Free Things to Do in Boston, November

free things to do in boston#6: The Fernet-Branca Barback Games at Royale Tuesday, Nov. 6. (Photo via Fernet-Branca/Facebook)

The following is a slew of free (free!) events to check out in Boston during the month of November. As Christmas approaches and your wallet continues to thin, substitute dinner and a movie with one of these great money-savers.


1. The Hub of Swing: A Look at Boston’s Jazz Scene


What tops a phenomenal jazz performance? Perhaps one that honors “the unsung heroes of Boston’s jazz scene,” like radio personalities Steve Schwartz and Eric Jackson, as well as presenter/promoter Fred Taylor. While the 35th Annual John Coltrane Memorial Concert on November 2 requires guests to purchase tickets, the panel discussion on November 1 featuring the three honored gentlemen is free. Listen and ask questions as the Boston legends discuss their careers and the present and future state of the jazz industry.

Thursday, Nov. 1, 3 p.m.; Thompson Room, Barker Center for the Humanities, 12 Quincy St., Cambridge; 617-373-4700;

2. Emerson Slam Poetry

If you are someone who enjoys listening to slam poetry and exciting stories from travel experiences abroad,Hostelling International Boston is joining together with the Emerson Poetry Project to host a slam poetry event during which some of Emerson’s best spoken word poets will share their amazing personal stories from around the world.

Thursday, Nov. 1, 6:30 p.m.; Hostelling International Boston, Community Room, 19 Stuart Street; (617) 536-9455;


free things to do in bostonPhoto via Thinkstock

3. Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) Fiesta


Head down to Capitol Square in Arlington to celebrate the Mexican holiday “Día de los Muertos,” during which people honor and remember family and friends who have passed with vibrantly decorated altars covered in food, memorabilia, and other decorations. Enjoy traditional eats from Arlington’s local Mexican restaurants and create festive flower and skeleton decorations.

Friday, Nov. 2, 6-9 p.m.; Capitol Square, 212A Mass. Ave., Arlington; 781-646-2200;

4. Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra Fall Concert

Indulge in a mixture of Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra’s classical Russian romantic masterpieces alongside gospel, bluegrass, and jazz tunes, all of which will be performed during a free concert conducted by Francisco Noya, resident conductor of the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra.


Friday, Nov. 2, 8 p.m.; NU Fenway Center, 77 St. Stephen Street; 617-254-1234;


5. Boston Job Fair


If you happen to be one of many on the job hunt, check out Coast-to-Cost Career Fairs’ Job Fair this month. Meet and pass along your resume to some top local employers searching for qualified candidates for hundreds of positions. Don’t miss out!

Monday, Nov. 5, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; Boston Park Plaza Hotel and Towers; 50 Park Plaza at Arlington St.,

6. The Fernet-Branca Barback Games at Royale


There may be few (if any) better ways to spend an average Tuesday night than at a bar, watching and cheering on Fernet-Branca Barback Gladiators as they compete in several drinking-related games to win prizes. TheBarback Games competition has traveled cross country from the west coast, and includes DJ battles, lives acts, and surprise performances. Among the judges will be well-known bartenders, chefs, writers, and more.

Tuesday, Nov. 6, 9 p.m.-2 a.m.; Royale, 279 Tremont St.; free with RSVP at


7. The Radius Ensemble at the Harriet Tubman House

Combining the comforting sounds of winds, piano, and strings, the Radius Ensemble takes audience members on a colorful journey from the early to modern era of classical music, revitalizing it for a new generation. The Ensemble received a grant from the Free for All Concert Fund to bring their energetic harmonies to the public in a series of three concerts.

Thursday, Nov. 8, 6 p.m.; Harriet Tubman House, 566 Columbus Ave.; 617-375-8159;


8. Oficio Fall Art Reception and Birthday Bash

Head down to Back Bay for Oficio’s one-year anniversary (complete with live music, cocktails, and Georgetown Cupcake and Pretzel Crisps delicacies) and see its newest installation of works from three local artists–Debra Corbett, Robert Strati, and Wendy Shapiro. Network, eat, drink, and dance the night away (for free)!

