While we don’t often mind spending an extra buck or two on things that are fun to do, there are times when we may not have the money to splurge on entertainment. Plus, whenever something requires a ticket, it’s probably open on a schedule as well – so, if you want to enjoy that on a Saturday, the chances are high that it might be closed.
No matter your reason for looking into fun things to do for free, there are several that you might enjoy. If you are living a frugal life, it doesn’t mean that it has to be boring as well. Here are some free activities that you may enjoy anywhere, anytime.
1. Go to the Zoo, Aquarium, or Museum
We know what you are about to protest: these activities aren’t labeled as free. Well, that’s only partly true. Many of these institutions have days in which the admission fee is waived. For example, take the Chicago Shedd Aquarium where, in certain days, people from Illinois can get free admission as long as they present a valid ID.
Washington D.C. also has its fair share of places that provide free admissions. For example, every Smithsonian museum and zoo offers free admission all around the year. Some institutions work on a “pay as you wish” basis, meaning that you set your own fee. Even if you are very low on cash, you may still enter this way. There are several other locations like that, so you might want to check which one provides a free entrance.
2. Read a Book
We all know how fun reading can be. Diving into a new world, enjoying the perks of a new reality – reading is something that expands our world. If you don’t have the money to buy new books, and nothing from your bookshelf strikes your interest either, then you might want to hit the library. You can geek out at New York’s Public Library – a place that is as exciting as it is beautiful. Not only do you have hundreds of thousands of books to choose from, but the classical interior is also gorgeous.
If you don’t feel like going out or don’t want to use a book that other people touched before you, then you may want to try looking for books online. Search for the topic on Goodreads, and then see if anyone posted the chapters of the books online. There are multiple websites where you may read free books on the Internet. Plus, if you are a member of Amazon Prime, you have a choice for books, comics, and magazines that you may download for free.
3. Stroll Through Nature
Nothing compares to going outdoors, particularly when you’ve been yearning for a breath of fresh air. Fortunately, there are countless parks for you to walk through, and none of them ask for entrance. If you are near Central Park in New York, then you might want to consider visiting it, as it is one of the most famous parks in the world.
If walking through the park among people is not your cup of tea, you may take nature up another level and go hiking. Find out where the best hiking spots are in your area and go for a day trip. Unless you go through a private route, you won’t have to spend a single dime on your adventure. The only thing you’ll have to spend money on is food – but even so, you may just pack the meal that you were supposed to have at home anyway.
Stargazing is something that you may do anywhere, even if you have a telescope or not. All you need is a blanket, a clear sky, and an enthusiasm for astronomy. However, to fully enjoy this and to have even more fun, we suggest that you go to the Griffith Observatory if you are around Los Angeles.
This gorgeous place looks over the Los Angeles basin and offers incredible views not only of Hollywood but beyond that as well. That being said, perhaps the best thing that this place can offer is the view of the night sky that you can enjoy through the telescopes. It’s free to enter the building, and it’s also free to gaze through the telescopes. The only things you may have to pay for are individual exhibitions, but even those are not necessary.
5. Watch the Bats
Do you like bats? Well, in that case, you have found your weekend activity if you are around Waugh Bridge in Houston. Before Hurricane Harvey struck, Waugh Bridge enjoyed a population of more than 300,000 Mexican Freetail bats – all of which called that area their home sweet home.
Many of them were sadly killed by the floods, but even so, quite a great population remained. And just after the sunset, they begin soaring the skies, providing a sight that is awe-inspiring – almost like a Halloween movie.
6. Go to the Alamo
The Alamo has about 300 years of harrowing and turbulent history – a history that you need to witness with your own eyes. If you book a tour of the Alamo where the guide explains its history, then you will have to pay a tour fee. However, if you learn about things firsthand and go to the Alamo by yourself, you will not have to pay anything. Entrance is free, and if you want to get a bit of background info, all you have to do is watch a few virtual tours of it on YouTube. Many visitors and companies are presenting these tours for people to learn.
7. Go to the 45th Infantry Division Museum
If you are in Oklahoma or are planning to pay a visit, then you must certainly go to the 45th Infantry Division Museum. While the place is one of the largest in the country and shows a great deal of history, it is completely free of charge to visit (although it does accept donations). Inside, you can see firearms and artifacts from World War II, and outdoors you can see tanks, aircraft, and many more.
