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Free Things to Do This Summer in 10 World-Class Cities

Insider Guides Budget Travel
by Carlo Alcos Jul 18, 2011
I’m sure the word “free” ranks right up there on the list of what travelers like to hear the most. Yes, it is winter in three of these cities, but it’s not exactly like they’re getting much snow.

[Editor’s note: This post was created in partnership with roomorama.]

New York
  • Celebrate Brooklyn! OK. Technically it’s not free. It’s $3 (although, if you don’t believe in karma or supporting the arts, you could just walk right in). Held in Prospect Park, several times a week they have world-renowned artists and also movies.
  • The New York Philharmonic is putting on a free concert to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11 on Saturday, September 10 at Avery Fisher Hall.
  • Free yoga and tai chi classes in Bryant Park every Tuesday and Thursday all throughout summer.

Find a room in New York and check out our New York destination page for articles on the city.

San Francisco
  • Film Night in the Park. Free movies in various parks around San Francisco through September.
  • Jewels in the Square has live music, dance, and movies. Wednesdays at 12:30 and 6, and Sundays at 2 in Union Square Park.
  • If you’re looking to learn some dance, Dancing Under the Stars is for you. Held every Friday until August 26 from 8:30 – 10pm at Jack London Square.

Find a room in San Francisco and check out our San Francisco destination page for articles on the city.

  • The 2nd annual FAME (Fashion, Art, Music, and Entertainment) event goes down August 5 from 7pm to 1am at Doral Park. Local talent is on showcase here, so go support them.
  • How fun would this be. The 3rd annual Great Grove Bed Race is happening Labor Day weekend on September 4. Between 11am and 5pm, watch as participants roll beds down the streets in Coconut Grove.

Find a room in Miami and check out our Miami destination page for articles on the city.

  • Matador intern, Lindi Horton, loved Jazz in the Park at Regent’s Park when she was there. The next performance is July 24.
  • I couldn’t not include this one: Cockroach Tour of the Science Museum. You dress up as a cockroach to be taken on a tour that has a climate change angle. This goes everyday from 10am – 6pm all the way until December 31.
  • Free films, free music, free theater at The Scoop at More London, an amphitheatre that seats 800.

Find a room in London and check out our London destination page for articles on the city.

  • Paris Plages began in 2002 and continues to this day. Several spots around Paris become beaches with separate themes including free concerts. They’re around until August 21.
  • Festival Classique Au Vert runs August 6 to September 25, 8am to midnight. Summer concerts in Parc Floral. This one costs a tiny bit of money: 5 euro to get into the park but from there the rest is free.
  • An open-air cinema at Parc de la Vilette should help keep you cool. Shows are daily in July and August with most of them for free.

Find a room in Paris and check out our Paris destination page for articles on the city.

  • Festa Major de Gracia runs from August 15 to 21. It’s the largest Barcelona neighbourhood festival with 600+ events. August 15 is a public holiday, Assumption Day.
  • Between September 22 and 25 is La Merce Festival. The street festival is held in honour of the patron saint of Barcelona and first took place in 1902.

Find a room in Barcelona and check out our Barcelona destination page for articles on the city.

  • The InEURoff Festival is held in the EUR quarter in Rome and has free theatre, music, and dance programs. It’s put on by Ondaturto Teatro from September 20 to 24.
  • Until August 15, check out Rome’s best of the 70s, 80s, and 90s during Roma Vintage at St. Sebastian Park.

Find a room in Rome and check out our Rome destination page for articles on the city.

  • Ombak Bali, an international surf film festival, happens July 20-23. It’s all free and showcases independent surf films and documentaries from around SE Asia.
  • This may seem a bit of a stretch for summer as the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival occurs October 5-9, but don’t forget, it’s not even summer in Bali right now. The 8th annual event takes place in 50 venues. Some of the events are free, some you gotta pay.

Find a room in Bali and check out our Bali destination page for articles on the region.

  • I wonder if Jessica Watson partook in this? The Young Endeavour is Australia’s national sail training ship and its crew is inviting youth to visit and learn about what it takes to be on the crew. It happens July 30 from 1pm – 4pm in Woolloomooloo.
  • The Rocks Aroma Festival is on July 31 from 10am – 5pm at, where else, The Rocks. It’s billed as Australia’s largest coffee event. If you like coffee — good coffee — you won’t want to miss it. Aussies are serious about their coffee.
  • The Surry Hills Library is hosting a bunch of cool free writing/journalism events through the end of August.

Find a room in Sydney and check out our Sydney destination page for articles on the city.

Buenos Aires
  • Matador Meetup on July 22 at 8pm. We’ve had successful meetups in New York, Austin, Seattle, and Chicago. It’s Buenos Aires’ turn. Meet Matador Nights editor Kate Sedgwick, senior editor David Miller, and other Matadorians.
  • Second Story is a storytelling event for English-speakers. Next month’s event, on August 4, has a theme of “Co-conspirators.” Second Story happens on the first Thursday of every month. This one isn’t quite free, but it almost is. Entry is 10 pesos, about $2.40.
  • The Feria de San Telmo started in 1971. Every Sunday from 9am to 6pm join the colourful crowds and hit the streets in San Telmo to browse various vendors’ goods, buskers, and entertainment. And people-watch.

Find a room in Buenos Aires and check out our Buenos Aires destination page for articles on the city.

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