Over 50 FREE things to do in and around Boston

 

Looking for some fun things to do in Boston but don't have any money? The following list are all major tourist attractions in Boston and they are all FREE!

Please note that because of Covid-19 many of these museums/attractions may have changed hours, and may even be closed. Please visit each website to confirm hours.


 

 

Boston Freedom Trail
The City of Boston

The Freedom Trail


Follow the Red Brick Road - Walk the Freedom Trail: Boston is a great walking city! Follow the red-brick 2.5 mile walking trail that will lead you to 16 nationally significant historic sites including Faneuil Hall, Paul Revere House, USS Constitution, the State House and more. Going on your own gives you the flexibility to take detours and explore beyond the trail. Here is a free map of the Freedom Trail. If you want a guided tour they are being offered for a fee.

Boston Bowl
The City of Boston

Free Bowling!


Free bowling! Kids can bowl 2 free games a day for free at participating bowling centers all summer (May to September) throughout Massachusetts. And for just approximately $35.00 up to four adults can bowl all summer as well (shoe rental is not included). Choose between ten pin and candlepin. This is a great activity for the whole family.

Visit KidsBowlFree.com to sign up.

Boston Discount Tickets
The City of Boston

Discount Tickets


If your musuem/attraction is not on this list and you want to see Boston without spending a lot of money, you should check out the Boston City Pass. The card gives you discounted access to Boston's top sites and tours such as the Boston Harbor City Cruises and the New England Aquarium for one low price. You can save 43% or more over the cost of buying individual tickets!


 

Museum
The City of Boston

The Discovery Museums


The Discovery Museums: The Discovery Museums in Acton offers "First Friday Nights Free!" From 4:30 PM to 7:30 PM (October-June) both museums are open for free. There are two buildings situated on a 4 acre campus; the Children's Discovery Museum and the Science Discovery Museum.
They gratefully accept donations for the Acton Food Pantry.


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Bunker Hill, MA
The City of Boston

Bunker Hill Monument


Climb to the Top of the Bunker Hill Monument: The Bunker Hill Monument is standing where the first major battle of the American Revolution fought on June 17, 1775 atop Breed's Hill. The monument is 221 feet tall and has 294 steps that will lead you to the pinnacle. From the top you will get great views of the Boston skyline.
In front of the obelisk is a statue of Col. William Prescott.

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Musuem of Fine Arts, MA
The City of Boston

The Museum of Fine Arts


The Museum of Fine Arts Boston is offering Free admission to the MFA to College and University students, K-12 teachers, Bank of America's Museums on Us Program members and Military Active Duty and Veterans and Families on specific days (pleas see website). Or pay a modified admission pricing ($5 minimum) during the 3-4 pm entry time slot every Wednesday.


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The City of Boston

The Massachusetts Historical Society


The Massachusetts Historical Society: Located on 1154 Boylston Street in Boston, the MHS is free and open to the public.

The MHS is an independent research library and manuscript repository. They have millions of rare and unique documents and artifacts vital to the study of American history, many of them irreplaceable national treasures.

USS Constitution, Boston, MA
The City of Boston

USS Constitution


USS Constitution: Built in Boston and launched in 1797, the USS CONSTITUTION is the world's oldest commissioned warship afloat. When the ship, which is docked at the Charlestown Navy Yard, is open, it is free to visit on a first-come, first-served basis. Visitors under the age of 18 do not require a photo identification card.
The Museum has a suggested admission of $10-$15 for adults, $5-$10 for children.


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Boston State House, MA
The City of Boston

The State house


The State House: Sitting on top of Beacon Hill, adjacent to the Boston Common on Beacon Street, the State House is the oldest surviving building in the area. The original wood dome was covered with copper in 1802 by Paul Revere's company. It was eventually gilded with gold leaf in 1874. During 1997, at a cost of more than $300,000, the dome was re-gilded, in 23k gold.
The tours are given weekdays year-round from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm, and are free of charge.

 

Free movies at the Hatch Shell in Boston
The City of Boston

Movie Night at the Hatch Shell


Movie night: Watch a free movie at the Hatch Shell. Grab a blanket, lawn chairs and some popcorn and settle in for an outdoor evening of films. During the summer only.

