12 Places to get free WIFI

by Marissa on March 28, 2012

Everyone is looking for ways to cut expenses in this economy. Suddenly, the necessities are turning into extras and the basics are turning into luxuries. What really are your options for cutting back?

Perhaps your internet bill is starting to irritate you. Price hikes and spotty service may have you wondering what you’re paying the big bucks for. But what can you do? You need to get on the internet. Well, if you have a laptop, or Ipad and a sense of adventure, you can travel the Wi-Fi highway and explore your options. Here are a dozen places to consider when you’re ready to ditch your internet service at home:

1. Starbucks is the first place that comes to mind when people think of working away from home with a laptop. Order a cup of joe, tip your barista, and sit down to enjoy some free Wi-Fi and a little caffeine jolt.

2. Head to your local library. Those librarians have top notch Wi-Fi service, along with a nice, quiet setting to work. You have the added bonus of having other resources at your disposal, as well.

3. Your local park is another great option. Many larger cities are offering Wi-Fi throughout the parks. Select a covered pavilion with picnic tables and an electrical connection. If you head there during the week, you can work or surf undisturbed for hours, all while enjoying the great outdoors.

4. If you live near a university, call them up and ask to reserve a study room. Even if you are not a student, most public universities will let you use a study room with the accompanying free Wi-Fi. Visit on slow days, typically Fridays, when the areas are abandoned by students.

5. Hungry? Panera Bread, McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts, and Chick-fil-A all offer free Wi-Fi to guests. Head over to a back corner, have a bite to eat and surf to your heart’s content.

6. Barnes & Noble as well as many other bookstores offer free Wi-Fi. You can usually sit in their onsite coffee shop and work undisturbed. Weekends may not be the ideal time as things can get loud, so go during the weekday or other off times for peace and quiet.

7. More and more hotels feature either free Wi-Fi in cozy lobby nooks or for a nominal fee in your hotel room. Even if you’re not a guest there, often the hotel restaurant will have Wi-Fi available for you if you are a customer. Grab a light lunch, or even a cappuccino, and surf away.

8. Similar to hotels, hospitals have expanded their cafeterias, getting rid of the stark environment, and turned them into lush getaways. Enter a hospital and you’ll find lobbies and restaurants that are both beautiful and comfortable with plenty of amenities, like free Wi-Fi. Have a cup of coffee and enjoy the quiet time, and free Wi-Fi offered in these peaceful surroundings.

9. Check out your local church bulletin. Many churches offer their community wireless internet just for the asking. Perhaps a donation in the collection plate would please the pastor. It’s a small price to pay for the privilege of sitting quietly working on your laptop.

10. Your local mall’s food court may not be an ideal place to work online if you need silence, but theyíve got free Wi-Fi. In this case, grab your noise-cancelling headphones and you’ll be good to go. And, you don’t have to purchase anything to have a seat. Bring your own lunch if you prefer and enjoy the free internet.

11. Many upscale grocery stores have little cafes, either indoor or outdoor with free wireless. Grab a cup of coffee and a snack, then get comfortable. They wonít mind one bit, especially if you do a little grocery shopping on the way out.

12. The gym may not come to mind right away, but more and more places are adding lounges with healthy snacks and, you guessed it, Wi-Fi. They may require a membership to enter their facilities, but if you already belong to a gym, why not take advantage of their wireless.

Start watching for Free Wi-Fi signs around your neighborhood and I bet you’ll be surprised how many places you find. Businesses want your business, and if they can entice you to come in and use their free Wi-Fi for the price of a cup of coffee and a sandwich, you both win.


{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Walter Green March 28, 2012 at 3:44 am

Fantastic read about personal finance. I learned a lot.


Daisy @ Add Vodka March 28, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Also, local universities. Sometimes you need a student number to sign it, but sometimes not. Sometimes, I just steal unsecured wifi from my building, if necessary (like for my Kindle). :)


Marissa March 29, 2012 at 4:58 am

Very valid point. Our university needed student numbers, but I know some don’t.


Carol Patterson March 29, 2012 at 3:35 am

Great work on the article on debt. It really captured all aspects.


ImpulseSave March 29, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Thanks for the tips! My internet was out for the last two days because of work being done on the line. This would have been so helpful! Of course, I couldn’t get to this page haha…


Arthur Hill March 30, 2012 at 8:03 am

Definitely worth the read on debt. Excellent read!


yourlifeforless March 30, 2012 at 2:07 pm

I love wifi at the library! Using wifi in general is how I stay under my smartphone data cap. I don’t stream video or music unless I’m connected to wifi.


John Anderson March 31, 2012 at 1:26 am

I really liked the article. I'll tell my friends to read the post about finance.


Raymond taylor March 31, 2012 at 6:40 pm

Many computer stores will sell you a “High Power WIFI Modem” that has a more powerful transmitter and a high performance antenna for about $25.00. You can access WIFI’s up to a quarter mile away. If there is a Starbucks or McD’s within walking distance, you might not have to leave the house.


Henry Scott April 1, 2012 at 6:01 am

Great! I liked the writing on debt.


Karunesh @ chase-a-dream.com April 1, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Hi FT,

I have included this post at my site’s weekly roundup


Mark Kelly April 2, 2012 at 4:38 am

Fantastic explanation on personal finance. I'll read more!


Hugh Johnson April 2, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Don’t forget strip clubs. Many “gentleman’s establishments” offer free wi-fi, and usually advertise it on their website.


Marissa April 2, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Haha, I didn’t know that!


Shirley Edwards April 3, 2012 at 1:41 am

Thanks for the post about saving. Great article and a great read.


Anthony Barnes April 4, 2012 at 6:58 am

Good work on the article about personal finance. It was of high quality and really cabouted the topic nicely.


Mary Patterson April 5, 2012 at 11:45 am

That's good writting on debt.


Deborah Gray April 6, 2012 at 4:38 am

Nice work on the article about saving. I'll email it to my friends!


Cynthia Reed April 7, 2012 at 3:29 am

That's good writting on debt.


Mark Price April 8, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Nice work on the post on personal finance. Good read.


Matthew Russell April 9, 2012 at 5:55 am

Good work on the post about debt. Worth the read.


Jeffrey Foster April 10, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Nice work on savings. It was informative and good.


Bill April 16, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Just remember.
Never enter a password while using public WiFi.
If your password is saved then it is safe.


Boston Fireguy April 16, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Also, try Panera Bread. A few years back we had a power outage in our part of town. Fortunately the other end of town where Panera Bread was had power, which allowed me to follow an important (and ultimately successful) auction quest.


ACME Powerwash May 2, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Great tips! I noticed even the local McDonald’s up the street is now offering WiFi… This post makes me want coffee…


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