Curt Yeomans covers government for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you ever paid to see the spot where the Boston Massacre took place?
How about the location where Parisians stormed the Bastille prison?
No, you haven’t because they’re public sites that are free to see. In the Boston Massacre’s case, it’s a circle of cobblestones on a median next to the Old Statehouse. In Paris, the site of the Bastille is marked by a column standing in the middle of a roundabout.
Most of the big sites in Washington D.C. are free and open to the public at any time of the day or the night to visit.
For the tourist who is traveling on a tight budget, free tourist sites are like a gift from the heavens. These are, of course, usually government-funded sites and museums, which is what allows people to just walk in and
OK, they do have security checks that you must go through at the front door, but otherwise, you just walk in.
Let’s take Washington D.C. as an example because it’s close and it has a lot of free stuff to see.
The big things to see in the nation’s capitol are the monuments. Most of them are outdoors and you just walk up and look at them. Your tax dollars may pay for their construction and their upkeep, but never have to pay a cent to see them in person.
However, did you know the monuments are not the only free sites in Washington?
The 15 Smithsonian museums located in the city, as well as the National Zoo, all have free admission.
Admission to see the Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence at the National Archives is also free.
As you can see from the above example, there are lots of things travelers can do on a vacation for free — unless you count visits to the gift shop.
All you have to do, before you leave home, is conduct a Google search for free places to visit in the city to which you are traveling. Most local tourism bureaus have sections of their websites devoted to listing off all of the free stuff to do on a visit.
Caroline Morse, a writer for SmarterTravel.com, also put out a list over the summer of the top 10 places in America to visit for free. The list ran a few days later in USA Today.
The options range from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, to Boston’s Freedom Trail and New Orleans’ Jackson Square.
I’ve actually been to almost everything on their list, except the Smoky Mountains, Los Angeles’ Getty Center, Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo and the International Rose Test Garden in Portland, Ore.
Personally, I’m partial to the Freedom Trail. But, that is because I’m a big fan of the city of Boston, as well as U.S. colonial history.
However, to each his own.
At least there is a free way to go one’s own way.
Curt Yeomans is the Senior Reporter for the Clayton News Daily and an avid traveler. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 247 or via e-mail at email@example.com.