Boston Freedom Trail
The City of Boston

Needham Railroad Trail


Train in the woods: Martini Junction is a model train built in the Needham Forest. Along the wat to the track you'll bump into random pieces of minature pieces of scenery.

Martini Junction was built by Jim Metcalf.


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Free concerts at the Hatch Shell in Boston
The City of Boston

Free Concerts at the Hatch Shell


Concerts: See a free concert at the Hatch Shell. The Hatch Shell is Boston's epicenter for large outdoor performances and open-air events. Grab a blanket, lawn chairs and maybe a picnic and settle in for a great concert with everything from classical to rock and roll music.

This is also where the famous 4th of July Boston celebrations take place where Keith Lockhart conducts the Boston Pops and where the fireworks take place.

The City of Boston

Art Galleries


For the art lover: There are several art galleries on Newbury street; Copley Society of Art (Co/So), Arden Gallery, Galerie d'Orsay, Barbara Krakow Gallery, Child's Gallery, Beth Urdang Gallery, Axelle Fine Arts, Alpha Gallery Inc, DTR Modern Galleries, Lanoue Fine Art, CoSo Artist's Gallery, Royka's Fine Art Antiques Gallery, Vose Galleries of Boston, Inc., Guidos Frame Studio Art Gallery, Pucker Gallery, Gallery NAGA, Martin Lawrence Gallery, Miller Block Gallery, Lorand Gallery, The Guild of Boston Artists, International Poster Gallery, Robert Klein Gallery, Galleria Florentia, Iris Gallery, L'Attitude Gallery Sculpture Garden, Victoria Munroe Fine Art, St. George Gallery, SAC Gallery, Martha Richardson Fine Art, Quidley & Company, Acme Fine Art & Design and Newbury Fine Arts.
With artists from around the world you'll see a wide variety of different styles.

Free concerts at the Hatch Shell in Boston
The City of Boston

The Black Heritage Trail


The Black Heritage Trail: Put on your walking shoes! The Black Heritage Trail is a 1.6 mile walking tour that explores the history of Boston's 19th century African American community. On this trail you'll see Robert Gould Shaw and 54th Regiment Memorial, George Middleton House and more.
Self-guided and guided walking tours available.


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The City of Boston

Art & Architecture Tours


Art & Architecture Tours: The Boston Public Library offer tours highlighting the architecture of Charles Follen McKim and Philip Johnson, as well as the many works of famed sculptors and painters. The tour last about an hour. Visit the webiste for hours.
You can also take a self-guided tour; the library has a guide.

 

Museum
The City of Boston

The Commonwealth Museum


Commonwealth Museum: Come and see true national treasures! Located on 220 Morrissey Blvd., in Boston the Commonwealth Museum has rare original documents like the original Massachusetts Bay Charter, the Royal Charter, the Massachusetts Constitution and original copies of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights on display.
The museum is open Monday - Friday.

North End Boston Little Italy
The City of Boston

Little Italy - Boston's North End


"Little Italy": If you want authentic Italian food and baked goods visit the North End in Boston. The North End has unique streets and layout, plenty of Italian restaurants and bakeries and feasts.


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THE INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART, ICA
The City of Boston

The Institute of Contemporary Art


More Art!: The Institute of Contemporary Art ICA Admission is FREE for all every Thursday from 5 to 9 PM during ICA Free Thursday Nights. Timed tickets are required for free days and nights. Youth 18 and under always receive FREE museum admission.
The ICA is open on the following national holidays when admission is FREE for all...

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Faneuil Hall Marketplace Free entertainment
The City of Boston

Faneuil Hall


Faneuil Hall: Faneuil Hall Marketplace feature lots of street performers; jugglers, musicians, living statuary, clowns, magicians, mimes and many more acts during the weekends.

You'll also find many stores and pushcarts for shopping and wide variety of restaurants.

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Astronomy
The City of Boston

BU Astronomy Department


BU Astronomy Department: This is a chance for you to come and observe the night sky through telescopes and binoculars and see things you otherwise might not get to see, and learn some astronomy as well.

