We could all use a bit more green in our wallets (or fewer lines on our credit card statement), so it’s always a good idea to seek out free fun when we can. Luckily, Massachusetts is positively lousy with awesome stuff to do that won’t beat up your bank account. Check out these spectacular – and actually fun – things to do without dropping any cash.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Visit the North Pole at the Yankee Candle Village.
It's Christmas all year round at Deerfield's Yankee Candle Village. Wander through the enchanting indoor world of glowing holiday trees, a Bavarian village and even try your hand at making candles. It's free to take in the sights and scents of the shop, where you'll find 400,000 candles in more than 200 different scents.
2. Peruse treasures at the Cambridge Antique Market.
A visit to this urban antique market is definitely a great way to wile away an afternoon. With 150 dealer spaces spread over five (5!) floors, you won’t run out of fascinating knick knacks and beautiful baubles to gape at. You don’t have to buy anything to get a kick out of visiting. (201 Msgr. O'Brien Highway, Cambridge)
3. Bounce around at Boston Bounce in Peabody.
Forget tea – the best Boston party is a bounce party. Adults bounce free at this indoor amusement park (children can join for $8-$10) on weekend and weekday open bounce nights. Unleash your inner child. (5 B Webster Street, Peabody)
4. Explore the U.S.S. Constitution.
Launched in 1797, this ship was one of the original six frigates of the U.S. Navy. It fought off pirates, defeated British warships and now serves as floating museum in Boston Harbor. Tours are totally free. However, since this is an active duty Navy ship, visitors over the age of 18 will need to present a valid form of I.D. before boarding.
5. Shoot some free pool at Flat Top Johnny's.
This Cambridge pool hall will let you play for free on select nights. They also have two free dart lanes, if pool isn't your thing. Check their website for free pool night details. (1 Kendall Square, Cambridge)
6. Enjoy our state's gorgeous beaches...in the off-season.
I know what you're thinking: between paying for parking and grabbing snacks at the concession stand, going to the beach can put some serious strain on your budget. However, even the loveliest of Cape Cod beaches are a much cheaper undertaking in the off-season. Head out in early September or late spring, and you'll have the seashore all to yourself for no money at all.
7. Visit your local family farm.
Many farms across the state welcome visitors who want to learn more about where their food comes from. Some farms, like Red Apple Farms in Phillipston, charges nothing if you'd simply like to check out the operations, poke around in their charming country store, and take in the beauty of the orchards. Of course, picking your own fruits and veggies just adds to the fun. (455 Highland Ave Phillipston)
8. Drink beer for free at the Sam Adams brewery.
Okay, so you won't get to empty a keg for free, but tastings are included on the free tour of the Samuel Adams Brewery in Boston. Tours are offered Monday through Thursday, and they do encourage you to give a $2 donation (it goes to charity).
9. Explore your wild side at Great Falls Discovery Center.
This place is half nature preserve, half craft center and 100 percent fascinating. Learn about native plants and animals, wander through the lovely grounds and butterfly gardens, and check out their monthly live-music coffeehouse performances. (2 Avenue A, Turners Falls)
10. Conquer Mount Greylock.
Massachusetts' tallest mountain is calling your name. Climbing to the summit is a satisfying accomplishment in all seasons, but you can also skip the hike and drive most of the way up to enjoy the view.
11. Tour the Cape Cod Potato Chip factory.
Who knew so much salty deliciousness could pour out of one little factory? Head to Hyannis to take a self-guided, free tour of the Cape Cod Potato Chip factory, which includes tasty and complimentary bags of chips.
12. Make a splash at the Woods Hole Science Aquarium.
Admission to this amazingly fun and educational museum is free. You can get your hands on some sea life in the museum's touch tanks, or watch seals frolic in their outdoor pool (in season). (166 Water Street, Woods Hole)
13. Take a free lighthouse tour.
Nobska Light in Woods Hole, Race Point Light in Provincetown and Chatham Light in Chatham all offer free tours to the public. The views from the tops of the light towers are truly incredible.
Do you have any suggestions for other free and awesome things to do in Massachusetts? Please share! If you’re looking for more great activities and destinations in Massachusetts,
check out our ultimate Massachusetts bucket list.