There are a lot of ways to pay for entertainment, be it cable or a vacation. But sometimes you may not have the money, or you may not want to spend the money.
Chances are, there are some free (or really cheap) entertainment options in your area and you may not even know about them. Now, I’ll be honest: urban and suburban areas are more likely to have some of these … but not always. Sometimes rural areas have them, too. It’s just a matter of looking for them.
Disclaimer: we’re not talking about illegal options, like pirating movies. We’re talking about legal things that might be right in your own backyard right now.
So let’s get started.
Antenna Television: Free TV and Movies
All local network TV stations broadcast their shows over the air, and with a few basic supplies you can watch them free and clear. This option is best for people who live in the city or suburbs, but depending on your location and equipment you might be able to get by if you live in a rural area.
The Public Library: Free Movies, Music, Books, and Maybe Even Video Games
Public libraries have come a long way in the last few decades. They used to be just repositories for books, but many now offer movies, music, and, in some cases, even video games, toys, science kits, and telescopes. How good the selection is depends on the library; a large suburban library system, for example, might let you request items from one library to be sent to one closer to you. A more rural library may have fewer options. Either way, many libraries take suggestions on what to purchase, so if you feel so bold, you might let them know of a specific item you’d like them to carry.
Also, some libraries have started partnering with online companies like hoopla — which has a selection of movies, TV shows, music, ebooks, audiobooks, and comics — or Overdrive — which does ebooks and audiobooks. Neither of them is going to replace Netflix, but they’re free.
Legal Websites: Free Movies, Music, TV, and Video Games
If you have a decent internet connection, there are plenty of websites that offer perfectly free, legit entertainment options. Here is just a sampling:
Movies and TV: There are plenty of websites out there to stream older films, but if you’re looking for things released in the era of color film, your best option just might be Crackle, which is owned by Sony. The site has an interesting collection of both TV and films, and while it’s not exactly an A-list of films, it’s worth a look.
Music: There are a number of websites that you can use to listen to music for free. The most popular services are probably Pandora and Spotify, but YouTube is also a really impressive source for streaming music: not only can you find just about any song there (many of them posted by the companies or artists themselves), but some users even compile playlists that let you listen to several of the artist’s songs together. With a little time, you can create your own playlists.
Video Games: There are a number of free online video games out there, from Facebook-based games to massively multiplayer online games. You can even try your hand at old-school DOS-based games if you feel like it. Also, don’t forget that Windows 10 has free games that you can play, too.
Free Outdoor Activities: City, County, and State Parks
Unless you live in a remote area — and even if you do live in a remote area — there are probably all sorts of hidden gems within a day’s drive. Parks are everywhere, with places to walk, run, jog, bike, swim, and do all sorts of other activities. Most city and county parks are free; some state parks are, too, depending on the state. If you’re looking for some outdoor activity — and, trust me, it’s good for your body and your brain — a bit of Googling may turn up all kinds of things.
How about you? Where do you find free entertainment?