Jun 072015
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10 Free Things To Do In Boston This Summer #Travel

If you’re heading to Boston this summer, here is a list of 10 things you can do in the city for free.  Yes, I said free.

1.  Cool off at Frog Pond

Spend the day letting the kids splash around in the giant wading pool and cool off under the 30-foot spray flume at Frog Pond.  It’s open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 1st through Labor Day. Lockers are available for $1.

The Frog Pond is located on the Boston Common, off the Park Street stop on the Red or Green line.

2.   Walk the Freedom Trail

The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile, red-lined (brick or painted red line) urban walking trail that leads you to 16 historically significant sites that bring the history of the American Revolution, as it began in Boston, to life.  Along the route you will see such places as the site of Boston Massacre, Paul Revere’s house, Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, Old South Meeting House and the Bunker Hill Monument.

10 Free Things To Do In Boston This Summer Freedom Trail

You can start your Freedom Trail tour at the beginning, middle, or end and here’s a map of the route in case you want to walk the walk.

3.  Free Friday Flicks

On Friday nights during the summer in Boston, the Hatch Shell has free outdoor movies thanks to WBZ NewsRadio 1030 and the DCR! Bring your blankets and picnics so that your family will be comfortable to enjoy a free family-friendly movie under the stars. Free Friday Flicks are held rain or shine and begin at sundown (approximately 8:30 pm),  but you should plan to arrive early so you can grab your spot on the lawn.

The 2015 lineup hasn’t been announced yet, but check the Hatch Shell event schedule for dates & times.

4.  Tour and Explore The Boston Public Library

The Boston Public Library offers free art & architecture tours every day of the week (at varying times, so be sure to check their website first). The tours last for approximately one hour and if you’re not interested in a guided tour,  you can always do a self-guided tour of the main library on your own.

The Boston Public Library is located at 700 Boylston St.

5. Stroll the Boston Haborwalk:

Boston’s Harborwalk is a public walkway that follows the edge of piers, wharves, beaches and the shoreline around Boston Harbor. It’s not fully completed yet, but when it’s all done, it will stretch 46.9 miles between Chelsea Creek and the Neponset River. Currently, 39 of those miles are finished and along the way you can take in some amazing views of the city, learn about a little history, check out some art and do some sightseeing.

6. Do some people watching at Faneuil Hall

Faneuil Hall Marketplace, which located near the waterfront in downtown Boston, has thousands of visitors each day making is the perfect spot to people watch.  Not only that, there are street performers galore at Fanueil Hall.  If you spend some time there you will see dancers, acrobats, jugglers, musicians, magicians and mimes – just to name a few.  The street performers are fun for kids and adults and they are all free.

10 Free Things To Do In Boston This Summer Street Performers Fanueil Hall

7.  Tour the USS Constitution

The USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world. It was first launched in 1797. Now fully restored, you can tour Old Ironsides for free Tuesdays – Saturdays (they are closed Mondays).

Fun fact – The USS Constitution earned her nickname “Old Ironsides” during the War of 1812 when she fought the British frigate HMS Guerriere. During this historic battle, cannonballs fired at USS Constitution appeared to bounce off, causing one of her crew to remark that her sides were made of iron.

The USS Constitution is located in the Charlestown Navy Yard and yes, it’s one of the stops on the Freedom Trail.

8.  Visit some of Boston’s old dead people
Anyone else picturing “Bring out your dead” from Monty Python and The Holy Grail right now?  I digress….

Boston is one of the oldest settlements in the US, so it stands to reason that many early American’s are buried here.

King’s Chapel Burial Ground is the oldest cemetery in Boston.  It’s located at the corner of Tremont and School Streets, across from the Omni Parker House and you’ll see the final resting places of such people as John Winthrop (the first Puritan Governor of Massachusetts) and and Mary Chilton (the first European woman to step ashore in New England).

10 Free Things To Do In Boston This Summer Granary

Copp’s Hill Burying Ground is Boston’s second oldest burying ground and it’s located on a hill on which a windmill once stood.   Some of the more “famous” people buried there are Cotton Mather and his father, both of whom were Puritan ministers closely associated with the Salem witch trials, Robert Newman, the man who hung the lanterns at the Old North Church on the night of Paul Revere’s midnight ride and Prince Hall, the anti-slavery activist and founder of the Black Masonic Order.

