Free Things to Do in Boston

What to Do in Boston for Free

There are a lot of great things to see and do in Boston that won’t cost you a dime.

This post will cover some of the most interesting and fun activities you can enjoy for free, and a few cheap things to do. 

 

 





TOP 10 THINGS TO DO AND SEE FOR FREE

This section will include our top ten free things to do in Boston.

Whenever possible, we will mention if any of these activities are either family-friendly or fun after the sun goes down.

If you’re interested in learning more about the city, consider taking one of our free Boston walking tours.

You may also want to consider getting a Boston tourist pass to save money on some of the most popular attractions in the city.

Read more »

free museums in boston

Free Museums in Boston

This post lists and describes the various free museums in Boston, including pay-what-you-wish museums and locations that offer free days.

We also note those that are either family-friendly or open late or included in tourist passes. Read more »

How to Use the Boston Subway

The T: Boston’s Subway

This post covers the Boston subway system (known as the T), including a subway map, tips on choosing the right train line, fares, and travel cards.

Stations are conveniently located throughout the city (we even start most of our free walking tours at a station). Read more »

Boston Bus Tours

Boston Bus Tours | Which Are the Best?

This post explains the reviews the various Boston bus tours available to you, including hop-on-hop-off trolleys, amphibious vehicles, themed tours, and day trips. 

We also provide tips on discounts and value.

 

 

Disclosure: While our recommendations are always unbiased, we may receive a small share of sales through some of the links below at no cost to you. See the full text.

HOP-ON-HOP-OFF BOSTON BUS TOURS & TROLLEY TOURS

TIP: If you are considering a tourist discount pass for your time in Boston, be sure to read our guide to Boston tourist attraction passes.

OLD TOWN TROLLEY

This company offers 18 hop-on and hop-off stops where you can get on and off as often as you wish (within your ticket time period).

Tours operate from 9 am – 5 pm from April through October and 9 am – 4 pm from November through March.

Stops are made at locations such as the USS Constitution, the Cheers Bar, Fenway Park, the Boston Convention Center, and more.

 

 


Reviews:

Of all the trolley companies, Old Town Trolley is the best-reviewed company of all the 4 trolley companies in Boston, but it is also the most expensive.

Although there are a few negative comments here and there, this company has a 4 ½ out of 5 stars rating overall on TripAdvisor.

Reviews for their hop-on, hop-off service are generally favorable, with most passengers reporting that this is a very good deal.

A lot of guests enjoy the ability to hop off whenever they wish, exploring the city at their own pace.

Recommended for:  Those looking for a premium hop-on, hop-off Boston bus service.


Prices (as of May 2020):

Prices listed below are for advanced online purchase for either a 1-day hop-on, hop-off ticket, or a 2-day ticket.

If you purchase a ticket on board, the prices are slightly more expensive. 

1 Day ticket:

  • Adults – $57.75
  • Children (4-12) – $31.50
  • Children (under 4) – FREE

2 Day ticket:

  • Adults – $68.25
  • Children (4-12) – $36.75
  • Children (under 4) – FREE

Purchase your tickets here with 24-hour cancellation.


CITY VIEW TROLLEY

This hop on hop off company offers Boston tours year-round and their first stop is at Long Wharf Boston.

Depending on the season, they also offer a free 45-minute harbor cruise with the purchase of tickets. This is one of the more affordable options available to the visitor.

 

Cityview Trolley Tours Boston

 

It also doesn’t hurt that the company has a 4 ½ out of 5 stars rating on TripAdvisor and Get Your Guide (see some of the reviews).

Most reviews for this service are very favorable, with some guests indicating that they do a good job of staying on schedule.

Other comments suggest that this is a great way to discover the city before heading out on your own.

Prices (as of May 2020):

  • Adults (13 years or over)  $53.27
  • Children (4-12) – $27.20
  • Children (under 3) – Free
  • Purchase your tickets here with a 24-hour cancelation policy.

