Skip the Lines and Enjoy Free Parks, Hikes and Events on Black Friday
Black Friday isn't just about shopping.
Though the day has become synonymous with crowds rushing to score retail deals, there are many activities that everyone can take advantage of this year for free.
For those in search of activities this Black Friday that don’t revolve around shopping, we’ve pulled together a list of U.S. sights and landmarks that are waiving fees for the day, as well as free events taking place.
Save the Redwoods League, California State Parks, and the California State Parks Foundation are offering 13,000 passes visitors can use for free parking and admission in 116 of the participating state parks on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Several states are also teaming up with retailer REI to waive admission to their parks, including all 42 of Colorado’s state parks, Delaware state parks, all of Indiana’s state parks, reservoirs, and state forest recreation areas, all Kansas state parks, and all state parks in New Mexico and Vermont.
Minnesota’s 75 state parks will be free, with guided hikes at Sibley State Park, Lake Carlos State Park, and Lake Bemidji State, while Oregon will be waiving day-use parking fees across 25 parks and hosting special events in L. L. "Stub" Stewart State Park, Tyron Creek State Natural Area, Champoeg State Heritage Area, and Silver Falls State Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Visitors can also get free entry into Arizona and Nevada state parks by obtaining a pass from an REI store, and free access into Virginia state parks by either bringing a receipt purchase from REI that day or obtaining one of the state park backpacks offered at the state’s public libraries.
Meetup also joined #OptOuside, with a variety of hiking events around the states on Black Friday that range from an overnight hike to Thunderhead Mountain in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to hikes for beginners at Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park.
The Santa Monica Mountains Fund is also promoting free hikes at Griffith Park from 10 a.m. to noon.
Art and Cultural Events
Head to Denver’s Clyfford Still Museum, devoted to the painters’ fascinating works, where admission will be free from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The Phoenix Art Museum will be offering free one-year memberships to the first 25 non-members to visit between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. and free general admission from 8-10 a.m, with free coffee and doughnuts to go along.
Guests who stop by at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum’s Fun Frosty Event in Illinois, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., can get one free museum pass when purchasing a ticket that date. The event will include face painting, games, balloon art, and a life-sized Candy Land game.
Visitors can catch free showings of the puppet show, “String City: Nashville’s Tradition of Music and Puppetry”, at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., and tree lighting festivities with free photo opportunities with Santa and a musical performance from Crystal Gale at Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
Finally, if you’re in Chicago, join the city’s Hamilton cast for the annual wreathing of the lions event, where you’ll walk with cast members through the streets adorning statue lions with a little holiday spirit.
Natural and Cultural Sights
Visitors and locals in Massachusetts can take advantage of several natural, scenic, and cultural sights operated under the Trustees of Reservations.
While they do have sights that are free year-round, destinations that are normally gated or charge for parking will run for free that day, with prime stops including Crane Beach in Ipswich, the Rocky Woods Reservation in Medfield, and Monument Mountain in Great Barrington.