Best Free Things to Do in Boston

This is a brief list of the Best Free Things to Do in Boston. It’ll be a whirlwind tour as there are a lot of free things to do but not much space to tell you about them. So jump in the tour bus and let’s get going…

Free Boston Historical Tours:

It’s difficult to find another town in America to equal the history of Boston. From the colonists early days to the revolutionary war, and then to the many events that have shaped the city and the nation’s history there’s a lot packed into a small area. The city’s past is best experienced in the walking trails winding through it’s historic sections and neighborhoods.

The most famous of these trails is the 2.5 miles Boston Freedom Trail, a red-lined walkway taking you to 16 historical sites from Boston Common to Bunker Hill in Charlestown. Pick up a free map and guide at the information kiosk on Boston Common.

A step away from Boston Common is the Beacon Hill district – a walker’s delight through the cobbled alleyways lined with red-bricked houses and semi-hidden gardens. The Black Heritage Trail offers a journey through the hill area and free maps are available at Abiel Smith School.

Experience a Free Boston Event:

Watching Beantown residents celebrate life is definitely one of best free things to do in Boston and its event calendar is jam-packed with a diversity of celebrations from the Italian Feast Days in the North End to the South End’s Festival Betances, and the free concerts in the Back Bay and on Boston Common.

Other popular events in the city are the 4th July fireworks at the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade and the family Friday night movies in the summer, also at the Hatch Shell. And for the ultimate in crowd involvement join us on Patriot’s Day in April for the oldest Marathon event in the world – the Boston Marathon – and encourage the runners through those final agonizing miles into Copley Square.

Boston Parks and Gardens:

Come April everybody in Boston is ready to get outside and enjoy the warmer months. This can mean eating lunch on a park bench at the Common or jogging through the Esplanade bike path or strolling through the gardens in one of the six parks of the Emerald Necklace system.

One of the most popular free things to do in Boston though is to visit the Boston Public Gardens just across Charles Street from the Common. The Boston Public Gardens are especially vibrant in the spring when the formal flower beds are blossoming with color and in the fall when the foliage bursts into fiery life.

The Other City – Cambridge:

I know people in Cambridge probably quake in their boots when I refer to their fair city in the same breath as Boston but the short hop across the Charles River to the campuses of MIT and Harvard puts you in a different world.

I’m particularly fond of Harvard Square and the quirky buildings of MIT. Harvard Square comes to life at night with street performers on every corner. Linger around an open bookstore or grab a coffee to go at one of the cafes and you can get free entertainment for the night. The best way of seeing MIT is to take the free Campus Tour. The tours depart from the Building 7 Lobby, located at 77 Massachusetts Avenue, and generally last 75-90 minutes, and are offered at 11:00am and 3:00pm Monday – Friday.

Free Tickets to Boston Museums:

Boston has a number of world class museums and most offer free access on certain days and times. The Boston Public Library system offers free passes to cardholders, which provide access to the Museum of Science and New England Aquarium on first-come first-served bases.

Other popular museums offering complimentary entrance include the Museum of Fine Arts free Wednesdays from 4:00pm – 9:45pm, the Institute of Contemporary Art free Thursdays from 5:00pm – 9:00pm, and the Harvard University Art Museums free on Saturday from 10:00am – Noon.

If you’re interested in more ideas and suggestions then you can find a list of 21 free things to do in Boston here.