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Where to Find Free Things to Do in Every City with Kids

by Susan Finch

Nov 24, 2017

© Syda Productions | Dreamstime

Travel Tips

Affording a family vacation can feel out of reach considering a trip to Disney World or Disneyland ranges $3,227–4,954 for all the Mickey ice creams you can eat (plus all those rides, resort fees, transportation, etc). Those figures add up to nearly $1,145, or $4,580, on a family of four to travel. Unfortunately, that might be more than a family’s entire monthly take home pay.


But let’s all remember that doesn’t mean your own family vacation needs to cost upwards of $5k for a good time. Instead you can do it on the cheap with a road trip, crashing with friends and finding free things to do in every city with kids. Here’s where to find them.


Local Libraries

Libraries are goldmines for finding free things to do from on-site storytimes, sing-alongs even to crafting activities. But libraries are usually also full of flyers and advertisements for local family-friendly activities. Asking the librarians in the children’s section for advice on where to go and what to see for free or on a budget will also yield success.


Free Parenting Circulars

Keep an eye out for the free circulars stocking magazine bins on street corners, libraries and coffee shops. Many parenting publications are free and up for grabs. Look through the events section and look for free activities like movies, art and festivals that would be a good fit for your family.

family at city festival

City Street Fair. Photo: Radiokafka | Dreamstime

Local Mommy Blogs

No one knows the local family market better than mommy bloggers. Do a little online sleuthing to find popular blog options in your destination of choice. They will likely have plenty of evergreen content on places to go and things to do for free, and bloggers are usually thrilled to share their knowledge of their city with others and point you in the right direction.

family walking in the city

Photo: Kostia Osypov | Dreamstime



Most museums have some kind of free admission day out of the goodness of their heart, or time when a corporate sponsor will foot the bill for the day. You can check the websites or just call ahead and ask when the next free day is. They also might have some ideas on where else to look for similar sponsored events. But if you come up empty, museums still have fantastic gardens to run around in or grab a frugal treat from its cafe.


The Park

Aside from the fact parks and playgrounds are free in just about every city, you can also find other parents ready to share their best tips. You’ll be hard pressed to find a mom who can’t share at least one gem to visit or free and frugal option. The park is also a fun way to meet locals and other kids and even stumble into a free festival or outdoor concert.


Just don’t assume the city you’re visiting won’t have anything worthwhile to do for free. Some of New York City’s best attractions are free including exploring Central Park, kayaking on the Hudson, visiting Socrates Sculpture Park and taking advantage of the free days at the biggest museums.


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