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Boston's Best Free Arts

It can get pricey to enjoy all that Boston's rich arts community has to offer. There are ways to take in some of the finest exhibits and performances, for free.
ICA Screenshot


100 Northern Ave.
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 478-3100

The Institute of Contemporary Art offers Free Thursdays between 5 and 9 p.m. The last Saturday of every month (except December) is Free Family day for up to two adults accompanied by children. Seventeen and under is always free.

Boston Open Studios Screenshot

Boston Open Studios

Locations vary

Boston Open Studios Coalition helps organize open gallery weekends in Boston neighborhoods. The locations vary week to week, with information posted on their website. You can meet local artists and see their latest works in these open gallery settings.

SoWa Screenshot

SoWa First Fridays

450 Harrison Ave.
Boston, MA

In the arts-rich SoWa neighborhood, the Arts Guild holds open studios the First Friday of every month. The events are from 5-9 p.m. at 450 Harrison Avenue. Mingle with SoWa artists and view their latest works.

Commonwealth Shakespeare Company Screenshot

Free Summer Shakespeare

Parkman Bandstand
Boston Common
Boston, MA

Every summer the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company holds free performances on the Boston Common. Six nights a week the players perform in front of large, live audiences, under the stars.

Museum of Fine Arts Screenshot

Museum of Fine Arts

465 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 267-9300

College students can bypass the $20 admission by showing a full-time student photo id. Anybody under 17 is free after 3pm, on weekends and school vacations. In 2010 the MFA also offered 6 Free Community Days. TBA if this will continue for 2011.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Screenshot

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

280 Fenway
Boston, MA
(617) 566-1401

If your name is Isabella you get in free anytime to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. For the rest of you, admission is free on your birthday. Make sure the rest of your party wears Red Sox gear, and their admission will be discounted by $2.

Museum of Bad Art Screenshot

Museum of Bad Art

3 locations

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This museum dedicated purely to bad art is always free. They have now grown to three basement galleries, at the Dedham Community Theater, the Somerville Theater and Brookline Access Television. More than 500 works of bad art rotate through these galleries.


MIT Museum

265 Mass Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 253-5927

A museum of invention, ideas and innovation, admission is free on Sundays between 10 a.m. to noon. MIT students always get in free.

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