The Open Nights are held most Wednesday evenings throughout the year, weather permitting. Public Open Nights are open to everyone, however space is limited. Ticket reservations is required.

Old North Church
The City of Boston

*Old North Church


Old North Church: The Old North Church was built in 1723, and is the oldest standing church building in Boston. This is the location where the famous "One if by land, and two if by sea" signal is said to have been sent.

*Unfortunately the Old North Church now charges a $5 admission.

 

 

 

Arnold Arboretum, Boston
The City of Boston

Arnold Arboretum


Arnold Arboretum: Visit the Arnold Arboretum located in the Jamaica Plain section of Boston. It's a botanical garden with the largest collection of trees in North America with over 15,000 different types of plants and trees from around the world. Open every day from sunrise to sunset. There is a visitor center located inside the main gate on the Arborway open noon-4pm, Friday-Monday.

Click here for a map.

Sorry, no picnicking, fires or barbecues.

Boston Common, Boston
The City of Boston

Boston Common


Boston Common: This is the oldest public park in the U.S., located downtown Boston. Enjoy a picnic on the grass in the summer or cool off in the Frog Pond's giant spray fountain & wading pool. In the winter you can skate across the Frog Pond. There is also a playground for children to enjoy. The Boston Common is 50 acres in size.
From mid-April to the end of October the Boston Common has a 20-seat carousel that was built in 1947. There is a charge for the carousel ($3.00/ride).

Boston Public Garden, Boston
The City of Boston

Boston Public Garden


Public Garden: This is a beautifully landscaped historic public botanical garden of nearly 4 acres. Public Garden is well known for its foot pedal-powered Swan Boats.

You can see all the various statues in the area, including George Washington, Edward Everett Hale and the famous "Make Way for Ducklings" statues. The public garden is open all day, 365 days a year.

 

Castle Island, Boston
The City of Boston

Castle Island


Castle Island: Visit Castle Island to explore fort Independence, a granite fort built between 1834 and 1851. Located on a 22-acre park with a picnic area.

Fort Independence and Castle Island are on the State and National Registers of Historic Places, and the fort is a National Historic Landmark. There are signs so you can take a self-guided tour.


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Holocaust memorial Boston
The City of Boston

New England Holocaust Memorial


New England Holocaust Memorial: Located between Congress and Union Streets in Boston. Take a self-guided tour through glass pillars with steam rising from the holes below the ground. Each glass column, which represents a concentration camp, is lined with numbers representing those who perished during the Holocaust. You can also read some moving quotes from survivors.

Museum
The City of Boston

The Fuller Craft Museum


Fuller Craft Museum located in Brockton offers free admission for Brockton residents. Admission by donation for all guests, suggested donation $12.

Visit the Fuller Craft Museum website for more information.

 

Museum
The City of Boston

Harvard Art Museum


Art: Harvard Art Museum offers free admission to All students with a valid ID, Harvard ID holders (plus one guest), Harvard Art Museums Friends, Youth under 18, Cambridge residents (proof of residency required), MTA (Massachusetts Teachers Association) Members (valid ID required), Massachusetts residents - Saturdays from 10am-noon (proof of residency required), Active duty military personnel, plus up to five..


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Museum
The City of Boston

The Museum of Bad Art!


Bad art!: The Museum Of Bad Art (MOBA) is the world's only museum dedicated to the collection, preservation, exhibition and celebration of bad art in all its forms. Located in the basement of the Somerville Theater in Davis Square. Admission is free with a movie ticket or with a free pass from the museum, that you can ask them for on the website.

Fountain
The City of Boston

Rings Fountain


Cool off: The Rings Fountain located in the Wharf Districts Parks is a great way to cool off on a hot summer day.

64 nozzles shoot up in the air in a circle. The fountains are May-October 9:00am-11:00pm daily.

 

Esplanade, Charles River
The City of Boston

The Esplanade


The Esplanade: The Esplanade is a 17 mile long stretch of land along the Charles River. A lot of people jog, bike or rollerblade here. Along the way you'll pass the Hatch Shell, playgrounds, gondola rides, a small cafe and of course plenty of green space to sit down, relax and take in the beautiful view. This is also the place to be on the 4th of July!

