31 Free and Fun Things to Do at Night [Updated for 2024]

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Considering a break from your evening routine?

Or perhaps you are looking for fun things to do at night on a strict budget?

Today, we’ve gathered 31 ideas for spending a fun evening without having to shell out any money.

These activities are not only a gateway to fun, they also allow you to spend quality time with your loved ones, especially if you haven’t done so in a while. Furthermore, they can awaken an appreciation for nature and help you get in touch with your inner self.

Are you ready? Let’s dive in.

1. Attend an author’s book reading.

A lot of bookstores and libraries host book readings. Check to see if there’s one in your community on an evening when you are available. These events are usually free, and if you make it a date, you will have fuel for conversation later.

2. Master a new skill.

It’s never too late to learn something new. Whether it’s a new life skill such as cooking or carpentry or a creative hobby such as felting or watercolor painting that you want to take up, there are many free resources available.

Moreover, you might be able to earn extra money through your new skill.

To get started, you can borrow some books from the library, check out some online tutorials, or visit any of the resources below.

3. Add items to your bucket list.

We’ll all kick the bucket one day, but before that happens, make the most of the time you have by striving to accomplish the things you want most in life.

Having a bucket list helps you keep track of your goals, and makes it easier to reach them.

If you already have a bucket list, why not spend an evening adding more items to it? If you haven’t made a bucket list yet, this post lists over 500 ideas to inspire you.

4. Build a DIY outdoor movie theater in your backyard.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, it has been awhile since most of us have been to a theater. Nevertheless, you can still experience watching movies on the big screen courtesy of a DIY movie theater set up in your backyard.

Taking your TV outside, setting up pillows, and preparing some popcorn and insect repellant is all you need for a basic setup.

However, if you want to go the extra mile and get more wow factor out of your outdoor theater, check out the resource below for more tips.

Resource to Get Started: What You Need for a DIY Backyard Movie Theater

5. Start a side hustle.

If you have several free evenings each week, why not use the time to earn some cash?

Some suggestions include:

  • Babysitting for couples going out on date night
  • Filling out online surveys
  • Working part time as a virtual assistant (it’s fun to do when you love helping others)

To learn more, here are 99 side hustle ideas to get you started.

6. Teach kids how to fold paper airplanes.

For this fun activity, all you need is several sheets of paper. Fold some paper airplanes, showing your kids how it’s done. You can then test fly them.

There are several models you can try to see which ones fly best.

If you need a refresher on how to fold a paper plane, the tutorial video below gives you the basics.

7. Experience a bioluminescence show by going to the beach at night.

If you’re lucky enough to live near any of the beaches listed below, you can head out to the beach at night and watch an amazing light show courtesy of the bioluminescent glow in the ocean.

Beaches in the U.S. where you can see bioluminescence include:

8. Go stargazing.

This can make for a romantic getaway for you and your favorite person. Or the activity could be a chance to introduce your kids to astronomy. It’s also a way to reconnect with nature.

Who knows? You might get to see a phenomenal meteor shower.

9. Trace your ancestry by making a family tree.

Tracing your family heritage can be a rewarding hobby, and a free family heritage app can help trace your roots.

Another way to learn more about your ancestors is by calling family members to ask about relatives. This is also a way to reconnect with loved ones if you have not been in touch for a while.

10. Learn how to take stunning photos in low light.

Taking a picture in low light can be challenging for many people. Master the skill by practicing in the evenings, taking advantage of the growing darkness.

Visit the resource below to learn some tips on low-light photography.

Resource to Get Started: How to Capture Great Photos in Low Light

11. Have a candlelit dinner in your yard.

Elevate your dining experience by having a candlelit dinner in your own backyard. Even the simplest fare will look elegant served under the soft glow of candlelight.

What’s more, you’ll be reaping several benefits by dining outdoors, such as:

  • Lowered stress levels
  • Improved mood
  • Enhanced creativity
  • Improved ability to focus

In the interest of safety, make sure that no lighted candle remains unattended.

12. Hold a shadow puppet show.

Shadow puppetry has thousands of years of history behind it, most likely originating in Asia and some countries in the southern regions of Europe. The shadow plays of the past were a way of transmitting cultural knowledge.

These days, you can hold a shadow puppet show as an alternative for movie marathons. You don’t need specialized equipment for this activity.

Let your creativity run wild as you design and create your own puppets, develop the script, gather the necessary equipment for the show, and present your story.

To help you get started, the video below shows how you can make a simple shadow puppet theater out of some basic arts and crafts supplies.

13. Go for an evening stroll.

If you live in a safe neighborhood, refresh your mind after a long day with an evening stroll.

Walking for even just half an hour has proven benefits for you. It works muscles that were underutilized during the day, while also improving your mood and helping you relax.

14. Prepare some freezer meals.

Free time in the evenings can be put to good use by preparing freezer meals. Note that this suggestion requires you to buy the ingredients if they’re not readily available in your pantry or fridge.

Nevertheless, prepared meals are awesome time and money savers. Plus, you are assured that you’re eating healthy, compared with what you get from fast food chains.

Need some freezer meal ideas? Check out a couple of posts here and here for some tasty suggestions.

