It is not for nothing that more than 18 million people visit Boston every year. This city of superlatives has high regard for its history and loves its slice of greenery. Home to the first public beach in the U.S., Boston is also one of the most walkable cities in the U.S. where you can explore a lot at a leisurely pace. Whether you walk into some of the oldest surviving buildings or spend a rollicking time at the Boston Public Garden, this ‘cradle of liberty’ gives you hundred reasons you can spend lovely time in the city without shelling out a penny. So here is the list of top 10 free things to do in Boston:

Follow the Freedom Trail

The Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile red-lined urban walking trail, leads you to 16 historically significant sites. Attracting more than four million people annually, this historic route was designated as Millennium Trail by First Lady Hillary Clinton in 2000. Walking through the Boston Common (where the trail starts), Granary Burying Ground, the Liberty Tree, Massachusetts State House – the Black Heritage Trail, and many more, you will get to know the story of the American Revolution and the ideals of freedom of speech, religion, and self-determination. What makes these places truly interesting is the fact that these monuments are not re-creations but the actual historical sites. Most of these sites do not charge any entrance fee and are a great way to learn about the history of the city and the country.

Freedom Trail

Freedom Trail passes through the historic landmarks of Boston

Watch some interesting action at the Faneuil Hall Marketplace

The Faneuil Hall Marketplace offers an excellent shopping and dining experience in Boston. Apart from that, what might lure you to this place is something that won’t even cost you a single cent. Everyday, a number of street performers come to this marketplace to perform their routine acts and all of them are amazing. The performances are really jaw-dropping. From magicians to dancers to acrobats to musicians, you can find them all here at the Faneuil Hall Marketplace.

Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Faneuil Hall Marketplace offers an excellent dining and shopping experience

Take a tour aboard the oldest commissioned naval vessel

The USS Constitution is a wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy.  Named so by none other than George Washington, the first president of the United States, the USS Constitution was actually commissioned in 1794 but is still in active service technically. Being the world’s oldest commissioned naval vessel afloat, it also serves as a museum showcasing the history of the U.S. Navy. The ships as well as the museum are open from Tuesdays to Sundays and if you are lucky enough to be in Boston on the fourth of July, then you will get to see it taken out and turned around to ensure even weathering of its hull.

USS Constitution

USS Constitution is the world’s oldest commissioned naval vessel afloat

Enjoy a free movie at the Hatch Shell

If in a mood to picnic, get some lawn chairs, a blanket, a flying disc and plenty of food and move toward the Hatch Shell. Located next to the Charles River, the Esplanade’s Hatch Shell is a perfect picnic spot, if it isn’t raining. Even you can also go kayaking along the river.  And not only that, it is also a haven for fantastic outdoor live music concerts and open-air events. Offering weekly Wednesday classical concerts and Friday family-friendly movies, the Hatch Shell is not just an amphitheater but a storehouse of entertainment and fun.

Hatch Shell

Hatch Shell is the perfect picnic spot in Boston

Chill out at the Boston Public Garden

The Boston Public Garden is amongst the oldest botanical gardens in the United States and a great place to relax. There are also statues of ducks and ducklings referencing the popular children’s book, Make Way for the Ducklings. If you are traveling with children, they are surely going to enjoy it. The lagoon at the center of the garden is the prime attraction and has swan boats that you can hire for a couple of dollars, but just watching other people enjoy boating is quite fun in its own right.

Boston Public Garden

Boston Public Garden is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the United States

Enjoy a drink at the Samuel Adams Brewery

Samuel Adams was an American revolutionary patriot who was also an avid brewer and thus, the Samuel Adams Brewery is named after him. The brewery offers free tours of its facilities to people of all ages along with free tasting of some of its products, but the latter is only for those who are above the legal age of drinking. While the tour is completely free, it is suggested that you donate $2, but that is completely up to you.

 Samuel Adams Brewery

Samuel Adams Brewery offers free tours of its facility

Enjoy the vistas from the top of the Bunker Hill Monument

Dedicated to the first major battle of the American Revolution in 1775, the Bunker Hill Monument is 221 feet tall. And if you are thinking of getting to its top, then you need to climb all 294 steps as there is no elevator or escalator to the top. But then the breathtaking view from the top makes it all worthwhile.

Bunker Hill Monument, Boston

Bunker Hill Monument offers breathtaking views of Boston

Wish upon the stars at the Coit Observatory

Located at the Boston University, the Coit Observatory is very famous for its Public Open Nights. On these nights, you can join the observers and see with them the night sky through binoculars and telescopes. These events are usually held on Wednesdays and last for about an hour or so. However, it is subject to the prevailing weather conditions, so I would advise you to call up the observatory to confirm whether the event is being held before you decide to go there.

Coit Observatory

Observers the night sky through binoculars at Coit Observatory

Go green at the Arnold Arboretum

Arnold Arboretum

Arnold Arboretum is the oldest public arboretum in North America

The Arnold Arboretum of the prestigious Harvard University was established in 1872 and is the oldest public arboretum in North America. It has numerous species of trees and shrubs that will surely excite anyone of you who loves nature. Even there are some programs and events organized, such as Growing Plants from Seeds and Spring into Health, there wherein a whole family can indulge and enjoy. If possible, go there in spring and enjoy the Lilac Sunday festival.

Take a tour of the Boston Public Library

Opened in 1954, the Boston Public Library was the first free municipal library in the United States. From October all the way till May, the library offers guided tours of the building and it is a must for any art and architecture connoisseur. Local volunteers will lead you through the library and let you know all about the history, art, and architecture of the city of Boston. If you want, you can also download self-guided tour documents from the library’s website.

Boston Public Library

Boston Public Library was the first free municipal library in the United States

Related: Where is Boston | Boston City Map


Image creditIngfbruno , yeowatzupKafziel , Halfblue,Bostonian13AlexiusHoratius

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Published On: Tuesday, May 26th, 2015