Let the good times roll this summer — without spending a dime! We asked money pros for their picks of the season’s top free activities you’re sure to love.
Cool off in a class.
Want a reason to bask in an air-conditioned store when the temperature spikes, but don’t want to spend cash? Good news: There’s a growing trend in major retailers offering fun classes at no charge, says Tina Su, founder of FreeStuffFinder.com. “Free events help get customers into physical stores by giving them something special to experience.”
Some to try: Learn which cosmetics are best for your skin at Sephora; get instructions for taking better photos and videos with your iPhone at Apple stores; enjoy free workouts by checking event calendars of nearby fitness retailers.
Spend time in nature.
“There are loads of ways to enjoy nature and animals for free,” says Amanda L. Grossman, certified financial education instructor and founder of FrugalConfessions.com. “Many zoos and aquariums offer a free admission day each month, which will usually be listed on their website. And find hundreds of national parks to explore that don’t charge entrance fees by visiting the National Park Service’s website at NPS.gov.”
Bonus: Mark your calendar for August 25, when national parks that usually charge a fee offer free admission to all.
Attend exciting events.
Summer months are packed with concerts, arts and crafts shows, festivals, and fairs — and thanks to FairsAndFestivals.net, it’s easy to find the happenings near you. For even more fun, Grossman suggests taking a factory tour. “Many manufacturers, breweries and vineyards offer complimentary guided tours that teach you how they make their products—and you usually get a free sample!” she says. For instance, you can go behind the scenes of the making of Tabasco in Louisiana, or head to California to marvel at how Jelly Belly jelly beans are produced. Find tours at FactoryToursUSA.com.
Indulge in summer treats.
“Every year, restaurants and stores across the nation give away free treats on special days in the summer,” says Su. Circle these dates in your calendar to grab your delicious freebies: On Thursday, July 11, participating 7-Eleven stores are giving away one free 12-oz. Slurpee per person from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. to celebrate “7-Eleven Day.” And on Sunday, July 21, many ice-cream stores dish out free scoops to mark National Ice Cream Day. Find more by searching the internet for “freebie days.”
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.