In a city known for its sneaky high cost of living, what’s a couple in love to do when they want to have a night out on the town? Coming up with interesting date ideas can be more painful than having a root canal. So instead of resorting to the stereotypical dinner and drinks date, we’ve found many free things to do in the city that won't cost you a cent.
Free Things to Do for Couples in Boston
Hit the Sommerville Flea Market
The Sommerville Flea Market is home to over one thousand of vendors who've stocked piled their goodies all winter long. This mile-long antique eutopia is also a favorite of master crafter, Martha Stewart.
Where: 112 Central St, Somerville, MA | https://www.thesomervilleflea.com/
Stop and Smell the Flowers
How do the locals know when spring has sprung? By the smell of blooming lilacs, of course! Held annually, the Arbor Arboretum holds a one-day lilac celebration where you stop and smell the lilacs all day on May 13, 2018. The Arboretum also offers free guided and private tours where you can learn about all things horticulture.
Where: 125 Arborway, Boston, MA | https://arboretum.harvard.edu/
Blue Hills Reservation
Just 30 minutes away from the hustle and bustle lives one of the best-kept secrets of Beantown. Blue Hills Reservation is home to 125 miles of hiking trails, which remains open from dawn until dusk. Use of the trails is free, as is boating, fishing, picnicking and swimming in the pond.
Where: 695 Hillside St, Milton, MA | https://www.mass.gov/locations/blue-hills-reservation
Catch a Ferry
New York isn't the only city with a ferry. Hop on the ferry and explore Georges Island with its winding trails and gorgeous sandy beaches. It's the perfect place to sit and watch the clouds go by.
Where: Long Wharf North - 66 Long Wharf, Boston | https://www.bostonharborislands.org/ferryschedule2022/
You're never too old to sit in a fire truck. Located at 344 Congress Street, the Fire Museum showcases century-old photographs and memorabilia dating back to 1983. And if you ask nicely, they might even let you slide down the fire pole.
Where: 344 Congress Street, Boston, MA | https://bostonfiremuseum.com/
Build a Sand Castle
Castle Island has it all. City views, water sports and ocean breezes come together to make this 7-mile stretch of beach absolutely dreamy. Just don’t forget your sunscreen.
Where: 2010 Day Blvd, Boston, MA | https://www.mass.gov/locations/castle-island-pleasure-bay-m-street-beach-and-carson-beach
Go for a Run
Some of the most famous city runs in the world are located here, from the lush greenery in Emerald Necklace to paths at Charles River Paths. Now, there are other spectacular places to run along the waterfront, which has become much more accessible in recent years. Charles River is considered one of the best places to run in the USA. Dividing the city and Cambridge, you and your better half can run the loop, using the bridge to cross back over.
Where: Various locations | https://greatruns.com/boston-the-charles-river-paths/
Stroll Down Newbury Street
The infamous Newbury Street takes window shopping to another level. Quaint brownstones mixed with charming shops. You have eight blocks of shopping eutopia where you can try on everything from custom-made suits to gems and babbles.
Where: Newbury Street
Jamaica Pond is the perfect place to cast your fishing rod. Lush greenery and nothing but the sound of silence makes for a perfect date, and not just for guys. If your girlfriend loves to cast her rod, you'll earn a lot of stars on this date. Now, who is going to touch the worm?
Where: Between The Jamaicaway and Perkins Street | https://www.emeraldnecklace.org/park-overview/jamaica-pond/
Sweets for the Sweet
If you love sweets more than you love your significant other, it's okay. Well, it is as long as you take them along for a free taste testing at Sweet Tooth Bakery. Specializing in designer cakes, you can sample until your heart's content.
Where: 371 West Broadway, Boston | http://www.sweettoothboston.com/
Take a Cooking Class
Who doesn't love a home-cooked meal? The problem is, who knows how to cook? Sign up for a free cooking class with your main squeeze. From Turkish to Italian, there are plenty of cooking classes in the city that won't cost you a red penny.
Where: Various locations | https://www.eventbrite.com/d/ma--boston/free--events/cooking-classes/
Learn how to Salsa (Every Summer)
If the rhythm is going to get you, you better know how to salsa. Transform yourself into a salsa dancing machine with free salsa lessons.
Where: Salsa In The Park (Lowell, Chelsea and Jamaica Plain) | http://mmsalsainthepark.weebly.com/
Top Free Things to do With Your Girlfriend
Taste Some Grapes
If your girlfriend is a lover of fine wines, there are countless wine shops where you can taste test for free. The Urban Grape offer free wine tasting hours where you can sample everything from wine to sake.
Where: 303 Columbus Ave, Boston | https://theurbangrape.shop/collections/events
Picnic in the Park
The Emerald Necklace is America’s first botanical garden with pathways lined with pretty petals, weeping willows and a lovely wrought-iron bridge. Depending on the time of year, you can take your better half ice-skating on Frog Pond or picnic on a lush lawn.
Where: Emerald Conservatory at 125 The Fenway | https://www.boston.gov/parks/public-garden
Explore a Secret Garden
Mary Lennox has nothing on you. Perched high atop Kendall Square, sits an intoxicating garden comprised of rose bushes, flowering trees and colorful tulips. Although this spot isn’t so hidden anymore, it remains the perfect place to kick back and relax.
Where: 4 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA | https://www.cambridgeusa.org/listing/cambridge-center-roof-garden
Sowa First Fridays
Forget the movies and immerse yourself in the arts. Held the first Friday of every month, SoWa opens its doors to the public for an evening of enchanting cultural experience. You can meet the artists, shop in the gallery and rubs elbows with other art enthusiasts. The event is free and runs from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.
