What do you usually do when you want to see your friends? Go to an expensive restaurant? See a movie? These things are fun, but they aren't going to help your wallet much. It's a really great feeling when you can spend time with friends without having to spend money. But if you aren't spending money, won't you end up doing something lame, or worse, not hanging out at all? No way! The truth is there are tons of fun things to do for free with friends!
We've rounded up 40 fun free things to do with friends that will get you excited about seeing people without dreading all the cash you'll spend.
Top 40 Fun things to do for free with friends
So grab your squad and have an epic time without spending money! Because let's face it, some of the best things in life are free.
1. Park day
Check out a park for the day with a friend or two. Pick a spot with a lot to do - maybe a tennis court, a running track, and lots of open space. That way, you can add in some fun activities like frisbee or jogging.
Bring along water bottles and some snacks so you can stay for a while and make sure the weather is going to cooperate.
Then use the time to chill out without needing to spend cash. Parks are the perfect way to spend a day because they offer many fun free things to do with friends!
2. Ride bikes around your city
So what's a great way to have fun and burn calories? Dust off the bike in your garage and put it to use on a bike ride! Check out your city or town by taking a bike tour or finding some good bike trails.
You can stop for photo ops, and you'll get plenty of exercise too! So workout, check. Time with your bestie, check.
3. Check out free events
There are usually some local free events going on in most places. Try looking up free activities at your community center or library, and see what's available that looks interesting. Gather your group of friends for the next cool thing happening in your town.
4. Free museum days
Many museums are free, but they may offer free museum days if they aren't.
Check out the calendar for your local museums and see if any free days are coming up in the month. If so, bring a friend who shares your interests, and check it out together.
5. Game night
You can have a blast without needing to go anywhere. So gather a large group of friends and pick someone to host. Ask everyone to bring a snack and a board game of their choosing.
Spend the evening playing various board games, card games and catching up. If you need some ideas for what to do then you should check out our posts "49 Fun Family Night Ideas and 28 Fun Challenges To Do At Home!"
6. Movie night
Everyone loves movies, but why pay for them? Find a classic film you haven't seen that is free or something more recent that has come to Netflix or Hulu. (Okay, you are probably paying for a tv streaming service, so it's not totally free, but close enough!) Pop some popcorn and get a friend or two to join you for a movie marathon.
7. Marathon of a series on Netflix
See what new (or old) series looks exciting and check it out. Hang out, drink wine, and laugh or cry as you watch some episodes. Do this on the weekend and spend some time binge-watching a show with a friend.
8. Trivia tournament
This is a fun free thing to do with friends that is unique and may require a bit of planning but no money! Pick a topic that you and your friends are interested in: classic movies, a book series, or even your city.
Then, take the time to look up or create trivia questions. Invite friends over for a friendly trivia competition, with bragging rights for the winner, of course.
9. Go sledding
In the winter months when it snows, try out this fun and free activity - sledding. Find a hill at a park or public space where you can safely sled.
You may have sleds already, but if not, you can use a blow-up sledding tube or even cookie sheets. As a bonus, sledding is a surprisingly good workout, too!
10. Go running or train for a marathon together
Get in shape and spend time with your buddies by running or marathon training together. Meet up in the mornings or after work to go for a run at your favorite spot.
It's one of the most fun free things to do with friends because it's healthy and doesn't cost money - just time.
11. Cooking night
Instead of going out to dinner, have dinner at home. Host a cooking night for a close group of friends, asking everyone to bring a dish to share for a potluck dinner. You could also try some new recipes together.
12. Coffee or espresso-making contest
This requires some creativity and effort, but the rewards are worth it! Gather your friends and tell them to bring their coffee, french press, or espresso makers. Then challenge each person to create the best drink they can, using what they already have.
Each drink must be tested by the others in the group as the expert judges. Then, everyone votes on the best-caffeinated beverage. But really, didn't everyone already win by drinking a ton of coffee?
13. Shop each other's closets
Some upcoming Saturday, head over to a friend's house and see what you can borrow or trade. Not only can you avoid spending, but you can also save when you shop your friend's closets! Then let them do the same with your closet.
