Free Things to Do in Boston

If you find yourself opening your wallet a bit too frequently, you’re not alone. Boston can be an expensive city. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to experience much of Boston's history and many of its sights without having to shell out a penny. Here are 10 free ways to soak up what Boston has to offer.

  • 01 of 10
    Samuel Adams Brewery
    ••• Mark Baylor/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    Visit one of the region’s most popular brewers. On most days, the Sam Adams Brewery offers free tours of its Jamaica Plain facility starting every 45 minutes. At the end of the tour, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy free samples of some of the brewery’s award-winning beers.

  • 02 of 10
    High Angle View Of Freedom Trail
    ••• Ed Burns/EyeEm/Getty Images

    This two-and-a-half-mile walk passes 16 significantly historic sights, including the Old South Meeting House, Paul Revere’s House, and the U.S.S. Constitution. Start your journey downtown at Boston Common, and simply follow the red stripe painted on the pavement. You’ll end up at Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown, where you can climb the 294 steps leading to the summit, and catch an unparalleled view of the city.

  • 03 of 10
    The Boston Public Garden looking east from the Arlington Street entrance, with the skyline of Boston's financial district
    ••• ROxBo/Wikimedia Commons/PD-user

    Marvel in the botanical wonders of Boston’s Public Garden, one of the city’s most peaceful destinations. In the spring and summer, enjoy the unique sight of the swan boats. In the winter, watch people glide along the ice on Frog Pond. The kids (or the kid in you) will want to check out the “Make Way for Ducklings” statues, a tribute to the 1941 Robert McCloskey children’s classic.

  • 04 of 10
    A woman walks up the stairs inside the Boston Public Library in Boston, Massachusetts.
    ••• Matt Mallams/Getty Images
    This isn’t your typical library. There is a lot going on here including rotating art exhibits, lectures, movies, and workshops. The library also offers a free tour of the building’s architecture and art exhibits, which are extensive.
    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10
    Skyline, Boston, Fan Pier Park, Harborwalk, Massachusetts, America
    ••• joe daniel price/Getty Images

    Download a free mp3 audio walking tour, and set off for one of the city’s top up-and-coming areas. This public walkway along Boston Harbor is teeming with parks, cafes, and exhibits. Watch the ships sail in and soak up the sun while learning about how this grand area came to be.

  • 06 of 10
    Guest Curator Steve Martin Presents 'The Idea Of North: The Paintings Of Lawren Harris'
    ••• Elise Sinagra/Getty Images

    Boston museums can be a great bargain. The Museum of Fine Arts offers free admission one day each month for the rest of the year. In addition, you can visit the MFA every Wednesday after 4 p.m. with no general admission fee. As an added bonus, if you happen to have a Bank of America card, you can enjoy free admission to the MFA and the Harvard Museum of Natural History, the first full weekend of every month. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum also offers free birthday admission. It is also free if your name happens to be Isabella. On Thursdays, the Institute for Contemporary Art is free after 5 p.m.

  • 07 of 10
    Massachusetts, Boston, Aerial view of North End and Charlestown areas
    ••• Dermot Conlan / Getty Images

    Few areas in the city are more vibrant than this neighborhood, filled with rich Italian culture. Of course, you’ll be tempted to try one of the dozens of phenomenal restaurants and bakeries – many of which are inexpensive – but simply walking these streets is an experience in itself.

  • 08 of 10
    Faneuil Hall Marketplace
    ••• Kevin Fleming/Corbis/VCG / Getty Images

    Part shopping, part dining, Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall Marketplace is always a bustling center of the city. Grab a spot and watch the frequent street performers, visit the statue of Red Auerbach, or experience the seductive scents from dozens of food vendors inside Quincy Market. The marketplace is just steps from most anywhere downtown, including Government Center, the Boston Harbor, and the North End.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10
    Newbury street, the main shopping street in town
    ••• Maremagnum / Getty Images
    Just because you’re looking, doesn’t mean you have to buy. Newbury Street is Boston’s shopping paradise. These eight blocks in the Back Bay are filled with fashion boutiques, salons, and trendy restaurants. It’s a great place to window shop, or simply people-watch.
  • 10 of 10
    Arnold Arboretum
    ••• Kevin Fleming/Corbis/VCG / Getty Images

    Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and walk the trails of the oldest public arboretum in North America. Experience this public landscape from sunrise to sunset at any time of the year. Each season brings new life and experience to the area, from the burst of autumn color to the serenity of winter. The arboretum also offers periodic free walking tours.