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The nightlife and arts options we list are worth their weight in gold. Yet if you're feeling the pinch, you can be entertained without dropping a dime.
Nosh on gratis appetizers at the Fritz Lounge during happy hour on weekdays.
See a film at the Boston Public Library.
Go baroque—not broke—with select classical concerts performed by the Boston University Symphony Orchestra or College of Fine Arts faculty members at the Tsai Performance Center.
Head to Trinity Church for free Friday organ or choir recitals at 12:15 pm.
Get down to blues and jazz at Wally's Café jazz club, the Beehive, or Café Luna (in Cambridge), where talented students from the Berklee College of Music perform.
Buy a coffee or smoothie, and surf wireless Internet for free at Trident Booksellers & Café.
See art in the making: check out one of the weekend Boston Open Studios (www.cityofboston.gov/arts/visual/openstudios.asp) in neighborhoods throughout the city. Summer brings even more free activities:
Boston Pops. Bop along with the Boston Pops and other free concerts at the Hatch Memorial Shell June through August. Esplanade, 47 David G Mugar Way, Back Bay, Boston, MA, 02108. 617/266–1200 or 888/266–1200. www.bso.org.
Esplanade Summer Events. From April through September, the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade is abuzz with free concerts, movie showings, and more—all part of the Esplanade Summer Events. Perennial favorites include the Boston Pops' July 4th concert, high-level college and professional orchestral concerts, and "Free Friday Flicks" (at sunset, often animated for kids). The Esplanade, Back Bay, Boston, MA, 02115. 617/626–4970. www.mass.gov.
Shakespeare in the Park. On July and August evenings, the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company produces free performances of Shakespeare in the Park on Boston Common or musicals at the Hatch Shell. 617/426–0863. commshakes.org.
Summer in the City at Boston Harbor Hotel. Each weeknight of summer, something's happening at Rowes Wharf—music lovers listen to tunes spun by DJs on Monday, soul-bros and sisters enjoy Motown on Tuesday, country fans do their boot-scootin' thing on Wednesday, blues lovers get their blues on Thursday, and cinephiles catch silver screen classics at the waterside on Friday. Boston Harbor Hotel hosts these events along Harborwalk from 6–10 pm. Concerts are staged on a barge anchored behind the hotel. 70 Rowes Wharf, Waterfront, Boston, MA, 02110. 617/439–7000. www.bhh.com.
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