Free Activities in Boston, MA
Ever wondered exactly how good beer is made? Then a tour of the Samuel Adams brewery is just the afternoon adventure for you. You’ll learn about the history of making beer in general -- and Samuel Adams in particular. And there are samples, too. Take a friend or two and make it the start of a fun evening out. The tour is free -- provided you are over 21 and have a valid ID -- but a voluntary donation is welcomed and passed on to local charities. Tours take about 45 minutes, and it’s first-come, first-served.
Designed by Frederick Law Olmstead as part of the “Emerald Necklace” chain of Boston parks and green spaces, Arnold Arboretum is a refuge from the hustle and bustle of city life. This 265 acre park, a part of the National Register of Historic Places, is run by Harvard University, and houses a spectacular array of plant species. It is therefore also a premier location for plant studies. Whether you want to study plants, inhale the intoxicating lilac scents in the spring, or marvel and the myriad textures and colors of green all through the summer and fall (and even winter), the Arnold Arboretum is open sunrise to sunset for your walking pleasure.
From May to October, the SoWa Open Market offers Sundays full of arts, crafts, food and fun. Get to know local artists and artisans, pick up some local produce, and pick up a delicious lunch from one of the food carts. Can’t make it to the Open Market? Then try visiting SoWa First Fridays: the first Friday of every month, most artists in the SoWa artists guild open their doors to the public for an evening. It’s fun, it’s social, and it’s free.
When is a library not just a library? When it’s also an historic site, like the Boston Public Library. In addition to lending books and being a research resource (library cards are free!), the Boston Public Library in Copley Square is an art and architecture gem in the heart of Boston. Tours are offered every day except Wednesday (also free) -- or you can take a self guided tour of significant works of art, such as murals by John Singer Sargent, and portraits of notable women of Boston. The library also offers regular author talk events and programs about the history of Boston.
The USS Constitution -- also known as “Old Ironsides” -- is the oldest commissioned warship in the United States Navy. Indeed, the wooden hulled, three masted frigate is the world’s oldest floating commissioned naval vessel. Launched in 1797, the ship saw battle in the War of 1812, retired from active service in 1881, and now serves to promote understanding of the navy’s role in battle. Active duty Navy sailors offer free tours of the ship every half hour from 10:30AM to 4:00PM daily. Many meaningful ceremonies occur at the ship as well, and if you are lucky, you may have the opportunity to congratulate some newly sworn in citizens. Security screening is required for all visitors.