How to Find Free Summer Concerts in 15 Cities

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After a brutal winter, it's time to get outside and enjoy the warm weather. Many cities across the country are happy to accommodate by hosting free and cheap concerts, shows, plays, and more in municipal parks. From big names to up-and-coming artists, free summer concerts are a blast. Whether you're planning a road trip this summer or a staycation in or near any of these 15 cities, here is's collection of resources to help you schedule a summer's worth of free or cheap entertainment.


The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation maintains a list of free concerts and includes the popular city-wide SummerStage events, as well as Celebrate Brooklyn!

TimeOut New York focuses on the big names and lets you sort by month.

I Love Free Concerts provides helpful search filters and lists dance performances around the city in addition to free concerts.


Fun Cheap SF lists tons of fun and cheap events in the area -- not just music.

People in Plazas hosts more than 170 free shows around the city from July through September.

Stern Grove mounts a free show almost every Sunday in July and August.

The Yerba Buena Gardens Festival features afternoon shows – music, dance, and circus acts – throughout the week.

Jack London Square in Oakland shows movies on Thursday nights and runs a "Dancing Under the Stars" series in June, with free dance lessons on Friday nights.

Union Square is home to free music and dancing on Wednesdays and Sundays.

There is a monthly jam show for families in Golden Gate Park, as well.


LA Weekly lets you sort by price and displays all the concerts (free and paid) in the area on a given day.

Grand Performances is one of the best-known free concert series in the city and showcases many well-known artists.

Free concerts are hosted by the Skirball Cultural Center on Thursday nights. Thursdays also shine with the Twilight Concert series at the Santa Monica Pier.

If jazz is your thing, head over to the LACMA on Fridays.

The Farmers Market at the Grove organizes free trivia nights, music, and western-themed ranch parties.

At Pershing Square there are lunchtime concerts on Wednesday, salsa on Thursday evenings, movies on Friday nights, and concerts, along with a beer and wine garden and food trucks, on Saturdays.


Grant Park Music Festival is a free outdoor classical music series with shows every Tuesday through Saturday.

Chicago Traveler lists music and other major events, like the Zombie Prom and Burlesque Fest.

Millennium Park is the site of several summer-long series, including music on Thursdays and Mondays and workouts on Saturday mornings. The full list of activities and ongoing events can be found on the city's website.


Radio 104.5 hosts several free concerts during its Summer Block Party series.

Wawa Welcome America sponsors a weeklong festival ending in a July 4 celebration.

On Wednesdays in August, there are two free concerts at Rittenhouse Square Park.

Slightly outside the city, Concert Under the Stars presents free music and comedy on Sunday nights.


>Relax on Wednesday nights at the Hatch Shell with free classical concerts by the Landmarks Orchestra.

The Boston Harbor Hotel is hosting its Summer in the City series for the 17th year. Each night has a theme: Soul Tuesdays, Rat Pack Wednesdays, Blues Barge Thursdays, and Movies by Moonlight Fridays.

Specifics haven't been released for 2015 yet, but in its 43rd year, the Dorothy Curran Summer Concert Series in City Hall Plaza is a staple.


Check out Houston on the Cheap for a monthly event calendar highlighting free concerts and more.

The Houston Symphony plays at the Miller Outdoor Theatre five time during June and July.

The Houston Press lets you search for free and cheap summer events by date and price.


The St. Louis Post-Dispatch lists all the big summer music festivals (there are lots).

Free Concerts Saint Louis makes it easy to search by music genre, date, zip code, venue, or series.


At the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, there are free shows every Sunday from May through early July.

123 Music Scene lists daily and weekly shows. Most charge for tickets, but prices are usually reasonable; a few free shows are also listed.


Centennial Park mounts several summer-long events, including a "WindDown Wednesday" and lunchtime shows.

Sunset Sessions take place every Sunday evening in June at Park Tavern.


The Columbus Commons hosts local performers on Thursday nights in July.


Not quite free, but close, if you arrive early ($5 before 8 p.m., $20 after), the Lone Star Music Series runs from April through July.

The County Line Bar-B-Q runs its own free music series on Wednesdays.

The McNay hosts the Summer Jazz and Lunch Series, with three dates to choose among.


The San Diego County fairgrounds hosts six concert series through the summer. Admission to most shows is included with fair entrance ($8 to $15), but for a reserved seat you'll need to pay extra.

Twilight in the Park is a concert series at Balboa Park that offers free performances on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings.

Carlsbad hosts free shows in various locations as part of its TGIF Concerts in the Parks series.


Seattle Peace Concerts has put on free shows since 1981.

The Shoreline Arts Council organizes free shows on Wednesday (and one Tuesday) evenings at different parks throughout the summer.

The Concerts at the Mural series features free shows on Friday in August.


Keep an eye on the Dallas Observer's calendar of events, which lists many free concerts around the city.

In Arlington, the Levitt Pavilion is hosting more than 50 concerts throughout the summer, with one almost one every day in June.

In Fort Worth, the Green Concert Series on Fridays features local musicians and runs from April through October. The Sunday Jazz Series can be heard on several Sundays in May and June.