10 Free Things to Do in Boston

Background photo of Boston Common with text reading: 10 free things to do in boston

Here at Spot Easy, we know Boston is one of the best places to live in Massachusetts. However, Boston can be expensive to live in, and visit. If you're balling on a budget like us, try these free things to do in Boston!

Outdoors

1. Visit the Boston Common and Gardens

On a sunny day in the spring, the Boston Public Garden is in full bloom. Established in 1837, this park in Back Bay, Boston was the first public botanical park in America. Boston Common and Boston Public Gardens have entrances on both sides of the 50 acre park. In the heart of Back Bay, there’s shops, restaurants, historical buildings and monuments surrounding the park, giving you plenty to explore! 

Boston Commons and Public Garden Picture, free things to do in Boston by Spot EasyPhoto Source: Lauren Thompson

The Boston Public Gardens are filled with blooming tulips, intricate paths, benches and pop-up food vendors, all surrounding the glistening lagoon. Across the park, the Boston Commons leads you to more lush trees, memorials, plenty of geese, and the Frog Pond in the heart of the Commons. In the winter, the Frog Pond can be used as an ice rink. In the warmer months, children are found splashing around in the water. In all seasons, these Commons are the best spot in Back Bay, and 100% free!

*Pro tip: Pack some lunch and grab a blanket, this can be the best picnic spot!

2. Charles River Escapade

In Back Bay, Boston, the Charles River separates East Cambridge and the city of Boston. Along the river, there’s bicycle paths, small parks, plenty of seating, and room to take your boats for a ride. Not only is this one of the best bicycle paths in the city, it is also the safest due to it being for pedestrians only. 

*Pro tip: Rent a blue bicycle and take a ride along the shore!

Charles River Esplanade Picture, taken by Spot Easy, a digital rental platform with thousands of Boston apartment listingsPhoto Source: Lauren Thompson

The Charles River Escapade also hosts free concerts from Hatch Shell*. These concerts are free to the public, and run all year round. If biking, walking or canoeing isn’t your thing, try checking out a concert instead!

*Due to the Coronavirus, 2021 Hatch Shell shows may be postponed or cancelled.

3. Castle Island

Castle Island is in South Boston. This 22-acre peninsula has beautiful beaches, running trails, and Fort Independence, an abandoned prison. This island is free to explore, including the fort. On the island, many go on hikes, have picnics and take school field trips. Take a day trip to Castle Island and you may find your new favorite spot!

*Pro tip: Book an Airbnb and stay all weekend!

4. Bunker Hill Memorial

In 1775, the Battle of Bunker Hill was one of the most important battles during the Revolutionary War. In memory of the Battle, there is a 221 foot tall monument, which you can climb to the top for free of charge. Nearby, there is a historical museum which is free as well. If you love history, and learning about Massachusetts’s past wars, check out this historical Hill! 

5. The Lawn on D

Picture of The Lawn on D, Spot Easy is a digital rental platform with thousands of apartment listingsPhoto Source: Trip Advisor

This Lawn in the Seaport District of Boston is a park filled with white, round swings. In addition to always being free during regular hours, the lawn has seating, free wifi, and various lawn games. For the 2021 season, The Lawn on D opens May 7! This lawn holds many events year round, most of which are free. If you’re interested in visiting, or booking an event on the Lawn, visit their website: www.signatureboston.com/lawn-on-d

*Pro tip: go during a week night when it's less crowded!

6. Walking Tours

Free Tours By Foot offers multiple walking tours which you can sign up to join for free! Some of these tours include The Freedom Trail, Beacon Hill Crimes, Little Italy, Cambridge and Harvard University and plenty more. These tours can be self-guided, with audio tour guides, and are free of charge. Self-guided tour maps can be found here: Self Guided Free Tours by Foot. Learn something new and take a walking tour!

Indoors

7. Beer Tours

Sam Adams, a popular brand of beer in Boston named after Founding Father Samuel Adams, has free beer tours. Sam Adams will take you around the brewery, and if you are over 21, receive free samples along the way. If you aren’t 21, you can still take the tour! Boston has three Sam Adams taprooms and brewery’s. Book a tour, or visit their Beer Garden, here: https://samadamsbostonbrewery.com.

8. Massachusetts State House Tour

Picture of Massachusetts State House, Spot Easy is a Boston digital rental platform offering thousands of Boston apartment listingsPhoto Source: The Freedom Trail

If you’d like to learn more about this 1798-founded, Massachusetts Historical Landmark, and all that occurs behind these four walls, take an in-person or virtual tour! Meeting in Doric Hall, these 45-minute tours will take you around the House grounds. Organized by volunteers, this tour teaches the architecture, history, and how-to’s of the State House. Get out of your comfort zone and take a Massachusetts State House tour here: State House Tours

9. Free Museum Hours

At multiple museums in Boston, there are free-admission hours! 

  • Harvard Museum of Natural History: free to Massachusetts residents every Sunday morning from 9am-12pm (year-round), and Wednesdays from 3pm-5pm (September through May). Massachusetts teachers (K-12) can also visit free, as well as Massachusetts residents who present Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards at the admission desk with up to 5 guests.
  • Commonwealth Museum: This museum showcasing the history of Massachusetts is free everyday.
  • Harvard University Art Museum: This lovely, art museum is free to the public Saturday’s from 10 a.m. to noon. 
  • Museum of Fine Arts: Filled with over 450,000 pieces of art, the MFA in Fenway is free every Wednesday evening from 4pm to close, and on most holidays. 
  • Institute of Contemporary Arts: The ICA in the Seaport District of Boston is free every Thursday evening from 5pm until close.

*Pro tip: go as early as the free-time is! It will likely be less crowded.

10. Wander Faneuil Hall 

Along with the handful of other shopping hubs in Boston, Faneuil Hall has dozens of shops, restaurants, pop-up shops, and food vendors. Without spending a dime, you can wander this market, window browse, and see one of the most well-known areas of Boston. During December, there is a large Christmas tree that is lit in the center of the Hall. This is one of the most popular stops for tourists visiting over the Holiday break. Slow down, and take a stroll in Faneuil Hall!

*Pro tip: grab a bite to eat and have a picnic! Food can be inexpensive here.

With so many options Boston has for free events, there’s no way you can’t find something to do here, even on a budget. From tours, to museums, to some of the best parks in the state, Boston has so much to offer. 

Comment below your favorite spot from this list!

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