Hours: 

  • April to August: Daily. 9:30 am – 5:00 pm, Trolleys run at 10-15 minute frequency
  • September, October, November:  Daily, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm; Trolleys depart every 20-30 minutes
  • December:  Closed Tue, Wed & Thurs. * Daily Dec 26-Dec 31. 9:30 am to 3:30 am Trolleys depart every 20-30 minutes
  • January & February: Weekends Only; 9:30 am to 3:30 pm. Trolleys depart every 20-30 minutes
  • March: The 1st-15th Weekends only. Starting March 16-31 Daily. 9:30 am -3:30 pm. Trolleys depart every 20-30 minutes

Note: The free Harbor Cruise is only offered from March 16th through Nov 30, 7 days per week.


BEANTOWN TROLLEY

Offered by Gray Line, this company provides hop-on, hop-off tours year-round.

With a total of 20 stops, a full circuit takes approximately 90 minutes.

That being said, if you decide to hop off and enjoy the sites for a while, you could easily spend all day exploring some of the most notable locations in Boston! I

In addition, each ticket below includes a free 45 minute Boston Harbor cruise.

This is a great way to enjoy two different tours and see as much of the city as possible in a short amount of time. Their TripAdvisor reviews are average at best.

Recommended for those who are also looking for a harbor cruise and/or to save money.

Prices (as of May 2020):

1 Day Ticket:

  • Adults – $40
  • Children (3-12) – $18
  • Children (under 3) – Free

2 Day Ticket:

  • Adults – $47
  • Children (3-12) – $23
  • Children (under 3) – Free
  • You could purchase 2-day tickets directly here.

 


BOSTON DUCK TOURS

One of the most popular bus tours in this city is the famous Duck Tours of Boston.

This company uses WWII era amphibious landing vehicles, which work surprisingly well for touring, to take the guests on both a short city tour and a short water cruise on the Charles River.

 

 

The Duck Tours are not a hop off/hop on tour like many of the other bus tours in the area, but in 90 minutes they cover a lot of ground and the guides are usually very knowledgeable as well as entertaining.

In Boston, the duck tours leave at three different locations: one on the waterfront behind Faneuil Hall, another in the Back Bay behind the Prudential Center, and a third in Cambridge at the Museum of Science.

Recommended for: families

The reviews for Boston Duck Tours are pretty good, and the company has received an accumulated rating of 4 ½ stars on TripAdvisor. 

Prices (as of May 2020)

Additionally, if you are on a cruise ship for a quick stopover in Boston, this company has a dock at the Black Falcon Terminal.

They will shuttle you to our tour meeting sites and will take you back to the Terminal when it is time to return to your cruise ship.

 


NIGHT BOSTON BUS TOURS

GHOST AND GRAVESTONES BUS TOUR

If you’re looking for a more spooky experience in Beantown, perhaps a haunted bus tour is in order.

Hear about Boston’s dark side on this 90-minute ghost bus tour with numerous costumed guides.

 

 

Tour takes place at 7 pm from April 2nd – November 15th.

The tour covers 4 different haunted locations, which includes walks through two of the city’s oldest graveyards and sights related to the Boston Strangler.

Discover some of the grisly history of this city on a fun and hair-raising bus trip. 

Recommended for:  Families with kids over 6.

Almost all of the reviews for this service are very positive, which has lead to the 4 ½ star rating that Ghosts and Gravestones Bus Tours has received on TripAdvisor.

Many guests have said that the cast of tour guides on this trip are very entertaining and informative.

Other comments suggest that this may, in fact, be the best tour in Boston, and that might be true if you’re interested in the haunted history of the city.

Prices (as of May 2020):

 

 


BOSTON TV + MOVIE TOURS

On Location Tours offers a “Boston Movie Mile” Walking Tour from April to October. It is approximately 90 minutes long and covers over 30 TV shows & movie locales. 

The tour starts at Old Town Trolley Stop store and heads through beautiful Beacon Hill, the most filmed area of Boston.

Sites include locales from The Thomas Crown Affair, Good Will Hunting, Parent Trap, The Real World, The Departed, and more.

The tour concludes at that place where ‘everybody knows your name’ — the original Cheers™

 

 

Prices (as of May 2020)

 


DAY TRIPS FROM BOSTON

There are a lot of exciting activities and interesting historic locations both in and around the Boston area.

If you’ve ever wanted to visit Martha’s Vineyard or get a good look at Cape Cod, a day trip from Beantown is an excellent idea. 


