4 Ways to Find Free Activities in Your Local Community is a guest post by Katie Olives who blogs about free family fun at Minneapoless.
Whether you’re looking to trim your entertainment expenses or add an entertainment line item to a tight budget, finding free activities in your local community is the way to go. Regardless of where you live, you can use these three tips to connect with free activities in your local area.
Park and Recreation Offerings
Parks and recreation boards offer an abundance of activities including indoor playgrounds in the winter and outdoor playground activity times in the summer. They may offer free nature exploration classes and are the hub of many community events. Your local park may sponsor free movie screenings, concerts, ice cream socials, and holiday or seasonal celebrations. Getting involved with your local parks is not just a way to educate and entertain your family, but also to get to know your neighbors!
The National Parks Service also offers several fee free days during the year. Take advantage of these opportunities to show your children some of our national treasures. The two remaining fee free days in 2010 are September 25, and November 11.
Community Festivals and Cultural Events
Find someone who is passionate about their community or culture, and you’ll find someone who is anxious to share that passion with others. This zeal will greatly benefit you and your family when you extend yourselves to learn about other cultures and traditions. Visit your local Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, try out Irish Step Dancing for St. Patrick’s Day or attend a Chinese New Year celebration. This type of event almost always has music, craft stations, story telling, dance performances, and best of all, is almost always free.
Consider adding all the local community festivals in your area. These may celebrate a local specialty harvest, a historic event or figure, or local culture. Each festival will almost likely have free events for the kids and whole family.
Corporate-Sponsored Free Admission
Not everything can be free all of the time, but almost everything is free at least some of the time. Free days sponsored by Target, Bank of America, or other local businesses allow you to visit many cultural and historical sites across the country for free. Target sponsors free admission days at museum and free or reduced price music concerts in many cities from New York to Los Angeles. Find Target-sponsored museums and events near you.
Additionally, local history and art museums often offer free days or weekends each year as part of community outreach programs. In Minneapolis, the Walker Art Center offers Free First Saturdays; the Miami Art Museum offers a Free Family Festival. Your local museum have its own version.
College and University Events
If you’re lucky enough to live in a town with a college or university nearby, take advantage of outreach programs and concerts sponsored by the institution. Many campuses will have free outdoor concerts or performances of their own music ensembles that are free and open to the public. In the interest if cultivating good relationships with their neighbors, many colleges welcome participation of local community members in lectures, concerts, and dance performances.
Your turn: How else do you find free activities for your local area?