Boston can be a pretty expensive place to stay so once you are here there is nothing better than finding things to do for free. I’m going to share some of my favourite free places to visit in the city with you so you can do just that!
- Castle Island. Castle Island isn’t actually an island anymore but is well worth a visit. Located in South Boston you can park for free and check out the small beach on the peninsula or get wonderful views of the Boston Harbor Islands from the tip of the peninsula. Watch the boats sail past and planes land at Logan while enjoying a picnic in the looming shadow of Fort Independence. This Civil War fort is open to visitors for free tours at weekends in season and you get great views and a really informative guide. One of my favourite places in Boston. Go! http://www.bostonfortindependence.com/
- Arnold Arboretum. The beautiful Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is the oldest public arboretum in North America and a great place to spend a sunny day. There’s a huge variety of trees (as you’d expect in an arboretum) and a visitor centre. They even have bonsai trees. The Arboretum is popular with joggers and dog walkers and they often have family events going on. For environmentally friendly brownie points, the Arboretum is easily reached from Forest Hills Station, on the Orange Line. http://www.arboretum.harvard.edu/
- USS Constitution. As a British Citizen I shouldn’t promote this veteran of the revolutionary war but the Constitution is over 200 years old and still going strong. This incredible historic warship is free to visit and there’s even a second warship, the WW2 destroyer USS Cassin Young that you can board. This will be the final summer visitors can tour Constitution at her berth in Charlestown Navy Yard until 2018, as the ship will enter dry dock in early 2015 for scheduled restoration work. Make sure you bring photo ID when you visit, you won’t be able to board otherwise, my own parents missed out because of this rule! http://www.history.navy.mil/ussconstitution/hours.html
- Boston Public Library, McKim Building. Another one of my favourite free Boston attractions is the Library on Copley Square. Take the T to Copley on the Green Line and you can’t miss it. From the huge basilica like reading room of Bates Hall to the elegant renaissance style cloisters of the courtyard you can’t fail to be impressed here. Be sure to take some time to sit in the courtyard and relax while taking in your surroundings. Best visited just after opening before it gets busy. http://www.bpl.org/central/walkmckim.htm
- Walk the Freedom Trail. Follow the red painted lines for a self-guided tour of many of the city’s most important historical sites. Highlights include the Bunker Hill Monument and Faneuil Hall. Make sure you take some time out for people watching on Boston Common. A great place to start the Trail is at the Visitor Centre on the Common which can easily be reached from the T at Park St Station on the Green and Red Lines. http://www.cityofboston.gov/freedomtrail/default.asp