If you go to Suffolk University, you’re in the heart of Boston within walking distance of all sorts of neat places that both tourists and locals frequent. Downtown Boston is a great place to be but it’s also pretty pricey. Here are ten free activities to do with friends to give your wallet a break.
Hang Out at Boston Common
The Boston Common the first city park in the United states. While probably not the safest place to be after dark alone, the Common is a great place for picnics during the day and there are often events happening in different areas of it. The famous Boston Keytar Bear is usually hanging around busking and violinviv, the hip hop/pop violinist can be seen around too if she’s not busking at Faneuil. Event-wise, coming into winter there’s the Nova Scotia tree lighting and the ice skating show on the Frog Pond to look forward too, as well. And these are only a few of the annual free activities, but there’s all sorts of activities that happen year-round hosted by organizations or that you can plan yourself.
Relax at the Public Garden
Across the street is the Public Gardens, the first botanical garden in the United States to go with the oldest city park. Although it doesn’t hold as many events or free activities as the Common, the Gardens are a beautiful place to walk or have a picnic away from the busier park across the street. It tends to be a bit more crowded by tourists because it is the prettier park with winding walkways and the large pond with the swans and all the little ducks and the duck crossing statue but it’s easy enough to find a space.
The Charles River Esplanade
The Charles River Esplanade is right next door, a short walk through the Public Gardens and across the bike and walkway. The Esplanade is a great place to picnic or just relax in the grass or on the dock to watch kayaks or geese. Bring food and drinks, even music and spend an afternoon by the river. You can also walk along the Esplanade and take in the pretty greenery and dog watch.
Movies and Concerts at the Hatch Shell
The Hatch Shell is not only active during Fourth of July celebrations. There are all sorts of events and free activities going on in the area ranging from charity runs to movie nights during the summer and early fall. During the summer and into fall, on Fridays, come by for Friday Flicks where they screen a free movie at sunset. They play all sort of PG and PG-13 shows from a recent Disney animation to a Marvel flick. And on Wednesdays there are free orchestra concerts. Bring some snacks and make a picnic out of it with free entertainment.
Events at City Hall Plaza
City Hall Plaza tends to have events every now and then from puppy and kitten adoption fairs and pop-up concerts. A few years ago, Panic! At the Disco had a free concert. There’re also weekend festivals and seasonal markets to explore.
Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market
Faneuil Hall may be a tourist trap but there are all sorts of things happening there because of that. Awesome street performers ranging from musicians to stunt artists to those folks who paint themselves to look like metallic statues. Inside Quincy Market there’s even a public piano if you want to try your hand at providing some free entertainment.
The Freedom Trail
You’ve probably been walking all over the Freedom trail, you walk part of it just to go to class. It’s easy enough to take a self-guided tour of the Freedom Trail and see all of the historical monuments Boston is known for that you might otherwise have been passing by daily without paying them much mind.
The Black Heritage Trail
Another trail in the area is the Black Heritage Trail. Walk through Beacon Hill’s aesthetic cobblestone paths with the original gas lights from the 19th century. Not only is it a beautiful walk, you can see all fourteen historical sites starting in front of the State House with the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial and ending at the African Meeting House
The Harbor Walk
The Harbor Walk is right by Suffolk and it’s a great place to sit and watch the waves and planes flying in and out of Logan Airport. It’s a great walk with the sea breeze and watching all the boats from the cruise ships to fisherman boats to large sail boats. You can even walk along to the New England Aquarium and see if the seals are out. They love to see people by the glass and are absolutely adorable. And you don’t have to deal with the ticket price or the crowds of the aquarium itself.
Boston has lots of museums and a lot of them have free entry for students and/or Massachusetts residents, or have certain days of the week or month for free admission.
The Commonwealth Museum is always free to visit and park.
The Boston Fire Museum is free on Saturdays from 11 to 6 but does suggest donations.
The Institute of Contemporary Art in South Boston has free admission on Thursday nights. The MIT Museum has free admission the last Sunday of every month during the school year from September to June.
Suffolk students can get into the Museum of Fine Arts for free with their student ID. The MFA has some great exhibitions that come and go, such as the Winnie the Pooh exhibit they had a while ago and the Murakami exhibit.
The Harvard museums have free entry during certain hours of the week for Massachusetts residents.
The Museum of Science has college nights in the Fall where you can get in for free with your valid student ID.
The Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum also grants free entry on your birthday, or if your name is Isabella.
Some museums also have free entry for certain bank card holders or library card holders too!