25 Things To See And Do For Free In The USA

8 January 2016
Read Time: 2.7 mins

Fortunately, you don’t need the bank account of a celebrity or internet mogul to enjoy all that the best USA cities have to offer. From within brilliant blue seas to glittering concrete jungles, there are plenty of things to do that won’t cost you a dime.

Los Angeles

Attend a TV show taping

Scoring a spot in the studio audience of shows like Ellen or The Big Bang Theory is the best way to spot Hollywood's biggest stars.

Griffith Park stargazing

 Starry, starry night (all images: Getty)

Roam, picnic and play in Griffith Park and when night falls, look to the stars through the Zeiss telescope at the Griffith Observatory.

People-watch in Venice Beach

Venice is a quirky hangout where beatnik artists flog their wares along Ocean Front Walk and eccentric characters wander the beachfront.

Take a hike

 Keep your eye out for celebs hiking Runyon Canyon!

Runyon Canyon, Hollywood's A-list workout trail, rewards hikers with epic panoramas of Downtown LA and Beverly Hills.

Get snap-happy on Mural Mile

Wander around Van Nuys Boulevard in the San Fernando Valley to discover over 50 eye-popping masterpieces.

New York City

Ride the Staten Island Ferry

Get up close to Lady Liberty against a backdrop of the Manhattan skyline on the Staten Island Ferry.

Cross the Brooklyn Bridge

 Walk Manhattan to Brooklyn to spend time in Brooklyn Bridge Park

Don your pavement pounding shoes for the 'almost-two-kilometre' walk from Manhattan to Brooklyn over this iconic suspended bridge.

Hop(s) on a brewery tour

Craft beers have taken the globe by sudsy storm, and at the Brooklyn Brewery you can meet the makers of this fine ale with free tours on Saturdays.

Friday nights at the Museum of Modern Art

With free tickets from 4pm, the museum stays open late so you can get your fix of media-based masterpieces, interactive exhibits and larger-than-life sculptures.

Walk the High Line

 The High Line blooms in spring

This elevated abandoned railway on the West Side has been converted into a public park with lookouts and foodie events.

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San Francisco

Sea lions at Pier 39

A mainstay on the city's celebrated waterfront, a visit to San Francisco is incomplete without peering at these mammoth sea animals as they laze away on the docks.

Wind down Lombard Street

 Stroll or walk this world's most crooked street

Picture-perfect thanks to beds of vibrant blooms and stately Victorian mansions, snap a few photos and walk or drive down this famous crooked street.

Visit the Cable Car Museum

See the wheels and cogs that pull the cables of San Francisco's iconic mode of transport at the Cable Car Museum.

Marvel at the Painted Ladies

 Full House fans won't want to miss this view

See the immaculate row of Victorian homes in Alamo Square contrasting against the glimmering downtown skyscrapers.

Slip and slide in the Castro

Hidden near Seward Street is a labyrinth of concrete slides. Perfect for the young and young at heart, BYO cardboard to slide on!

Las Vegas

Stroll the Strip

 Vegas in all its garish, neon glory

There's no better way to experience the neon splendour of the world's party capital than by strolling down the sidewalk.

Watch the Fountains at Bellagio

As synonymous to Vegas as slot machines, the graceful fountains deliver a multi-sensory show of water, music and light.

Stop and smell the roses

Every few months, master horticulturalists at the Bellagio install fanciful floral wonderlands to mark the seasons.

Fun at the circus

Performers at Circus Circus stun onlookers with jaw-dropping highwire stunts and death-defying trapeze performances every half hour.

Dance in the street

 Check out the dizzying light show in Vegas' old strip

Kick up your heels at Fremont Street's light show – an audio/visual spectacular displayed on a gigantic vision canopy (the size of five football fields).


Climb up Diamond Head

Honolulu's looming peak rewards hikers of all fitness levels with spectacular 360-degree island vistas.

Soak up the sun on Waikiki Beach

 Nowhere does tropicana like Waikiki

It doesn't cost a penny to soak up some rays and make a splash at one of the world's most famous beaches.

Discover the historical side of Waikiki

Beyond the beach is a cultural trail of 23 significant sites, including the bronze statue of Duke Kahanamoku.

Pay your respects at the Arizona Memorial

The USS Arizona Memorial is a poignant reminder of the origins of World War II, and over 2,000 free tickets are given out each day.

Do the hula

 Shake your grass skirt with the hula dancers in Kuhio Beach Park

On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday evenings, Kuhio Beach Park bursts to life in a beautiful spectacle of hula dancers and traditional Hawaiian tunes.

Visit your local Flight Centre store or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest deals.

Anna Howard

Give me street food over Michelin stars, cellar doors over wine bars and small towns and wide open spaces over big cities any day. Travel for me means ticking off the 'to eat and drink' list one regional flavour and wine bottle at a time.