Top 5 Free Things to Do in Minneapolis, Dallas, Charlotte & Philadelphia

Top 5 Free Things to Do in Minneapolis, Dallas, Charlotte & Philadelphia

Posted on July 25, 2012

There's still plenty of summertime to enjoy, and we've been busy rounding up more freebies for you! In case you've missed them, we've looked at the Top 5 Free Things to Do in New York, Chicago, Atlanta & San Francisco and the Top 5 Free Things to Do in Los Angeles, Washington DC, Houston & Denver. This week, we're finishing up this series by exploring the best free things to do in Minneapolis, Dallas, Charlotte, and Philadelphia. Read on to find out where you can pose for pics in front of a giant cherry fountain, pan for gold, hop on a historic trolley, and more.

Top Free Things to Do in Minneapolis

The Minneapolis Institute of Art

The Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) is home to over 80,000 objects, ranging from modern pieces to examples of textiles that are thousands of years old. The MIA offers free general admission daily. Note that some special exhibitions may charge an admission fee. Check the calendar to see if there are any public tours you'd like to join. They are also free!—2400 3rd Ave. South

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

Oldenburg's Spoonbridge and Cherry is quite the sight!

Featuring works by important artists like Claes Oldenburg (whose enormous "Spoonbridge and Cherry" fountain has become a Minneapolis icon) and Frank Gehry, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden outside the Walker Art museum is free to visit. Note that there is a fee for parking in the adjacent pay lot. Street parking at the metered spaces is a better option if you only plan on spending an hour or two checking out the garden—1750 Hennepin Ave.

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

The Como Park Zoo and Conservatory in Saint Paul is located on Lake Como and has a zoo, conservatory, and amusement park. Admission is free for the zoo and conservatory, though donations of $2 per adult and $1 per child are suggested. Check the website for details on daily programs and events. There is a free shuttle to and from an off-site parking lot.—1225 Estabrook Dr. (Saint Paul)

The Bell Museum of Natural History

Every Sunday, admission to the Bell Museum of Natural History is free for all visitors. Exhibits include Diorama Hall, the Touch and See Room, and a rainforest exhibit with views from the ground and on canopy level.—10 Church Street SE

Music and Movies in the Parks

Enjoy the summer months with over 200 free concerts and over 60 free movies at Minneapolis parks courtesy of the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board. Check the website for dates and times. Bring food, sunscreen, a blanket or lawn chairs.

Top Free Things to Do in Dallas

Fountain Place

This 62-story skyscraper is home to a number of water gardens with fountains, dancing water, and waterfalls. Bring a picnic lunch and unwind in the shade while watching the water.—1445 Ross Ave.

M-Line Trolley

Take a ride through Dallas' Uptown neighborhood in a restored vintage trolley. Trips on the M-Line are always free! Check the website for details.

Special Collections at J. Erik Jonsson Central Library

Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park

Chase a butterfly like this one at Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park

Take a free self-guided tour of this library and check out works of art, an original copy of the Declaration of Independence, and William Shakespeare’s First Folio of Comedies, Histories & Tragedies. —1515 Young St.

Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park

Every Tuesday, general admission is free to the Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park. Admission to the Butterfly House is an additional fee.  The landscaped gardens include an antique rose garden, a garden with 300 varieties of irises, and more.—3601 Martin Luther King Blvd.

African American Museum

View one of the country's largest collections of African American Folk Art for free at the African American Museum. The museum is closed Sundays and Mondays.—3536 Grand Ave.

Top Free Things to Do in Charlotte

Reed Gold Mine

The site of the first commercial gold mine in the US, the Reed Gold Mine is open to the public for free. Tour the underground tunnels and explore artifacts in the visitors center. If you want to try your hand at panning for gold, there is a fee of $3 per pan.—9621 Reed Mine Rd. (Midland)

Charlotte Center City Walking Tour

Charlotte, North Carolina

Take in the skyline of Charlotte, North Carolina

Join the free, 90-minute walking tour that starts each Friday at 10AM. Learn about Charlotte history, landmarks, and architecture. Tours depart from the Visitor Info Center.—330 South Tryon Street

Reedy Creek Park and Nature Preserve

Enjoy 10 miles of trails and fishing at the Reedy Creek Park and Nature Preserve. It is free to visit and home to 109 bird species, 15 mammal species, 20 reptile species, and 12 amphibian species.—2900 Rocky River Rd.

UNCC Charlotte Botanical Gardens

The University of North Carolina Charlotte Botanical Gardens and McMillan Greenhouse are open to the public and free of charge every day of the week. The outdoor gardens are open during daylight hours, and the greenhouse is open Monday - Saturday, 10AM to 3PM and Sundays, 1PM to 4PM—9201 University City Blvd.

James K. Polk Memorial

Learn all about the nation's 11th president in a reconstructed cabin similar to the one Polk grew up on. This historic site commemorates events from his administration and is free to visit. It's open Tuesday through Saturday 9AM to 5PM.—2216 Monument St.

Top Free Things to Do in Philadelphia

The Liberty Bell and Independence Hall

Liberty Bell in Philadelphia

Gaze on American History in the form of the Liberty Bell

Visit Independence National Historical Park, which includes the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, to get a close-up look at history. You'll need tickets for Independence Hall. Pick them up free in the visitor's center or pay $1.50 per ticket to reserve them online.—143 South Third St.

Edgar Allen Poe National Historic Site

Tour Edgar Allen Poe's house he lived in during his six years in Philly. Inside you'll find a variety of exhibits about Poe's work and life. You can take a free self-guided or ranger-led tour. The house is open Wednesday through Sunday 9AM to 5PM and it is always free.—532 N. 7th Street

The US Mint

Take a self-guided tour of the original and largest US Mint facility. You'll be able to view the entire process of producing a coin from start to finish. Check the website for opening hours.—151 North Independence Mall East

Tour Pennsylvania Hospital

The nation's first hospital is open to the public and free to visit. Take a self-guided tour and explore important artifacts, art, the hospital gardens, and the "dreaded circular room."—800 Spruce St.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Get world-class art for free by visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art on the first Sunday of any month. This is for general admission only, special exhibits are extra.—26th St. and the Benjamin Franklin Pkwy.

To get the best online deals and more cool money-saving advice delivered to your inbox, sign up for Brad's Daily Alerts!

Photo Credits, in order of appearance, Tim Wilson, Robert Nunnally, Corey Griffith, and Chris Brown.