Top 10 Best Cheap Things to Do in Boston

Nguyen Kieu Trang 7 0 Error

It’s no secret that visiting Boston is costly. However, planning a budget-friendly trip to Boston is still possible because there are plenty of inexpensive ... read more...

  1. Due to Boston's proximity to the ocean, you frequently have access to fresh fish for a reasonable price. Some of the best oysters in the nation can be found in the waters off New England, and they aren't just for a fancy night out. Fortunately, happy hour specials are offered by many of the best oyster bars and eateries in town, allowing you to sample these shellfish for a small fraction of their regular price.

    Just a few steps separate you from the Ashmont T stop is the cozy establishment known as Ashmont Grill. To get your $1 oyster fix on Thursdays, make sure to arrive promptly at 5 o'clock. From that point on, happy hour lasts until all of the supplies are gone. Atlántico is another place that provides these discounts and serves outstanding Iberian food while providing a fantastic patio breeze. From 4 to 6 pm on weekdays, Monday through Friday, diners can get $1 oysters in addition to a variety of top-notch tapas.

    The popular Lansdowne Pub, which is close to Fenway Park, may be decorated with Irish accoutrements, but it offers much more than shepherd's pie. Every Monday from 4 to 7 p.m., $1 oysters are available during happy hour. Lincoln Tavern, although, is best known for its boozy brunch, this Southie staple is no slouch when it comes to oysters, either. If you’re in search of a bargain, head over on Tuesdays to take advantage of Buck-a-Shuck, a weekly event that offers $1 oysters for 12 full hours from 10 am to 10 pm.

    Prices Range: Only $1

  2. Whether you're looking for a peaceful afternoon on the water or planning a romantic outdoor date, renting a rowboat on Jamaica Pond is one of the best cheap things to do in Boston that you shouldn't miss. As one of the brightest jewels in the Emerald Necklace, Boston’s meandering park system, the Jamaica Pond covers approximately 68 acres, making it the largest body of fresh water in Boston.

    The nature-filled scenery borders on idyllic, letting you completely forget that you're still within the city limits. Rentals vary depending on what kind of watercraft you seek, but all are reasonably priced, ranging from $10—20 an hour. The boathouse is open Monday through Friday from noon to 7 pm. On weekends, it’s open from 10 am to 7 pm. Keep in mind that during the months of July and August sailboats are not available Monday to Friday from 9:45 am to 3:45 pm to accommodate educational summer youth programs. To rent a sailboat, you must first complete a short test from any of the on-site sailing instructors.

    Prices Range: $10 - $20 per hour
  3. Even if you don't have enough money for a full meal in Boston's North End, buying some cannoli is always a good and affordable compromise. There are many venerable businesses in the historically Italian-American area that offer these Sicilian sweets and other mouthwatering baked goods for less than $10. Wait in line at famous eateries like Mike's or Modern Pastry, then head to the waterfront or Rose Kennedy Greenway to enjoy your treat while taking in the breathtaking scenery.

    Visiting Mike's Pastry for the first time can be overwhelming. The place is world famous for its cannoli, and it has the lines to prove it. There's almost always a wave of people pressed up against the row of cash registers, clamoring for the restaurant's Italian sweets.

    Moving on to Modern Pastry, the cute little cannoli was considerably smaller—perhaps a third of Mike's size—and the first bite told the tale. The cream filling is smoother, more flavorful, and absolutely delicious, and the fried shell is much thinner, crisper, and more flavorful. There were no additional flavors to mask the flavor of the creamy ricotta. It proudly proclaimed itself the victor as it stood alone. If you happen to have a late-night craving, you can always get your cannoli fix from Bova’s, which is open 24 hours.

    Prices Range: less than $10
  4. Boston is teeming with lively markets, all of which provide the ideal atmosphere for spending a relaxing and reasonably priced afternoon out. The Boston Public Market offers year-round shopping for regional goods. Approximately 30 New England food producers and artisans are housed under one roof in this indoor, year-round market, which sells fresh foods, prepared meals, crafts, and specialty items. Food from Massachusetts and New England that is locally sourced and in season is available to both locals and tourists.

    During the colder months, the Somerville Winter Farmers Market takes over the Center for Arts at the Armory, where you can explore and sample everything from mead to freshly baked bread to produce. The market also highlights pasture-raised meats, baked goods, fermented foods and cheeses, and each holiday season patrons make a substantial donation of fresh fruits and veggies to the Brookline Food Pantry.

    From the beginning of spring until the end of fall, you can visit open-air venues like the Copley Square Farmers Market or the SoWa Open Market—the latter of which also features inexpensive bites from food trucks and cold local brews at the beer hall.

    Prices Range: 2$ - 20$
  5. Boston is a strong and vibrant metropolis, densely packed with great universities, museums and historic landmarks. It also features lovely parks and open spaces like Boston Common. When the weather is nice here it's fun to stroll the waterfront or take a tour of Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox and Beantown. Both have some tasty food trucks. Keep an eye out for two favorites- Red's Street Kitchen, serving up gourmet homestyle BBQ and street eats, and The Chicken & Rice Guys truck which features incredible Middle Eastern choices.

    You can also use the Best Food Trucks map above to find and order from the best food trucks in Boston. A few of the preferred trucks are Trolly Dogs, selling their one-of-a-kind specialty hot dogs, and the Lobsta Love truck featuring fresh lobster rolls a New England favorite. Everyone who loves desserts can find: The Whoo Wagon has a cult following and is a can’t-miss food truck, and Frozen Hoagies has its own unique take on ice cream sandwiches. You certainly will be impressed with the food truck options in Boston!

