How to Find the Best Free Things to Do in a City Near You
From live shows to group hikes, most cities have tons of free activities you can enjoy on your own or with a friend. The trick to finding these freebies is knowing where to look.
The International Church of Cannabis in Denver and Camelback Mountain near Phoenix are both totally free to explore and enjoy. Photos by Getty Images
When you live in a big city, it may seem like everything is expensive AF—whether it’s a cocktail or a movie. But locals always know where to get a good deal without resorting to Groupon. To help you find free things to do every day of the week we scoured the best sites in the 25 largest cities in the country and picked our favorites.
It’s always good to follow a few freebie sites on social media so you don’t miss out on upcoming events and can show out-of-town friends a good time without breaking the bank. While some of the sites below list activities that are always free, others have a combination of paid and free events, and the best ones update their calendar every day with new things to do.
The Skint From free outdoor movies to free food and drink at art shows and more.
Time Out NY Join the city’s longest running dance parties in Battery Park or enjoy free live performances at the Brooklyn Museum every first Saturday of the month.
Time Out LA Find out where to hear free live music on Mondays or hit an iconic city park for a free workout.
Los Angeles Magazine Check out free social justice exhibits and films at the Hammer Museum or attend free lecture at the Annenberg Space for Photography.
Time Out Chicago From classical music at the Chicago Cultural Center to karaoke at the Hidden Cove.
Chicago on the Cheap Find out how to visit the Brookfield Zoo and US Pizza Museum for no money.
Phoenix New Times Check out the Scottsdale Pavilions Car Show every Saturday or take a free swing dance lesson at The Duce.
Thrillist Phoenix Tour the Four Peaks Brewery (and get free beer) or do the gorgeous hike up Camelback Mountain.
Culture Map San Antonio View an awesome light show at the San Fernando Cathedral or take a free hike sponsored by REI.
San Antonio Current Play board games with new friends or chill to free jazz.
San Diego Union-Tribune Take fly fishing lessons to hiking up to iconic Potato Chip Rock. (Tip: Go early to avoid the crowds.)
Meetup San Diego Join a photography group or see local comedy for free.
Eventbrite Join a hip hop and reggaeton party or take an interactive boat ride through Alviso Slough.
San Jose Downtown Association Line dance the night away (or learn to line dance) or meet your neighbor for free crafts, dance, and sports at San Jose Neighbor Nights.
The Austin Chronicle From free yoga and beer at the Hyatt to a free tarot reading at the Milonga Room.
Atlas Obscura Marvel in watching North America’s largest bat colony on Congress Bridge or watch the sunset in magnificent colors at the observatory at the University of Texas.
FuncheapSF From full moon bike rides to learning how to knit at the Rooftop Park.
Thrillist SF Take a scenic hike along the California Coastal Trail or enjoy the bluegrass music festival each fall.
Visit Music City From live music on just about every corner to a first Saturday art crawl.
Meetup Nashville Enjoy an evening of glow-in-the-dark bowling with some "outgoing introverts" or work on civic technology at an open hack night.
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