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10 Free Things to Do in Boston Massachusetts

Free Things to do in Boston - The Boston Skyline at Dusk

I visited Boston when I was 19 years old (many moons ago!) so I asked Boston expert Krystianna from Volumes & Voyages to share her top tips for visiting Boston on a budget.  She put together this list of fabulous free things to do in Boston for you to enjoy!

Boston is one of the best cities in the United States for good reason! It’s located right on the eastern coastline and it’s filled with a lot of history.  Although people will normally associate a hefty price tag with New England cities, I’m here to tell you that there are plenty of free things to do in Boston, you just have to know where to look!  

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The Best Free Things to do in Boston

People-watch in the Boston Commons

The Boston Commons is the huge public park right in the middle of Boston. It’s impossible to miss them while you’re visiting the city. Really, you couldn’t miss them even if you tried!

One super fun free activity in Boston is to honestly just sit and people-watch in the Boston Commons. On a sunny day, there are so many people out and about. Just sit on one of the many benches and take in the city views!

Pro tip: Pack a little snack from home or a picnic to eat while in the Boston Commons!

Boston Common - Green Space in Boston to enjoy for Free
Boston Common – Green Space in Boston to enjoy for Free

Walk along the Charles River Esplanade

The Charles River is the river that runs right between Cambridge and Boston. There’s a beautiful esplanade that goes right along the river, and I promise it’s a beautiful area to walk.

This is a really popular running area, so if you like going on runs, you could also do that instead! However, a lot of people also walk along the esplanade.

Don’t forget to bring your camera because you’ll also get some amazing views of Boston’s skyline on this walk.

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Explore the Fenway area

The Fenway area is where the Boston Red Sox play and it’s also home to some of the best places to eat in Boston. There’s a lot of free and fun things to do in this area!

First of all, be sure to stop by the green space in front of 401 Park. A Time Out Market recently got put in this building, and right outside there are oftentimes free events for the public. Sometimes Fenway Park even hosts events here that are open to the public!

It’s also a lot of fun to go and explore the area near Fenway Park. It’s a beautiful area and there’s always a lot of things to look at.

Fenway Park - Free Things to do in Boston
Fenway Park – Free Things to do in Boston

Tour the State House

If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Boston on a weekday, you can actually tour the Massachusetts State House for free. Tours are offered daily from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and they run for around 45 minutes. 

The State House has a pretty amazing interior, so you should really take up this offer! At least see the beautiful State House from the outside.

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Go to the Museum of Fine Arts

I know what you’re thinking – don’t you have to pay to go inside the Museum of Fine Arts? Normally, that answer would be yes. But you can actually visit for free on Wednesdays after 4 p.m.

The MFA is absolutely huge and is filled with so many historical artefacts, sculptures, and works of art. You could easily spend a few hours here if you aren’t careful. If you find that you’re in Boston on a Wednesday, definitely check out the MFA!

Inside the Museum of Fine Arts - Things to do in Boston for Free
Inside the Museum of Fine Arts – Things to do in Boston for Free | Credit: Volumes & Voyages

Meander around the North End, Boston’s Little Italy

Boston’s North End is one of my favourite places in the city and for good reason. It’s where all the amazing Italian desserts and dinners are so you should definitely come here to eat.

Honestly, the North End sort of feels like a whole different part of the city. The streets are a lot tinier and there’s so much character. If you have the time, definitely walk around the area. I promise that you’ll find some great photo spots!

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Wander around the Boston Public Library

Trust me, a visit to Boston isn’t complete without a visit to the Boston Public Library. The BPL’s interior is so magnificent, especially the older side. A newer addition was added, and you can definitely tell which part is older and which is newer.

The inside is filled with a bunch of great spots to take photos. The most popular spot to take photos is right at the entrance with the lion statues!

Boston Public Library - Free Things to do in Boston
Boston Public Library – Free Things to do in Boston | Credit: Volumes & Voyages

Go inside King’s Chapel

King’s Chapel is one of the stops along Boston’s Freedom Trail. Even if you don’t intend on walking the trail, it’s worth stopping by King’s Chapel, which is a beautiful church from a few hundred years ago.

Since it’s a church, it’s completely free to go inside and take a look around! There’s also a historical graveyard right outside of the chapel that many tourists come to visit.

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Walk the Freedom Trail

This 2.5-mile trail is one of the top reasons that people flock to Boston. The trail has stops at 16 different locations that are of particular importance to the history of the United States.

You could easily look online and do a self-guided walking tour of the Freedom Trail for free. Just be sure to follow the markings of the trail on the ground. This would also serve as a great introduction to the beautiful city of Boston!

Explore Faneuil Hall & Quincy Market - Part of the Freedom Trail in Boston
Explore Faneuil Hall & Quincy Market – Part of the Freedom Trail in Boston

Explore Faneuil Hall & Quincy Market

It’s absolutely free to walk around Boston’s Fanueil Hall and Quincy Market! There are a whole bunch of great places to eat and shop here. Of course, you would have to pay to buy something, you could easily walk around and people-watch.

This area is also right next to the water, so I suggest meandering over to the water while you’re in the area! It’s so much fun sitting out and looking at all of the boats on the water.

About the Author

Krystianna is the blogger behind Volumes & Voyages, a book and travel blog. She studied in Boston, then had a semester abroad in Spring 2019 in Dublin, Ireland, and has been chasing her wanderlust ever since. Volumes & Voyages mainly covers travel in Europe and the US, but once Krystianna travels more around the world, she’s hoping to expand her content.  You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

If you’re looking for travel insurance for your trip to Boston, get a quote now from World Nomads.

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Just to let you know, this post may contain paid or affiliate links, which help to maintain Tales of a Backpacker and give me the chance to keep travelling, and to keep creating awesome content for you!  I only recommend goods and services I believe are useful and reliable.

Last updated: December 3, 2020

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