Lonely Planet Writer

Free on Friday - over 80 cultural attractions open with no charge in Boston this summer

You’ll certainly have that Friday feeling if you’re in the Boston area and beyond this summer, as eight different attractions will be free to the public each Friday for ten weeks from  24 June. It’s all thanks to Highland Street Foundation’s Free Fun Friday series, which sees 80 museums, zoos, and cultural institutions opening their doors to visitors without charge.

Boston Public Garden.
Boston Public Garden. Image by Getty/S. Greg Panosian

On these selected days, lucky visitors won’t have to pay admission to a variety of venues like the Boston Children’s Museum, Buttonwood Park Zoo or Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum.

This is the seventh year of the Free Fridays series, during which participating venues from Cape Ann to Cape Cod, and Boston to The Berkshires are helped to open their doors for free by the Highland Street Foundation, which was established in 1989 by David J. McGrath, jr., the founder and owner of TAD Resources International, Inc. It aims to provide access and opportunities in the areas of education, housing, mentorship, health care, environment and the arts to Boston children and families.

Ventfort Hall in Lenox, Massachusetts, built in 1891. Image: Lenox History
Ventfort Hall in Lenox, Massachusetts, built in 1891. Image: Lenox History

The family-friendly series has grown in size each year, and it showcases Massachusetts’ cultural diversity by welcoming those who might find the cost of a ticket prohibitive. Sounds like the perfect opportunity to visit Boston this summer, and drink in lots of its famed cultural experiences at no cost.

The iconic swans boats at Boston's Public Garden
The iconic swans boats at Boston’s Public Garden Image by Amy Riley

Here is a full list of the participating venues.

June 24, 2016

Tanglewood Lyric Stage Company of Boston
Clark Art Institute
Worcester Art Museum
Children’s Museum at Holyoke
International Volleyball Hall of Fame
The Mount: Edith Wharton’s Home

July 1, 2016

Boston Children’s Museum
The Sports Museum
Heritage Museums & Gardens
Falmouth Museums on the Green
Cape Cod Maritime Museum
Amelia Park Children’s Museum
Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival
Wenham Museum

July 8, 2016

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Plimoth Plantation
Peabody Essex Museum
Cape Ann Museum
Buttonwood Park Zoo
Children’s Museum in Easton
The Hall at Patriot Place
Provincetown Art Association and Museum

July 15, 2016

Edward M. Kennedy Institute
Boston Athenaeum
Larz Anderson Museum
Cape Cod Children’s Museum
Edward Gorey House
Danforth Art Museum/School
Spellman Museum of Stamps & Postal History
Fitchburg Art Museum

July 22, 2016

Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park
Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University
New Bedford Whaling Museum
Cape Cod Museum of Art
Pilgrim Hall Museum
The Eric Carle Museum
Fruitlands Museum
Museum of Russian Icons

July 29, 2016

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum
Commonwealth Museum
Battleship Cove
Marine Museum at Fall River
Sandwich Glass Museum
Nantucket Whaling Museum
Tower Hill Botanic Garden
Commonwealth Shakespeare Company

August 5, 2016

Harvard Museum of Natural History
The Old State House
The Greenway Carousel
Springfield Museums
Historic Deerfield
Hancock Shaker Village
The Old Manse, The Trustees
Worcester Historical Museum

August 12, 2016

MIT Museum
The Museum of the NCAAA
Concord Museum
Garden in the Woods
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
Naumkeag, The Trustees
Emily Dickinson Museum
The Metropolitan Waterworks Museum

August 19, 2016

The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston
USS Constitution Museum
The Discovery Museums
The Children’s Museum of Greater Fall River
New England Historic Genealogical Society
Fuller Craft Museum
Griffin Photography Museum

August 26, 2016

Franklin Park Zoo
Old Sturbridge Village
Freedom Trail Foundation
Museum of African American History
Normal Rockwell Museum
Berkshire Museum
Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum
Cape Cod Museum of Natural History