Where to Find Free Activities in a New City

couple with dog in the park

There’s nothing quite like those first few weeks in a new city, when everything from the street you live on to the grocery store around the corner is novel and exciting. But if you’ve ever taken the leap and moved to a brand new place, then you also know that it can be difficult to find your footing and get comfortable. One good way to start feeling like your new city is less of a novelty and more like home though is to ingratiate yourself in the community. And where better to start than with free activities?

Most cities offer a lot of free activities that give people a chance to meet, mingle, and share in their common interests. Finding these activities can make a big difference when you’re trying to settle in somewhere new, and they’re also a great way to explore more of what your city has to offer.

So how do you find ‘em? Start with these 10 places.

  1. Parks

    Chances are that your city has some pretty great parks that are worth checking out. Parks are where a lot of people go to congregate, of course, but they’re also often a popular space for hosting free community events like movie nights and concerts. Take a look at the website for your local park district to see if there is a schedule of free activities. You can usually find a breakdown of activities by type—i.e. evening activities, kid-friendly activities, and so on.

    No scheduled events at the park? No worries! Bring a blanket, a book, and a bottle of wine (and a pup if you have one!) and hang out for a while. Parks are always a good place to see your city in action and relax while you take in the sights.

  2. Museums and galleries

    Museums and art galleries are the cultural hubs of cities, and they often offer multiple free admission days throughout the year for residents. You can head to the website for the museum or gallery you’re interested in to see if they have any admission-free days coming up, though many local publications also put together yearly guides. Note that you’ll probably need to show a state I.D. with a city address on it to get your free admission, so if you haven’t gotten your new license yet this as good of an excuse as any to head to the DMV.

  3. Libraries

    Libraries are an excellent place to find free activities, especially if you have kids. Head to story time, sign up for a book club, or see what else your library has on the schedule. In addition to book-focused events, many libraries offer other free activities like yoga, classes, and informational workshops. Visit your library’s website for a schedule, or ask about free activities when you go pick up your new library card.

  4. Street fairs and festivals

    In some cities it seems like you can’t walk two blocks in the summer without running into a street fair. And if you’re trying to find free activities, that’s a good thing! While some street fairs and festivals do have admission fees, many of them don’t cost anything aside from food, drinks, or other items that you might want to purchase. Listen to some music, check out wares from local artisans, and take in the vibes, all without spending a dime.

  5. Farmers’ markets

    There are few better ways to spend a sunny weekend morning than meandering around your city’s farmers’ market. Farmers’ markets are a two-for-one free deal: free to attend, plus plenty of free samples as you wander from booth to booth. They also provide you with an opportunity to meet a wide range of other people in your community, and often have other activities going on like tastings and workshops. If you’re not sure where to find one, visit Local Harvest to search farmers’ markets in your area.

  6. Community gardens

    Community gardens generally rely on annual members to keep their operations running, meaning they’re free if you just want to stop by for a nice stroll to see some natural beauty. (Alternately, many community gardens charge for parking but are free otherwise, so walk, cycle, or take the bus there instead of dealing with a parking fee.) Check your local community gardens’ website to see if there are any events going on in addition to simply walking through the park itself. Many offer free activities, as well as special days centered around certain plants or flowers coming into bloom.

  7. Walking tours

    If you’ve moved to a tourist-centric city then you should have no trouble finding a free walking or biking tour. While most of the people who you meet probably won’t be sticking around for long, you’ll get an opportunity to see your new city through the eyes of people who really know and love it, and you might discover some hidden gems that you’d otherwise have missed. Visit FreeTour.com to search for free walking tours in cities around the world.

  8. Head to a meet up

    In our article on how to use the internet to make friends after a move we listed various apps and websites that you can use to find hang outs with people who share similar interests. From free poetry readings and hikes to fitness classes and film screenings, there are no shortage of options for activities that can bring you together with others to enjoy your city on the cheap. Not sure where to start? Try MeetUp, Meet Me, or We3 and see what others in your city are up to.

  9. Start volunteering

    Volunteering may be free, but you’ll get a ton of value in return. Spending a day manning a pet adoption fair or helping people register to vote is a fantastic way to spend your time, and of course, it doesn’t cost you anything. Use VolunteerMatch to search available volunteer opportunities in your city and find something that interests you. Like most of the other free activities on this list, volunteering provides you with the added benefit of meeting more people and is a useful way to build relationships with like-minded individuals in your new city.

  10. Street art

    Some of the best art in a city isn’t framed in a gallery. Using an app like Geo Street Art search for where you can find the best street art in your neighborhood and design your own private walking tour. You’ll get a good taste of local culture and you’ll also likely get some great shots for your Instagram feed—a win-win!

Apps for finding free activities

We’ve gone over a few useful website and apps already for finding free activities, but here are some others to check out during your search:

Field Trip. This app is like having a personal tour guide to your city in your pocket. As you walk around the app will notify you with a pop-up if you’re by any cool spots worth checking out. It also shares interesting tidbits and trivia.

Eventbrite. This all-in-one platform is a great source for discovering interesting (and often free!) events in your area. Scroll through regularly so that you don’t miss anything exciting.

Like a Local. Play tourist at home with an app designed to help visitors experience cities at their best. Simply pull up a map around you to see what’s going on, or take a look at the livestream for a regularly updated list of what’s worth checking out.

Moving is expensive, but discovering all that’s great about your new city doesn’t have to be. Search around for free activities and you should have no trouble finding fun things to do that don’t require spending any money.

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Published at Fri, 31 May 2019 20:23:30 +0000