Esplanade, Charles River
The City of Boston

Splash Funtain at Christian Science Plaza


Another fountain: The Splash Fountain at Christian Science Plaza has 180 water jets. It is open May-October every day 9:00am - 9:00pm, weather permitting.

Fountain
The City of Boston

Artesani Playground & Wading Pool


Artesani Playground & Wading Pool: Artesani is located along the Charles River at 1255 Soldiers Field Rd. in Boston's Brighton. Picnic tables, showers, changing room, lifeguards on duty, 2 playgrounds and easy parking. A lot of people bring portable BBQ's and have birthday parties there.

 

 

Museum
The City of Boston

History and Cultural Heritage


History and Cultural Heritage: The Brighton-Allston Heritage Museum was founded in 2007. They collect and exhibits art, artifacts, archives, objects, and photographs related to the history, heritage, culture, and art of Brighton and Allston, MA.

Open from 11 - 3 pm, Thursdays and Fridays. Free Admission.

Museum
The City of Boston

John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site


John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site: Home and birthplace of the 35th President. The grounds are accessible year-round, however the house is open late-May to the end of October, Wednesday through Sunday from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm only. Entrance to the John Fitzgerald Kennedy NHS house museum, visitor center, and bookstore is free.

Free Ice skating rink in Boston
The City of Boston

Ice Skating


Ice skating: Great activity for all ages. Call your local rink for hours. If you don't have your own skates you can rent them for a small fee.

 

Memorial Drive, Boston
The City of Boston

Memorial Drive Recreation


Memorial Drive Memorial Drive Recreation. Every Saturday and Sunday from the last Sunday in April until the 2nd Sunday of November from 11:00am to 7:00pm the State Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) close off Memorial Drive (between Western Avenue and Mount Auburn Street) and it is open to recreation. Bike, Walk, inline skate, walk, jog or run on the street!

Museum, Boston
The City of Boston

Davis Museum at Wellesley College


Art: The Davis Museum at Wellesley College offers free admission every day Tuesday-Sunday. Founded more than 120 years ago by the first President of Wellesley College, it is one of the oldest and most acclaimed academic fine art museums in the United States.

The City of Boston

ParkArts


ParkArts: Enjoy citywide neighborhood concerts, orchestra, symphony, puppet shows, festival, movie nights and workshops. (Youth workshops are open to Boston residents only.) Check location and dates. (Summer only)

Click here for location and dates for the free watercolor, photography and art and craft workshops, two children's festivals and puppet shows.

Click here for dates and location for Mayor's Wednesday Night Concerts, Tito Puente Latin Series, Citywide Neighborhood Concerts, Movie Nights, Jazz concerts, Boston Landmarks Orchestra and Metropolitan Wind Symphony.

 

Museum, Boston
The City of Boston

MIT Mumeum


MIT Museum: Explore invention, ideas, and innovation. MIT Museum for:
Free for children under 5
Free for MIT ID holders (students, faculty, staff, spouses, alumni) with one free guest.

Free last Sunday of each month, September through June.

MIT is moving and is currently closed!

Museum, Boston
The City of Boston

The Harvard Museum of Natural History


Natural History: The Harvard Museum of Natural History offers free to Massachusetts residents every Sunday morning (year-round) from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and on Wednesdays from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm (September through May). Proof of residency required.

This offer is not available to commercial groups.

Tea, Boston
The City of Boston

Art Complex Museum


Japanese Tea Ceremony: Free admission for all to the Art Complex Museum in Duxbury Wednesday through Sunday 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m.

Enjoy traditional Japanese tea ceremonies and concerts, view american paintings, prints, Shaker furniture and Asian art. The tea ceremony and concerts are only a few times a year.

 

Pergatory Chasm Sutton MA
The City of Boston

Purgatory Chasm State Reservation


Purgatory Chasm State Reservation: Put on your hiking shoes and walk the trails that lead to a wide variety of rock formations; The Corn Crib, The Coffin, The Pulpit, Lovers' Leap and Fat Man's Misery.

