A popular east coast destination for many visitors is Boston because of its history, charm and beauty. There’s a whole host of exciting and interesting things on offer in Boston, many of which are for free. We take a look at some of these top things to do for free in Boston including Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Harvard Square and Boston Common.
1. Walk around Beacon Hill
This is one of Boston’s most loved and visited neighbourhoods. Lying just beside Boston Common you will find the red-brick and charming Beacon Hill. As well as some beautiful architecture, you will find a range of cafes, restaurants, stores and quirky boutiques around here. Take a walk around Beacon Hill and soak up this peaceful neighbourhood.
2. Faneuil Hall Marketplace
Faneuil Hall Marketplace is a bustling hub in downtown Boston where you will find both tourists and locals browsing the many shops, stalls and enjoying the restaurants and cafes. It’s also the best place in Boston to find buskers and street performers, particularly during the summer months.
3. Coit Observatory, Boston University
Take an educated look at the skies of Boston with help from the experts at the Coit Observatory at Boston University. On Wednesday nights you can visit the Coit Observatory from 7:30pm during the fall and winter, and 8:30pm during the spring and summer, to take part in their program. You can look through their powerful telescopes and binoculars and check out the wonders of the night sky with guidance from their astronomers.
4. Check out the Boston Harbor Walk
The Boston Harbor Walk is a public walkway that has been restored to showcase Boston’s many waterfront areas and neighbourhoods. Along this walkway you will find many cafes, restaurants and artwork. You can walk it in your own time or take one of the free guided tours on offer.
5. Walk through the North End
Explore Boston’s North End to sample some of the finest Italian culture and cuisine in the state. Here you will find Italian restaurants and bakeries with some authentic and mouth watering Italian fare you can sample.
6. Commonwealth Museum
The Commonwealth Museum has undergone a major renovation recently and its permanent exhibition is now back open to the public and for free too. Inside you will find some rare artefacts and documents from the city, state and country’s past that are national treasures today.
Location: 220Morrissey Blvd.
Opening hours:Museum: Mon–Fri: 9am to 5pm, Treasures Gallery: Mon – Fri: 9am to 1pm
7. Tour the State House
At the top of Beacon Hill and dominating one side of Boston Common is the beautifully constructed Boston State House. Its gold gilded dome is the main feature of this magnificent building. You can take a free tour around the State House Monday through Friday, but it is requested that you book ahead.
Location: Beacon Street at Park Street.
8. Brewery tours and tastings
The Samuel Adams Brewery is the city’s top brewery and you can take a tour for free. On one of these tours you can learn all about the history of the brewery and the beer, and then sample it too.
Location: 30 Germania Street
Opening hours:Tour times: Mon - Thurs: 10am - 3pm (last tour starts at 3pm), Fri: 10am - 5:30pm (last tour starts at 5:30), Sat: 10am - 3pm (last tour starts at 3pm)
9. Bunker Hill Monument
Visit the site of the first major battle of the American Revolution when in Boston to view the Bunker Hill Monument. In get close to the monument you have to climb 294 steps, but once you get up here you will be met with some amazing views.
Location: Monument Square, Charlestown
10. Enjoy the atmosphere around Harvard Square
If you make the short trip over to Cambridge towards Harvard University you will find the popular Harvard Square. ‘The Square’ is the commercial hub for both locals and students in the area and you will find shops and cafes, as well as street performers and public art.
11. Boston Common and Public Gardens
In the centre of Boston you will find two beautiful public parks lying side by side. Boston Common is one of the oldest city parks in the USA. This open space is full of greenery, walkways and more and is the perfect way to spend a sunny day in Boston. Beside the Common you will find Boston Public Gardens. The Gardens are lined with flower beds and shrubbery, and have a lake where you can take a boat trip.
12. Go on board the USS Constitution
The USS Constitution takes pride of place in Boston Harbour. Commonly known as ‘Old Ironsides’, this naval ship is the world’s oldest floating commissioned naval vessel. The US Navy take great pride in the USS Constitution and are constantly working to restore the ship. You can take a free tour of this historic naval vessel which are given by active-duty Navy Sailors.
Opening hours: Guided tours begin every half-hour from 10:30 am to 4 pm
Location: 5 Charlestown Navy Yard
13. Visit the interactive USS Constitution Museum
Across the dock yard from the USS Constitution naval vessel you will find the USS Constitution Museum. This museum was set up in order to display and protect the many historical artefacts that were on board this vessel. The museum is free (but you can make a donation towards its upkeep) and you can find out all about the history of the ship and what it was like to have been a sailor on board.
14. Boston Public Library
Not only can you avail of a huge section of books, journals and more in the Boston Public Library, but you can also check oyt the art exhibits, lectures, workshops and lots more. There’s also the amazing architecture of the building itself. You can find out all about the Boston Public Library with a free ‘Art and Architecture’ tour that take place at different times across the week.
15. Follow the red line for the Freedom Trail
When it comes to tours in Boston there really only is one that encompasses the entire city, including many of the aforementioned attractions – The Freedom Trail. If you’re wondering what the red line on all the footpaths around Boston are well it’s a guiding line for all the sights of the Freedom Trail. You can take this 2.5 mile tour at your own leisure, od you can start at the Visitors Centre at Boston Common to find out all you need to know about Boston’s top free thing to do. You can also take part in a free tour of the trail with a guide in costume reminiscent of the era. The Freedom Trail is a great way to see and learn all about Boston’s past.