The world's best free attractions

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by Kalboz, Jun 14, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Kalboz
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    Kalboz Gold Member

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    They say money can't buy you happiness – which is handy, because we've got some of the most amazing travel experiences that don't require a single penny.

    The world's best free attractions
    [​IMG]
     
  2. wiredboy
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    The Staten Island Ferry in New York of course. A wonderful view of lower Manhattan and New York Harbor!
     
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  3. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Get your self a shoe shine on board, and pick up a bagel with a schmeer of cream cheese and lox for the trip from the Staten Island side. I spent 10 years commuting to wall st fro Staten island using the ol' tugs.
     
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  4. SC Flier
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    The Smithsonian museums, the National Zoo, the National Cathedral and many other sites in the DC area.

    In Chicago, the Lincoln Park Zoo is free.
     
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  5. ducster
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    Not an attraction per se, but I loved walking all the way down Broadway from Columbia U to South Ferry. An amazing look at so many neighborhoods all along one street.
     
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  6. SC Flier
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    SC Flier Gold Member

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    http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm

    America's Best Idea – the national parks – gets even better with several fee-free days at more than 100 national parks that usually charge entrance fees.*
    Mark your calendar for these fee-free days in 2011:
    • January 15-17
      (Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday weekend)
    • April 16-24
      (National Park Week)
    • June 21 (Tuesday)
      (First day of summer)
    • September 24
      (Public Lands Day)
    • November 11-13
      (Veterans Day weekend)
    Making the fun even more affordable, many national park concessioners are joining the National Park Service in welcoming visitors with their own special offers.

    Here’s a tip – many of your 394 national parks NEVER charge an entrance fee. So start Planning Your Visit!
     
  7. TRAVELSIG
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    Thanks for posting Kalboz- unfortunately, the editorial quality of Lonely Planet has fallen to the point where I don't really regard them anymore. The Tate Modern, however, with Free Admission- is a wonderful deal!
     
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  8. canucklehead
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    Off the top of my head, I would have included the Metropolitan Museum and British Museum (each has a suggested donation) and Piazza della Signoria in Florence with its open air square and sculptures.
     
  9. SC Flier
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    Niagara Falls -- There are plenty of places for taking in views of the falls. The botanical gardens a few miles away are also free.
     
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  10. Kalboz
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    Thank you and I do agree ... however, the point is to get us to list our favorite free places, tips, little known awesome spots, hide-aways as a guide for others to experience in their future travels. It seems that we are doing great here as the suggestions are netter than LP's.
     
  11. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Free times in museums:

    Singapore--many, including the art museum and the national museum, are free after 5 pm on Thursdays and open until 9 pm that night, The Raffles Hotel museum is always free and is open until early evening every day.

    Mainland China--there's a traditional free period in late spring, around May, for most museums operated by the government including the big museum in Shanghai, but there can be very long lines.

    Minneapolis--The Walker (except for special exhibits) is free Thursday evenings (and has a wine bar--not free--and other special events) and some Saturdays (children's special activities). The Walker's sculpture garden and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts are always free, as is the little history museum in Wells Fargo Bank's downtown headquarters. There's no entry fee for the Mall of America but they do charge (a lot) for the rides and aquarium. IIRC the Como Park Zoo is free but accepts donations.

    Many historic government museums (such as state capitols) and university museums are free. You can explore most college campuses, including the military academies, for free and can usually enter academic, administration, and library buildings freely during their opening hours. Just don't try to park during the business week!

    Many winery tours and tastings are free as are a lot of industrial tours and company museums. The free deluxe tour of the Mercedes-Benz plant in Stuttgart that is included with their European delivery option is special and even includes a nice lunch.

    Cathedrals etc. are free in many but not all countries. (IME generally yes in Europe except Spain and Scandinavia) You can sometimes discretely enter during a service if dressed appropriately and enjoy the music too.

    Most town squares and marketplaces are free (Madrid, Brussels, various in Paris including Place des Vosges) but you probably want to sit in a cafe and at least order coffee or a drink to fully enjoy the surroundings.

    Skyline Drive (Virginia), the Napoleonic Route (France),the Courniches (France), the Castle Road and Wine Road (Germany), the Great Ocean Road (Australia), and the road through the Green Mountains (Vermont) are all free, but unfortunately there's a charge for the Seventeen Mile Drive (California) unless you're sleeping/eating in the hotels there.

    Stores: Japanese department stores including the basement food halls, elegant NYC retailers such as Henri Bendel (dress well!), Scandinavian home furnishings and design stores, office supply stores in Japan (elegant thin paper and good organizing tools), fancy toy stores, even IKEA.
     
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  12. SC Flier
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    In Firenze, we went to the Accademia gallery late one afternoon around 5pm when there was a very short line. IIRC, it closed at 6pm to reopen at 7pm for free admission that evening. Not only was the line shorter, we also stayed until closing and practically had the statue of David all to ourselves for the last 10 minutes. We were happy to have paid for admission if it meant avoiding the long lines and not having crowds once inside. The line for free evening admission was already very long when we exited the gallery at 6pm.

    I am almost certain that it was a Wednesday when we were there last fall, but it might've been Thursday. Just a few days before, we were in Rome, and the national museums there were open for free due to a special for European Patrimony Days. I wish that our 5-star hotel's concierge had told us when we asked her about where to buy our museum passes.

    This year, I see that many of the national museums in Italy have free admission on the last Tuesday night of each month. Google Martedi in Arte.

    Related to or similar to European Patrimony Days:
    http://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/ -- Sept 8-11, 2011 in the UK

    "Heritage Open Days was established in 1994 as England’s contribution to European Heritage Days, in which 49 countries now participate. In the UK, four other schemes open up places in September: Open House London, Doors Open Days in Scotland, Open Doors Days in Wales and European Heritage Days in Northern Ireland."​

    European Heritage Days -- 50 countries coordinated by the Council of Europe. Dates vary throughout September, and some dates have not yet been determined for 2011.
     
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  13. Exiled in Express
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    British Museum as Canucklehead said, good for a few days. I do not recall admission at any of the European art galleries I visited.

    Ruins are also mostly free and if planned can be an exclusive getaway. I have had entire sections of Ostia Antica (Rome) and Hadrian's Wall (Hexham/Newcastle) to myself. Acropolis and Pantheon are free admission though much more crowded.

    MSPe is correct that Como Zoo, in Saint Paul thank you very much :p, is free as well as several others nationally. I have a membership to the Minnesota Zoo (under $100/yr) and get free or half price admission to nearly every zoo in the country. Well worth it for an unexpected free afternoon and also a cheap date idea. ;)
     
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  14. SC Flier
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    Though not expensive, my experience with most major tourist attraction ruins is that they aren't free. There is an admission fee for the Acropolis and Ostia Antica. The Pantheon is free.

    Edited to add:
    • The Acropolis is now 12 Euros. It's a set of tickets that provides access to the Parthenon and several other sites. Valid for 7 days.
    • The new Acropolis Museum is 5 Euros.
    • Ostia Antica is 6.50 Euros.
     
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  15. Exiled in Express
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    It has been 5 years so I will defer to you. I don't recall paying for admission but I may have also found the alternate entrances, quite unintentionally.
     
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  16. MSPeconomist
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    I remember paying for some ruins but not all of them. Pompeii was expensive as was the Roman colliseum but Delphi was free as well as the Acropolis and most of the ruins that I've visited on Greek islands and along the Turkish coast, including Kos. I think I paid in Capri and at one other quite extensive place with lots of semi-underground passageways.
     
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