Face it. Free is better. Browse all the fun free events and activities, including museum free days, festivals, parades, fairs, holiday activities and other events. Select a city to find upcoming events near you. Or browse the newest posts and updates about free events and activities.
MUSEUM FREE DAYS
The following museums are among the most popular venues offer free admission days throughout the year, but check the full lists of Free Museum Days by city.
- Smithsonian Museum, Washington DC
- Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
- Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA
- de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA
- California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, CA
- Tech Museum of Innovation, San Jose, CA
- Discovery Science Center, Santa Ana, CA
- Birch Aquarium at Scripps, San Diego, CA
- Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
- Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, IL
- Adler Planetarium, Chicago, IL
- The Children’s Museum of Houston, Houston, TX
- Chinese New Year Parade, San Francisco, CA — Known as the largest celebration of Asian culture outside of Asia, the San Francisco’s vibrant Chinese community hosts this parade and celebration for hundreds of locals and visitors to the city, plus the millions of people around the world who watch the parade on TV. Highlight of the day is the huge dragon and fireworks at the end.
- St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Boston, MA — Although you’ll find many St. Patrick’s Day parades on our site, the Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade may be the most popular place to celebrate. The city boasts the highest number of Irish residents outside the Emerald Isle.
- National Independence Day Parade — Washington DC — This parade takes place each year on July 4th down Constitution Avenue in our nation’s capitol. Can you think of a better place to celebrate the birthday of the USA? The event, which is co-hosted by the National Park Service, draws hundreds of thousands of spectators.
- Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, New York, NY — Each Thanksgiving, the nation watches this parade on TV. If you’re lucky enough to be in Manhattan, you can watch the floating cartoon characters and Santa himself up close and personal.
- The Philadelphia Mummers Parade, Philadelphia PA — This annual Philly tradition features 10,000 parade participants from 40 organized clubs, decked to the hilt in lavish costumes, strutting there stuff down the City’s downtown streets on New Year’s Day. A “Mummer” is a German word meaning “to costume or masquerade.” And that they do.
FAVORITE FREE FESTIVALS
The following are among the most popular and fun annual free festivals in our featured Savvy Cities. Select Your City for more local festivals and celebrations.
- Fillmore Jazz Festival, San Francisco, CA
- Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, San Francisco, CA
- International Dragon Boat Festival, San Francisco, CA
- Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival, San Francisco, CA
- Napa Blues, Brews and BBQ, Napa, CA
- Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival, Half Moon Bay, CA
- San Diego Busker Festival, San Diego, CA
- Grape Day Festival, Escondido, CA
- Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Washington, DC
- DC Blues Festival, Washington, DC
- National Cherry Blossom Festival, Washington, DC
- Portland Rose Festival, Portland, OR
- Fishermen’s Fall Festival, Seattle, CA
- Chicago Blues Festival, Chicago, IL
- Boston Harborfest, Boston, MA
- Cambridge Carnival International, Cambridge, MA
- Bayfest: Sheepshead Bay Waterfront Festival, Brooklyn, NY
- Newport Beach Lighted Boat Parade Newport Beach, CA
FREE HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES
Many fun holiday events are free to enjoy every year. And some, while not free to attend, have free days or other ways to get freebies. Follow the links below, then select a U.S. metro area to find major holiday events, activities, and celebrations in Your Savvy City, including parades, festivals, and county fairs.