Best Places To Find Free Wireless Internet Access.


Does the cost of high speed internet in your neighborhood have you down? Not happy with the service from the provider that you currently have? With some creative thinking, there are some great sources of high speed internet available to you for free…you just have to look for them. Sure, there is always Starbucks or Coffee Bean, but you have to pay for day passes there, and what fun is that? Here are some good places to get started:

Try your local library. Most modern libraries nowadays have free internet available, and no one is going to kick you out for hanging out there all day. My library here not only has free access, but they also have an outdoor courtyard you can sit in and they have a coffee bar. Not a bad place to spend the day working or just poking around the internet.

I found this one to be strange as well, but our city buses have high speed internet available to riders. I guess if you don’t get car sick and you have a long commute, this could be worthwhile. I just would not want to have to ride a bus all day just to use the internet.

Here by the beach, they have installed wireless internet at all the parks in town. That means scores of people that are normally stuck inside working all day can now be sitting in a lawn chair staring at the ocean, which makes for a much nicer office. I have not tried this one yet, but with summer rapidly approaching, it might be an option. Check with your parks department to see if you might have it available where you live.

Although the big chain coffee places normally charge you for access, most independent coffee shops have decided that it is a worthwhile investment to provide access for free to their customers. Most of them around me have free service, plus the atmosphere is much nicer than the big chains.

If you happen to live near a college or university, I can almost guarantee that they have free wi-fi for the students in places like the quads and/or library. Just head on over, look like you know what you are doing, and get free use of the internet all day. No one is going to question you…after all, you could be a student.

Lastly, although I do not recommend it (as I think it is illegal, but I am not 100% sure), you can use your neighbors wireless router for service. Fortunately for you (but unfortunate for them), most people do not encrypt their signal and they do not monitor the range that it is kicking out, so it is quite possible that your neighbor next door or across the street has a very strong signal available for you. Again, I do not recommend this one, as I would not want to get you in trouble, but if you NEED the internet for something and yours is not working, it can be a means to an end.

I am sure there are tons more places to get free wireless internet service, but that is just a few to get you started. Since the city that I live in is putting service almost everywhere, it is really opening up new opportunities for people that work off site and not in an office. We can work in the park, at the beach, at the library, or a ton of other places, and they are all free. Of course, you will need a laptop and a wireless card, but if you look around, you will find that you COULD, if you had to, do without service at home if you needed to save some money. If you know of other places that have service that I did not think of, would love to hear about them!

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Comments (30)

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  1. bill says:

    In the United States, it is the owner’s responsibility to secure their wireless internet, and it is completely legal to use theirs if they do not encrypt it. However, if you decide to break their encryption, now you’ve broken the law.

  2. Arty says:

    Another one worth noting is the strangest one I know of-


    Most every Speedway ( gas station, for those outside the USA ) I’ve ever been to has had free Wi-Fi.
    And since most Speedways are 24 hours, all you have to do is park in the parking lot, and you’re set.

  3. david says:

    Really? Thanks for that Bill.

    Speedway…thats interesting. I had heard of some place like that (strange, I mean) but I cannot for the life of me remember where it was. Thanks Arty!

  4. Jared says:

    My town at the moment is a little behind in wi-fi development, and currently only a local college and places like Panara Bread currently have it, save a few bars. I find is funny that Arty uses the term Speedway and in parenthesis “gas station for those outside the USA” I have traveled all over the US and while I rarely talk about gas stations I have never heard the term Speedway and I live in the U.S. But who knows Im going on another long driving vacation in a couple weeks, maybe the term will come up.

  5. jim says:

    When i was in China, all i did was try to find free wireless, for one of the first times I was glad to see a Starbucks. πŸ™‚

  6. david says:

    Well Jim, that is as good a reason as any to find a Starbucks…:-)

  7. Jared-“Speedway” is an actual BRAND of gas station, like saying a “Exxon” or a “Mobile Station”. I’ve seen them in the south, but haven’t seen any up in the NY area.

    I think that some truck stop type places (like Flying J etc) now have wireless internet for the truck drivers etc.

    This site is a searchable directory of hot spots:


  8. Great tips! I always use my neighbor’s WiFi (hey, it’s their fault for not protecting it) and also take advantage of free connectivity at coffee shops and libraries. Not having to pay for internet is great!

  9. Rebecca says:

    Actually I was just out at the college the other day and asked. Apparently you need a code to access their internet, although perhaps they would have given me one with my purchase if I had brought my computer.

    But where I live the entire downtown is hot. There isn’t much reason to pay for internet, but it sure is convenient to work at home!

  10. david says:

    Yea, Speedways are everywhere it seems nowadays…

    Thanks for that site Jenn, could come in useful!

    Rebecca – Yea, some colleges do require it. Where my wife goes, it is free for everyone; there is no pin needed.

    And Escape – Good for you for being resourceful!

  11. […] At My Two Dollars, David suggests the best places to find free wireless internet access. […]

  12. edmond says:

    I was the first person on my block to get wireless internet three years ago, so I intentionally left it unencrypted in case someone had to use it. Half the people on my block are retired so I figured I would save them some money.

  13. david says:

    Thats pretty cool of you Edmond!

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  15. AgentSully says:

    I know this article is about “free internet” but if you want to go the “sharing with neighbor route,” this is something that close living neighbors actually do and then share the expense.

    Something to consider.

  16. david says:

    Thanks AgentSully…if I trusted any of my neighbors I am sure I would do it in a second. Every time I turn on my laptop though, I have about 7 different wireless networks to choose from, all unencrypted.

  17. Natasha says:

    Usually to gain access to university internet you need a un/pw for the school, like a university e-mail sort of thing to authenticate.

  18. AgentSully says:

    David – I guess by leaving a network unencrypted it is really like an open invitation for others to use it. πŸ™‚

  19. david says:

    Exactly AgentSully…:-)

    Natasha, yes, most schools do. For some reason, where my wife goes they do not, its available for everyone!

  20. Anya says:

    In response to the first post: it is NOT that clear cut. There have been prosecutions in several U.S. states for piggybacking on unsecured connections. Google it and you will find it’s definitely not that simple.

  21. bemental says:

    I can’t believe that no one has mentioned hotels yet. The majority of hotels offer free high speed internet access to their patrons and many have cafes or restaurants inside them too. Order a coke and go to town.

  22. david says:

    Thats a good one bemental, thanks for the tip!

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  25. lisa says:

    Where I live (which is pretty rural) McDonald’s, the laundromat, and even a local camp ground (near the cabins) have it.

  26. Iva says:

    Brilliant blog idea! Thanks for the advice. I have internet at home, but can’t tell you how many times it decides to go down – and always right at a crucial moment! Great money saving idea!

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