Top Ten Free Things to do in New York City

top ten free things to do in new york city


New York City is a top travel destination for many reasons.
There’s a wide variety of amazing culinary attractions, and iconic landmarks in a relatively small area.
It’s also easy to experience New York City on a budget thanks to a reliable and cheap transport system and budget options for accommodation like Airbnb and hostels.
Budget travel is also easy when you don’t have to burn money on activities, and luckily there are dozens of free things to do in New York City.
Some of them are free because they suck, and some are just genuinely amazing deals.

THE TOP TEN FREE THINGS TO DO IN NEW YORK CITY.

Manhattan skyline seen from Brooklyn Heights - top ten free things to do in new york city

TAKE THE STATEN ISLAND FERRY

Hop on board at Whitehall in South Manhattan and get a short ride that includes views of the Brooklyn skyline, the Manhattan skyline, and the Statue of Liberty. It’s free every day and runs throughout the day.

Check out the schedule here.

free things to do in new york city - staten island ferry

VISIT MOMA ON A FRIDAY

The Museum of Modern Art is often identified as the most influential museums of modern art in the world. MoMA’s holdings include more than 150,000 individual pieces in addition to approximately 22,000 films and 4 million film stills. Pieces in the museum include ….
As long as you don’t mind a line and a crowd, then head to Moma for Uniqlo Free Friday Nights.

moma- museum of modern art new york city

CHELSEA GALLERIES ART CRAWL

The Chelsea Neighborhood is a popular district for art and nightlife. The concentration of art galleries that have no entry fees as well as many bars and restaurants makes it the perfect place for an art crawl.

peter lik exhibit - free things to do in new york city

STROLL THE HIGHLINE

The Chelsea Neighborhood is also home to The Highline, a revitalized piece of New York City’s past.

The Highline is an elevated parkway that’s built on a disused New York Central Railroad spur.

Talking a stroll along this park is relaxing and scenic, but they also feature guided tours and other events like stargazing, tai chi, and Latin dance parties.

high line park new york city

CROSS THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE

Brooklyn and Manhattan are the two top boroughs in New York City and crossing the Brooklyn Bridge is the most scenic way to get from one to the other.

Cross during the day to see the skyscrapers of Manhattan gleaming in the bright sunlight, or at night to see the skyscrapers lit up and twinkling in the velvet sky.

three days in new york city

VISIT THE BROOKLYN BREWERY

It’s possible to find beers like Brooklyn Lager and Brooklyn East IPA all around the world now, but as long as you’re in New York City you might as well head down to where they’re made.

The Williamsburg based microbrewery offers free tours on Saturdays and Sundays and they have a taproom with most of their beer on rotation.

Find out about their free visit as well as their in-depth tours and tasting events here.

Brooklyn Brewery Summer Ale

TOUR CENTRAL PARK

Central Park is more than just the most visited urban park in the United States. This National Historic Landmark is home to rustic bridges, scenic ponds, and almost 30 sculptures, including Cleopatra’s Needle; an Egyptian obelisk, and a statue of Hans Christian Anderson.

gapstow bridge central park via wikimedia

VISIT THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY

This iconic public library has been featured on TV shows like Sex and the City, and Sienfeld.
Although you can’t get a library card as a souvenir, you can explore most of the 19th century building and read a book in one of the many reading rooms.

The library also hosts events like exhibitions and tours.

new york city public library reading room - image via david iliff - free things to do in new york city

CHECK OUT THE MUSEUM AT FIT

The Museum at the the Fashion Institute of Technology is open for five days of the week and free for all five days.

Collections include garments and accessories from the 18th Century to modern times, and designers like Gabrielle Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, and Vivienne Westwood are all respresented.

New York City is already the fashion capital of North America, so a free fashion museum there would definitely be worth checking out.

Get details on visiting here.

the museum at fashion institute of technology - free things to do in new york city

GO TO A FREE CONCERT

There are free converts held every week throughout New York City. You will definitely find something in your favorite genre or something nearby. You would also be supporting emerging artists and indie rock bands in New York City, and if they ever get famous you could say you saw them for free!

Check out NYC Free Concerts for a schedule.

Free concerts are great, but here are Five Reasons to go to the Governor’s Ball music Fest NYC’s biggest music festival.

Here’s another great list of The Top 25 Things to do in New Yoek City to give you some ideas for fun stuff to do.


NYC Public Library image via David Iliff.

Gapstow Bridge in Central Park via Bryan Schorn

Fashion image via Haute Couture News


1 Comment

  • Roxanne Lucero says:

    Great tips! I think NYC can absolutely be done cheaply – accommodation is certainly the biggest expense so if you can find a couch to crash on, you’re set! I went to NYC on a budget last year and I saved a lot on accommodation since I stayed in a hostel. New York City may be known as one of the most expensive cities in USA, but there’s also no shortage of free things to do. I already visited some museums, Time Square and Statue of Liberty. I also went to a lot of diners and clubs and I watched free concerts at Central Park after checking out the NYC Parks website. By the way, I found a website listing free events in New York which is great because I didn’t have much of a budget. I think FreeEventFinder.com might be useful to people also visiting New York city who are looking for free events in New York.

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