Have fun in Boston without spending a cent with our picks for some no-cost sightseeing in the city.
Check out Harvard Square
You’ve heard of the university, now visit its home. Harvard Square gets more than eight million visitors each year who come for the lively atmosphere, street performers, public art, cafes, bookstores and unique places to shop. It’s free to walk around the historic square, browse the shops, check out one of the 300 registered street performers, or take a look around the Harvard Book Store, which also hosts free readings and events from time to time.
Walk along the Freedom Trail
The Freedom Trail is a four kilometer route that takes you to 16 historically significant sites in the city. Some of the sites are free to enter, but otherwise, the urban walk makes for an interesting (and free) way to gain a better understanding of Boston’s history. Some sites along the trail include Boston Common, King’s Chapel, King’s Chapel Burying Ground, Old State House and Paul Revere’s House.
Climb Bunker Hill Monument
The Bunker Hill Monument stands at the site of the first battle of the American Revolution. The 67 meter tower is free to visit and you can climb its 294 steps to the stop for great views of the city.
Take a Brewery Tour
If you’re a beer fan, you can take a free tour of Sam Adams Brewery. The informative one hour tour include beer tastings, but can fill up fast so it’s advisable to arrive early (they run about every 45 minutes), or book a spot online. There is a suggested $2 donation.
Browse the SoWa Open Market
From May through the end of October, the SoWa Open Market sets up in Boston’s south end every Sunday. There is a farmer’s market, an arts market with vendors selling handmade items (everything from crafts to clothing to jewellery), and a food truck court where (should you get hungry and want to open your wallet), there are 35 food trucks to choose from.
Tour the Boston Public Library
Tours of the Boston Public Library are free, and highlight the building’s architecture, as well as the works of art and sculpture by many famous artists housed within it. Tours are about an hour in length and are given by volunteers.
Stroll along the waterfront
Head down to Boston’s waterfront and take a relaxing stroll along Harborwalk, 64 km (not all continuous) of pedestrian and bike-friendly access to the water. You’ll also find shops and restaurants here, in addition to museums and galleries to explore.
Lead photo: Alan Kotok