The most popular Boston cemetery is the Granary Burying Ground, located on Tremont St (not far from the corner of Park St).

Three signers of the Declaration of Independence, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Robert Treat Paine, are buried here.  Mary Goose, believed by some to be Mother Goose, is also laid to rest there and Paul Revere is buried near the back of the Granary.

10 Free Things To Do In Boston This Summer Paul Revere

Fun fact- Approximately 5000 people are buried at Granary, even though there are only 2300 headstones. Since funerals were expensive back in the day, often there would be one headstone per family.

9.  Spend the day in the Public Garden or the Boston Common

Pack up a picnic lunch, grab a Frisbee and spend the day outside with the family.

10.  Take a State House Tour

Did you know that you can take a 45-minute tour of the Massachusetts State House?  On the tour you will learn about the history and architecture of the State Capitol.   On the tour, you will get to see the House and Senate Chambers, learn about the Ladybug (our state insect) and of the “Sacred Cod”. The tours are given weekdays year-round from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm, and are free of charge, but they do require a reservation.

10 Free Things To Do In Boston This Summer State House

And, be sure to check out my list of 10 MORE Free Things to do in Boston this Summer, too!

See, there are tons of things to do in Boston without breaking the bank!  What’s first on your list?

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  130 Responses to “10 Free Things To Do In Boston This Summer”

  1. Sounds like you will need more than a day to see everything. I am making plans to do it all.

  2. Haven’t been to Boston since I was much younger, but if and when I go back will definitely have to use your list then. 😉

  3. A great list for sure. As you know, I live in MA and so many of these things I have yet to do. Crazy right? I gotta get out more. I would love to walk the freedom trail. 🙂

  4. I like free hahaha The one time I was in Boston I only stayed a brief moment! If I’m lucky enough to go back again I would take the State House tour!

  5. Wow so many awesome things to do in Boston during the summer. I have only been to Boston once as a small child but didn’t stay long.

  6. I always imagined that Boston is a city that you would need a lot of time to fully explore. It seems so rich in history. That’s great to know that there are plenty of free options, too!

  7. Ohh, insect eating. I don’t know if I could ever do that. Those look like activities for a full weekend!

  8. I love the idea of the Freedom Trail! I want one in Singapore too! It’s like following the yellow brick road but to more interesting places I guess hahaha

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

  9. There’s a lot to do there! I knew there’d be some but this is really great!

  10. Aww I did a bunch of that stuff when I visited my friend in Boston several years ago… so fun.

  11. Great list! There’s so many free things to do in Boston, especially in the summer 🙂

    My favorite is Highland Street Foundation’s Free Fun Fridays where some of the best attractions in MA are free on Fridays this summer! Some can get busy but it’s a great way to play tourist without the cost 🙂

  12. Love lists like this, especially somewhere like Boston where there is so much to do! We too a trip there when our daughter was little, maybe around 2, and did our own “Make Way For Ducklings’ tour following the path of the ducklings in the classic childrens story. It was an easy walk, great to see the sites and there are bronze statues of the ducklings in the park where they end up as well as the classic swan boats still operating as in the book.

  13. I just picture all the buildings around there to look very historical. I’m sure there is a lot to do. I’d love to go there someday.

  14. I wish I could get to Boston! Maybe one day I will get there and some of these freebies will still be offered!

  15. Looks like a lot of great places to visit. I would so take my daugher to the frog pond.

  16. I’ve never been to Boston, but all of these ideas look pretty cool. It’s even better that they’re free! I need to start looking around my local area to see what types of things are free. I’d like to get out and about.

  17. Looks like a ton of things to do! I would love to walk the walk and see all the sights. Sounds interesting. My kids would also love a giant wading pool. Of course that would be fun!

