/ The Boston Guide
Boston — By Maria Olia on March 3, 2010 at 7:35 pm
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25 Boston Activities That Don’t Cost a Penny

Savvy travelers are ever on the lookout for bargains. If you are feeling the pinch of a limited vacation budget,  know that you can experience a lot of terrific Boston travel experiences for free. Here are just a few !
  1. Take a free guided National Park Service tour of the Freedom Trail (15 State St., Boston, 617-242-5642)(Map) and find out why Paul Revere could not have said, “The British are coming”
  2. Watch the sunset from the Harvard Bridge (at Massachusetts Ave.)(Map) which is really much closer to MIT than Harvard!
  3. Climb the  294  steps to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument and check out the view of Boston and Cambridge (Monument Square, 617-242-5641)(Map).
  4. Fly a kite at Castle Island Park (Off William J. Day Blvd., South Boston)(Map).
  5. Find the graves of the many famous “residents” at Mount Auburn Cemetary (580 Mt. Auburn St., 617-547-7105)(Map). A list to start:  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Winslow Homer,Isabella Stewart Gardner, cookbook writer Fannie Farmer and sportscaster Curt Gowdy.
  6. See where Julia Child wrote”Bon Appetite” and her initials in the sidewalk in front of Savenor’s Market (92 Kirkland St., Cambridge, 617-576-6328)(Map).
  7. Wish on a star at Boston University’s  free public viewings at  Coit Observatory (725 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 617-353-2630)(Map)on Wednesday nights (7:30 PM  fall and winter, 8:30 PM, spring and summer).
  8. Identify birds at the Arnold Arboretum (125 Arborway, Jamaica Plain, 617-524-1718)(Map).
  9. Everyone likes free beer ! Take the Samuel Adams Brewery Tour (30 Germania St., Jamaica Plain, 617-368-5080)(Map).
  10. Fill in the blanks of Symphony Hall’s plaques with your favorite classical composer’s names-only Beethoven’s name is inscribed over the stage. Free “behind the scenes” tours of Symphony Hall (301 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, 617-266-1492)(Map)are held every Wednesday at 4:00 PM and the second Saturday of every month at 2 PM.
  11. Resolve to read more .Free tours of the Boston Public Library (700 Boylston St., Boston, 617-536-5400)(Map) on Monday,Tuesday and Thursday-Saturday.
  12. Picnic at the North End Park (between Cross and Blackstone Streets)(Map)- close to great salumerias for provisions.
  13. Say hi to Chacoda, one of the Atlantic Harbor Seals at the outside (free) exhibit at the New England Aquarium(Central Wharf, Boston, 617-439-7000)(Map).
  14. Stroll along the Commonwealth Avenue Mall (between Arlington and Charlesgate West) (Map)and select your dream brownstone mansion.
  15. Check out the view from the Custom House Clock Tower (3 McKinley Square, 617-310-6300)(Map) 26th floor observation deck.
  16. Test your fitness- run, walk, or bike along the 3 mile  Charles River Esplanade ( Storrow Drive, Boston)(Map).
  17. Attend a summertime concert or movie at the Hatch Shell(1 David Mugar Way, Boston, 617-626-4970)(Map)
  18. Did you know that  Massachusetts has a divine state fish? Hear this story and more on the  free Massachusetts State House tour (Beacon and Park Streets, 617-727-3676)(Map)
  19. Do the hokey tourist thing and take a picture of the “bar where everybody knows your name”, Cheers Beacon Hill (84 Beacon St., Boston)(Map)
  20. Gallery hop on Newbury Street (between Arlington St. and Massachusetts Ave.)(Map)  where there are more than a dozen prestigious art galleries.
  21. Tours of the USS Constitution (Pier 1, Charlestown, 617-242-5670)(Map)are free-be sure to ask the active duty sailor leading your tour,  “Where’s your hometown”?
  22. People watching at its best can be found at Harvard Square (bordered by Mass Ave., Peabody, Cambridge and Quincy Streets)(Map). There’s a passing parade of students, tourists and protesters too, along with street performers of all types.
  23. Relive your inner child and visit the Make Way for Ducklings bronze statues in the Public Garden(bordered by Arlington, Beacon, Boylston and Charles Sts.)(Map).
  24. Dance under the moonlight at the Blues Barge (Boston Harbor Hotel, 70 Rowes Wharf, Boston, 617-439-7000,Tuesday-Thursday evenings June-September))(Map).
  25. Plan a return visit to Boston!

Image Credit: Boston Convention and Visitor’s Bureau

Related places:
  1. A
    15 State St
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  2. B
    Harvard Bridge
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  3. C
    Bunker Hill Monument
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  4. D
    Castle Island Park
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  5. E
    Mt Auburn Cemetery, Watertown, MA 02472
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  6. F
    Savenor's Market
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  7. G
    Boston University Metropolitan College
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  8. H
    Arnold Arboretum
    View Details and Book
  9. I
    Samuel Adams Brewery
    View Details and Book
  10. J
    Boston Pops at Symphony Hall
    View Details and Book
  11. K
    The Boston Public Library
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  12. L
    North End Park
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  13. M
    New England Aquarium
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  14. N
    Commonwealth Avenue Mall
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  15. O
    Marriott's Custom House
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  16. P
  17. Q
    DCR Hatch Memorial Shell
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  18. R
    Massachusetts State House, Boston, MA 02108
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  19. S
    Cheers Boston
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  20. T
  21. U
    Old Ironsides, Boston, MA
    View Details and Book
  22. V
    Harvard Square
    View Details and Book
  23. W
    Public Garden, Boston, MA 02116
    View Details and Book
  24. X
    Rowes Wharf
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    4 Comments

  • Tom says:

    The USS Constitution Museum is also free and it’s next door to the ship.

  • Maria Olia says:

    Tom,
    Yes. You are absolutely right. The USS Constitution Museum is interesting for history buffs. It’s also an especially good attraction for families with kids…very hands-on !

  • Joshua says:

    My favorite place in Boston was the Fenway Victory Gardens – you can walk around the path and check out a bunch of private fenced-in gardens. Really beautiful and unique.

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