Free WiFi Continues To Pop Up In Odd Places

These are boom times for heavy WiFi users. Free WiFi is so ubiquitous that it’s gotten to the point that it’s almost shocking to sit down in public and not be able to pick up a signal.

Finance Triggers has spotted WiFi at a number of unorthodox locales, including local parks, fast food joints, hospital cafeterias and churches. Check out the post for 12 places that offer ways to set up shop, stare at a screen and ignore people around you while pretending to “work” and checking out gossip sites, sports scores and Facebook.

12 Places To Get Free WiFi [Finance Triggers]

Previously: Unlikely Places To Find Free WiFi


Edit Your Comment

  1. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    Why is free wi-fi in a fast-food joint ‘unorthodox’?

    • Lefturn says:

      I was about to say the same thing. Most fast food places in this area have had free wifi for years.

    • StarfishDiva says:

      Yeah I wanna look at Brazzers while I chow down on my Double Down!

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      It’s unorthodox because I usually eat at a fast-food restaurant, not surf the web.

      Just because it’s become commonplace doesn’t make it orthodox….yet

  2. delicatedisarray says:

    My moment of joy came when my doctors office started offering free wifi. I have something to do if I forget my book now!

    • anime_runs_my_life says:

      Same here! My doctor started offering it about a year ago. Now I have something to do when I arrive early.

  3. bhr says:

    Fast food is hardly a surprising wifi location. Obviously McDonalds has done it for years, but other places offer it too.

    When I was in outside sales (b2b) I knew that between meetings I could stop at McD’s and have a cup of coffee and return emails. At the time WiFi wasn’t really available, but I liked being able to plug in my laptop. During the day I would often see other people doing the same thing at other tables, so it’s not shocking that fast food places wouldnt embrace those customers (along with similar web-addicted folks)

    Heck, I know multiple people who refer to the Panera as their local office, you will never go in during the day and not see people having business meetings/interviews. Same with hotel lobbies, which often are filled with people interviewing for jobs

    • thomwithanh says:

      Every Panera I’ve been to has a 30 minute limit on their wifi, and you have to wait 24 hours before going on again. Maybe it’s just a regional thing if some people are using Panera as a 2nd office…

      • bhr says:

        Well, I’m talking about outside sales people, or other folks who work out of their homes and don’t want to use the house for meetings. For example, when I sold cell service to business I often met up with my boss and coworkers when he was in the area at a Panera or McD because his office was 4-5 hours away and it wasn’t convenient for us to all drive to see him. It might just be in this area but I know I can pop on Panera’s wifi if I am doing a presentation for a potential client (I work with small businesses/consultants) without a limit, though I never go during the busiest hours (11-1, 5-7) out of courtesy.

  4. Rachacha says:

    The only one that does not make sense is a church, unless it is a hotspot intended for church staff or a connected school that was left open and unsecured.

    • Free Legal Advice! says:

      My church has free wi-fi. I use it all the time at board meetings to pull up last months notes, look up emails, and research issues that come up. There are a lot of non church activities that take place at church.

      I also use it to stream Netfliks for my kid while waiting on said board meetings.

    • crazydavythe1st says:

      Some of the more contemporary churches do it as sort of a “Google something interesting/tweet about the sermon” kind of thing. More commonly, they don’t know how to configure their wireless router and end up with accidental wifi hotspots.

    • jeb says:

      We have one at my church back home that was intentionally left open. It reaches through the education wing (so teachers can use it during Sunday School) but doesn’t make it into the sanctuary.

    • FLConsumer says:

      Why is using it at church unorthodox? We have 3 APs at my church open for the congregation. Our services are generally at night rather than the morning, so people don’t always have their bible with them. BUT most of them do have mobile phones with them and can bring up the sermon notes and a handful of bibles and study resources we have on our website.

  5. Blueskylaw says:

    I once had a sherrif pop-up and serve me with a WiFi; it was a very tense moment.

  6. lint42 says:

    With the bible app that I use the live sermon notes are included and the wifi is used for that during service. Wifi at church is very useful and is for church, surprisingly.

    • Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

      Wifi in church: bringing 7th century “thought’ into the modern world.

  7. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    “unorthodox locales” – so, then, those are Baptist churches?

    Ah do declare, ah’ve finally looged onta Facebook. Praise tha lawd!

    • SalesGeek says:

      Is that why you’ve changed your status to “Saved?”

