Having fun can often be expensive. See these post for ideas for how to spend less!

Cheap Things to Do for Fun This Weekend

  • Post author:Bob Haegele
  • Post last modified:December 23, 2023

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Need some cheap things to do for fun this weekend? I don’t know about you, but any time I go somewhere that involves paying for entertainment, one of the things I always notice is just how expensive everything always seems to be.

Why would I spend that much!?

Of course, I understand it to a point – they are there to make money, and everyone needs money.

But when it’s painfully obvious I am paying a lot more than what it costs to provide that service, all I can think about is how much better it would be if I could just do something free instead.

Yes, spending less won’t solve all your problems, but it can still improve your finances.

Cheap Things to Do for Fun

In our consumerist culture, I think sometimes we forget how much there is you can do without having to spend a ton. Just how much you can do for free might vary depending on where you live.

Nevertheless, I’m sure everyone can find something fun to do for free (or very cheap). Here are some ideas:

1. Visit a Nearby State Park

One of the really nice things we have here in the states is definitely state parks. They can be found all over the country, and many of them are great places to visit. For example, here in Raleigh where I’m currently based is Umstead State Park. It has over 20 miles of trails, camping, boating, and lots of other cool things. I highly recommend checking out the parks your area has to offer.


2. Visit a Local Museum

Not all museums are free, but it’s worth investigating. Here in the US, it really depends upon where you live. In certain parts of the country, free museum is more common than in others.

Need cheap things to do? Visit your local museums.
Sculptures at the local art museum. Admission is free and the grounds are beautiful! Check your own museums’ websites to see if they also have free admission.

In this area, we have an art museum, a history museum, a natural science museum, and more. All of them are free and provide hours of entertainment.

If you need cheap things to do, definitely visit your local museums if you have them.

3. Have a Barbecue

Going to a restaurant can be fun, but you know what else can be fun? Grilling up your own food! And, of course, making your own food is much cheaper than going out.

That’s assuming you (or someone you know) already has a grill. But even if you don’t, parks often have grills for public use. Sometimes apartment complexes do, too. A little creativity and you’ll be on your way to some cheap fun!

And that’s not to mention that grilling at home can be a lot more relaxing than going out. Not necessarily always the case, but it certainly can be.

4. Take a Stroll Through an Arboretum or Garden

Not too far from me is Duke Gardens. The only thing you have to pay for is to park at the entrance. They have more outdoor exhibits than you can possibly see in a day.  Barring that, most areas have an arboretum with similar exhibits.

If you need cheap things to do for fun, see if there is a garden or arboretum in your area.
Fountain at Duke Gardens.

I know you won’t necessarily find gardens like this everywhere, but they can be a great way to spend an afternoon. Worth checking out if possible.

5. Make a Campfire

Making a campfire (or bonfire) can be another great, cheap way to have fun. Plus, sitting in front of a campfire while just chatting with friends is always so relaxing.

Oh, and did I mention s’mores? Come on – who doesn’t still love s’mores? You’re never too old for those things. Just my opinion.

6. Hike, Bike, or Blade Your Local Trails

If you happen to have trails in your area, this is yet another thing you can do for some cheap fun. Not only are they a great way to exercise, but getting outside can be really refreshing.

Oh, and yes – I said “blade” because I have seen a few people roller blading these trails. Not a ton, but a few. It’s always fun to see all the different modes of transportation.

7. Go Stargazing for Some Free Fun

The astronomy nerds out there will really appreciate this one. All you really need is to escape the city – and maybe a blanket if you find a grassy field.

Also, nowadays there are some really cool things to help make this cheap activity even more fun. For example, SkyView is an app that will let you easily find all the constellations in the sky. Download it for iPhone or Android.

8. See a Movie in the Park

Of course, this one is weather-permitting, but many cities and towns show movies in large outdoor green spaces at no cost to viewers. Just show up with your lawn chairs and enjoy.

Another cheap thing to do for fun is to see a cheap concert or a free movie at an amphitheatre, if you have one.
This amphitheatre often shows cheap concerts and free movies. If you have one in your area, check to see what is shown there.

Added bonus of seeing a movie in the park? You can also bring your own food and drinks – including alcohol. Just don’t get too rowdy!

$10 popcorn? No thanks. I’ll bring my own instead.

9. Find a Free Concert

As I mentioned briefly above, you can sometimes find free concerts. Oftentimes that won’t be the case if the concert is the main event, but you may find them as part of larger events.

For instance, a lot of outdoor carnivals and festivals will have outdoor concerts that don’t require a ticket or admission. So, keep an eye on outdoor events your town has and you might find one of these.

10. Have a Game Night

Board are always a winner, and these days there are a ton of games to choose from. Gone are the days when all you had was Monopoly and Sorry!

These days, games like Mysterium and Secret Hitler are all the rage. I go to board game nights and one of these games is usually being played.

Sure, these games may not be extremely cheap up front, but you can keep them for years. Besides, two people going to the movies costs more for just one night out.

11. Binge Watch a TV Show

Binge watching may not be the healthiest thing to do, but there’s nothing wrong with doing it every now and then.

And if you’re already paying for Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, or some other streaming service, why not take advantage?

12. Check Out Books or Movies From Your Library

Every time I visit a local library, it seems like they are packed. But at the same, it also seems like not everyone takes advantage of libraries like they used to.

The argument I tend to make is that public libraries are paid for with tax dollars. If you don’t use them, you are actually throwing money away.

Libraries are obviously a great resource with thousands of books, movies, and other forms of audio at your disposal. You can even find free eBooks to download onto the device of your choice.

13. Play Sports

There is probably a reason sports are such a popular activity played by everyone–in both rich countries and poor countries alike.

In some cases, they don’t require much more in terms of equipment than a ball, an open field, and a few buddies. Soccer (or football, as most countries call it) is a great example of this.

Cheap and Fun Things to Do This Weekend

Although there are lots of ways to spend a lot of money, there are just as many ways to have a ton of fun for not a lot of money.

Sometimes you have to be a little creative, but as a rule, outdoor activities tend to be a winner. It makes sense since if you are indoors (i.e. a movie theater) that space is leased by a business that must bring in revenue.

What is your favorite cheap or free thing to do for fun? Let us know in the comments.

Looking for fun cheap things to do? In this post you'll find cheap yet fun activities to help you save money.
If you have to have fun cheap, check out this list of things to do for fun without spending a lot.

Hey there. My name is Bob Haegele and I'm a personal finance writer who has been freelancing since 2018. Since then, I've built a six-figure career as a freelance writer. My work has been featured in Business Insider, Forbes Advisor, TIME.com, USA Today, and many other outlets. Interested in starting a blog of your own? Check out my post on starting a blog.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. jac Wheadon

    Great ideas on how to enjoy life without breaking out the credit card.

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