  18. Thanks so much for sharing this! I’ve always wante dto visit Boston, but I haven’t been able to get there yet.

  19. These sound like a lot of great things to do! I would love to visit Boston and check out the sights.

  20. I live too far away to do this stuff, but BOY you all have a ton of stuff to do! I am going to check with my local place to see if we have anything like this by us! It looks like a lot of fun!

  21. I have always wanted to visit Boston, but never made it there. Will keep this handy “just in case”!

  22. Great list! Makes me want to plan another trip to Boston!

  23. I absolutely love Boston. It’s so full of history and culture. It’s an amazing city to visit.

  24. I have always wanted to visit Boston but never had the chance. This is a great list of things to do in Boston if I can make it out there this year. Thanks for sharing.

  25. I hope to take the kids for a day or two and visit Boston this summer! I’ve got an Aunt in Billerica, MA and we go visit often. Next time I’m definitely checking out the Freedom Trail and of course, we’ll visit Faneuil Hall! That never ends up being cheap or free for us, but it’s a special visit so we always budget for it! lol

  26. I would definitely want to walk the Freedom Trail if I went to Boston. Sounds like a real historical adventure.

  27. Visit some of Boston’s old dead people! Hilarious. I love that stop on the Freedom Trail. It was my favorite spot on our field trip as a 5th grade teacher. Mother Goose is in there!

  28. I want to go to Boston, now! You have free movies on Fridays? Wow!

  29. We have some relatives moving to Boston soon. I had no idea there were so many fun free things there.

  30. Haha @ Visit some of Boston’s old dead people! I have family in the Boston area and we have done many of these things, but I think people watching is my favorite. You never know what you might see!

  31. Boston is not on our agenda but my oldest son would LOVE tour the USS Constitution.

  32. These all sound like great idea. The Frog Pond sounds like fun especially on a hot summer afternoon.

  33. Free stuff is the best! We wanted to do the Freedom Trail when we went to Cape Cod, but the weather just didn’t cooperate. I wanted to see the Make Way for Ducklings sculptures too. Maybe someday.

  34. This is really cool, It’s amazing how many free thing you can actually find to do! There’s always much more than you think.

  35. I haven’t been to Boston since I was a child and have such fun memories. I would love to go back in the next couple of years with my family, and what could be better than free?

  36. Thats a lot of things to do in Boston! seems like it would be a fun experience for summer travels!

  37. It sounds like Boston really has a lot to offer! I’d love to plan a trip there and it’s so nice knowing there are free options if we make it out that way!

  38. I’ve never been to Boston before! It’s one place on my list of places that I want to visit!

  39. These are surely some interesting things to do for free in boston, the insect eating contest looks very interesting, I wonder if my kids would do that lol.

  40. I would totally get someone to drive me the two hours to Boston to do these things for free! I won’t drive in Boston though, I am such a small town gal.

  41. The Free Family Flicks sound cool .. I can think of all the great Movie Snacks I would Bring 🙂 I would definitely love to see the FreedomTrail

  42. My kids would just love this. They love sight seeing and hands on activities. We did something like this in Philly a few years ago.

  43. Oh I love Boston, would love to visit again soon, have not been there is so long! Thanks for these tips,will keep them in mind.

  44. Sounds like a fun town! I love people watching and that cemetery looks interesting!

  45. We were in Boston a few years back and we walked the Freedom Trail and we saw the dead people,LOL. We had a great time doing both. We also visited the Harvard campus and that was quite awesome too.

  46. I would love to go and walk the freedom trail and learn more about my American history, but no thanks to the bug eating contest! 😉 LOL What fun there is in Boston!

  47. I really want to go to Boston some day. Now I can do it free. lol

  48. It sounds like there are a LOT of fun and educational things to do in Boston that don’t cost a thing. I sure would love to see the USS Constitution!

  49. I have heard so many wonderful things about Boston and really want to visit the New England area. Seems like a great dose of educational fun and history!

  50. Wow, there are so many great things to do in Boston. I can say I have never done any of these myself.

  51. Boston seems to be an interesting place. And, all the FREE things that one can do make it more interesting especially in this day and age when it’s so rare to find anything nice + free. I’d definitely do the Freedom Trail, the Harbour, and the Free Friday Flicks.