15. Listen to some inspiring podcasts.

There are a lot of quality podcasts these days. If you need something fun, free, and informative to do in the evenings, consider listening to a program that resonates with you.

Here are some of our top podcast picks you should check out for your nighttime listening:

16. Write about your day in your gratitude journal.

A sense of gratitude improves your sense of self-worth, allowing you to become happier and more optimistic. However, in order to reap these benefits, you must practice gratitude on a daily basis.

One way of doing so is by keeping a gratitude journal. At the close of the day, write down the things you’re grateful for. Not only will it be a fun evening activity, it is something that enhances your sense of well-being and helps you appreciate life more.

17. Practice your powers of seduction on your partner.

Make the night sizzle by using your powers of seduction on your partner. Dare to step away from your evening routine and create an intimate moment instead.

18. Create a pillow fort with the kids.

If you have kids, spending quality time with them provides a sense of security. This is essential, especially in challenging and confusing times.

Spend an evening making a cozy fort together. Use pillows and blankets to give the fort structure. Then you might want to add embellishments like fairy lights (if you have them).

19. Go on a ghost hunting expedition in a haunted place near your home.

Are you up for a spooky adventure? You don’t need to purchase expensive night goggles or any ghost hunting gear for this activity.

Just find a place that is reported to be haunted in your home town. You might want to visit it at night and see if there is some truth to the stories.

Make sure that you take all necessary precautions when ghost hunting. Also, be sure that you’re not breaking any laws if you’re planning to visit graveyards and/or buildings, especially after dark.

20. Read a book.

For this activity, simply grab your favorite fiction, a classic that you never got to read before, or something for self-improvement, and spend the evening immersed in the written word.  

To get started, here is a massive list of over 250 nonfiction books that are worth checking out.

Now, if you're also looking for productive ways to spend your free time, watch the video below for five productive ways you can use your leisure time to get more fulfillment out of life.

21. Enjoy a bubble bath.

After a long day, you deserve one.

22. Read some newsletters that reflect your interests.

A subscription to a newsletter is a way to get updates on topics that are of interest to you. They’re free, and online ones are usually delivered regularly to your inbox. Through newsletters, you’ll find out about:

  • Upcoming events
  • Community news
  • Vital information relevant to your topic of interest

If you’re fascinated by investing and stuff related to finance, here’s a newsletter subscription that you might be interested in. Check out this post for our review of the Morning Brew newsletter .

23. Declutter and organize a closet.

Clutter often adds to stress and anxiety, so why not use your free time in the evening doing some decluttering of one closet in your house? After you’re done, your mind will feel less cluttered as well.

24. Cook something from scratch.

Although not all of us have a passion for cooking like Gordon Ramsay, it serves us well to know how to make at least one dish from scratch.

Being able to cook from scratch makes us feel self-sufficient, and preparing whole foods is actually a healthier alternative to buying fast food and microwaveable dinners.

To ensure that you won’t be spending too much money for this activity, you can search for recipes online by listing the ingredients that are already in your pantry.

25. Use existing supplies and create some visual art.

Gather whatever supplies you have on hand and try using them in unconventional ways. One example is mixing coffee powder and water to create paint.

26. Catch up with a loved one through a phone call or video call.

It may have been a while since you last called home. If you find yourself with some free time in the evening, why not use a few minutes to connect with friends, loved ones, or relatives?

27. Give yourself some pampering with an at-home spa.

Give yourself the TLC you deserve, and use the evening to give yourself an at-home spa experience. If you have essential oils on hand, you can diffuse your favorite fragrances to give the evening a spa-like ambience.

Looking for the right essential oil for a specific purpose? You might find what you need in the following posts:

28. Use natural products for your evening skincare routine.

Speaking of self-care, you might want to consider concocting some of your facial creams and scrubs from all-natural ingredients.

You probably already have the ingredients necessary to make a homemade facial scrub or mask in your fridge or pantry.

Check out the video below for easy-to-follow instruction on how to make five types of homemade face masks and scrubs.

29. Go to bed earlier than usual.

This suggestion might not be action-packed, but it benefits your health greatly if you sleep before midnight. Need help falling asleep fast? This post provides healthy tips on how to fall asleep earlier.

30. Visit a museum (virtually).

The current global situation may prevent us from visiting museums in person, but virtual tours are available so we can still view interesting and exciting exhibits from our favorite museums.

The best thing about these virtual tours is that we don’t have to spend money to get to the museums, and most of the tours are free of charge.

31. Do a kiddie photoshoot.

Need a way for your kids to spend that extra energy before bedtime? Do a photoshoot.

Choose a theme for the photoshoot, then let the kids select their costumes and props. If you have extra time, let them choose their favorite photos, and have them printed out as a memento.

Final Thoughts on Fun Things to Do at Night

There are a lot of fun things to do at night that do not require you to spend money. Some of these might involve your usual evening routine done in a different way, or in a different place. (Here are some things to do with friends online.)

Other activities require a little bit of imagination, creativity, and hands-on work.

Regardless of what activities you choose, they all encourage you to be more in touch with your authentic self, deepen your appreciation for nature, or bond with the special people in your life.

So if you intend to do any of the activities suggested here, always put safety first.

If you need more ideas on how to spend your free time, check out the articles below:

Here’s wishing you a fun and fulfilling evening!

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