There are plenty of picnic tables so bring something to eat. The Purgatory Chasm is located at 198 Purgatory Rd., Sutton, MA.

Music sheets
The City of Boston

Longy School of Music of Bard College


Free music: Longy School of Music of Bard College offers free concerts to the public. Visit their website for dates and times.

Concert locations: Edward M. Pickman Hall, Wolfinsohn Recital Room and Homburger Recital Room are located at 27 Garden Street in Cambridge. Recital Room N1 is at 33 Garden Street.

Music sheets
The City of Boston

Boston Landmarks Orchestra


Orchestra: The Boston Landmarks Orchestra offers great music for free every summer!

 

Home Depot Free Workshops
The City of Boston

Free Workshop


Free Workshop: Every week the Home Depot offers free workshops for adult and for kids. (Once a month for kids.) Learn do-it-yourself skills.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
The City of Boston

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum


Free Museum: Enjoy FREE admission to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum if your name is Isabella (for life!!). Also Free for university members, U.S. Military and families, visitors 17 and under, university members, and if it is your birthday!

Waterworks Museum Free admission Boston, MA
The City of Boston

Waterwork Museum


Another Free Museum: Enjoy FREE admission to the Waterworks Museum in Boston. Look at the remarkable machinery, the massive wrenches that kept the pumps running, and the beautiful architecture.

WINTER HOURS (Jan 1 - March 31): Wed-Sun: 11am-4pm.

SUMMER HOURS (April 1 - Dec 31): Wed: 11am-9pm, Th-Sun: 11am-4pm

 

paint, paint brush
The City of Boston

BU Art Gallery


Art Gallery: Free admission to the BU Art Gallery on 855 Commonwealth Avenue, in Boston. The exhibitions focus on international, national, and regional art developments, chiefly in the twentieth century.

Hours: Tues - Fri 10am - 5pm, Sat - Sun 1 - 5pm

chips
The City of Boston

Cape Cod Chip Factory


Cape Cod Chips: Take a free self-guided tour of the Cape Cod Chip factory and get a free bag of chips! Located at 100 Breed's Hill Road in Hyannis, MA 02601. Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

roller skating
The City of Boston

Rollerskating


Free Rollerskating: Kids under the age of 12 get to skate for free once a week. Choose your skating center at KidsSkateFree.com and sign up.

Skate rental is not included.

 


The City of Boston

Leventhal Map Center


The Leventhal Map Center located in the Boston Public Library's McKim Building in Copley Square is a place to explore history, geography and world events through their collection of maps dating from the 15th century to the present.

Visit their gallery and learning center FREE to view exhibitions, and Kids Map Club with puzzles, books, globes, memory games and map related activities. Visit their website at https://www.leventhalmap.org/.

seals
The City of Boston

Seals!


Seals! Outside the New England Aquarium you can see a 42,000 gallon outdoor tank with Atlantic Harbor seals playing and swimming. The exhibit is sponsored by the New England Aquarium and there is no fee.

skateboard
The City of Boston

Indoor Skatepark


FREE indoor skatepark! The Orchard Conservatory Skatepark, located in Allston, is a large free indoor skatepark opened for the public. They are offering various unique and inspiring terrain on each floor that is fun for all skill levels. The only thing that is required is a valid waiver.

 

Samuel Adams
The City of Boston

Granary Burying Ground


Walk through Boston's third-oldest cemetery, Granary Burying Ground, that was established in 1660. This historic cemetery has 2,300 markers. This is the final resting place for Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, John Hancock and many others.

The Granary Burying Ground is located on Tremont Street in Boston.

Gillette Stadium Foxboro, MA
The City of Boston

The New England Patriot's


Want to watch the Patriot's pratice? Come to the Patriot's Training Camp locted at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.
Call the training camp information hotline at 508-549-0001 for daily updates throughout the camp (July-August).

paint, paint brush
The City of Boston

Boston University Art Galleries


Boston University Art Galleries are committed to a culturally inclusive and interdisciplinary interpretation of art and culture.