GRAY LINE

This company offers excursions out to Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod, Newport, Concord, and several other locations around Boston.

If you’ve got the time, their variety of excellent day trips are perfect for either locals or visitors from out of town. Prices are more than reasonable, ranging from $50-$90.

Tours listed and prices as of May 2020:

Cape Cod Excursion – Take a trip to the bay and enjoy a cruise for only $95 per Adult and $58 per Child (3-11).

Plymouth – Walk the Pilgrim’s path and watch history come to life for $89 per Adult and $48 per Child (3-11).

Fabulous Newport – Discover the mansions of Newport and enjoy a free Trolley tour for $115 per Adult and $82 per Child (3-11).

Salem and Marblehead – Uncover the birthplace of the U.S. Navy for $58 per Adult and $34 per Child (3-11).

Fall Foliage Spectacular – Take in the sights and sounds of New England in the fall for $115 per Adult and $65 per Child (3-11).

 


COMBO PACKAGES AND DISCOUNTS

If you’re looking to partake in more than one tour during your visit to Beantown, a combo package could save you a lot of money.

There are a variety of combo packages and discounts available for various attractions and tours.

Here are a few options you might want to consider before booking two or more individual trips in and around the Boston area.


GO BOSTON CARD

If you’re going to be spending more than a few days in Boston, this could be an excellent opportunity to save money and experience a lot of the attractions and tours available in the area.

The Go Boston Card offers an All-Inclusive Pass, an Explorer Pass, and a Build Your Own Pass with plenty of different tours and activities to enjoy.

If you want to combine a Duck Tour or a Trolley Tour with tickets to one of the many wonderful locations in Beantown, consider picking up one of these passes!

Be sure to read our post, that compares all the different tourist attraction discount passes available in Boston.

 

 

Here are the Bus and Trolley tours available with the Go Boston Card:

Boston Duck Tour – Included with the 3, 5, and 7-day All-Inclusive pass, Explorer pass, and Build Your Own Pass.

Cityview Trolley Tour – Included with every All-Inclusive pass, Explorer Pass, and Build Your Own Pass.

Liberty Ride Trolley Tour – Only included with the All-Inclusive pass.

 


Back to top


 

Fenway Park Tour Tickets and Discounts

Fenway Park Tour Tickets and Discounts

This post will provide useful information about Fenway Park tours, including reviews and tour highlights. We also provide tips on discount tickets and the best way to reach Fenway.

 

 

Disclosure: While our recommendations are always unbiased, we may receive a small share of sales through some of the links below at no cost to you. See the full text.

DAILY FENWAY PARK TOUR TICKETS

There are two different types of tours available at Fenway Park: daily tours and pre-game tours. 


Public Tours

This 1-hour tour is perfect for anyone who may or may not be familiar with the Boston Red Sox. 

It provides a lot of information about the team, their ballpark, and some of the most famous baseball stars who have ever played in Fenway.

It is available year-round, during both the regular season and the offseason.

Reviewers seem to be very happy with this activity (read reviews here).

Even visitors who didn’t know much about baseball enjoyed their experience during the public tour of Fenway. This tour was described as fun, insightful and very informative.

Visitors who didn’t enjoy the other tours recommend taking this one instead to save money and get more bang for your buck.

If you plan on taking this tour during a game day, reviewers recommend getting there as early as possible and preparing for large crowds.


Fenway in Fifteen

Fenway also offers a quick 15-minute tour for those on a budget or time constraints.

This option includes a look at the Nation’s Archives at the Royal Rooters Club and a visit to the Right Field Roof Deck. 

 

Fenway Park Tours

 

At the end of your short journey through Red Sox history, you’ll be treated to a wonderful panoramic view of both the ballpark and the Boston skyline.

This tour is only available on game days and weekends from 12 pm – 3 pm.

  • Ticket Prices: $15 for Adults | $15 for Children
  • Availability: Daily
  • Duration: 15 minutes

This is an excellent option if it’s game day and you don’t have a lot of time before the game. The Rooters Club includes a lot of wonderful memorabilia and it’s a great place for sports history buffs to visit. 

Sadly, some guests indicate that you might not see much more on this tour than you would during the average game at Fenway Park. 