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        That’s right…my status changes from “satanist” to “agnostic” to “saved” depending on whether or not Gawd is granting me good enough wifi signal strength to watch Youtube. Because sometimes He doesn’t, and that’s not cool.

  8. TaraMisu says:

    I travel a lot for work, I SO wish more airports had free wi-fi. To me it’s completely unacceptable to have to pay for it. (because I’m cheap and in charge of my dept’s budget)
    A lot of hotels charge for it too…. when I find one that doesn’t I make sure I write to them and thank them.

    • chizu says:

      I don’t quite understand why the more expensive/high class a hotel is, the more they charge you for things. Like WiFi and breakfast. I mean, if I’m paying $200+ for a hotel room that I stay in for maybe 8 or 10 hours top a night, at least give me two eggs and some toast the next morning. Not to mention they charge a lot for WiFi too (in my experience usually $15 for 24 hours?). Cheaper stay — but decent and clean places, would just offer them up for free. I guess that’s part of the appeal, but I don’t understand why expensive hotels need to nickel and dime you.

      • NeverLetMeDown says:

        They don’t need to, they can.

      • eezy-peezy says:

        They figure you are rich enough to pay $200 for a night, you won’t mind all the other charges.

        Hampton Inn all the way for me!!

        • bhr says:

          They figure the company is paying for it. I would love to see what % of people in higher end but not luxury hotels (Say $200/night-$300/night) are there on business/corporate credit cards.

          It killed me traveling with a former employer for two years. I wasn’t high ranked enough for a corporate credit card but had to book my rooms through the company travel agency (which was always more expensive than I could get on my own). I had to pay up front and get reimbursed 30-45 days later. You better believe that in a situation like that, where I had to put $2000+ on my own credit card a week (including meals, rental car or gas, ect…) I paid for all the extra perks I could justify to accounting.

      • crazydavythe1st says:

        The “somewhat high end but not super luxurious” hotels you talk about normally have a completely different rate scale for business travelers. Something that an individual could book for $150/night on priceline may be $75/night when booked at a corporate rate. It’s all about getting those travelling on business to spend money at the hotel restaurant, bar, etc.

        The other part is segmenting your customers based on what kind of travelling they are doing. Holiday Inns offer many incentives to families – some have restaurants that feed kids free, a higher percentage of rooms with two double beds, etc. Crowne Plaza (owned by the same parent company) almost actively discourages families from staying at their hotels – many of the rooms have a single King or Queen bed, no free breakfast, no free Wi-fi unless you are either paying the full rack rate or travelling on a corporate account, etc.

        The airlines do this too. The legacy airlines are geared to appeal to frequent business travellers and the discount “Southwest” style airlines are designed to appeal to families. I loathe travelling on anything but my preferred airline do to a lack of perks and if all else fails I still insist on flying on a legacy carrier, but I hear people talking all the time about how terrible the legacy airlines are. It’s all about them targeting their preferred type of customer.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      I hear ya. LAX does not have free wi-fi. That pisses me off to no end. Denver has it. Even my stupid tiny airport has free intertubes!!

      So when I go to LA on Labor Day weekend, I’ll have to make sure I have something to read that doesn’t require me to be online. Stupid. Coming back through DFW and I don’t think they have it either. Also, I have to fly to Chicago to get to LA! As I understand, ORD doesn’t have it either!!

      I may have to suck it up and pay the stupid fee. The only way I can stand being in the airport for more than an hour is if I can get in my chat room.

  9. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I think the reason for all the odd places is that there is a service there that needs internet anyway, so to add wi-fi for patrons is both easy and costs nothing extra to maintain.

    Even parks, the park management probably needs some kind of internet access, so why not give that access to guests as well? They probably have to have high-speed to do their job, so the chances that patrons will bog down their connection is unlikely.

    • chizu says:

      Actually, having park wide WiFi is becoming a really big thing now. It really helps improve the overall park experience like being able to check for the event calendar while having a snack in the park, or finding where the closest bathroom is, or just simply doing some basic net surfing. It’s definitely a huge selling point for Bryant Park with its local office worker clientele. It helps bring visitors in and just one more thing for them to do.

    • crazydavythe1st says:

      Actually, putting it in parks is a terrific idea.

      I remember in college – sometimes you were knee-deep in calculus homework but having a little green scenery and some sunlight really made it less stressful.

  10. chizu says:

    I miss Phil questions. :( I was totally expecting a question at the end.

    “What odd places have you found free WiFi?”

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      And sadly, it would have been quite aprapo in this case, not wierd at all.

