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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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?