We are all about great deals, and nothing is better than free. We thought we would share our favorite safe and free attractions around the US that you can visit today. Of course, many states currently have COVID-19 travel restrictions, so it is important to inform yourself before you travel anywhere out of state. Whether you want to explore your own state or you're home for the holidays, explore these fantastic places—all while saving a buck or two.
Freedom Trail—Boston, Massachusetts
Boston has a rich and dynamic role in formative American history and exploring the Freedom Trail is a great way to discover it. The trail spans two and a half miles and visits some of Boston’s most famous and important landmarks. The highlights include Boston Common, the Benjamin Franklin statue, and the USS Constitution. Guided tours are a great way to dig deep into the history, though self-guided tours are still a great exploration of the must-see destinations. If you are planning to visit from out of state, read up on the latest travel restrictions for Massachusetts before you book.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park—North Carolina and Tennessee
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the United States. It is also one of the only major American national parks that doesn't charge admission thanks to a deed restriction on the land saying that no toll or fee will ever be imposed. The park is home to hundreds of species of animals and thousands of miles of trails for hiking and biking. The park rides the borders between Tennessee and North Carolina. Be sure to check online before you go to see which trials and park features are currently open.
Lincoln Park Zoo—Chicago, Illinois
Not to be confused with the band, the incredible Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago is an awesome place to see and learn about all kinds of animals. Spanning over 35 acres and full of animals such as bears, penguins, lions, and sea lions, it is incredible that the zoo is free. It is important to note, that in order to adhere to social distancing protocols during the time of COVID, free admission reservations are now required. Please note, Chicago is currently requiring negative PCR tests or 14-day quarenting from high-risk states. To learn more, please click HERE.
Golden Gate Park—San Francisco, California
San Francisco is a great place for curious visitors, with tons of attractions and activities. Among one of the city's most iconic places is the massive Golden Gate Park. The park is actually 20% bigger than New York's Central Park and is completely free to enter. The park offers lakes, gardens including the Japanese Tea Garden and the conservatory of flowers, as well as giant bison.
Smithsonian Museums—Washington DC
The Smithsonian museums are an incredible collection of history, art, and culture that you could spend a lifetime exploring in depth. The various museums and art galleries spread around Washington, D.C, including the African Art Museum, the Natural History Museum, the National Air and Space Museum, and the Portrait Gallery. Everything about this national institution is beautiful and well constructed. They are all a must-see and completely free. Currently, you can sign up for timed-entry passes at most of the re-opened museums. Click HERE to find out more about how to sign up for passes and which museums are currently open to the public. Please note, if you are coming from a high-risk state you will have to show a negative COVID test to enter. Find out more information about entry into DC HERE.
Staten Island Ferry—New York City, New York
The unique Staten Island Ferry is a free part of the New York City public transit system and offers a wonderful view of the Big Apple. With service from the financial district of Manhattan to Staten Island, it is a great way to see the Statue of Liberty for free and to check have a nice stroll on Staten Island. The ferry operates twenty four hours a day, and while the crowds are often very large during the day, the night brings out the characters. Click HERE to read up on the latest COVID-friendly procedures and for an updated schedule. Coming from out of state? Be sure to check the latest travel restrictions before you go.
Baltimore Museum of Art—Baltimore, Maryland
The Baltimore Museum of Art is more than 100 years old and is located in the Charles Village District in Baltimore. You can expect to see work by French artist Henri Matisse and sculptures by Joan Miró. The museum is also known for being one of the first museums in the US to obtain a collection of African art. If you are interested in seeing some art. you will have to reserve a timed-entry pass, which can be done HERE. There are 12 passes available for entry every 15 minutes, and groups of more than five will be asked to separate while in the galleries.
Harold L. Lyon Arboretum—Honolulu, Hawaii
If you find yourself in Hawaii anytime soon, we recommend take a trip to The Lyon Arboretum. Jurassic Park fans will feel as though they have stepped into a scene from the movie. Located only five miles from Waikiki, the 194-acre tropical arboretum is part of the University of Hawai'i at Mānoas and features over 6,000 native and non-native plant species. You can explore the grounds for free (though donations are greatly appreciated) for 2 hours with a reservation. Reservations can be made HERE.