Boston?s Free Summer Guide 2010

The best things in life are free: We can't argue with that aphorism, especially when there are fantastic freebies all over Boston. Scamper around this summer for free wine, free poetry readings, free films, free cupcakes--the list goes on. What more can we say? Summer in Boston is a free-for-all! Go get 'em, champ.

(Photo: Courtesy of Boston Harbor Hotel)

Updated: May 11, 2010

Boston for Free

Boston Harbor Hotel

70 Rowes Wharf, Boston, MA 02110

A festive, all-ages party held on the picturesque Boston harbor all summer? `Tis true! The Boston Harbor Hotel's waterfront terrace hosts live music, dancing and movies every evening, Tuesday to Friday, from June to September. The Friday film series is the piece de resistance, screening classics like ?The Maltese Falcon? and ?Driving Miss Daisy.? More info:


1920 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140

The policy at this Porter Square neighborhood bar never wavers: live music seven nights a week, with nary a cover charge. And isn't summertime, with its warm evenings, the best time to immerse in the local rock scene? The drink of choice is beer--which ranges from microbrews to Miller High Life. More info:

Institute Of Contemporary Art

100 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210

The impact of world-class contemporary art in Boston is priceless--which makes free admission ever sweeter. Everyone can skedaddle in for free on Thursdays from 5pm to 9pm; families (up to two adults accompanied by children 12 and under) are free on the last Saturday of each month; and kids 17 and under are always free. More info:

Dave's Fresh Pasta

81 Holland St, Somerville, MA 02144

If you stumble into this Italian treasure trove of delectable cheeses, local meat and fish, hand-picked wines and fresh pasta, chances are there will be something delicious to sample. Most free tastings occur on Thursday and Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons, but call ahead for what's on tap. More info:

Brix Wine Shop

1284 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

Time it just right, and you can swing by Brix's two locations--Thursdays downtown and Fridays in the South End--for back-to-back free tastings. The sampling is usually a themed collection of wine (bottles for barbecue, wines south of the equator), but sometimes there are surprises, like bourbon, sake or beer. More info:

Boston Common

South side of Beacon Hill, Boston, MA 02108

Come summer, the Boston Common explodes with activity. A seasonal highlight: Commonwealth Shakespeare Company produces its annual Shakespeare on the Common production (2010 is Othello!) in the Parkman Bandstand for free. Pack yourself a picnic and plunk down in the grass to bask in the glory of drama for the people. More info:

SoWa Open Market

460 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA 02118

It's like a micro-city comes alive every Sunday afternoon when the SoWa Open Market takes residence in the parking lots dotting Harrison Avenue: farmers selling their produce, local artists showcasing their works, vintage goods dealers unearthing their finds. Perks include free parking and an uninterrupted stream of adorable dogs. More info:

Kickass Cupcakes

378 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02144

You can have your cupcake and eat it, too. On the last Monday of every month from 5pm to 7pm, Kickass Cupcakes slaps you with a quick surge of sugar (and then some) with its cocktail cupcake happy hour; the free mini cupcakes come in cocktail-inspired flavors. More info:

Boston Athenaeum

10 1/2 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02108

One of Boston's most culturally rich hidden gems has moments of accessibility to the hoi polloi. Framed as a place for the goddess of wisdom Athena, the entire first floor of the Athenaeum is open to non-members, and check the calendar for free events like ?Poetry at Noon? and ?Noon Music." More info: