The 10 Best Free Events Happening in January

Where you can have fun on (less than) a dime this month



courtesy of the great glen trails photo library
First-timers can take a free snowshoe lesson at Great Glen Trails on January 7.

1. Bahar Behbahani: Let the Garden Eram Flourish, Hanover, January 5-March 12

Kick off your 2017 with some cutting-edge art. The second exhibition at Dartmouth's Hood Downtown gallery features the work of Iran-born and Brooklyn-based artist Bahar Behbahani. Peruse this free display of paintings, videos, and installations to learn about traditional Persian gardens and their modern function as political and poetic spaces. (603) 646-2900; hoodmuseum.dartmouth.edu


2. Winter Trails Day, Gorham, January 7

Celebrations of this snowsports holiday will take place across the U.S., but we're particularly excited about Great Glen Trails' version. Newcomers to the sports of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing can take an introductory lesson with other first-timers for no cost. Snowshoe rentals are free for newbies, too, so gear up and try out a new cold-weather hobby. (603) 466-2333; greatglentrals.com


3. USSA Rev Tour, Waterville Valley, January 8-13

Scope out the Shaun Whites and Hannah Teters of tomorrow at this local stop on the Mountain Dew Revolution Tour. This annual competition from the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association features the country's best snowboarders and freeskiers in the 13-19 age range and is free for spectators — meaning your jealousy and depression over the skills of kids a third your age won't cost you a single penny. (800) 468-2553; ussnowboarding.com


4. Moved and Seconded: Town Meeting in New Hampshire, New Boston, January 12

You may think you know about New Hampshire's quirky town meeting tradition, but you've never thought about it like this. This informational and humorous talk from NH Humanities is led by Rebecca Rule, who's authored a book on the institution. Come learn about the town meeting's history and rituals and the wacky characters you'll find among its participants. (603) 487-3867; nhhumanities.org


5. Pure Barre Open House, Nashua & Bedford, January 14-15

How's that New Year's fitness resolution going? Give it a kick-start with one of a whopping 20 free classes at New Hampshire's outposts of the Cadillac of barre studios. In lieu of the standard $25 drop-in fee, participation in these classes requires only a small donation to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute or the Patriots Charitable Foundation. So yes, "free" comes with a catch — but hey, being more charitable was probably on your resolution list, too. (603) 492-5092, (603) 218-3817; purebarre.com/nh-nashua, purebarre.com/nh-bedford


6. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, statewide, January 16

If your office is closed for MLK Day, use the time off to learn about the man who earned you the holiday. Groups throughout the state will be hosting events to honor Dr. King and his legacy, so find out what's happening in your town or check out free commemoration events on the state's college campuses, such as the "I Have a Dream" speech presentations scheduled at Dartmouth or the African-American history exhibit on display at St. Anselm's Geisel library.


7. Derry Art Show and Fair, Derry, January 21

If you aren't totally burned out on art shows after the holiday craft fair season, this one celebrating the artists of Derry is worth a visit. Stroll and admire the works of painting, drawing, leatherwork and pottery for free, or bring along some cash so you can start the new year with some new decor for your home or office. (603) 785-2395


8. Forecasting: Climate Change & Weather Impact, Plymouth, January 23-April 21

A chilly January is the perfect time for museum exhibits and exploring the great indoors, but this free show from the Museum of the White Mountains is the best of both worlds: it lets you think about the outdoors without actually venturing into it. The interdisciplinary exhibition pairs scientists with artists to make viewers consider climate change in ways both creative and quantitative. (603) 535-3210; plymouth.edu/museum-of-the-white-mountains


9. New Hampshire Wine Week, statewide, January 23-27

Sure, the big events of NH Wine Week cost money. But who's to say you can't create your own wine week fun? Warm up the fireplace, break out a bottle of whatever's hiding in your cellar — bonus points if it's locally made — and enjoy NH Wine Week from the cozy (and cost-free) confines of home sweet home. nhwineweek.com


10. Snow Sculpting Competition, Jackson, January 27-28

Art lovers, winter sports aficionados, and kids who enjoy a good snowman will all find something to enjoy at this free fair. Take advantage of winter festival offerings like a scavenger hunt and a bonfire for marshmallow roasting, and marvel at the live creation of eight-by-four-foot sculptures carved from towers of packed snow. (603) 383-9356;  jacksonnh.com

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