  52. These are all really neat things to do while you’re in Boston. I would completely enjoy doing all of them with my family. The Free Friday Flicks is an amazing thing to do.

  53. I’ve always wanted to go to Boston. Who knew there were so many things to do, that didn’t cost a penny! The Freedom Trail really caught my attention!

  54. This brings back memories of my childhood in Boston…well really, Dorchester to be exact. Anyway, lots of wonderful suggestions here and difficult to pick a favorite. I loved them all.

  55. I have been wanting to come and visit Boston…hopefully pretty soon as it’s not too far from NYC :).thanks for the list…I’ll take the state house tour first ..

  56. I want to go to Boston! So many fun things to do!

  57. My niece lives in Boston. I’ll have to check these out next time I go to visit her.

  58. Thank you so much for the inspiration! I am going to need to look around my city and see what free things there are to do that I can drag my kiddos to! 😀

  59. I would love to take the kids to the frog pond and the freedom trail. So many fun things to do in Boston!

  60. It sounds like Boston has a lot of great things to do this summer. It is great there are free options!

  61. Wow that is a great list of things to do! I love free, they are always the best things to do!

  62. Cool. Love these activities. Would be worth a trip just for these.

  63. I love all of these ideas! We have a ton of great things to do in St Louis too.

  64. I always love a good free time. The frog pond sounds especially nice to cool down in.

  65. This is great! My brother is coming to stay with us for the summer, so it will be fun taking him to these places.

  66. I’ve done The Freedom Trail a few times. Boston is truly my favorite city. I would love to live there if it didn’t snow. 😉

  67. This is a great list! I have been to Boston and love it and really want to take the family one day.

  68. I really liked Boston when I went. The Freedom trail was definitely worth the walk.

  69. I’ve always wanted to visit Boston. Thanks for the list just in case I visit with the kiddos.

  70. We walked the Freedom Trail years ago. I bet my girls would like to do this now that they are older.

  71. I walked the trail with Addie in a carrier! I would love to bring her this year… and I know we will get to Frog Pond!

  72. Who knew there were so many awesome and free things to do in Boston! I would love to take my son on the Freedom Trail. I think he would love it!

  73. I took that walking tour about 30 years ago 🙂 – I can’t believe it was that long ago…it was really a nice stroll!

  74. Wow so many fun & free things to do in Boston! Hopefully I can make it over there soon! Never got to appreciate it when I lived up north.

  75. There are tons of fun things to do in Boston. I would love to walk The Freedom Trail.

  76. I have always wanted to go to Boston. I would love to go to Boston’s Harborwalk. I am hoping to get to Boston in the next year or two.

  77. In 1987 when my daughters were Cadet Girl Scouts, we all worked for a year at various fundraisers to make enough money to go by train from Atlanta to Washington, DC, Boston, and New York. We spent three days in Boston and saw many of the places you talked about here. It was a very fun, interesting trip.

  78. We used to have a beach house at the cape and would spend time in Boston every Summer. I have such fond memories of being there. I still want to go back one day., This is a fabulous list. Thanks for sharing.

  79. The freedom trail and the cemeteries is what I would like to do from you list. I love the history of it all.

  80. I’ve heard the Freedom Trail is amazing! I’ll keep these in mind – I really hope to visit Boston one day!

  81. This list is awesome. Boston is definitely on my list, I will have to check you guys out soon.

  82. I will definitely want to visit Boston again. I need to borrow your list when I visit Boston this time maybe I need a couple of days stay. I like that the place seems to have a rich history.

  83. I think it would be fun to visit Boston! These all sounds like great things to do while there!

  84. I have not been to Boston in a few years – I take my dog with me and this is a fun place to visit. Thanks for the reminder to add to the must revisit list.

  85. I have heard so many great things about Boston and I hope to visit one day. My husband is actually a fan of the Boston Red Sox.

  86. I love visiting cemetaries. Not only are they calm and peaceful, but they tell the stories of so many people. I have never been to Boston but I hope to travel there in the next year or so.

  87. I would love to go to Boston! This all looks amazing!

  88. I haven’t ben to Boston since my college days! Those are some fun things to do. The Freedom trail sounds particularly interesting to me.

