Oh, Internet, how I love, thee! I’m not sure how we found out about cool free things to do in the “old days,” (AKA pre-Google) because it’s honestly kept my weekends from turning into complete spendathons. If you feel like going out and having fun has turned you into a human cash machine, challenge yourself to a weekend (or a weekend day) where you don’t spend any money. Seriously, you can do it!
My favorite free thing to do in any city is to walk around and to people watch. I walk around everywhere in Chicago in summer. I also like to sit out in Belmont Harbor and read and watch the boats and people. It does get hot around here, so I like to look for other freebies in cooler places, too.
A great place to find free things to do in your area is on your town or city’s website. Many of these sites have “community calendar” sections and they list free seminars and activities. The City of Chicago website has info on free concerts, fitness classes, festivals, movies and much, much more! [Did you see my Friday Five on Taste of Chicago? Tons of great freebies there, too!] Also, if you live in Chicago, check out the awesome site Free Things to Do in Chicago. It lists everything from free concerts and museum exhibits to coupons and free offers at specific merchants. It has a popular Facebook page and Twitter feed. Similar sites exist in Denver, Austin, Los Angeles, New York City and many more!
Another great, free resource is your local library. Many libraries now offer much more than books, such as seminars, movie rentals, audio books and more. In Chicago, you can also check availability online and even download books for your e-reader. You can also get free passes to some great attractions like the Shedd Aquarium and the Art Institute.
Want more free entertainment? Check out some great podcasts on iTunes. Visit the podcast section and sample a few by topics that interest you. Most podcasts on iTunes are free or you can stream them from the shows’ websites. I am partial to National Public Radio (NPR) and some of my favorites are This American Life, Freakonomics and The Moth Story Hour. I also love all of the new shows from Gimlet Media including StartUp, Sampler, Surprisingly Awesome and Reply All. I listen to these while walking or running — a free twofer!
Need more ideas? Play a game, learn a craft (you would not believe how many free how to videos are on You Tube), take a hike, host a potluck, sign up for a free online class, clean up, do yoga, have a garage sale (you could make money!), write a letter or reply to all of your emails. You can also volunteer your time and often you get food and other perks at volunteer events – a win-win!
For even more great ideas, check out 100 Things to Do on a Money Free Weekend at The Simple Dollar blog. Use these money saving tips and challenge yourself to come up with some free weekend days where you don’t spend any money. It’s easier than you think!
What are your favorite free things to do? Please leave them in the comments.
PS. Don’t miss my great giveaways – they are also free!