  11. Halloween Jack says:

    So, what’s your standard for “unorthodox”, Phil? Anyplace that isn’t Starbucks?

  12. eezy-peezy says:

    I love having it in the car dealership while I get my oil changed.

  13. inadequatewife says:

    Once again, Phil has managed to twist the original story into something totally different.

    The story simply lists twelve places to find free wi-fi. No where in the story does it refer to these places an unorthodox or unusual.

    I certainly don’t consider libraries, hotels or fast-food restaurants unorthodox at all – they’ve been offering free wi-fi for several years.

    Public wi-fi in my small town is pretty limited beyond the library, coffee shop and McDonalds. But you can drive down many of the side streets and catch an unsecured signal from either a business or a residence with little trouble.

    • crazydavythe1st says:

      I can’t believe I’m defending the Phil, but i see it less as “twisting” and more about him just trying to generate some discussion on the topic. Otherwise, it just turns into glorified copy and paste.

    • Such an Interesting Monster says:

      No one is forcing you to read Phil’s articles. If you don’t like his presentation I suggest you skip them.

  14. SecretAgentWoman says:

    They are putting WiFi on commuter trains and buses here in the Dallas/Ft Worth area. Can’t wait!

  15. Wes_Sabi says:

    Like unique, something is either ubiquitous or it isn’t.

  16. Rexy on a rampage says:

    A word of warning about public, unsecured Wi-Fi…never enter any data over the connection that you wouldn’t want the world to see. It is relatively easy for anyone to intercept what’s being sent or received.

  17. mdshannon says:

    It is not totaly free, you must have Brighthouse cable service at home, but WIFI equipment has been placed along miles of beach front in the Melbourne FL area for all of the people that can not give up the Internet while on the beach.

    The map is at :

  18. LoadStar says:

    I had my phone detect a guest Wi-Fi network at a corner gas station. Not a fancy one with a cafe and all that – just a plain old gas station with a typical small convenience store. That surprised me, because I can’t see anyone spending long enough there to need Wi-Fi.

  19. Kuri says:

    I saw it at the Laundromat when my mom and I had to go there when our washer was on the fritz.

  20. sgtyukon says:

    Since nobody else went for the obvious, I guess I have to: An unorthodox location for WiFi would be a reform synagogue. Am I right?

  21. dave731 says:

    I really find none of these odd, an odd hotspot would have an ssid AMI$H_BUGGY_WIFI. One of my favorite ssids I have seen in the neighborhood is FBI_SURVEILLANCE_VAN

  22. Such an Interesting Monster says:

    Word of caution — it’s very easy for scammers to set up what appears to be “free wifi” and steal your facebook, twitter, and email passwords, or any other sensitive information. And there is almost no way to tell if the access point you see is real or fake. So ALWAYS be cautious when using free wifi hotspots, especially in very busy public places like airports, shopping malls, etc., and limit your activities to basic web browsing without use of any passwords.

    Bang Goes the Theory just did a whole segment on this, and it kinda blew my mind (which isn’t very easy to do). Definitely makes me think twice about using free wifi in the future, especially if I can’t verify the owner.

    • gman863 says:


      And it goes without saying….never, EVER access your on-line banking, PayPal or anything involving entering your credit card # for a purchase on a public network.

  23. scoosdad says:

    Once in awhile in a moment of gastronomical weakness, me and the dog go for a ride out in the country to a tiny hole in the wall shack named Hot Dog Annie’s that sells nothing but hot dogs and stuff to eat with hot dogs. No tables or seats inside and you have to take your food outside and sit at picnic tables or in the car.

    They have free wifi so I usually do a video call to my 5 year old nephew in another state on his iPod Touch and so he ‘goes’ to the hot dog place with us. He gets a kick out of that.

  24. MotorboatJones says:

    Starbucks? How is that unorthadox?

  25. MyTQuinn says:

    Hospital cafeteria? Pft… our local hospital has free Wifi throughout the entire building.

  26. Paul @ The Frugal Toad says:

    I have an app on my iPhone called Free Wi-Fi Finder that allows you to locate wi-fi hotpspots near you and bookmark them for later. You would be amazed at some of the places that offer wifi, intentionally or not!

  27. XTREME TOW says:

    In many places, the number of WIFI’s listed when you search for networks reminds me of CB radio. There are so many, sometimes they interfere with each other.

  28. BurtReynolds says:

    And yet it is still an extra charge in most $200 a night hotel rooms.