Some visitors feel that the panoramic view is nice, but other reviewers say it is no better than any view you will experience while at a game.


TOURS AVAILABLE ONLY ON GAME DAYS

Even if you decide to come on a game day, there are still tours available at Fenway Park.

In this section, we will describe each tour option and include details such as ticket prices & availability.

NOTE: The public tour listed above is also available on game days.


Pre-Game Tour

This experience allows guests into the park before the general public and opens with a trip to the warning track where you can walk in the footsteps of Red Sox legends such as Johnny Damon and Ted Williams. 

The Pregame Tour ends with a visit to the Monster Seats on top of the Green Monster where you will have a great chance of grabbing a fly ball off the bats of players who are warming up.

Tickets for this tour are only available at the park on game days approximately 3 hours before the game begins.

  • Ticket Prices: $35 for Adults | $35 for Children
  • Availability: Only on game days
  • Duration: 45-60 minutes

This tour is popular among die-hard fans who are familiar with the history of Fenway and want to enjoy the opportunity to explore areas which are typically off limits to visitors. 

Red Sox fans tend to appreciate the chance to sit in seats which are usually reserved and visit the Green Monster.

Unfortunately, this tour is not always as informative as the public tour, but it’s still valuable for fans of the team. Several guests note that batting practice is free to watch if you arrive early, so you don’t need to pay extra to see it on this tour.


Premium Day Game Tour

If you’re looking for a more family-friendly tour of Fenway Park, this is going to be your best option. 

 

Fenway Park Game-day Tours

 

Not only will you have the opportunity to meet Wally the Green Monster, but you’ll also have the chance to take a photo on the warning track.

Additionally, you will learn a lot about the history of Fenway and the Boston Red Sox.

This tour is only available for afternoon games before 3 pm. You may be asked to pay an extra fee for your picture.

  • Ticket Prices: $35 for Adults | $35 for Children
  • Availability: Only on afternoon game days
  • Duration: 45-60 minutes

Much like the pregame tour, this option is particularly popular among Red Sox fans who want the opportunity to meet their favorite mascot and get a photo at Fenway. 

Several customers have been unhappy about paying extra to receive the photo which is taken either in front of home plate or on the warning track. 

This opportunity may not be worth the extra cost for visitors who are more interested in learning about the park and its history.

Click here for more information on tours of Fenway Park.


Back to Top


 

DISCOUNT TICKETS AND COMBO DEALS

If you’re looking for a good deal on one of the tours at Fenway Park, there are a few options to consider.

The following section will provide details about all of the different ways you can save money on this activity.


Boston Go Card

This is going to be the best way to save money on the Fenway Park tour. The Boston Go Card has 3 options and all include the Public Fenway Park Tour.

If you get the Boston Go Card, you can save 20% on tickets for this service when purchasing admission for two or more attractions with their Build Your Own Pass option. 

 

 

Travelers considering this card can choose from 35 additional attractions in order to build a tourist pass that works for them. 

Alternatively, you can also get the All-Inclusive Pass which includes the Fenway Park tour and 40 additional attractions for one flat price.

Here are just a handful of the additional activities and locations included with the cost of this pass:

  • Red Sox Game Ticket
  • Boston Duck Tour
  • New England Aquarium
  • Six Flags New England
  • Franklin Park Zoo
  • Museum of Science
  • Blue Man Group Ticket
  • LEGOLAND
  • And more!

If you’re interested in even a few of these attractions, you could save a lot of money with this service.

The Fenway tour is only available with the 3, 5, and 7 day passes, which are called the Explorer Pass.


Military Discounts

Guests who have either served or are currently serving in the military are eligible for a $3 discount on tickets for the public tour of Fenway.

In order to take advantage of this opportunity, you must purchase tickets directly from Fenway Park and provide your military identification.


Discount Sites

In addition to the opportunities listed above, you can also save some money on Fenway park tour tickets by using services such as Groupon and Living Social.

Both of these sites offer additional coupon codes every now and then to sweeten the deal, helping you to save an extra 20% off or more on local activities.

Make sure to check both the top and bottom of the discount site for banners with coupons that you can use for additional savings.

 


Back to Top


 

RED SOX GAME TICKETS

There are a few different ways to get tickets for Red Sox games.

