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Boston on a budget: 5 fun (and free!) activities

Posted by Alex Pearlman  April 13, 2012 05:53 PM

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oh yes its free.pngBy Melissa Reohr

As a college student, I often find myself looking for cheap ways to have fun. For plenty of reasons, money's tight, so it's always nice get a lot of amusement out of only a little bit of cash.

Even though an urban area like Boston tends to be more expensive than suburban or rural areas, there are still plenty of free (or really cheap!) activities to take advantage of, as long as you know where to look.

Let them entertain you. During the spring and summer, the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade offers free concerts and movie screenings. Although the 2012 schedule is a little sparse at the moment, the Fourth of July shows and fireworks are an annual can't-miss tradition. A couple months earlier, on May 19, EarthFest will take over the area for a free celebration of all things green and environmentally friendly.

Explore a new neighborhood. If you haven’t ventured to all of Boston's 23 different neighborhoods, why not hop on the T or a bus and head out to an unknown spot? For example, the North End is, of course, known for its Italian food and attracts a lot of tourists, but with its historical spots and mouth-watering smells, it's still a great neighborhood to meander through when the sun is shining on the waterfront. Or maybe you're a baseball fan, and the Fenway/Kenmore area is more your speed. If you're not strictly sticking to a budget of nothing, drop into one of the local pubs or bars for a drink during a Sox game; you'll get that ballpark atmosphere without the ticket price. But don't stop there -- take a quiet Saturday or a few hours after work or class and hit up all of the city's different locales.

Be historical. Oh, sure, this city has plenty of different trails -- The Freedom TrailThe Black Heritage Trail, and The Irish Heritage Trail -- but there's so much more to learn off the beaten path, so to speak. Beacon Hill, for example, is home to the “new” State House (which is technically a stop on the Freedom Trail) and the exclusive Louisburg Square neighborhood. When you live in one of the oldest cities in America, there's usually something old and interesting not too far away.

Exercise your brain. Did you sign up for a Boston Public Library card when you got to town? If not, you probably should, even if you're a hardcore [insert your e-reader of choice] user, because cardholders are eligible for free passes to, among other places, the New England Aquarium and Museum of Science, plus discounted passes to Museum of Fine Arts and the Children’s Museum. Your college ID might also get you free or discounted tickets. If you don’t like either of those options, most of the museums open their doors for free on certain days or during certain hours; check their websites for more details.

Find the free beer. If you've worn out your welcome tasting the many flavors at the Boston Olive Oil Company and can't stomach another mac & cheese sample from Faneuil Hall, forget the free food and head to the Samuel Adams Brewery for something much better: free beer! Brewery tours are free (although the brewery does encourage a small donation to local charities) and include tastings, as long as you have a valid ID.

What's your favorite free Boston activity?

Photo by epoze.com

About Melissa -- I am a senior at Bentley University and will be graduating in May. After graduation, I plan to live in Boston because I love it here. I am obsessed with social media and blogging and can't wait to further my skills and knowledge of both.

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This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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