Free Tuesday to Sunday. Closed on holidays with reduces hours in the summer.

 

walk to the sea map
The City of Boston

Walk to the sea!


In 2008 Mayor Thomas Menino dedicated the Norman B. Leventhal Walk to the Sea. On this walk you'll discover four centuries of Boston history. There are 8 stops on this walk. Start at the State House in Beacon Hill, then continue on to the King's Chapel, Government Center, Old State House, Financial District, Customs House, Rose Kennedy Greenway and end at the Long Wharf.

Click here for a map.

Boston Discount Tickets
The City of Boston

Discount Tickets


If your musuem/attraction is not on this list and you want to see Boston without spending a lot of money, you should check out the Boston City Pass. The card gives you discounted access to Boston's top sites and tours such as the Boston Harbor City Cruises and the New England Aquarium for one low price. You can save 43% or more over the cost of buying individual tickets!


 

 

For Boston Residents

 

seal
The City of Boston

Aquarium:


Aquarium: The New England Aquarium offers free admission for up to 4 people to the aquarium available through the Boston Public Library. Get a ticket through the reservation system. You then have to redeem the coupon in the General Admission line at the Aquarium's ticket booth.

Museum of science
The City of Boston

Museum of Science:


The Museum of Science offers free admission for up to 4 people available through the Boston Public Library.

Your email confirmation from the library serves as your pass but you must call the Museum to reserve a timed ticket once you have the confirmation from the Library.

USS Constitution, Boston, MA
The City of Boston

USS Constitution Museum:


One USS Constitution Museum pass allows free admission for up to nine guests through the Boston Public Library.

To gain entry, show your pass reservation from the confirmation email (printed or electronic) to the front desk at the museum.

 

Museum
The City of Boston

Harvard Museums of Science & Culture:


Free Admission; 4 visitors per coupon. Please review the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture protocols before your visit.

Larz Anderson Auto Museum discount
The City of Boston

Larz Anderson Auto Museum:


The Larz Anderson Auto Museum offers free admission for one family available through the Boston Public Library. Pass allows free admission for up to 4 people. This includes access to the Museum and Summer Lawn Events. Please consult the Larz Anderson Museum website for events and hours.

Cars parked
The City of Boston

Hale Reservation:


Coupon allows for free parking for one vehicle for the day at Hale during normal business hours and access to hiking Hale's many trails through the Boston Public Library. Pass is valid for one-time use at Hale. Pass is not valid for use for other programming (beach time, boating, camping, swimming, lessons, etc.)

 

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
The City of Boston

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum:


Place a reservation in the BPL's online reservation system for the non-returnable coupon. Pick up the pass/coupon at the branch where the reservation was placed.

Museum
The City of Boston

Old South Meeting House:


Coupon allows free admission for up to 2 adults and 2 children through the Boston Public Library.

https://www.revolutionaryspaces.org/

 

The following are not free but discounted and almost free!

 

1. Museums: If you are a Boston Resident and have a library card you can pick up a free or discounted pass for:
Boston by Foot (member privileges on any tours)
Boston Children's Museum (1/2 price)
Department of Conservation and Recreation (hang tag - free parking for 1 vehicle at state park facilities that charge a parking fee)
Museum of Fine Arts (discounted pass)
Museum of Science (free pass!)
New England Aquarium (free pass! September-June only)
Institute of Contemporary Art ICA (discounted pass)
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (discounted pass, weekdays)
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum (discounted pass)
Larz Anderson Auto Museum (free admission)
Zoo New England (discounted pass)

 

2. Boston Children's Museum: Every Friday night from 5-9pm the admission is only $1. Visit the museum for more information.

 

3. Swan Boats: Taking a Swan Boat ride is a cute, quick and inexpensive way to enjoy the park and water! The Swan Boats have been a part of the Boston experience for over 130 years. Only $4.50 for adults and $3.00 for children (ages 2-15 years) Children under 2 is free.

 

 

Check out our list of Free things on your birthday!




The information provided in this document is intended for informational purposes only and is subject to change without notice. Information may be changed or updated without notice.