I love scoping out the free things to do in a city when we arrive! Kiera from Easy Travel Mom has made it very easy for everyone and put together a post on the 5 free things to do you will find in every city you visit!
When I was single and cool backpacking through Europe (twice) on a limited budget I was always looking for free things to do in every city. Now I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum as a married mom that left her corporate job and guess what? Still looking for free things to do! No matter where you are in your life or world there are always 5 free things to do in every city:
Now that I am a mother, I find myself visiting more and more museums with my child. It’s not as bad as it sounds! We like to visit on “museum day” and get in for free. Generally these museums are not your typical museums and more off-the-beaten path, and offer “free Sundays” or “the first Sunday of every month for free.” You just have to find them. For example, you can visit the Cable Car Museum in San Francisco for free everyday they are open, or a more recent favorite of mine, the Columbus Museum of Art is free every Sunday.
Now it may not sound exciting to visit a library but there are many world-famous libraries. From the Library of Congress in the USA to The National Library of China, these great places exist all over the world. However, even the lesser-known libraries have a lot to offer.
For example, for the architect buff, the Boston Public Library is a mecca of beauty inside and offers free art & architecture tours daily. Honestly I have never done the tour in all the years I lived in Boston (about 10!) but I loved walking both inside and out to take it in as it truly is breathtaking. There is even a library in central Ohio near where I live, the Westerville Public Library, so the history buff can see and read how this place was the headquarters of the Anti-Saloon League of America, the leading organization lobbying for prohibition in the US. Libraries are interesting places to seek out as you never know what you will find.
Places of Prayer
Another great thing to do is visit the many churches, synagogues, mosques, etc around the world. Some ask for or require a “donation” but who can complain about that – it’s almost free. Some of my favorites include the Helsinki Cathedral in Finland and Sacre-Coeur Basilica in Paris, partly driven by the area of where these are located in each city and the steps out front where you can lounge. Places as well known as these or their smaller counterparts are everywhere and always provide a bit of history you would have not gotten otherwise.
Since I don’t want you to think we spend all our time indoors, you can’t charge for mother nature either! Many parks are absolutely free and most cities from small to big try to have a vast array of parks. My daughter loves butterflies and a visit to a place like the Bangkok Butterfly Garden & Insectarium would be high on her list. Parks are great places to let the little ones get out and about and to give us parents a little break from the day!
Lastly, I find the best way to really explore a place is by foot. Guess what? Yep, it’s free! Some of my favorite walking cities are Boston, New York City (yes, I’ve walked many blocks here to avoid the subway and enjoy the people-watching and window shopping!), San Francisco, Helsinki, Budapest, Paris, London, Chang Mai… the list goes on. Even on foot can sometimes mean a hike in the Swiss Alps, Grand Canyon, or the Hawaiian Islands. All of which I’ve done, and all of which can be done for free.
Where have you been that was absolutely free that you were pleasantly surprised by?