Winter has forced us all indoors (for the most part). Does that mean we have to spend a lot of money to have some fun? No way. From museums to salsa dancing to rock climbing, Boston and its surrounding areas offer plenty of ways to entertain ourselves for less than $25. We tell you where to go. Some of these events are even free!
Take in a Great View
Visit the Top of the Hub 52 floors above Boston and walk the Skywalk Observatory. The cost is $16 for adults, $11 for children, and $13 for students and seniors. The price includes an audio tour and entry into the Dreams of Freedom Museum. Just make sure to call ahead because the skywalk closes for special events and inclement weather.
Top of the Hub, 800 Boylston St., Prudential Tower, Boston. www.topofthehub.net.
Go Ice Skating
Head over to the Boston Common to glide across the picturesque Frog Pond. Admission is based on the skater’s height — free for those under 58 inches and $5 for those over. Skate rentals cost $10 for adults and $5 for kids. The ice skating season runs from December to March. Get more info.
Frog Pond, Boston Common, Boston. www.bostonfrogpond.com.
Do you love art and architecture? There’s plenty at the Boston Public Library, where you can take a free tour to soak it all in. You’ll learn about the work of Charles Follen McKim and Philip Johnson, as well as other famous sculptors and painters. The tour lasts about an hour and you don’t have to make an appointment. Meet in the lobby of the McKim Building located at the Dartmouth Street entrance. Get more info.
Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St., Boston. www.bpl.org.
This activity comes in right at $25 but is too good not to mention. If you like to ski but don’t like spending big money at big resorts, check out Blue Hills Ski Area in Canton. If you don’t mind night skiing, a lift ticket to ski between 5 and 9 p.m. will cost you just $25 on weekdays.
Blue Hills Ski Area, 4001 Washington St., Canton. www.bluehillsboston.com.
Catch a Film
According to its website, you are in for some “damn fine cinema’’ at The Brattle Theatre. So you may not mind that the theater raised its prices by $1 this year. Brattle Theatre shows classic, foreign, and independent films. Check out the films of David Lynch between Feb. 23 and March 5.
General admission tickets are $11; matinees (shows that begin before 5 p.m.) cost $9; students pay $9; and seniors and children pay $8.
The Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle St., Cambridge. www.brattlefilm.org.
Take in a Museum — for Free
You don’t have to spend a fortune to go to a museum in or around Boston. In fact, you don’t have to spend anything at all. The Museum of Bad Art, located in Somerville, Brookline, and South Weymouth, is free. So are scores of other museums such as the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, the Boston University Art Gallery in Boston, and the MIT Museum in Cambridge, if you just know what day to go (for example, the MIT Museum is free on the last Sunday of the month). Oh and if it’s your birthday or your name is Isabella, you’re in luck — you can get into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum for free.
Museum of Bad Art, Dedham Community Theatre, Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Square, Somerville, Brookline Interactive Group/Brookline Access Television, 55 Tappan St., Brookline, and New England Wildlife Center, 500 Columbian St., South Weymouth. www.museumofbadart.org.
Take a Brewery Tour
Samuel Adams offers beer tours and tastings for a suggested donation of $2. Tours depart every 45 minutes and last about an hour. Weekends tend to fill up fast, so get there early (tickets cannot be purchased in advance). The doors open at 10 a.m. Or check out the Morning Mash In Tour on Saturdays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays at 9:40 a.m., billed as a special tour experience that includes a specialty tasting.
Samuel Adams, 30 Germania St., Boston. www.samueladams.com.
Play at the Boston Children’s Museum
Tickets to the Boston Children’s Museum cost $14 a piece, which means an expense of $28 for two and $56 for a family of four. That is, unless you take advantage of Target Fridays every Friday night at the museum, where admission is just $1 per person between 5 and 9 p.m. Now that’s a deal!
Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St., Boston. www.bostonchildrensmuseum.org.
Immerse Yourself in Boston Sports
Adam Vinatieri may be the kicker for the Indianapolis Colts now, but we still worship the shoes he wore during the Patriots’ first Super Bowl win at The Sports Museum located on the fifth and sixth levels of TD Garden. Besides the shoes, you can visit famous Boston sports objects such as Larry Bird’s locker, the Beanpot trophy, a piece of the boards and glass from the old Boston Garden, and more. Admission for adults is $12; students and seniors is $6, and kids under 10 are free.
The Sports Museum, TD Garden, 100 Legends Way, Boston. www.sportsmuseum.org.
Catch Some Improv
You never know what’s going to happen at ImprovBoston. In October, the comedy venue hosted a Naked Comedy Showcase. Most of the time, though, the comedians are clothed. Tickets cost between $10 and $18. Some events, like open mic night, are free and every Sunday night at 9 p.m. you can “pay whatever you want! ($10 suggestion).’’
ImprovBoston, 40 Prospect St., Cambridge. www.improvboston.com.
Find Your Green Thumb
Fill your day with beauty at the Boston Flower & Garden Show at Boston’s Seaport World Trade Center March 11-15. This year’s theme is “Season of Enchantment’’ and will feature gardening, cooking, floral design demonstrations, and in-depth lectures. Admission for adults is $20, seniors $17, and children $10. Kids under age 6 are free.
Boston flower & Garden Show, Seaport World Trade Center, 200 Seaport Blvd., Boston. www.bostonflowershow.com.
Are you determined to try a downward dog in 2015? Drop into Back Bay Yoga Studio for a yoga class. Take a class for $15 (pay just $10 if you pick a class before 5 p.m.). Right now the studio is running a new-member special: Pay $25 for unlimited yoga for 2 weeks. What a great way to find out if yoga is for you.
