• Mount Auburn Cemetery

Five Fun Free Things to Do in Cambridge

Five Fun Free Things to Do in Cambridge

Whether you are new to Cambridge or a long-time resident, you may want to check out these art, nature, historical, and cultural activities.

I always find myself casting about for things to do in August, so I decided to remind myself of some of the some of my favorite free things to do in our fair city. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

  • Stroll in Mt. Auburn Cemetery, the first garden garden-style cemetery in the United States, founded in 1831. Enjoy the beautiful landscaping, including the willow pond, learn about local and national history by exploring the memorials, or attend lectures and walks throughout the year.
  • Explore public art using this interactive map. With over 170 public artworks, Cambridge holds the largest contemporary public art collection in Massachusetts. Well over one hundred artworks, including murals, sculpture, benches, fountains, and walkways, have been publicly sited in Cambridge through the Cambridge Public Art Ordinance since the Ordinance was approved in 1979.
  • Attend an event at the Cambridge Public Library. In addition to offering books, movies, audiobooks, internet access, expert librarians, and meeting places, all branches of the library host a variety of free events. Events include readings, children’s story hours, clubs, and workshops. During the last two weeks of August, the Dance Complex is offering free classes in Joan Lorenz Park in front of the Main Library on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:00-7:30 p.m.
  • Visit the Harvard Art Museums (free for Cambridge residents). In additional to special exhibits, the museum has an eclectic permanent collection, including the audiovisual installation by Chinese artist and political activist, Ai Weiwei, entitled “Fake 258 (2011).” The installation consists of 12 monitors and 7,677 photos, showing scenes from different parts of Ai’s political, artistic, and personal life – including lots of cats – across eight years.
  • Walk the Cambridge Women’s Heritage Trail. There are many notable women and organizations to celebrate in Cambridge, from Maria Baldwin (1856-1922), the first African American woman school principal in Massachusetts, and an activist for gender and racial equity, to the feminist group that organized the 1971 occupation of a Harvard owned building that led to the founding of the Cambridge Women's Center.
    • If you have an Apple device, you can download the Yonward App from the App Store, then search for “Cambridge Women’s Heritage Project”
    • If, like me, you have an Android, you can use the PDF maps on the Cambridge Women’s Commission website

    This content is drawn from the work of the Cambridge Women’s Heritage Project (CWHP), jointly sponsored by the Cambridge Women's Commission and the Cambridge Historical Commission, which has been researching, updating, and maintaining a database of Cambridge women and women's organizations to recognize and celebrate the contributions of women from the early days of Cambridge to the present.