In addition to single-game tickets, you can also purchase a ticket package for multiple games which is typically available at a discount. 

 

 

Depending on where your seat is located, you can expect ticket prices to range from $20 for the upper bleachers to $150+ for the field boxes.


Get Tickets Online

If you’re looking to order tickets online, you can do so directly from the MLB.com website.

However, you might find even better discounts and prices by using StubHub instead. This is an online marketplace for people who have purchased tickets to events that they can no longer attend. 

If you buy tickets well in advance, you can even save money over the normal ticket price.


Get Tickets at the Park

Needless to say, you can purchase game day tickets directly at the park if they are available.

Popular game days may be sold out when you arrive, so it’s probably a better idea to purchase tickets online ahead of time.

 


Back to Top


 

PLAN YOUR VISIT

This section will provide details to help you plan a trip to Fenway Park, whether for a tour or a baseball game.

We will include information about how to get there, parking, tour hours and more.


How to Get to Fenway

Fenway Park is located at 4 Yawkey Way, Boston, MA 02215.

Regardless of which way you choose to get here, we recommend using this Google Maps link for directions to the stadium.

 

How to Get to Fenway Park

 

There are several different options for traveling to Fenway, but we recommend the following forms of transportation for their ease of use and affordability.

Train

There are 3 train stations you can stop at which will get you close to Fenway Park:

  • Fenway Station D/Green Line
  • Kenmore Station D/Green Line
  • Yawkey Station

For help navigating the trains, make sure to read our post about mastering the Boston subway system.

Hop-on-Hop-Off Bus

Some of the hop-on-hop-off trolleys and bus tours offered in Boston make a stop at Fenway Park.

If you’re already intending to use these services while on vacation, this could be a quick and easy way to save money on your trip to this historic stadium.

For more information, visit our post comparing the various bus and trolley tours in the area.

Driving/Parking

If you’re planning to drive, there are a few parking options you may want to consider. The most popular choice is a garage right across the street, but it fills up fast. Here are a few alternatives:

Prudential Center

  • 10-15 minute walk
  • $18 Red Sox parking
  • Only available for night games/weekends

Hynes Auditorium

  • 5-10 minute walk
  • $18 Red Sox parking
  • Only available on weekends

Street Parking

  • Check Boylston St, Brookline Ave, Yawkey Way
  • Cheaper option if you’re taking the tour

Fenway Park Tour Hours

During the Season:

  • 9 am – 5 pm
  • The last tour departs at 5 pm on non-game days.
  • On game days, the last tour departs 3 hours before the first pitch.

During the Offseason:

  • 10 am – 5 pm
  • November 1st – March 31st

Public tours depart at the top of every hour.


Self-Guided Fenway Park Tour

If you’re heading to Fenway Park to take in a game, make sure you see a few things while you’re there. Also, brush up on the words to Sweet Caroline.  Some of the listed items below are covered on the public tours.

THE TRIANGLE

This is a section of center field created by seating with a far-right corner which is 420′ from home plate. Can you imagine hitting a ball that far?! Or even worse, hitting a ball 357′ (all it would take for a homer in Philly) and not getting a home run! 

Of course, hit it to the left or right, and you’re golden. Fenway has the shortest distance to either side in MLB (310 and 302′). Make no mistake: despite the triangle, this is one of the best hitters parks in the game of baseball.

WILLIAMSBURG

Built in the 1940s, the bullpen was extended along the right-center field bleachers to decrease the distance needed for a home run by 23′ (for the benefit of left-handed hitter Ted Williams, hence the nickname!)

THE RED SEAT

Most seats in the right field section of Fenway are green with the exception of just one. This single red seat marks the distance of the longest home run.

Hit in 1946 by Ted Williams, the seat in Section 42, Row 37, Seat 21 was occupied by a gentleman who was hit in the head! 

 

Ted Williams Red Seat Fenway Park

 

After the event, he said “How far away must one sit to be safe in this park? I didn’t even get the ball. They say it bounced a dozen rows higher, but after it hit my head, I was no longer interested.”

What makes that story even better – the guy was a Yankees fan. I don’t need to tell you about the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, right?

(Babe Ruth is said to have likely hit a home run farther, but it was before these seats were built here – and it’s Babe Ruth, so it’s a given, right?)