    If you want the best way to search for food trucks, use the Best Food Trucks app. You can download it for either IOS or Android. The Best Food Trucks mobile app provides detailed information on each food truck, including the location and what type of cuisine they offer. Customers can order food right from the app for pick up and get alerted when the food is ready!

    Prices Range: $1 - $10
  6. Taza’s chocolate tours are a bean-to-bar adventure into the world of chocolate making and sampling! For chocoholics, chocolate makes the world go 'round'. That’s why there’s no better way to celebrate your love of the sweet stuff than indulging in an afternoon filled with gooey vats of melted chocolate and mountains of free samples. This Massachusetts chocolate factory will give you exactly that.

    Taza makes stone ground chocolate that is unlike any chocolate you've ever eaten. To grind cacao beans, they use hand-carved granite millstones. This gives their chocolate a distinct, gritty texture and bold flavor that you won't find anywhere else. On this tour, you'll see the chocolate being ground by special millstones and learn about the history of chocolate-making. Because the Taza factory is small, you'll be able to ask questions and get a real, up-close look at the chocolatey action.

    The Chocolate Guides will provide you with an abundance of chocolate samples, making this the ideal way to satisfy both your curiosity and your sweet tooth. Tours are available every week from Wednesday to Sunday, giving you the opportunity to enjoy a delicious and educational activity for only $12. You should definitely register in advance online because they frequently sell out. Taza also has a brand new cocoa classroom where they do unique tasting panels and offer a host of kid-friendly story-time chocolate events that are sure to intrigue and wow. You can check out their tour website for full information.

    Price Ranges: $12 per tour
  7. Boston is abounds with world-renowned art, and you can view a number of priceless collections for free or at a low cost. It should come as no surprise that a city as diverse and collegiate as Boston is home to museums of all kinds. The collections range from contemporary art and design to science and history, and are as diverse as the structures that house them, which include ships, floral gardens, and monumental structures.

    Every Wednesday from 3 pm, the celebrated Museum of Fine Arts allows guests to enter for only $5 per person, which is quite the deal. Better yet for your budget, the Institute of Contemporary Art is free on Thursdays from 5 pm to 9 pm. Meanwhile, everyone gets a free pass to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum on their birthday, and anyone with the name Isabella always gets to visit the museum without charge, as per Gardner’s request.

    Prices Range: Only $5
  8. Part of Boston's undeniable charm is the fact that people have access to a wealth of green spaces to enjoy. Whether you’re making the most of a relaxing Sunday afternoon or taking a break after your busy week, enjoying an elaborate affair or a quick stop with a grab-and-go sandwich, Boston has plenty of parks where you can enjoy lunch with friends and family.

    Great food, conversation, and tons of bonding memories are bound to happen if you pack up and search for an adventure. Boston and the surrounding area have some of the best picnic spots you could ask for, and they're all waiting for you to discover them! With the arrival of fall weather, there has never been a better time to get out into nature and explore the natural beauty of the land. Pick up what you need at a nearby market and find a spot in one of Boston's beautiful parks, such as the Boston Common, the Public Garden, or the Rose Kennedy Fitzgerald Greenway. There are no reservations are required, no tipping is necessary and the bill will only be as high as the snacks you bring with you.

    Prices Range: $10 - $30
  9. While the New England weather makes beach culture here a purely seasonal option, Boston still has many nearby stretches of sand for seasonal—and inexpensive—day trips. Boston's North and South Shores have beautiful beaches that are less than an hour's drive from the city. For those who do not have easy access to a car, the Hub itself has several urban sandbars ideal for relaxing or taking a refreshing dip in the ocean.

    However, whether within city limits or an hour's drive away, there are a number of beautiful beaches that are reasonably priced to visit. Some may charge an entrance fee or require you to pay for your T fare, but you can easily pack your own snacks and keep the rest of your spending under control. Some of the beaches recommended are Castle Island, Revere Beach, and the long list of beaches in the Greater Boston area. Hitting the beach is definitely one of the best cheap things to do in Boston.

    Prices Range: $1.50 - $5 for entrance fee & T fare
  10. When you're looking for a cheap activity and a major dose of nature, consider taking a hike. Although Boston has a compact downtown of winding old streets, it has an astonishing wealth of open space and parkland where you can walk or hike and enjoy the urban landscapes framed by trees and grass.

    The best hikes near Boston are not far from downtown and will require only the cost of gas and park entry fees, which are nominal. Honestly, spending an afternoon in the great outdoors and getting just far away enough from the city lights will seem positively priceless.

    The wide Charles River runs within blocks of busy downtown, bordered by a broad esplanade park, and from its busiest hub at Park Street and the Boston Common stretches a green swath known as the Emerald Necklace, connecting parks, fens, ponds, public gardens, and an arboretum in a continuous 1,100-acre chain, linked by seven miles of walking paths.

    All around the city are leafy suburbs with vast parks and reserves of public lands that include gentle hills to climb for views back at the city skyline, and miles of trails along the rivers and bay. Many of the walking routes pass close to Boston's tourist attractions, including historic sights and world-class museums and universities. Hiking in the city also takes you to some of the most iconic places to visit in Boston.

    Prices Ranges: Only $1 - $3

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