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Finding Free Things To Do Whatever the Destination

Finding Free Things To Do Whatever the Destination


Finding cheap things to see and do when traveling is great, but it’s even better when they don’t cost anything at all.

One of the best ways to stretch a traveling budget is to find things to do that are free. Here are some tips on how to do that, no matter where your travels take you.

Free Music

Almost every town or city with at least five bars is going to have someplace where local musicians play. Bars in college areas are especially likely to have local bands playing with no cover. Ask around music stores or find the free rack of local alternative newspapers which will usually have music listings. A web search for the city name and local bands or live music will also yield some free results.

Open mic nights are also fun and can be a mini-American Idol showcase where you privately vote for your faves.

Free Club Nights

In major metropolitan areas, the nightclub scene can cost plenty, with cover charges of $20 and up. Sometimes, though, clubs won’t start charging until a certain time in the evening. Arrive and get past the doorman before that and admission is free. Also, sometimes there are special promotion nights like Ladies Free, usually mid-week. As an added bonus of arriving early, the club might not be so busy that it takes an hour to get a drink.

Free Culture

From symphonies in the park to dance shows at local schools there are ways to enjoy a night of free cultural activities. Festivals during the warmer months are also a great place to find free things to do, plus they are usually tied to cultural activities.

Local art galleries are also a great place to spend a few hours for free. Extra bonus if they are have an artist showcase with free drinks and hor d’ouerves.

Check with local bookstores for author events or poetry nights at area venues. These are usually completely free, too.

Free Museums

It’s surprising how many museums around the world are either totally free or free on select days. Sure the Mustard Museum in Wisconsin may not hold a lot of fascination, but such heavyweights as the Smithsonian Museums in Washington, D.C., and the British Museum in London are free every day. Even the Louvre in Paris has one day a month where there is no admission charge. Of course the lines are huge, but if cost is the bottom line, it is possible to get in free.

Free Animals (To Look At)

Many zoos around the world do not charge admission, and for families looking for a fun day out that doesn’t cost anything, a day at the zoo can’t be beat.

Free Talks and Lectures

College and universities often have lectures and talks that are free to attend, even if you’re not a student. Check the school’s website for a schedule. Local bookstores and coffeshops are also good places to find free events like these.

Free Walking Tours

Sure, just walking around and exploring a city is free, but many city visitor bureaus offer free maps and walking tours to visitors. Do a web search for the city name and “visitor bureau” to find any online walking resources, too.

Free Historical Monuments

Another free and educational thing to do with the family is visiting historical monuments. For instance, in Washington, D.C., many of the national monuments are always free to visit, as are the ones in London’s Trafalgar Square.

Free Parks

Take a breather and find a park to play in or just sit and people watch. In larger cities, parks like Central Park in New York or Millenium Park in Chicago offer more than green grass and a few trees. There are sculptures and garden areas and more, and most of these are completely free.

It does take a bit of research, but with a little planning, it’s completely possible to spend very little, even nothing, to enjoy a destination.

Michelle Snow has been writing about travel, entertainment, and whatever else strikes her fancy for almost 30 years. She has been published in print, online, and has authored four guidebooks. Besides this lovely blog, you can find her writings online at zengrrl.com and citysurfingorlando.com.


  1. Mary Ambrosino says

    Free is good. Thanks for the tips.

  2. vickie couturier says

    nice to know some things are still free

  3. Great post! It’s so easy to forget how many fun things there are to do that are free or minimal cost, whether you’re a tourist or in your own backyard. There is no excuse for not going out and having fun with family and friends. Thanks for the great reminder that money is not required for fun! Cheers!

  4. Excellent guide to finding things to do for FREE when traveling! Thanks!!

  5. What a great reminder to look at how we view cities and neighborhoods we visit in a different way! We’ve lived in the Nashville area close to 20 years now and parts of it have grown so much- we could fill a whole weekend with free things to do.

  6. I love Millenium Park in Chicago . It does not have to cost anything to have fun.

  7. Great tips!! There is always so much great fun to have in any town. I’ve found that if you just talk to the locals, you can find out so much!! Travel agencies want to sell stuff, so they pretty much lead you to that.

  8. Great tips. When I went to visit Houston I checked online first and found great coupons to all the places I was already planning to visit. Score!

  9. Free is great. I like researching areas before travel and finding free things to do.