Thursday, Nov. 8, 6:30 p.m.; Oficio, 30 Newbury St.; Free, but space is limited; 857- 239-9843;


free things to do in bostonPhoto via Thinkstock

9. Egleston Farmers Market

Check out the kick-off of Jamaica Plain’s first winter farmer’s market, where you will find locally produced food (produce, meat, cheese, fish, eggs, bread, and some prepared foods), unique artwork, music, and an added plus: a free coffee area.

Beginning Saturday, Nov. 10, 11 a.m.; Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Hall, 39 Brookside Ave.;


10. Decoding Dacia Film Premiere


What do you know about Romania’s history? In Decoding Dacia: Romania’s Lost Heritage, the third installment in a series on the country’s ancient past (directed by Fisher College alum Nicholas Dimancescu), learn about Romania thousands of years ago during a period of conflict with the Roman Empire. During the filming, Dimancescu tragically died in a rare accident, but his family and friends were determined to complete his work in his honor and memory. Following the screening, there will be a Q&A with the filmmakers and light refreshments will be served.

Thursday, Nov. 15, 6-10 p.m. with doors at 5:30; Fisher College Alumni Hall, 116 Beacon St.; 617-236-8800;,


11. Boston Food Swap


As the end of harvest season arrives, you will soon have to decide what pound-packing deliciousness you will be serving and eating come Turkey Day. During the Boston Food Swap, participators will have the chance to bid on and exchange their homemade goods (baked treats, pickles, jam, honey, granola, fruit and veggies, herbs, spices, etc.) for others’ unique delicacies, perhaps to change up the menu a bit, or, at the very least, taste test (samples are usually provided by the makers themselves). The overall purpose of the event is to promote eating local, sustainable, and affordable foods.

Sunday, Nov. 18, 2-5 p.m.; Space with a Soul, 281 Summer St.;

12. “The Pillars” Photography Exhibit

Experience the works of Thaddeus Miles on display at the United South End Settlements’ Harriet Tubman Gallery. Miles’ 365 Project encompasses four main areas in the exhibition “The Pillars”: People & Community, Family & Ancestry, Faith & Spirit, and Nature & Landscape.

Until Nov. 21, Mondays-Fridays, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; 566 Columbus Ave.; 617-375-8159,


13. Guided Arboretum Tour

If we happen to get a few nice days in November, take a break from downtown urban life and head to Jamaica Plain to take a guided stroll through the Arboretum. View the fall foliage and remaining fruit trees and get a bit of outdoor exercise before the crisp air freezes. Themed tours cover conservation pioneers, seed dispersal, and the birds of the Arboretum.

Until Nov. 28, Wednesdays at 12:15 p.m., Saturdays at 10:30 a.m., and Sundays at 1 p.m.; Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Jamaica Plain; 617-384-5209;


free things to do in bostonPhoto via Thinkstock

14. New England Aquarium Fall Lecture Series

Take part in one or more of the New England Aquarium’s remaining free fall lectures, educating the public on wildlife research, climate change, and conservation. Some of the topics include dolphin behavior and intelligence, predicting climate change, and saving the coral reef. Lectures will be held in the Harborside Learning Lab in the Aquarium’s Ocean Center unless otherwise noted.

Thursdays through Dec. 13, 7 p.m.; 1 Central Wharf; 617-973-6596;

15. Kings Open Mic Night

On Wednesdays, watch singers, poets, comedians, musicians, and more perform their works during Kings Boston’s Open Mic Night. For those who are hoping to try their luck on stage, sign-ups begin at 8 p.m., and soundboards, monitors, and microphones are provided. Afterward, have a drink, join in on a game of pool or bowling, and relax before taking on the rest of the work week.

Wednesdays, 8 p.m.; Kings Bowl, 50 Dalton St.; 617-266-2695;