travel/bosch-marriott-vacation-club-pulse-at-custom-house-boston. Tours available from Sunday-Friday between 10am-4pm. Tours are free though they are by appointment only.
27. Walk the Irish Heritage Trail Americans of Irish descent form the biggest single ethnic group in Boston (over 20% of the people in Massachusetts claim they have Irish ancestry). This historic free walking trail will need you around the town focusing on contributions created by the city’s thriving Irish community. There are 16 sites along this 3-mile walk that you can visit consecutively or in tandem with among the city’s other historic walks.
For a map and information regarding the trail, visit irishheritagetrail.com.
Whether you’re here for the annals, the meals, the sports, or another thing, Boston has a large amount of things to do free of charge that will fill your complete visit and save you a ton of profit Boston.
Book Your Visit to Boston: Logistical Guidelines
Book Your Flight Look for a cheap flight through the use of Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite se’s because they search websites and airlines around the world which means you always know no stone is left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you need to stay somewhere apart from a hostel, use Booking.com because they consistently return the least expensive rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. I take advantage of them all enough time. My favorite spot to stay is:
- HI Boston – This hostel is in an excellent location, has its coffee bar with plenty of space to hold out, and in addition has female-only dorms. It’s really secure and the staff are excellent too. It’s the very best hostel around!
For more hostels, have a look at this post on the very best hostels in the town. If you want to learn the best neighborhoods in which to stay, here’s my guide to all or any the best areas around!
Looking to discover the best companies to save lots of money with? Have a look at my resource page to get the best companies to use when you travel! I list all of the ones I use to save lots of money when I travel – and I believe can help you too!
Looking to find out more on visiting Boston? Have a look at my in-depth destination guide to Boston with an increase of tips on what things to see, do, c