  89. I love to see creative summer activities for kids! Great ideas!

  90. Now I’m adding Boston to my list of places to visit! I need to get hopping on these travels soon!

  91. The Walk Freedom Trail sounds awesome. I so would use this in our History homeschool lessons.

  92. The freedom trail is one of our favorite touristy things to do, period! One of my fave cities to explore!

  93. We are going to be in this area this Summer sometime. Thanks so much for this wonderful list.

  94. There’s definitely so much history in Boston. I love looking in old cemeteries and taking a tour of the USS Constitution sounds really neat.

  95. My only regret to living in northern Michigan is that our history here only goes back 150 years or so. I plan to make it to the north east and eventually overseas to really steep myself in some history.

  96. I visited Boston over 15 years ago and I loved it. It is fun to find free things to go in your city.

  97. I would love to walk the freedom trail. We also have something like that here in the city called “Urban Trail” which we’ve been wanting to do but never got around to doing yet. Soon!

  98. Yes! You should definitely utilize your own city. mine don’t want to leave their bedroom this summer. lol

  99. These all sound like wonderful outings to enjoy with the family. I bet my kids would enjoy the frog pond.

  100. Boston, ah? I’ve never been, but this is sure is an idea. Gotta think about it – kids would love to go some place new

  101. Such a good idea for a blog post and for your locals to read. I need to figure out some free stuff to do around here.

  102. You might want to recheck the uss constitution because I believe they just pulled out old iron sides for some type of restoration work. I may have imagined the news story do I would double check.

  103. I would love to walk onthe Freedom Trail, must be relaxing and fun. The only Paul Reviere that I have seen is a restaurant.

  104. That’s the best part of living near a city! Cool FREE things to do! Unless you wanna drive by some Amish people, not much free things to do here in WNY lol…

  105. Sounds like the perfect summer plan 🙂

  106. I have never been to Boston, but it is actually on my bucket list of places in the USA to see. Thank you for sharing such a great list!

  107. I’m working on a similar list for here in NYC. I’ve never been to Boston but do love discovering new fun things to do that don’t break the bank.

  108. We love Boston! There are so many great things to do with the kids there.

  109. I love the free outdoor movie idea! I haven’t been to one since I was just a wee thing!

  110. Believe it or not, I’ve never spent a significant amount of time in Boston. I think I would love to spend some time there and see all the sights.

  111. Boston is such a great city! I didn’t realize there were so many things you can do for free

  112. I’m researching free things to do in our city too! I am so ready to send the kids to my sister in Boston. I’m giving her this list.

  113. I would check out the Boston Harborwalk first. Everything sounds like so much fun on a budget!

  114. “Bring out your dead!” LOL
    Seriously though, this is such a fun list. The cemetery would be really neat to see!

  115. I have never been to Boston before, but it seems like a great place to visit. And this is really a great list indeed for the summer trip! I like the idea of Freedom Trial. My husband too loves visiting such historical places.

  116. Shared this with my husband. He wants to go to Boston so badly!

  117. I would love to spend a week in boston! I love the history there, I’m a total history buff.

  118. Boston is definitely on our bucket list. I’ll be pinning your post for reminders of where to go!

  119. These looks like fun ideas! I may need to take a trip to Boston soon! Thanks for sharing.

  120. I can’t believe I haven’t been to Boston yet. I think I’d be visiting the library and enjoying an outdoor movie, if I had my choice. Faneuil Hall Marketplace would also be on my list of places to check out.

  121. This made me a bit homesick. Sniff. Such a wonderful place to bring a family. Nice list of ideas. 🙂

  122. Boston is definitely a place that’s on my bucket list. There is so much to do there, and I love that you’ve put together this list of free things!

  123. I haven’t been to Boston yet but I sure hope to visit one of these days. It’s nice of you to list down all the free things to do while there.

  124. I visited three year ago and we had a blast at the Aquarium. Thank you for this list of other things to do.

  125. Have never been to Boston, but I really would love to see Fenway Park and walk the Freedom Trail. Sounds like a lot of fun. Thank you so much for sharing.