It will feel like you got a whole new wardrobe! Shopping each others closets is one of the best free things to do with friends for fashionistas on a budget!
14. Book and wine club
Perhaps you have a bottle of wine sitting around you haven't opened yet. If you do, then this is one of the simplest and fun things to do for free with friends!
Pick out a great novel or non-fiction book, and read a chapter a week. Then meet up to discuss and have a glass of wine or two. It's a great way to connect that's relaxing and entertaining.
15. Progressive dinner
This is like a potluck but with a twist. You start off at one friend's house for appetizers. Then you move on to the main course at another home. From there, another friend will host for dessert.
It's an elegant way to spend an evening out doing something unique. For more ideas, see Alex Heinz's article in Apartment Guide featuring themes and planning thoughts for your progressive dinner.
16. Explore a new neighborhood
So have you seen all the interesting sights in your city? If not then take an afternoon to explore with a friend. Check out a part of your town you haven't seen before, window shop, walk around, and see what's out there.
17. Put together a photo album
Putting together a photo album is another fabulous activity that you can do with friends. Ask each friend to contribute a few photos and put them in a friendship photo album.
While you're at it, see if anyone has a blank photo album laying around that you can use. It's an excellent way to keep your memories close and spend an afternoon with your best friends.
18. Poker night but don't use cash
So you may be thinking you have to gamble to have a good night of poker but poker doesn't have to be about losing money!
You can host this event at your place and use chips instead of cash. You can still enjoy an exciting game and participate in the competition without the worry of losing any money.
19. Learn a language together
Have you and a friend always wanted to learn a new language such as French or Portuguese? If so, then pick up some books at the library to help you learn and practice.
Meet together once a week to go over new vocabulary, have a conversation, and maybe even watch TV shows featuring that language.
20. Take an online course or class that is free
There is so much to learn, and a lot of information doesn't even cost money. Pick a subject and get a small group of buddies together. You can take a free course or watch a master class about something that you all find interesting.
Topics to consider: investing, real estate, fashion, filmmaking, graphic design, technology. Learning is one of the best fun things to do for free with friends!
21. Make a scrapbook
Collect mementos that remind you of good times with your friends and add them to a scrapbook. You can include photos, ticket stubs from movies or concerts, funny notes, and anything else representing your friendship.
22. Make jewelry or a craft from things you have around the house
You probably have enough items to make a craft or some jewelry between you and a few friends. Look for beads, thread, glitter, or maybe even items to make candles or soap. You could even start making crafts to sell for extra money!
23. Have a cleaning party and clean out your garages or closets
Do you have a bunch of stuff taking up space in your home or garage? It's way more fun to clean and organize with friends. Take turns stopping by each other's houses and help get everything sorted and ready to sell or donate.
24. Volunteer somewhere
Volunteering is another wonderful thing you can do with your friends. Pick a cause that you and your friends care about and get involved.
Try helping out once or twice a month by giving your time to a charity. You get to give back and spend time with people you care about while making a difference.
25. Go hiking
Get some fresh air and exercise! Grab one or two friends who are up for a challenge and hike an area near your town. If you are an experienced hiker, consider an all-day hike. Enjoy the sun and get in tune with nature.
26. Have a bonfire night
When talking about fun things to do for free with friends, there's simply nothing like a good bonfire, and it's best for crisp fall evenings.
Gather a group, roast marshmallows, serve cider and hot chocolate, and tell ghost stories. An evening to remember - at no cost.
27. Go explore a town that's miles away
Grab one of your most adventurous buddies and head out to explore. Find a town that is not too far but is also one that you've never explored.
Check out the sights, free museums, and take photos. Being in a different environment and seeing something new is a great way to better get to know your friends.
Rollerblading may be a bit retro, but it's fun! Dig out your old rollerblades from the back of your closet and head out to the park or skating rink. The more people, the better so invite everyone!
If you happen to be a gifted skateboarder, grab a friend who's a novice and offer to teach them the ropes, or vice versa if you are new to it. Head to the skate park and have some fun trying out tricks ( or at least not falling down).
