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Labor Day Weekend in Boston: 106 free and inexpensive things to do

Museums, hikes, monuments, and more!

Harshil Shah/Flickr

The traditional end of summer is upon us with Labor Day Weekend.

If you have three work-free days coming up, here are dozens of things to do and visit in the Boston region. Best part: They’re either free or close to it.

One last beach trip


If Massachusetts has one thing going for it, it's oceanfront. The Bay State boasts plenty of places to soak in the sun and the fun that comes with proximity to the mighty Atlantic and its many alcoves.

This map pinpoints 15 of the best beach options in and around the Boston area.

A museum off the beaten path

The interior of an elaborate engineering museum, with many pipes and metal stairs. Photo via Waterworks Museum

Boston is home to some of the world's most notable museums.

But the city also hosts some lesser-known institutions of collective preservation, including one of the oldest military museums on the continent and one of the nation's most prominent repositories of African-American history.

This map pinpoints these and nine others.

Some Irish history

Sip Khoon Tan/Flickr

Boston has long been the loci of the Irish in America (and of Irish-Americans).

Not surprisingly, then, the city is awash in memorials, monuments, and other reminders of the influence here of the sons and daughters of Eire.

Here is a map of 11 of those key sites

Some Revolutionary War history

Three vintage cannons arrayed in a public park. Wikipedia

No other region in the nation has quite the connection to the Revolutionary War as does Boston and its environs (British-free since March 1776).

Not surprisingly, then, the area also has some of the country's most notable monuments and memorials commemorating the conflict.

This map marks 11 of the most important ones.

Discover the hidden gems of Boston’s two most famous parks

The Public Garden and Boston Common together account for 74 acres of urban escape. The parks are chock-full of things to do and see, some a lot more notable than others.

A lot of people probably know about the Frog Pond or Make Way for Ducklings or the Edgar Allan Poe statue. And the memorial to the 54th Massachusetts is surely one of the world’s best-known military monuments, if for no other reason than the movie Glory.

But there are plenty of hidden gems in the Garden and the Common. If you know where to look...

Cemeteries are not just for Halloween


The Boston region has some of America's oldest cemeteries, with a handful stretching back to the early 1600s and a goodly proportion launching well before the 1900s.

The region's cemeteries, too, contain a veritable village's worth of notables: presidents, poets, war heroes, jurists, academics, athletes, musicians, Ben Franklin's mom and dad, you name it.

Here, then, is a map of the 26 most historic cemeteries across the Boston region.

Take a hike

Doug Kerr/Flickr

The mountains of Massachusetts provide spectacular opportunities for outdoor activities and there is perhaps no better time of year to get out there than the late summer/early fall.

This map details the commonwealth's seven shortest peaks.

They are tall enough to provide doses of challenging steepness as well as heaping quantities of nature and views. But they're not so high as to dissuade your inner hiker-slash-biker from hitting the trails.

Or just get out of town

Jelly Dude/Flickr

Here are a dozen exceptionally charming towns and small cities in the commonwealth, each within a three-hour drive from Boston (and several within a similar time frame by train, too).

These 12 are not only beautiful to look at and perfect to enjoy in warmer weather, they also include some hidden cultural and gastronomic gems.

A brief sampling: The world's largest collection of Norman Rockwell art; a repository of more than one million volumes of Yiddish film and literature; the Western Hemisphere's only Trappist brewery; and a museum dedicated to Emily Dickinson.

Boston Common

139 Tremont Street, , MA 02111 (617) 635-4505 Visit Website

Frog Pond

84 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108-3421 617 635 2120