Many of us often assume that to have fun and go out costs money. Often it does. But every city on the planet offers a wealth of free activities constantly that allows you to have an active social life without breaking the bank. Using my home city of Manchester as an example, I have had a look at some free things to do in a city.
There are loads of museums that do not charge for admission, but will take donations instead. In Manchester you could see Stephenson’s Rocket at the Science Museum, or take in the Imperial War Museum in Salford Quays. Or perhaps take in an art gallery or a wealth of other free museums. When in London I often try and squeeze in a visit to the British museum. It is a great way to spend a fascinating time without spending money in one of the world’s most expensive cities.
Not all festivals are like Glastonbury, requiring a £300 outlay, a tent and four days off work whilst nervously checking the weather forecast. There are plenty of free festivals occurring around the UK all year round. Check what is on near you in the coming weeks.
Similar to that, you can get free gigs too. Plenty of smaller music venues will put on free music. For example I recently saw a band at The Castle pub in Manchester, a city which this month is hosting free gigs for all types of music, from brass bands to jazz to rock.
Markets are usually free of course, but we are seeing a resurgence in them in recent times. This can only be a good thing. In Greater Manchester there are markets in Bury, Bolton, Sale, Castlefield, Stockport and many more. Check the days they are on near you, as they may not be every day. The market in Sale is only on one Sunday per month. This is also a brilliant way to support local businesses and produce.
Anyone can spend many hours wandering around an art gallery, and most in the UK are free. In Manchester for example there is the Manchester and Whitworth art galleries, among others.
Especially if you are visiting a city, get out there and see the area on foot. Many city guides do tours for free if you want to learn more about your surroundings. In Prague i went on a free tour, and donations were made at the end. But you can explore by yourself too and enjoy the freedom. Do some research in advance and find some hidden gems. It’s a good idea to do this in your own city sometimes too. You forget what you have on your own doorstep.
Many cultural attractions in the UK are free. As an example in Manchester, I highly recommend having a walk around the cathedral and also John Rylands library and Chethams library too. They are bursting with centuries of history.
There are green areas within a city that give you some peace and relaxation, and help you escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. but you might want to get out of the city altogether and hit a bigger park in the suburbs. Manchester has many, Heaton Park in the north of the city being the biggest by far.
Some might find going round shops without buying anything frustrating, but it can still be an enjoyable experience. The arcades of Manchester bring the added bonus of some fascinating architecture. Barton’s Arcade is the prime example, while Afflecks Palace is always an interesting experience.