Best Free Attractions in the U.S. – These 5 Places Have Just Been Awarded the Title

Spread the love

5 Free Attractions in the US for Budget-Friendly Vacationers

Between high living costs, rising airfare, and inflation, travelers are constantly looking for ways to balance their costs when on vacation. Airfare and accommodation expenses often make up the bulk of a travel budget, which limits the options for budget-friendly arrangements. One way travelers can save money while traveling is to seek out free activities and attractions in their destination.

Recently, USA Today asked its readers to identify their favorite cost-free attractions in the US. Featured below are the five best selections from this list, covering various parts of the country and offering visitors the opportunity to explore without ever taking out their wallets. Saving money on activities leaves more in the bank for better dining, nicer hotels, and more extensive exploring of one’s destination.

1. Freedom Trail – Boston, MA
One of the best things about Boston is that visitors can easily walk across the city, due to its compact design. The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile trail in downtown Boston, which showcases 16 historical sites. Starting at Boston Common, visitors can follow the red brick-lined path to highlights like the Massachusetts State House, Faneuil Hall, and the Boston Massacre site, among others. Guided tours are available but come with a fee, though walking the trail on one’s own is a completely free (and recommended) option.

2. Balboa Park – San Diego, CA
Located in the heart of San Diego, Balboa Park is the largest urban cultural park in the United States, covering 1,200 acres. The park features stunning architecture and gardens with 17 museums devoted to art, natural history, science, and technology. The botanical building and the lily pond are popular tourist attractions. The park also hosts numerous free events yearly, from concerts to museum tours. There are several walking tours available in the park, providing the chance to experience the natural and architectural highlights.

3. National Mall and Memorial Parks – Washington, D.C.
The National Mall and Memorial Parks generally consist of two main sites – the National Mall and the Tidal Basin – which offer an array of free attractions. Rental bikes are readily available to help visitors cover the Mall’s vast distance while sightseeing. The area showcases the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial, the World War II Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, among others. The National Mall also contains several Smithsonian museums, such as the National Museum of American History and the National Museum of Natural History, which visitors can view for free.

4. Golden Gate Park – San Francisco, CA
Golden Gate Park is the perfect spot for nature and art lovers. The park, covering 1,000 acres, boasts beautiful gardens, lakes, playgrounds, and miles of trails for hiking, biking, or horseback riding. It also houses the San Francisco Botanical Garden and the famous de Young Museum, which features contemporary and modern art exhibits. Admission to the museum is free to all visitors on the first Tuesday of each month, while admission to the botanical garden is free each day.

5. New Orleans French Quarter – New Orleans, LA
If you are visiting New Orleans, a trip to the bustling French Quarter is a must. The oldest neighborhood in the city, it hosts several famous bars, street performers, and dozens of unique architecture designs. Visitors can enjoy free walking tours, window-shopping, and day-time or nighttime revelry. The French Quarter is home to the grand St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square, with countless historical sites and landmark buildings.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Are guided tours available for these free attractions?

Except for the Freedom Trail in Boston, guided tours come with a fee. Walking on one’s own is a completely free option for all the featured attractions.

2. Are there any restrictions to visiting these free attractions?

It is essential to follow the rules and regulations posted in each location. Some of the free attractions might have timed entry or limited access to certain areas, especially during public events or concerts.

3. Are free concerts or public events available in these featured locations?

Yes, public events, and concerts happen often at most of these locations. Visitors can check online for the schedule of upcoming events in their destination.

4. Is it safe to visit these free attractions?

Like any other location, safety precautions must be taken when visiting free attractions. Visitors should ensure that they are familiar with the location, know the rules and regulations, and stay alert. Walking alone in remote or unfamiliar areas at night is not recommended.

5. How do I avoid getting lost while exploring these free attractions?

Visitors should get a map or guide from the information center or download one from the attraction’s website. Visitors can also use their smartphones or GPS devices to help with navigation.