Best free things to do

Trip Start Jan 30, 2007
Trip End Dec 31, 2011

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Flag of United States  , New York
Friday, July 18, 2008

The best things in life are free?
Or there's no such thing as a free lunch?

Travel + Leisure have come up with the world's best free stuff for travelers.

1. Free sightseeing:
Get the inside track on a city from someone who knows it best -- a local. These volunteers want to show off their town, and won't demand a tip. Greeters can be scheduled via e-mail or telephone and should be arranged several weeks to a month ahead.

2. Free bicycles:
Zip around town on two wheels. In Copenhagen, Zurich, Bern, and Helsinki, you can borrow a bicycle from stands stationed around the city. Each program requires a nominal deposit which is returned after your ride when you lock the bike up. Many cities, including Paris, Vienna, Rome, and Lyon, offer free bikes for the first half hour (after that you'll have to fork over some cash).

3. Free Podcasts:
Download podcasts to your MP3 player and get a step-by-step narration of some of the world's hottest spots. In Europe, Rick Steves will guide you through the Louvre, Versailles, the Coliseum, the Sistine Chapel, the Uffizi Gallery, and other sites. Zevisit has free downloadable audio guides to scores of European cities. Author Peter Caine has a free podcast based on his book, "Walking the Da Vinci Code" in Paris. Open House New York also offers a number of free podcasts of notable buildings.

4. Free Public Transport:
In Europe, 27 InterCity Hotels throughout Germany and one in Vienna offer free local public transportation to guests while visitors to New York can't beat the spectacular view of the skyline during the 25-minute ride on the Staten Island Ferry.

5. Free accommodation:
A hotel can be the most expensive part of a vacation so try living in someone else's home while they live in yours. List your house or apartment on a vacation-exchange site like Only in America. To go global, the International Home Exchange Network features listings all over the world.

6. Free Skiing:
Try the Utah package where an early morning flight to Salt Lake City provides a boarding pass on which you can ski all day at Deer Valley Resort, Park City Mountain Resort, and The Canyons Resort. In Colorado, several resorts offer some type of free-skiing program to reward volunteer work and Quebec give a one day pass to anyone who dresses like Santa on Santa Claus Day.

7. Free Sports Events:
Each year, dozens of Olympic teams train at the Utah Olympic Park, site of 14 events during the 2002 Olympic Winter games while at Lake Placid, New York, you can watch Olympic and professional figure skaters and hockey teams training for free.

8. Free Museums and Zoos:
Some of the world's top museums don't charge a cent. The national museums and galleries in England, Scotland, and Wales are free and you can't miss the National Gallery, the British Museum, the Tate Modern and the Victoria and Albert. In Washington, DC, admission to all 19 Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo is free and includes the National Portrait Gallery, the Air and Space Museum, and Natural History museums.

9. Free Concerts:
Top-notch music from world-class performers can be a pricey affair but in rare spots around the globe, they're for free. In South Africa, the precursor to the annual Cape Town Jazz Festival is the free concert on Greenmarket Square, which kicks off the main festival. At Antibes, France, take in the final free concert at the celebrated Jazz a Juan International Annual Jazz Festival and in Montreal each year, the Montreal International Jazz Festival has a dozen stages of free open-air concerts.

10. Free movies:
In Paris every summer, the ultramodern Parc de la Villette outside the city draws movie lovers with its giant outdoor screen and free Open Air Cinema festival. In Baltimore, The American Visionary Art Museum sponsors Flicks on the Hill, an outdoor film series featuring free outdoor movies while Pismo Beach, California presents cinema under the stars every other Wednesday.
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