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PSJD: A NALP Initiative

Having Fun on the Cheap - Boston

Use PSJD's "Having Fun on the Cheap" pages, which are compiled by locals, to learn how to stretch your paycheck and maximize your fun while completing an internship or working in a big city. Contact us at psjd@nalp.org if you have resources to contribute.  Thanks.

Cheap Things to Do

Castle Island, Pleasure Bay, M Street Beach and Carson Beach: One of Boston’s hidden gems! Explore the fort, go fishing, go for a run or walk along the shore, relax on the beach, or have a picnic on Castle Island. Pleasure Bay, M Street Beach and Carson Beach form a three mile segment of parkland and beach along the South Boston shoreline. Carson Beach also features a walkway which allows one to walk, bike, or run along the water's edge from Castle Island to the Kennedy Library.

College Night at the MFA: MFA hosts a wealth of student functions (at public interest friendly pricing) year round. College night, held annually in early fall, is one of the most popular.

Faneuil Hall: Whether you’re looking for a quick lunch or specialty items to cook at home, Faneuil Hall probably has just what you need.

Harvard COOP: A great place to study. Often crowded but you can find a table early on weekends. There are also a lot of fantastic book signings here, often by authors from the New York Times Bestsellers list. There is a reasonably priced café as well. When you’re done, be sure to take a stroll around Harvard Square, known for its diversity and energy.

Harvard University Museums: Harvard has three art museums, a museum of natural history, and an archeology and ethnology museum. Admission to each: $7 with a student I.D.

Havana Club: A favorite among young adults, this Cambridge institution features inexpensive classes open to all.

Haymarket: A favorite among tourists and locals alike, this is Boston’s historic open-air market. The market is open Fridays and Saturdays year-round and has great deals on fresh produce.

Mapparium:  Another one of Boston’s hidden gems. This three-story globe is one of the key attractions at The Mary Baker Eddy Library. Visitors stand in the middle of this large stained glass globe to gain a unique perspective of the world. Admission: $4 with a student I.D.

Rush Tickets at the Boston Ballet: Available for just $20, these tickets go fast. However, you might find yourself with some of the best seats in the house!

Summer Feasts in the North End: Every summer the Italian community in Boston’s North End celebrates the memory of their revered saints that they brought with them to their new homes in America. The Fisherman’s Feast and Saint Anthony’s Feast are two of the largest feasts and include an outdoor street festival with food vendors, live entertainment, and a street procession.

Swan Boats in the Common: For a low cost, you can experience perhaps the most well-known Boston institution.

Top of the Hub: One of the most beautiful views in Boston, this view can be enjoyed on the observatory deck or over dinner and drinks in the restaurant and lounge. 

Free Activities

Boston Central Library in Copley Square: Another great place to study, this is also one of Boston’s most beautiful buildings. Sign up for a free library card and get wifi access. The library also has a free ticket program, which can get you into the New England Aquarium, several area museums, and all state parks without paying a dime! 

Bunker Hill Monument: Open daily and free. One of the most recognizable parts of the Freedom Trail, which also features Paul Revere’s home and the USS Constitution.

Gaze at the Stars: Boston University’s famous observatory is periodically open to the public for free.

Head to the slopes: A free and easy alternative to skiing, there are many great places to sled in Boston.

Museum of Fine Arts: Wednesday nights after 4 pm, admission is by voluntary contribution.
The Museum is free to all visitors on the following open house days: Martin Luther King Jr. Day; Memorial Day; and Monday, October 8, 2012 (Fall Open House)

Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) – Boston: Admission is free every Thursday night, 5 to 9 pm.
Free for families (up to 2 adults accompanied by children 12 and under) on the last Saturday of each month with the exception of December.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum: Free on your Birthday! Those whose birthdays fall on a Tuesday, when the museum is closed, are invited the Monday before or Wednesday after. The museum is also free if you’re named Isabella. This museum is one of the most unique and interesting sites in New England.

Shakespeare on the Common: A Boston summer tradition since 1996, the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company presents fully-staged productions of Shakespeare plays on Boston Common free-of-charge to Boston audiences. 

Self-Guided iPod Tours: Provided by the city of Boston, these free tours can be downloaded to your MP3 player for the waterfront, Fort Point Channel, and Boston Common.

Sam Adams Brewery Tour: Free, with a suggested donation of $2, all donations benefit local charities. Tours typically last 45 minutes and include a beer tasting at the end.

State House Tours: Perhaps predictably, Massachusetts has one of the oldest and most beautiful legislatures in the nation. Free tours are available to all who visit.

Stroll down Newbury Street: Best known for shopping, Newbury Street is also home to 15 art galleries, several of which are free and open to the public daily.

More Resources

The Boston Globe interns shared their favorite things to do around New England.

Dig Boston: Geared towards the young and trendy.

Harvard Guide: Written by Harvard students, this website is useful for any Bostonian (or aspiring Bostonian).

One of New England’s greatest resources is its family of world-renowned universities. Check out event calendars for Harvard, MIT, Wellesley, Boston University, Boston College, and other area schools for a wealth of free cultural activities open to the public. School sporting events are often a less expensive (but equally fun!) alternative to professional sports.