There are always tons of things you can pay for when you visit a new city. But, if like me, you are on a wicked tight budget, here are some free things you can do too.
I love picnics. You can have them almost anywhere. In a free park, on a rooftop, in the rain on the side of a mountain, on the median strip next to Route 9 in Worcester, MA (yes, I have done these). They are fun, they are free (besides the food you bring), but a bunch of grapes, a loaf of bread and chunk of salami, (or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches), and a bottle of water is not much. I have also had a picnic on my living room floor one time during a week of sucky, downpouring weather. Just eating on a blanket on the ground is fun.
2. CITY WALKS.
Some cities (like Santiago, Chile) have organized FREE walking tours. Others you can get a map, and walk yourself around the tourist areas and sites. I know this sounds obvious to some of us, but I have met a lot of people who have never thought of walking on a self-guided tour of a city (for fear of danger, lack of confidence, or they so commonly take tours, they just didn’t think of seeing a city without one)
3. COUCHSURFING EVENTS.
Couchsurfing.org is a great place to find events in the city you are in or just to meet people. Meeting locals will give you great insights to free (and cheap) things to do in a city, and many cities have a Couchsurfing community where people list meet-up events you can attend (yes, many involve a bar or something, but you don’t have to drink). In Medellin, Colombia The Wandering Paisa (the hostel I’m at) puts their karaoke nights up on Couchsurfing. They also have free salsa nights and free language exchange nights. Leading me to…
4. HOSTEL EVENTS.
Hostels in many cities offer free events to patrons and non-patrons. Look up hostels in the town you are staying in to see who offers events on what nights. Many have language exchange, BBQ, dance classes, karaoke, etc. Check out what hostels offer such in your area (even if you are in your own hometown)
5. FREE CULTURAL EVENTS.
Many cities have free music in a park, theater events, outdoor performances, etc. Sometimes you may just walk into one of these free events (like I did in Venezuela). You can also check out the local library for information (thank you to MATADOR NETWORK who just posted a link about library services ).
The above is just a small list of free things available in many cities.
There are always other things to do depending on where you are; like:
Look around your local city, talk to natives, and check the library and tourism boards to find out what local weekly, monthly, or holiday events happen in the city you are in.
AND HAVE SOME GOOD OL’ FREE FUN!
Just like your momma taught you!