By Mommy Points
There’s only 1 week left until the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games in London! I’m lucky enough to have tickets to a few official events, but I am still in search of other inexpensive things to do while enjoying the festivities. It turns out that there are plenty of activities going on in the city that don’t require spending a bunch of cash — you can even watch some Olympic events for free!
Free Official Olympic Events:
Road Cycling: July 28(men’s), July 29(women’s), and Aug. 1 (men’s and women’s)
Triathalon: Aug. 4 (women’s) and Aug. 7 (men’s)
Race Walking: Aug. 4 (men’s) and Aug. 11 (men’s and women’s)
Marathon: Aug. 5 (women’s) and Aug. 12 (men’s)
Swimming Marathon: Aug. 9 (women’s) and Aug. 10 (men’s)
Other Free Olympic Festivities:
If you can’t watch an Olympic event live, perhaps the next best thing is to root for your country alongside other spectators in a festive atmosphere. Some viewing stations with large outdoor screens will be set up around London. Hyde Park and Potters Field Park at London Bridge will both have viewing areas.
It’s also possible to gain entrance to the Olympic Park without a ticket to an event inside. Single-day admission tickets are sold for approximately $22 (though it doesn’t look like they’re currently available online). While in Olympic Park taking in the sights and sounds of the Olympics, you can also check out what will temporarily be the world’s largest McDonald’s.
If you have a Chase Visa credit card, you should strongly consider registering to visit the Visa VIP Lounge. The lounge is located at 116 Pall Mall in London’s West End, and is open daily July 27-Aug. 12 from 10 a.m. to midnight. Admission for cardholders and their guests is complimentary, and you can try to register for access to Chef Morimoto culinary experiences, appearances by Olympic athletes, food, wine, internet access and more than 10 HDTVs showing the Olympic events.
Many of London’s famous bridges will be lit up with impressive displays of colored lighting during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, so don’t miss a chance to take some great photos of those iconic bridges in their modern-day lighting schemes.
While London will certainly be abuzz with Olympic-related events, there are some other free activities going on as well. The London 2012 Festival runs from June 21–Sept. 9 and is comprised of over 12,000 performances and events including dance, music, theater, fashion, food, art, film and more. While some events do require a ticket, many are free performances. Head to the London 2012 Festival’s official website for more details.
A trip to London would not be complete without seeing some of the timeless attractions such as the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, or even just drinking a pint of beer in a pub and enjoying an order of fish and chips.
For more ideas, the Mayor of London Presents website is a great resource for free and low-cost attractions.
I can’t wait to take advantage of some of these free Olympic and cultural activities myself. I think my husband might be most excited about enjoying a pint of beer in an English pub, or playing poker legally in one of the many card rooms, but that is the beauty of London this summer. There is something for everyone, and every budget!