free entertainment

Free Entertainment – 13 Fun Ideas for the Whole Family 

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, we will receive a commission at no additional cost to you. As Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Welcome back to Our Two Family house!  Today we are talking about free entertainment ideas for the whole family.  

If you are saving up to buy a house – investment or not – or simply trying to curtail spending, you are probably wondering how to entertain your family and not break the bank.  

Sure, it would be great to spend day after day at magical places like Legoland or Disney, but for the regular people among us, it’s not always practical.  Even a trip to the movies these days can make a family think twice.  

Here are 13 free things to entertain everyone in your family!


Did you know?  Your library might be a member of Hoopla.  It’s a digital library to access books, movies, TV shows, music, and more!  All you have to do is join the library, link up your card, and sign in.  

Of course, your library does need to participate – if it doesn’t currently, talk to your librarian and see what they can do!  

No Hoopla?  Libby is a popular alternative.  

Your Local Library

While we’re talking libraries, don’t forget that your local spot likely has media options for all ages and stages.  Whether you’re looking for every single episode of Daniel Tiger possible (just me?) or a full set of Seinfeld on DVD, they likely carry it.  

Also possibly available: Storytime (our current favorite!), craft days, book clubs, Lego builds, “read to a pet,” movie nights, author talks, and more!  Do not underestimate the possibilities of your local library’s entertainment value, especially for children.  

Besides – if you’re a homeowner, check your tax bill.  A glance at ours this year revealed that 1% of our property tax is for the library.  That’s about $80/year in our neck of the woods.  

In other words, you’re paying for it whether you max its benefits or not.  Go, take advantage!  

Live Theatre

Okay, yes, theatre often costs money.  But not always!  Sometimes thespians (speaking as a recovering one) love to make art for the love of sharing it.  Places to look for free theatre:

  • Local colleges
  • High school drama competitions
  • Your local park
  • The school play
  • Dress rehearsals

Yes, dress rehearsals.  Many productions want to have a little test audience before opening their show.  Even Broadway does this, though not for free – they call it “Previews.”  You know Hamilton?  That itty bitty Pulitzer winner?  They tested out at the Public Theatre with lottery tickets at $10 before they moved uptown to Broadway.  

Seek and ye will find, my friends – affordable-to-free theatre is everywhere if you look for it!

If it’s summertime, check your town’s or county’s website for free theatre performances.  Often there will be at least a weekend offering something like “Shakespeare in the Park” for free or a small “suggested donation.”  


Another way to snag a free ticket for a show is to volunteer as an usher.  

During my college years, I volunteered at the Ford Theatre in Washington, D.C., scoring free tickets to plays like their annual production of “A Christmas Carol.”  I’d take some tickets, hand out some programs, point out some restrooms, and then settle into my seat two minutes after the show started.   

Check out local film festivals, community theatres, professional theatres, concert venues, and more for volunteer opportunities. 

Music Schools

Your local college might just have free entertainment for you!  Let me explain.  

To graduate with a degree in music, a student must create a recital.  This is equivalent to a written thesis, just with music and an audience instead.  

When I was in music school, juniors had to create a half-hour recital, and seniors a 1-hour recital.  In December at Ward Music Hall, every Sunday, every hour on the hour, the junior class members would individually each put on a recital.  Come the spring, from April to early May, every other hour on the hour the senior class members would individually each put on a recital.  

Recitals at most music schools are free.  Yep!  Zero dollars.  Go, find the local music school’s recital schedule and discover everything from Rachmaninoff to Richard Rodgers. 

And, get ready to be impressed – music students have lived and breathed their instruments for four or more years, and their skill is not to be underestimated.  

Go to Church 

Forgive me if this offends you, but let’s be real.  

Churches have a stage… music… good or bad acting… you be the judge! 

But seriously, in addition to the meditative and spiritual benefits, a church service gives you something to do, to get dressed up for, often some very nice music, something to engage the children, and a community of which to be a part.  

And, depending on how you feel about the collection, it’s free-to-sort-of-guilty-free. 

National Night Out

Traditionally on the first Tuesday in August, National Night Out is a “Community building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships.”  

In 2023, our local police provided a free admission night at the town’s summer carnival, complete with a magic show for the kids, freebie giveaways, and a SWAT team truck to explore.  (Our son thought that was epic!).

In the past, I’ve seen other towns host free concerts, block parties, and more. Check with your local police department to see what they have in store!

Free Streaming

Have you exhausted Youtube’s treasure trove of entertainment yet? Or the myriad of free trial memberships out there?

You could definitely entertain your family for a year on free streaming trials. Just remember to cancel right away!

People Watching

Go to the airport or local train station.  Sit down.  And, observe!  It’s like Love Actually or Sleepless in Seattle.  

People are fascinating and are all around us.  I mean, don’t be a stalker, but boy, it’s sure fun to observe the human condition.  While you’re at it, watch the planes take off or the trains come in and out. 

Visit IKEA

…and don’t buy anything.  Isn’t it fun to dream and scheme of new interior ideas?  Ikea often has a children’s play area, too – so while you “shop” your kids can play!  

Note: you must know yourself and keep disciplined for this to be a truly free activity.  Don’t go spending over budget when you don’t mean to!

Related: How to Furnish a Home on a Budget – Decorate Without Regret!


When was the last time you watched – I mean really watched nature?  Squirrels chasing each other, birds fighting, mourning doves perching like an old couple at sunset – there’s life all around us.  

For free entertainment (plus fresh air!), why not go for a spin in one of your local parks or hiking trails?  Mix some Gorp, pack a picnic, and make a day of enjoying Creation’s dramatic art.  

cheap entertainment
a nature hike is entertaining AND beautiful!

You + Your Friends

Remember being a kid and making a circus act for your stuffed animals?  Whatever your talents, I’m sure you and your pals can come up with something to entertain yourselves for a night.  

Whether it’s a rousing game of Mafia or a jam session with guitars and djembes, bring back the days of innocence and DIY your entertainment.  

Organize a talent show among the kids on the block.  Have an un-birthday party for someone and create sketch comedy based on their life.  Play board games or Charades for goodness’ sake!  

National Park Free Days

Did you know?  On certain days of the year, the National Park Service runs free admission.  Think MLK Day, Veteran’s Day, etc.  Check out their website for the official calendar

Plus, check the map of all the nearby parks!  You might have one in your backyard.  

Final Thoughts on Free Entertainment

There you go, 13 free entertainment ideas for folks of all ages!

Whether you take a spin around Ikea or support a local music student’s performance, you can find lots to do without spending money.

Totally free entertainment sources ar everywhere – so the only question left is, which will you choose first?

You may also like:

Similar Posts