History, Nature, & Sam Adams - 6 Free Things to Do in Boston

Publish Date: October 25, 2016

Boston Skyline

They say nothing in life is free. However, we did some digging and found a handful of things to do in Boston that actually are free. Investing in attending an industry conference shouldn’t break the bank. Enjoy these fun, educational, and cultural outings in Boston that will give you a taste of this historically rich city while keeping your heart rate up and your (sample) beer glass full.

1. Get a History Lesson at the Massachusetts Historical Society

Founded in 1791, the Massachusetts Historical Society is our nation’s first historical society. The MHS’s main goal is to enhance its visitor’s understanding of the past and its connection to the present. In a city oozing with history, this is a must-stop for history lovers as well as for those who want to learn what all the fuss is about. Some of the MHS’s most impressive documents include Paul Revere’s own account of his famous ride and Abigail Adams famous “Remember the Ladies” letter to her husband, John Adams, advocating for the rights of women to be included in the founding of the United States.

2. Walk the HarborWalk

It's easy to enjoy this almost 40-mile continuous public walkway that traces the shoreline of Boston Harbor. When complete, it will stretch 47 miles from Dorchester to East Boston. It currently winds through various neighborhoods with equally diverse restaurants. The trail is a great way to connect to the history and beauty of Boston Harbor; enjoy the same breeze that carried our founding fathers into the harbor as well as the many public art displays. Access to the HarborWalk is only minutes from the Boston Convention Center, too.

3. Climb the Bunker Hill Monument

Ascend Bunker Hill Monument and take a 294-step back into history. There are no elevators, so take your time and enjoy the view from the top. The monument is a 221-foot granite obelisk that marks the site of the first major battle of the American Revolution. The site is called Bunker Hill although most of the fighting happened at Breed’s Hill, which is where the monument is. It’s from this early confrontation that the famous battle cry, “Don’t’ fire until you see the whites of their eyes!” comes from. Admission is free but you must obtain a climbing pass from the Bunker Hill Museum at the base of the hill (43 Monument Square).

4. Tour the Samuel Adams Brewery

Sip, stroll and learn the history behind this popular brewery, including why founder Jim Koch named his brewery after the one of our Founding Fathers. You’ll experience the brewing process from start to finish. You’ll also have the chance to sample some of their award-winning beers. What better place to learn more Boston history than at a brewery?

5. Tour the Massachusetts State House

The Massachusetts State House, completed in 1798, still houses the state legislature as well as the offices of the Governor of Massachusetts. Built on land once owned by John Hancock, Massachusetts’ first elected governor, the state house is situated on the top of Beacon Hill. Free conducted tours are given year-round and last approximately 30-45 minutes. However, self-guided materials are available as well. Tour participants can also visit the House and Senate Chambers.

6. Stroll the Grounds of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University

If you’ve had enough of brick and mortar history, plan to take a walk through the Arnold Arboretum, 281-acres of land that were originally donated by James Arnold, a whaling merchant, in 1872. The Arboretum sprung from an agreement between the City of Boston and Harvard University. Designed by Fredrick Law Olmstead and first directed by Charles S. Sargent starting in 1873, who managed the Arboretum for 54 years. As of 2015, the living collections included close to 15,000 plants.

Again, whether it’s history, nature, or Sam Adams that gets your attention, plan to fit at least one of these free outings into your Boston conference schedule. Yet six more reasons to come early or stay late next April. Also, check out our AORN Global Surgical Conference & Expo 2017 Pinterest page for even more ideas.

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