School loans, car insurance, rent – whatever is emptying your pockets is reason enough to look for something fun to do without the cost. Heading to the theater for a weekend movie or eating out with friends can be expensive when funds are low. Give your credit card a break and appreciate the simple things. The best things in life are free, right? Here are five free and fun things to do this summer.

1. Redbox is cheap, but here’s something cheaper – a library card. The library is a one-stop shop if you can’t afford magazine subscriptions, books, DVDs, CDs and even Internet. A library card gives you access to so much more than just the books, including community events throughout the year and even contests. One contest at the St. Francis Library involved reading a book and writing a one-sentence review – the monetary prizes would be just as nice as the 30-minute massage that could relieve the tension built up from stressing over bills.

2. Take a stroll on the…RiverWalk. According to the Milwaukee Department of City Development’s website, the three sections of the RiverWalk – Beerline RiverWalk, Downtown RiverWalk and Third Ward RiverWalk – run along about three miles of the Milwaukee River. It’s a scenic way to enjoy the water and the architecture of Milwaukee’s downtown with the bonus of a little exercise! Make your own coffee or tea to enjoy along the way. Visit for more information and printable maps.

3. Visit the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians at Holy Hill, 1525 Carmel Road, Hubertus. Take a scenic walk around the grounds and through the churches, climb to the top of the tower, which opens May 1 – they ask for a 50 cent donation – peruse the religious items at the gift shop or stop in one of the churches and pray. You can pack a lunch to eat on the grounds or, if you have spare change, stop in the café for a bite to eat. For more information and fall hours, visit

4. Go disc golfing. Some parks ask for a donation, but there are plenty of free locations to try your hand at disc golfing. Practice your stroke alone or drum up friendly competition among friends. Here are a few of the free courses:

  • Woodlawn-Union Park, 1100 N. Wacker Drive, Hartford, 9 holes
  • Brown Deer “Original,” 7625 N. Range Line Road, Milwaukee, 18 holes
  • Dineen Park, 6600 W. Keefe Ave. Parkway, Milwaukee, 18 holes
  • Dretzka Park “Mega 27,” 12020 W. Bradley Road, Milwaukee, 27 holes
  • Milwaukee County Sports Complex, 6000 W. Ryan Road, Franklin, 9 holes

Look for other disc golf courses near you, and read the ratings left by users at

5. Exercise at local gyms – most places allow a one-week free trial pass to see if you want to purchase a membership. The Bally Total Fitness,, SNAP Fitness,, and Anytime Fitness,, Gold’s Gym,, seven-day passes will give you 28 days of free gym workouts! Maybe you can save a little by the time you finish all of the trials to join your favorite gym.