Seeing Boston On A Budget: Stuff To See And Do For Free In The City

Paige DiFebbo
Paige DiFebbo

Traveling can sometimes be expensive, but luckily there are a ton of cool things to see and do for free in Boston! So, if you’re trying to save a little money on your next trip to Boston, here are some suggestions for free stuff to check out in the city.

Learn about Boston’s history at these free attractions

Freedom Trail

The Freedom Trail is one of Boston’s most well known tourist attractions. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re interested in history, but it also can just be a fun way to walk around and see the city. The 2.5 mile long trail through the city connects 16 historical sites where you can learn about the Revolutionary War. The trail starts at Boston Common and ends at Bunker Hill.  Each historical site is marked by a freedom trail plaque on the ground, and a narrow, red brick trail connects the sites. Walking the Freedom Trail is a fun, and free, way to learn more about Boston.

Visit the USS Constitution

The USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned navy ship that is still afloat today, and it is one of the stops on the Freedom Trail. You can walk on the ship for free to look around, but remember to bring a photo I.D with you. The USS Constitution has been well maintained since it first took to the seas in the 1700s, and it is something interesting to check out while you are in Boston.

Climb to the top of the Bunker Hill monument

The last stop on the Freedom Trail is the Bunker Hill monument, and you can climb to the top of the monument for free. If you’re up to the challenge, you’ll be able to see great views of the city from the top of the monument. While you are at Bunker Hill, you can also learn more about the history of the site where one of the first major battles during the Revolutionary War happened.

The Commonwealth Museum

The Commonwealth Museum is the official state museum of Massachusetts history, making it the perfect place to visit if you’re interested in learning more about the state’s history while you are in Boston. Admission to the museum is free and it tells the history of the state from its founding in 1629 to present day. The museum is most well known for its Treasure’s Gallery which features founding documents that established the colony of Massachusetts and an original copper plate with an engraving of the Boston Massacre done by Paul Revere, an important patriot of the American Revolution.

Enjoy some fresh air at some of Boston’s outdoor spaces

Boston’s Public Garden

Boston’s Public Garden is a big outdoor space right in the center of the city that is a must see while you are visiting Boston. Boston’s Public Garden was the first public botanical garden in the country. There are 600 varieties of trees in the park, and it’s a beautiful place to walk around anytime of year. There also are a lot of cool statues to check out, including the park’s famous Make Way for Ducklings statue.

Visit Castle Island

Another thing you can do outside for free in Boston is visit Castle Island, which is a unique spot in the city and a cool place to hang out and enjoy the views of the skyline. The island is only a couple miles from downtown Boston and easily accessible by bus. You can spend some time here hanging out on the beach and you can walk along the Harborwalk, which covers half the island. Castle Island also has Fort Independence, which is a historical site from colonial times that offers free tours on the weekends.

Fenway Victory Gardens

Located only a block away from Fenway Park, Boston’s Fenway Victory Gardens is a hidden gem in the city and another cool place to walk around. The gardens were created during World War II when Boston residents helped grow produce to contribute to the war effort. Local residents still manage garden spaces here, but there are more flowers growing than vegetables today. It is the only remaining victory gardens from World War II that are still being used in its original location. Although there are private gardens that are locked off, the park containing Fenway Victory Gardens is public with paths so that you can walk around and check out the different gardens.

Other free activities that you can do in Boston

Tour the Samuel Adams Brewery

The Samuel Adams Brewery is a popular attraction in Boston, and you can tour the facility for free, although a $2 donation is requested per person which is given to local charities. The tour is also open to all ages; you just need to be 21 with an ID to sample the beer. On the tour, you’ll learn more about how their beer is made as well as some of the history of the company.

See a free concert or movie at Hatch Shell

Hatch Memorial Shell is an outdoor concert venue in Boston overlooking the Charles River that offers free concerts and movies. The venue has most of its events between April and October, and you can look at the schedule on their website to see what concerts or movie screenings they’re offering while you are in Boston.

Go Stargazing at the Coit Observatory at Boston University

On most Wednesday nights, weather permitting, Boston University opens up their Coit Observatory to the public for an hour so that you can look at the stars using their telescopes and binoculars for free. If you want to go stargazing, keep in mind that there are limited spots available at the observatory. You can reserve your spot in advance by calling 617-353-2630. This is a unique activity that the city has to offer that would be fun for people of all ages.

Paige DiFebbo
Paige DiFebbo