Back Bay Yoga Studio, 364 Boylston St., 2nd Floor, Boston. www.backbayyoga.com.
Take a Chocolate Tour
If you are a chocolate lover, it doesn’t get much better than this. Learn how Taza makes its Mexican-style organic dark chocolate and enjoy samples while you’re at it during a $6 factory tour. Tours last between 45 minutes and one hour. Currently, $1 of your admission is donated to the Museum of Science to support educational outreach in Cambridge, Somerville, and Greater Boston.
Taza Chocolate, 561 Windsor St., Somerville. www.tazachocolate.com.
Attend Dine Out Boston
Dine Out Boston is your chance to eat at that expensive restaurant you’ve been wanting to try for a fraction of the price. Dine Out Boston, previously called Boston Restaurant Week, takes place March 1-6 and March 8-13 this year.
Participating restaurants design prix fixe menus for lunch and dinner. Eat lunch for $15, $20, or $25 (dinner will cost you $28, $33, and $38). You don’t need a pass, ticket, or coupon. Just visit your restaurant of choice from the list of participating restaurants. Recommendations are strongly encouraged.
Various restaurants across Boston, www.bostonusa.com/visit/dineoutboston.
Order a Hot Chocolate — With a Twist
Boston abounds with hot chocolate joints. Pick one to warm you up during a cold New England day. L.A. Burdick and Max Brenner are always safe bets. But if you’re feeling adventurous, these spots are putting a unique spin on the tried-and-true winter beverage (think mint-Nutella and salted caramel white hot chocolate).
Take a Salsa lesson
It costs just $12 to dance your tail off on Friday and Saturday nights. Your $12 admission includes a dance lesson and party afterward. But you must abide by the dress code (“smart casual to elegant’’). And you must be 21. Beginners are welcome and partners are not required.
Havana Club, 288 Green St., Cambridge. www.havanaclubsalsa.com.
Play Chess (And Other Games)
Want to get out of the house and socialize without spending lots (or any) money? Your local library offers a wealth of free activities and events all year long. Do yourself a favor and pick up a schedule. For example, the Somerville Public Library will host a Chess Night Monday, Feb. 2 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Players of all ages and abilities are welcome to play.
Somerville Public Library, 79 Highland Ave., Somerville. www.somervillepubliclibrary.org.
It’s a winter pastime that never gets old. Grab a sled and head for the nearest hill near your house. Best of all, it’s free.
Boating season seems so far off, but there’s a way to make your summer dreaming a reality — sort of. You can immerse yourself in all things boat at the New England Boat Show Feb. 14-22. New England’s premier winter boating event will take place at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center and feature more than 250 exhibits of the latest in marine accessories, as well as powerboats of all makes and models, sailboats, and more. Admission is $15 and children 15 and under are free.
New England Boat Show, Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, 415 Summer St., Boston. www.newenglandboatshow.com.
Whether you are there to browse or want to find a great deal, there’s antiques aplenty at the Cambridge Antique Market. More than 150 dealers on five floors are at your disposal, selling everything from art to furniture to clothing to toys.
Cambridge Antique Market, 201 Msgr. O’Brien Highway, Cambridge. www.marketantique.com.
Vintner Ralph Bruno takes California grapes and puts his own twist on them. Take, for example, his Mala Femmina (“bad woman’’ in Italian), which is a blend of Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc. Tastings and tours take place on Saturdays from 1 to 6 p.m. and cost $10. Tours are scheduled hourly and take about 20 minutes. Find out more about Boston Winery.
Boston Winery, 26 Ericsson St., Dorchester. www.bostonwinery.net.
Hit Golf Balls
It doesn’t cost a lot this winter to perfect your swing at the local golf range. Golf Country, which has locations in Easton, Middleton, and Saugus, offers driving ranges year round. In Saugus, 23 of the 45 hitting stations are covered and heated. And it will cost you only $6 for a bucket of 45 balls, $9 for 75 balls, and $11 for 110 balls.
Golf Country, 860 Broadway, Saugus. www.golfcountry.org.
Go Rock Climbing
In the mood for a challenge? Spend the afternoon climbing the walls at Rock Spot Climbing in Boston. There’s a brand new location opening this month at 30 Old Colony Ave in South Boston. Or head to the Sprague Street location for 9,000 square feet of climbing surfaces that include slabs, steep faces, overhangs, roofs, and a massive 15-foot cave. A day pass will cost you $16 ($25 with gear).
Rock Spot Climbing, 67 Sprague St., Boston. www.rockspotclimbing.com.
Go Roller Skating
When is the last time you roller skated? Roller World in Saugus is a cheap way to have fun with the family. Enjoy Skate Night every Friday from 3 to 11 p.m. and every Saturday from noon to 11 p.m. for $8.50 per person ($7.50 if you arrive before 6 p.m.) And every Wednesday is Discount Day — skating is just $5 per person from 3 to 8 p.m.
Roller World, 425R Broadway, Saugus. www.roller-world.com.
Take the Kids to an Indoor Playground
There may be snow on the ground, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take your kids to the playground. You just have to find an indoor playground. Inside Playground in Watertown is full of inflatables, toys, and fun for kids age 6 and under. Admission for kids is $12 (and $10 for each additional child). The first adult is free and additional adults pay $2.
Inside Playground, 100 Parker St., Watertown. www.bostonindoorplayground.com.