Life on a Budget: 10 Free Area Events to Close Out Summer

This is the last entry in our Life on a Budget summer series. Over the past few months, we’ve shared dozens of free, quality area events for you and your family — proving that we can create great memories and sunny selfies while, hopefully, keeping some extra cash in our pockets.

To close out summer of 2015, we have ideas to make Labor Day Weekend the best — and most affordable — of the season. Listed below is info on factory tours, festivals and fireworks, to name a few. If you or your organization would like to share details of another event, please post it in the comments below.

And that money you saved while having fun all summer? Consider setting up a CU Thrive account and saving those dollars. It’s a one-year program with an unusually appealing interest rate. Click here to learn more.

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory Tour
100 Breed’s Hill Road, Hyannis

Over a quarter million people each year peek at the popular potato chip factory to see how the chips are made. The tours are self-guided. For information, call 1-888-881-CHIP or visit

Dawn to dusk
Skyline Loop Hiking Trail
695 Hillside Street, Milton

The Blue Hills Reservation covers over 7,000 acres and includes more than 125 hiking trails. The 3-mile Skyline Loop Trail is one of the most popular, with forests and ponds and a scenic view of the Boston skyline that is especially majestic at sunset. The terrain is not recommended for very young children and can get moderately challenging at times. Click here for information on the Blue Hills trails.

Wednesday, September 2
2 p.m.
WGBH Public Tour
Metcalf Lobby, One Guest Street, Brighton

Public broadcasting powerhouse WGBH is the largest producer of PBS content. Favorites like Nova, Masterpiece, Curious George and Arthur are created here. No reservations are needed for the 45-minute Wednesday tour. However, it is recommended to call 617-300-4211 in advance to confirm that the tour will be running. Free parking is available. Learn more at

Thursday, September 3
6:30 p.m.
Basic Yoga
Boston Public Library Mattapan Branch
1350 Blue Hill Avenue, Mattapan

This adult yoga class is offered on the first Thursday of each month. Learn proper breathing and simple poses. Wear comfortable clothes and take a towel or yoga mat. Beginners are welcome.

Friday, September 4
7 to 10 p.m.
Free Movie at Boston Harbor Hotel
70 Rowes Wharf, Boston

The movie will begin at sunset and features The Quiet Man, a 1952 G-rated romantic comedy-drama starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. In the event of bad weather, the film will be cancelled.

Friday through Sunday
September 4 to 6
31st Annual Gloucester Schooner Festival
Gloucester Waterfront

This tribute to the role of the fishing schooner features old and new, large and small varieties of schooners. The festival includes visiting vessels, a block party, exhibits, entertainment, and Saturday fireworks. For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit

Friday through Monday, September 4 to 7
7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The Lawn on D Labor Day Celebration
420 D Street, Boston

Throughout the weekend, the public is invited to live performances, children’s activities, and family games. Try your hand at ping pong or corn hole, and listen to the talented musicians from the Berklee College of Music. Food and beverages will be available to purchase.

Saturday, September 5
Noon to 7 p.m.
14th Annual Riverfront Music Festival

Walk the waterfront, enjoy the festival atmosphere. Take a picnic blanket to enjoy an afternoon of music. A different band will take the stage each hour. Click here to see a complete list of entertainment.

Saturday, September 5
9 p.m.
Boston Harbor

Fireworks will be launched from barges anchored off the North End and Seaport. The public is encouraged to find viewing along Christopher Columbus Park and Long Wharf in the North End, the South Boston Waterfront, the Downtown Waterfront, and Piers Park in East Boston.

Saturday and Sunday, September 5 and 6
Noon to 6 p.m.
The Boston Ahts Festival 2015
Christopher Columbus Park, North End

Music, crafts and art are featured at this annual event. There is entertainment planned for all ages. For more information, call 617-536-5400 or visit

With a little research, you can minimize the entertainment line item on your budget and use your saved cash to invest in your future. Click here to learn more about our CU Thrive account, a one-year program that takes your savings to a new level.

Let's get started!

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About Author

MaryJo Kurtz
MaryJo Kurtz

MaryJo Kurtz is the assistant vice president of marketing and communications at Hanscom FCU.

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