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The best cheap things to do in Boston

For fun activities that won’t break the bank, here are the best cheap things to do in Boston

Written by
Gerrish Lopez
&
Time Out Boston Staff
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Though Boston is known for its high cost of living, there are a number of ways to enjoy some of the best things about the city while sticking to a budget. Believe it or not, there are many free things to do in Boston, as well as plenty of activities and outings that will usually cost less than $12. When you want to save your dough to splurge on the best fine dining in Boston or Boston’s best shopping, stick to our list of the best cheap things to do in Boston, from cheap eats to cheap activities.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Boston

Best cheap things to do in Boston

  • Restaurants

Spanning Mediterranean and Mexican to Chinese, Italian and more, Boston has some great cheap eats. Find super-cheap Sicilian slices at Galleria Umberto, a steaming bowl of ramen at Sapporo Ramen, or a giant, filling burrito at El Pelón Taqueria—all for a great price. Many of Boston's cheapest eats are international in flavor, but you'll find some all-American bites on our list too too, like sub-$2 hot dogs and massive servings of brunch favorites.

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  • Bars
  • Breweries

Boston's craft beer scene is booming, with dozens of smaller upstarts holding their own against standbys like Sam Adams and Harpoon. Enthusiasts can visit the breweries and try beers straight from the source. Even better, many of the best breweries off tours of their facilities (usually with a taste or two) for a very small fee or donation.

  • Travel

When you're looking for a cheap activity and a dose of nature, consider taking a hike near boston. The best hikes near Boston are not far, and will require only the cost of gas and park entry fees, which are nominal.

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  • Restaurants

Diners are a beloved product of New England—many believe the first one opened in Rhode Island in 1872. Today they’re a source of nostalgia, as well as a sure thing for a filling meal at (mostly) near-retro prices. While there are a few glammed-up diners around, most are greasy spoons or 24-hour joints. All offer friendly service, reasonable prices, and casual atmospheres.

  • Things to do

Boston has a wealth of green spaces to enjoy. Whether you're dining alone, with friends, or on a romantic date, a picnic is an affordable option. Pick up what you need at a local market and find a spot in one of Boston's great parks, like the Boston Common, the Public Garden, or the Rose Kennedy Fitzgerald Greenway. No reservations required, no tipping necessary, and the bill will only be as high as the snacks you bring with you.

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  • Restaurants

Thinking about having that picnic but don't feel like assembling your meal? You're in luck: many of Boston's best food trucks park near the best parks, most notably the Rose Kennedy Greenway. All you need to do is choose between all the delicious options and you're ready to go. Food trucks in general are cheap options for lunch and dinner, so check out our list of the best ones next time you need a fast, cheap meal.

  • Shopping
  • Chocolate and candy
  • Somerville
  • price 1 of 4

Taza makes stone ground chocolate with hand-carved granite millstones, right in Somerville. Stop by the store to sample and shop for a wide variety of delicious chocolates and watch the chocolate being made in the manufacturing area. Tours are available 7 days a week—a delicious and informative activity that costs just $8.

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  • Travel

While Boston and coastal Massachusetts are not world-renowned when it comes to beach culture, many nearby beaches are a decent—and affordable—getaway option. Within the city limits or less than an hours drive, the best beaches near Boston won't cost you much: some require a small fee, and maybe you pay to take the T, but keeping the rest cheap is very doable.

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  • Restaurants

After rowing around Jamaica Pond, romantic date stop number two should be oysters. New England has some of the tastiest oysters around, and they're not just for a fancy night out. Fortunately many of the best oyster bars have happy hours where you can sample the cold bivalves for a cooler price.

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