15 Free Attractions to Visit This Spring

PHOTO: Aerial view of the Boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland. (photo via abriggs21/iStock/Getty Images Plus)
Patrick Clarke
by Patrick Clarke
Last updated: 10:15 AM ET, Thu April 12, 2018

Save on Spring Fun

Arguably the best part about traveling during the spring is being able to enjoy the warmth and sunshine while you tour a new destination. It's even better when you can experience a new place without having to reach into your wallet. Here are some of the country's best free attractions to explore this spring.

Balboa Park, San Diego

Many of the popular attractions inside San Diego's Balboa Park charge for admission. However, there's plenty to explore for free, including playgrounds for children, dog parks for pets, walking trails, art and calming fountains. The park spans 1,200 acres so leave yourself plenty of time.

Smithsonian, Washington, DC

Washington, D.C.'s Smithsonian is the world's largest museum, education and research complex and the best part is it's free experience. The museums can be conveniently accessed from the National Mall and the National Zoo is located just a few miles north. You'll have to do a bit of walking to get from place to place so single out a pleasant spring day for the best experience.

Staten Island Ferry, New York

Take a short (about 25 minutes) but scenic ride on the Staten Island Ferry to experience stellar views of New York Harbor and the city's famous skyline. Keep in mind the ferry doesn't transport cars, trucks or motorcycles and tends to get crowded around rush hour.

Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia

Tour the birthplace of American democracy at Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia. Most of the attractions here are free to visitors. You can pick up free tickets to Independence Hall at the Visitor Center March 1 through December 31.

The Alamo, San Antonio

Cross off another item on your bucket list with a trip to The Alamo in San Antonio this spring. The nearby River Walk is within walking distance of the iconic landmark and is also free so don't skip town without partaking in the popular Texas tradition.

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

San Francisco's sprawling Golden Gate Park spans more than 1,000 acres and offers something for everyone, whether traveling solo or with a group. Admission to the Japanese Tea Garden is free if you enter before 10 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday and the Conservatory of Flowers is free to all visitors on the first Tuesday of every month.

The Strip, Las Vegas

The four-plus-mile Las Vegas Strip is excellent for people watching and is also home to the famous Fountains of Bellagio showcase. The choreographed shows feature music and lights and draw crowds throughout the day so be sure to arrive early to secure a good spot. The shows are more frequent on weekends but still run consistently from 3 p.m. to midnight on weekdays.

Pike Place Market, Seattle

Seattle's famous Pike Place Market is free to explore and tends to be less crowded in the early spring. The official market bell sounds at 9 a.m. so consider arriving early and plan to make a day of it before it undergoes potential changes.

Freedom Trail, Boston

The 2.5-mile Freedom Trail through Boston is one of the nation's most patriotic landmarks and an excellent spring attraction that won't cost you a penny. The route leads visitors to 16 historically significant sites throughout the city, including the Paul Revere House, the Old State House and USS Constitution, among others. Stroll at your own pace or schedule a free guided tour to learn as you go.

US Botanic Garden, Washington, DC

The U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. is free year-round and features extended hours from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The ongoing Wall Flowers: Botanical Murals exhibit will continue into the fall while the upcoming Botanical Art Worldwide: America's Flora exhibit is scheduled to begin May 4.

Hollywood Walk of Fame, Los Angeles

If you're in Los Angeles, head over to Hollywood Boulevard to stroll the Walk of Fame. The glorious stretch of sidewalk is home to more than 2,600 stars honoring movie stars, musicians, performers and other celebrities, past and present.

Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Both the park and Visitor & Nature Center are free to the public at Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado Springs. The latter offers extended hours Memorial Day through Labor Day. Be sure to check the event calendar ahead of your visit to see what you can look forward to.

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Minnesota

This 11-acre park is home to a plethora of eye-catching sculptures, perhaps none more impressive than the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry. The garden celebrated its grand reopening in June 2017 so visitors can expect an enhanced experience this time around.

Ocean City Boardwalk, Maryland

Routinely ranked one of the best boardwalks in America, Ocean City's stretch of boards dates back to 1902 and runs adjacent to a large swath of free beach that can be accessed in just a few extra steps. The Boardwalk is great for people watching and biking during the early morning hours.

Millennium Park, Chicago

Open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., Chicago's renowned Millennium Park is free to access and best experienced when the weather heats up come spring. You'll definitely want to photograph Cloud Gate-better known as The Bean-and tour the one-of-a-kind Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

From sprawling parks to boardwalks and riverwalks, there's plenty to see and do for free this time of year.

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Patrick Clarke

Patrick Clarke

Senior Editor

A Maryland native and wanderer who has lived across the U.S. from North Carolina to SoCal, Patrick Clarke graduated from Towson...

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CEO of Zenbiz Travel, LLC

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