THE GREEN MONSTER

The most notable feature of Fenway is the Green Monster. It’s a 37′ (11 m) tall green wall in left field that steals home runs from many line-drive hitters, leading to a whole lot of doubles at Fenway.

It’s the highest wall in the MLB.

 

The Green Monster Fenway Park

 

For most of its history, it was just called “the Wall” – but then Pink Floyd came around.

The Green Monster is now also the Red Sox mascot, an actual green furry monster named Wally. They are so clever!

Located on the wall is the scoreboard that is still updated by hand.


CURSE OF THE BAMBINO

Probably the most known fact about the Red Sox is their drought of championships – well, that and their rivalry with the Red Sox.

In 1903, the Red Sox won their first World Series. They won again in 1912, 1915, 1916 and 1918…. and then experienced an 84-year drought.

 

Babe Ruth Red Sox

 

That’s right, it wasn’t until 2004 that they won another World Series Championship. So what happened?

Many say, in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way, that it was the Curse of the Bambino. In 1920, the Red Sox sold the rights to  Babe Ruth to their rivals, the Yankees. 

Why one may ask? Well, some say it was to finance a Broadway play, of course. Ever heard of My Lady Friends? (Me either, so one may wonder if it was a wise choice!)

And since the sale of Babe Ruth, the Red Sox would not win another World Series Championship until 2004. They went to the World Series 4 times in those 84 years, losing twice to the Cardinals – and in 2004, they won against the Cardinals. 

Not only did they win, they swept the Cardinals, never falling behind once. As if that weren’t good enough, they had to beat the Yankees in order to get to the World Series.

 


Back to Top


 

RELATED POSTS:

 

Boston Skyline St. Patricks DAy

Top 5 Things to Do in Boston on St. Patrick’s Day | March 17, 2020

Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, and many people in Boston are Irish every day, so there is a big St. Paddy’s Day celebration in the Hub.  If you’re not sure what to do or where to go, we’ve got you covered!  Just watch out for Leprechauns and don’t drink too much Guinness.

Things To Do in Boston on St. Patrick’s Day

1. St. Patrick’s Day Parade through Southie

One of Boston’s oldest St. Patrick’s Day traditions is the Parade through Southie.  That’s South Boston to you. 

The 2020 St Patrick’s Day Parade has been cancellled

2. Listen to Irish Music

There are plenty of places to enjoy Irish Music on St Patrick’s Day, and the weekend before, but one of the best is at the House of Blues, Boston’s own Irish punk band, the Dropkick Murphys take a break from their busy touring schedule every year to play before the home crowd. 

Their St. Patrick’s Day shows are always wild and a lot of fun.  Check out tickets.

3. Irish Cultural Center of New England

Take your family to the Irish Cultural Center of New England Plenty of Irish dance, music, food and more, there is something for everyone.  The Center is located at 200 New Boston Drive Canton, MA 02021,

4. Explore the Boston Irish Heritage Trail

Get your Irish history on by walking the Boston Irish Heritage Trail. It’s about 3 miles, all the way through downtown and other parts of the city.  Its totally self guided, starting in the North End at the Rose Kennedy Rose Garden and ending at Fenway Park.  You can pick up a route map at the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is at both the Boston Common and the Prudential Center.  We also have a list and map of the Irish Sites on the Freedom Trail.

5. Have a Pint!

And of course, there are so many Irish pubs to chose from to enjoy your celebratory pint(s) of Guinness.  Here are some of the best, oldest, and most interesting.

  • The Green Dragon – One of the oldest bars in Boston.  Supposedly Paul Revere enjoyed a few here.  11 Marshall St., downtown Boston
  • The Eire Pub – A workingman’s pub, not too far from the parade route.  396 Adams St, in Dorchester
  • James’s Gate – Named after the original Guinness factory in Dublin, this is the best place to get a Guinness in Boston, 5 McBride St, Jamaica Plain
  • The Plough and Stars – Small narrow and filled with literary types.  The magazine Ploughshares was created here.  912 Mass Ave Cambridge
  • Grafton Street – Mix traditional with modern at this Cambridge bar.  1230 Mass Ave Cambridge


Back to Top