8. Visit the Cities of the Dead
New Orleans is pretty much a swampland, which is why the bodies of those who are deceased are often buried aboveground. Because of that, cemeteries are packed with elaborate tombs, in an avenue style that resembles streets. For this reason, the cemeteries in New Orleans were given the nickname of Cities of the Dead – and of course, you don’t have to pay a dime to enter.
The first “city,” Cemetery No. 1, is the most popular one, likely thanks to its infamous inhabitant. Marie Laveau lays there – a voodoo queen that is still said to wield great powers. You can only see the tomb from afar, as access to it is only part of a guided tour. The others, however, are free to visit.
9. Ride the Metromover
Looking at this form of public transportation, you might feel like it was pulled out from a space movie. It’s one of the coolest ways to get through Miami, and since it takes you through great heights as well, it’s a perfect sightseeing tool. However, the most surprising part is that it’s completely free to use. Not only does it take you from point A to point B, but it’s also a fun way for you to see the city of Miami for free.
10. Enjoy an Outdoor Concert
If you are planning your outing during the outdoor season, the chances are that you will come across several free-to-attend concerts. For example, try looking into the U.S. Capitol’s West Lawns, where different military branches have been known to hold free concerts over the past 130 years.
During summer, they hold “Sunsets with a Soundtrack” almost every Friday night from June to August, and every music enthusiast is free to attend. There are also other similar outdoor events like that, so you may want to do some research on fun live events.
11. Host a Virtual Movie Night
If you are in a circumstance where you cannot go to the movies or do not want to spend the money on it, then you may still enjoy a fun movie night with your friends from anywhere you are. Apps such as Zoom allow you to connect with your friends, and it’s completely free of charge to create an account. Plus, if all of you already have Netflix, then you may host a Netflix party. The best thing about this is that you can have fun from the comfort of your pajamas, and you don’t have to go through the hassle of dressing up for a day out.
12. Go to the Beach
Fancy a swim? In that case, you might want to go to the beach. Getting there and booking accommodations may be a costly thing, but if you already live near a beach, then you don’t have to worry about a thing. Going to the beach is completely free, particularly if you don’t plan on spending any money on the seashore shops.
There are countless beaches that you may go to, but for an extra bit of excitement, you may want to try Hollywood Beach. This is quite well-known for its casual atmosphere, as well as the casual flair that it draws. The scenic oceanfront is also beautiful, and you can see quite a lot of historical constructions along the way. Not only will you be getting a nice tan for free, but you’ll also get to see a lot of beauties.
13. Stroll Down Bricktown
Are you anywhere near Oklahoma? In that case, you might want to stroll down Bricktown. Packed with vibrant entertainment venues that play live music, it is the perfect place for you to take in the night breeze as you are walking next to the canal. The industrial vibe is awe-inspiring, and the repurposed warehouses are certainly pretty to look at, now that they have been reconditioned.
14. See the Cherry Blossoms
Cherry blossoms make everyone happy, and as long as you are in an area where many cherry blossoms are blooming, then you can certainly enjoy your time. Washington D.C. has a whole spring festival going around this event, and it’s completely free of charge. That being said, you may also find rows of cherry blossoms in Philadelphia, New York City, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and many more places. Grab a picnic basket and spend some free quality time under the cherry trees.
15. Visit the Lincoln Memorial
Learning about your country’s heritage is always fun and interesting to do, so if you are in D.C., then you may want to go to the National Mall and see the 19-foot statue of Abraham Lincoln. It’s completely free of charge to visit this impressive attraction, and you may only have to pay if you decide to join a guided tour. That being said, if you do your research beforehand, you may enjoy this attraction without having to spend money on it.
16. Smell the Roses
While this is an activity that you may do anywhere, any time, we suggest that you do it at the Happy P. Leu Gardens. This 50-acre botanical beauty normally has an entrance fee, but on every first Monday at the start of the month, you have free entrance. The pathway of the garden will take you through the incredible oasis where you can smell the roses and see all the botanical wonders present there. And all you have to do is to adjust your schedule so that you get there on the day with the free admission.
The Bottom Line
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have fun. You just need to know what activities to pick. Sometimes, you may have to prepare your itinerary in advance, because some attractions are only free admission temporarily. However, if you keep yourself organized, you can have a fun day without having to spend a dime.