Where: 530 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA | https://www.sowaboston.com/event/sowa-first-fridays/
Journey to the Other Side
Take a journey to the center of the earth! Okay, not really, but you can still pretend that you did. Mapparium is a stained-glass orb, in which you can go inside and spent time admiring this three-story globe.
Where: 200 Massachusetts Ave, Boston | https://www.marybakereddylibrary.org/project/mapparium/
Awesome Free Things to Do with Your Boyfriend
Have a Beer with Sam Adams
There’s definitely no shortage of breweries in the city, but Samuel Adams is who the one got the ball rolling. This patriarch of hops offers various tour experiences in Jamaica Plains, during which time you can sample until your heart’s content.
Where: 30 Germania St. | https://www.samueladams.com/brewerytours
Feel the Burn Together
Not only is paying a personal trainer to torture you humiliating, but it’s also expensive. Break a sweat for free with the November Project, which is host to outdoor group workouts around town. If you’re up to the challenge, you can tackle the stairs at Harvard Stadium!
Where: Various locations | https://november-project.com/boston/
Climb Bunker Hill
Even though most of the Revolutionary War actually took place on Breed Hill, Bunker Hill is where you can trek 294 steps to of a 221-foot granite obelisk. Word to the wise: Wear your sneakers and don’t forget to snap a photo to prove that you made it to the top!
Where: Boston National Historical Park - 21 Second Ave, Charlestown , MA | https://www.nps.gov/bost/planyourvisit/bhm.htm
Bike the MinuteMan
Strap on your helmet and pedal your way down the 11-mile stretch of MinuteMan Bikeway. Running from Cambridge to Bedford, this biking haven used to be a former railway. When you get tired, take a break and admire the water views of Arlington’ Spy Pond or Alewife Reservation.
Where: Check out this map for various entry points: http://minutemanbikeway.org/home/our-work/ | http://minutemanbikeway.org/
Take an Audio Tour
We live in a headphones society, so why not make the most of it? Download a self-guided tour and take an audio tour together. The Freedom Trail tour is a 2.5-mile route that leads you to 16 different historical sites around the city. If you're lucky, your boyfriend might even do his best Paul Revere impression.
Where: 1 Faneuil Hall Marketplace | http://thefreedomtrail.org/
Free Date Night Ideas
Shakespeare in the Park
Every summer, the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company delights the locals with a two-week rendition of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. The only thing you need to bring to one of these free events is a lawn chair, your picnic basket and your main squeeze.
Where: Various locations throughout the city | http://commshakes.org/
Star Gaze at the Observatory
Shoot for the moon and you’ll among the stars, which is exactly what the Coit Observatory has in mind. Weather permitting, you can go stargazing for free at the university. Telescopes open for your viewing pleasure starting at 7:30pm during the fall and winter months and 8:30pm during the spring and summer months.
Where: 725 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA | https://www.bu.edu/astronomy/community/open-night-observatory/
Trek the Appalachian Trail
If hiking makes your heart skip a beat, then lace up your hiking boots and hit the Appalachian trail. Free year-round hikes, spanning up to 20 miles are yours for the taking. All tours are free, but if you will have to pay a dollar if you aren’t an AMC member.
Where: Check out this interactive map for a starting point: https://appalachiantrail.org/explore/#map | https://amcboston.org/
Tour a Library
In between the stunning architecture and enormous second-floor reading room, the Boston Library is the perfect place to get lost. The 19th-century paintings and the stunning third-floor gallery is sure to please even the most cynical of literature lovers.
Where: 700 Boylston St, Boston, MA | http://www.bpl.org/
Hit the Observation Deck
Head over to Observation Deck at Independence Wharf - 14th-floor deck for breathtaking views of the harbor. Not only is it free, but it’s also a great place to watch the planes fly out of Logan Airport.
Where: 470 Atlantic Ave, Boston, MA
Under the Sea
No, you didn’t just score free tickets from the New England Aquarium, but if you play your cards right, you enter for free on the public library’s aquarium pass. With advanced reservations, you can get up close and personal with the sea turtles, seals and even a giant octopus.
Where: New England Aquarium, 1 Central Wharf
Visit Old North Church
Nestled amongst pastry shops and Italian restaurants, you can’t miss the beautiful steeple of the Old Church. It’s from this very steeple Robert Newman used two lanterns to signal that the British were coming! Although the steeple has been replaced twice since those infamous lanterns were lit, it doesn’t take away from its magnificence.
Where: 193 Salem Street | http://oldnorth.com/
See the Ship Yard
Who says you can't sail the high seas sans an expensive cruise ship? Launched in 1797, this ship provided protection for American ships that were sailing on the North African coastline. Today, this historic vessel is permanently docked in the Charlestown Navy Yard. Tours run every 30 minutes and are free!
Where: Charlestown Navy Yard | https://www.nps.gov/bost/learn/historyculture/cny.htm
Massachusetts State House
Charles Bullfinch's masterpiece is the oldest building in the area. Its distinctive gold dome, which is also gilded with gold leaves encases relic-like architecture for you to admire. Free tours are available from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., making it the perfect reason to play hooky from work.
Where: 24 Beacon St, Boston, MA| https://malegislature.gov/statehouse/visit
Get Lost in a Museum
It's fun to absorb some culture, especially when it's gratis. Some of our top picks include The Museum of Bad Art in David Square, The Waterworks Museum in Chestnut Hill and The Warren Anatomical Museum.
Where: 10 Shattuck Street, Boston, MA | https://www.countway.harvard.edu/chom/warren-anatomical-museum
Springtime in Beantown is a wondrous time for couples both old and new. That evanescent, long-awaited winter thaw has finally arrived, and we've finally entered into one of the most romantic times of the year. So, what are you waiting for? Now that we've given the lowdown on everywhere you can make score freebies, now all you need to do is grab your honey and go!