Whenever I hear people in my community complain that there’s nothing to do or that everything is so expensive, I wonder whether they even realize how much amazing stuff there is to see and do in this town without spending a dime. Here are eight wonderful free things in our community that we use for our enjoyment on a very regular basis.
The library We are nearly fanatic patrons of our local library, from our son having a blast in the children’s library section to our own fulfillment of our reading tastes. In fact, most of the books I talk about on The Simple Dollar come from this local library. Among all three of us, we visit the library twice a week or more.
The playground The center of town has a large playground with swings and slides. Rarely does a day go by where our son isn’t almost begging us to go there. The most amazing (and perhaps somewhat disconcerting) thing is that we very rarely see anyone else using any of the equipment, though we know that the community has a lot of young children in it. I can scarcely believe that in a town with dozens of young children that there is no one at the community playground on a warm summer’s evening.
The village green Near the playground is an enormous open grassy area with a few trees scattered about. We have picnics here on a regular basis where we spread out a blanket and enjoy a meal together in the beautiful outdoors and build nice family memories together. Just last week, my son and I had a picnic there and we chased a cricket for about a half an hour – he kept chirping and then moving away then chirping again.
The trails Before our son was born, my wife and I explored all of the walking and bicycle trails within a fifteen mile radius of our apartment. They’re utterly beautiful places to walk, jog, bike, enjoy nature, and get some exercise, and they’re quite nicely maintained.
The swimming pool Our town had a tax initiative to build a nice swimming pool for the community – and it is a very nice one. They offer free swimming lessons in the summer and for much of the summer there is a paid lifeguard on duty during the day. It can get crowded at times, but I’ve been there regularly when I’m the only person in the pool.
The shelter house Near the village green, there’s also an enormous shelter house with twenty picnic tables inside and a number of grills around the edge of it. Thinking of having a small family reunion or something? Call town hall and you can reserve it for free, and it’s almost always available during the week for impromptu things. We’ve had dinners in there many an evening, enjoying some delicious burgers straight from the grill.
The basketball court In another part of town, there’s a community basketball court that’s maintained. Quite often, the high school basketball team meets there for impromptu practicing, but there’s almost always a free hoop available. All you need is a basketball and a friend and you can have fun and get exercise for as long as you like on a nice, quality court.
The people I’ve mentioned before many great reasons to get involved in your local community, but one of the best ones is the people themselves. You meet all sorts of interesting people, make new friends and contacts, and learn all kinds of things on countless useful topics – and it doesn’t cost a dime.
Some of these things might not be available in your community, but there may be many things that are. Spend some time looking around and you’ll be amazed at the wonderful free things you discover.