30. Baking competition
These are not just for TV - you can have a baking competition in your own kitchen. A small group of about 3-5 bakers should work well - but bring in as many judges as you like! You can all bake the same thing, or you can come up with your own creations.
And it's the most fun when everyone wins. (You can judge desserts as "most creative" or "most colorful," etc.) Then, enjoy the free food!
Head to your backyard and check out the stars on a clear night. For extra fun, invite your friends to bring beverages and snacks while you look for constellations.
Don't know where to start? The Sky and Telescope website has some great information about the night sky.
32. Give each other manicures and facials for a mini spa day
Manicures and facials are fun and easy, and you probably have everything you need already. So gather up your nail polish, warm towels, favorite serums, and your friends.
Play music, light candles, and create a spa day atmosphere for the event. It's also a great way to treat yourself without spending money going to the salon!
33. Go camping
Head out for the weekend and camp! Bring sleeping bags, a tent, flashlights, and food. If you've camped before, you probably have all these items handy. If not, you can find everything you need between you and a few friends.
Try out this for fun things to do for free with friends: a picnic is a classic way to hang out outside and chat.
Invite a few people to join you at a local park or even your backyard. Make some sandwiches, granola bars, chips, and drinks, and be sure to include a blanket to sit on.
35. Reading contest
A great way to enjoy a new or old favorite book series is to have a reading contest. Tell some of your group about it and see who's interested. Bragging rights for the winner! You can borrow books from each other or from your local library and see who can read the most.
36. Just catch up over coffee
Sometimes simplicity is best because life is about collecting moments, not things. So if you've been missing one of your friends, invite them by on a Saturday morning for a latte or tea. Sit together and just catch up about all the things going on with you.
37. Trade artwork or decorations
If your home's decor could use some help, there's no need to spend. Ask a friend if there are any of your decorations they happen to love, and then trade for something of theirs. It's a creative way to liven up your living space and save money.
38. Have a party for no reason with music and appetizers
Introducing the no-reason party. Just get together because you can! Make dinner or appetizers, serve drinks, talk or play video games. You could even have an open mic night and dancing!
Enjoy being with your favorite people without any sort of occasion. Remember to use what is already in your cabinet so you don't have to spend any money!
39. Make a time capsule
Ever wonder about the past? People in the future would love to see what was going on now! So take some items and make a time capsule with your friends.
Ask everyone to add something meaningful and see what you come up with. When putting together a time capsule, check out the Library of Congress website for the best practices.
40. Learn a new sport
Tennis, croquet, volleyball, or skiing are fun to learn. So try out a new sport and bring a friend along with you. This works exceptionally well if your friend knows how to play a sport you're interested in and can teach you.
Benefits of finding fun things to do for free with friends
Sometimes we forget that it isn't about impressing people, going to the fanciest parties, or trying out every new food spot in town.
Most of the time, hanging out with your friends should be about just that - talking and bonding with them. The focus shouldn't be on how much is spent, but on how much quality time you spend. And of course much fun you can have!
When you choose to save money and be creative about how you hang out with your group, you let them know that they are valuable to you. You care about the friendship and want it to grow. Another significant aspect of this is you do save cash.
If you usually spend quite a bit going out with your pals, then you may end up saving hundreds of dollars a month or more! This doesn't mean you can never do anything that costs money but be intentional about spending instead.
Spend on meaningful experiences to you, and make your friends a more significant part of your life by seeing them often and enjoying all the fun things to do for free with friends.
You can also focus on cutting your budget in other ways so you have more money to spend on events that do cost money.
There's a huge variety of fun things to do for free with friends!
Hanging out with your favorite people without spending doesn't have to be boring it can be plenty of fun. In fact, there are tons of fun free things to do with friends.
From learning a new language to shopping each other's closets to concerts and picnics, all it takes is a bit of thought to come up with something interesting to do.
Your friends are the people who are there for you and care about you. Pick out a few activities to try to show your appreciation. Fun things to do for free with friends has never been easier!