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Valerie
Los Angeles

New York City

Free things to do in New York City?

I'm going to be in New York City next month and will be on a pretty tight budget. I'm looking for the best free and inexpensive things to check out! I love the outdoors, art, museums, you name it. Thanks!


14 Answers

top answer by
Jesse from New York City

High Line Park and Chelsea Market are cool.  Staten Island Ferry is free and gives you great views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island (there's also a great restaurant on Staten Island walking distance from the ferry called Enoteca Maria).  Of course all the parks are worth a visit - Central ParkBryant Park (also close to the New York Public Library - Mid-Manhattan Library and Grand Central Terminal), Washington Square ParkMadison Square Park (there's a Shake Shak in MSP and Eataly is right across the street).  You can walk around Little Italy and Chinatown New YorkHop Kee is great Chinese food and BYOB so you can eat like kings on the cheap.



Mentioned in this answer:

  1. High Line Park (attraction)
  2. Staten Island Ferry (attraction)
  3. Enoteca Maria (restaurant)
  4. Central Park (attraction)
  5. Bryant Park (attraction)
  6. New York Public Library - Mid-Manhattan Library (attraction)
  7. Grand Central Terminal (attraction)
  8. Washington Square Park (attraction)
  9. Madison Square Park (attraction)
  10. Eataly (restaurant)
  11. Little Italy (neighborhood)
  12. Chinatown New York (neighborhood)
  13. Hop Kee (restaurant)
5 thankscomments (3)


answered by
kenneth from Palmetto

Spend some time in Central Park S...sit on the grass and people watch, you won't be disappointed...

Best deal for the money, or the lack thereof, is Chinatown New York...it keeps the flavor of an ethnic neighborhood...it's crammed with small businesses, local markets,and tremendous deals on clothing...

You can find authentic chinese cuisine here too and the prices are very reasonable.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Central Park S (attraction)
  2. Chinatown New York (neighborhood)
4 thanks


answered by
Constanze from Hong Kong Island

Hi,

the The Metropolitan Museum of Art has suggested admission price - so give as much as you can. Museum of Modern Art has free admission Friday Nights, held every Friday evening from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m - not sure about lines. The galleries in Chelsea (19th to 24th streets between 10th and 11th Avenue) are absolutely worth the visit and free of charge. Walk along the Hudson River - the piers are amazing, there is often music and the views of the Statue of Liberty are free - take a picnic, there is chairs and tables everywhere. Also the 9/11 memorial is free (only need tickets for museum). Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge to enjoy the skyline.

Great, not too expensive restaurants you will find in the East Village/Lower East Side.

You will get the most out of NYC by just walking around all day long.

Have a great trip.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (attraction)
  2. Museum of Modern Art (attraction)
  3. Statue of Liberty (attraction)
  4. Brooklyn Bridge (attraction)
  5. East Village (neighborhood)
  6. Lower East Side (attraction)
3 thanks


answered first by
Alex from New York City

Free movies in Bryant Park (I believe on Monday evenings). I would also just give a quick google for: "free summer movies NYC". There should be some on the Intrepid aircraft carrier and in some of the Hudson River Piers!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Bryant Park (attraction)
3 thanks


answered by
Steven from New York City

Take the ferry to Staten Island. It goes right by the Statue of Liberty and it affords amazing views of Manhattan.


Go to the The Metropolitan Museum of Art - it's an optional donation (technically free!)

Walk around Central Park - definitely check out Belvedere Castle, Strawberry Fields, Central Park - Sheep Meadow, the Pond and the Gallery.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Staten Island (island)
  2. Statue of Liberty (attraction)
  3. Manhattan (region)
  4. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (attraction)
  5. Central Park (attraction)
  6. Belvedere Castle (attraction)
  7. Strawberry Fields (attraction)
  8. Central Park - Sheep Meadow (attraction)
2 thanks


answered by
jeff from Kansas City (Missouri)

The High Line Park for sure.

The Staten Island Ferry

Get on one of the Citi Bikes, the inexpensive bike sharing system.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. High Line Park (attraction)
  2. Staten Island Ferry (attraction)
2 thanks


answered by
Jenn from Boston

Hit as many parks as you can. There are so many lovely areas with views all around Central Park. Staten Island Ferry is cheap way to see Manhattan from the water instead of paying for an expensive tour boat. If you are on your own, subways will be the cheapest way around. If you are with a group, taxi's can be reasonable. Good luck!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Central Park (attraction)
  2. Staten Island Ferry (attraction)
  3. Manhattan (region)
1 thanks


answered by
Shayna from New York City

Hi Valerie, You're coming at a great time for FREE stuff in New York City.  There are tons of events/activities available: Concerts in Central Park (Summerstage), Prospect Park (Celebrate Brooklyn) and South Street Seaport, movie screenings in Bryant Park, plenty of food festivals.  You can Google all of these for dates/times/performance details.  Also check online for Time Out New York and NYCgo.com's listing of free scheduled events. I also used Pinterest as a resource before a recent trip to Europe.  I found a lot of blogs written by younger folks who had been there recently (vs. some of the typical travel sites that only have the standard spots to visit).


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. New York City (city)
  2. Central Park (attraction)
  3. Prospect Park (attraction)
  4. South Street Seaport (attraction)
  5. Bryant Park (attraction)
1 thanks


answered by
TYree from Brooklyn

You can check out Summerstage on the NYC parks and recreation website. They list a host of free top notch and diverse concerts, shows and events.


1 thanks


answered by
Roxanne

I went to New York on a budget last year and I was able to come up with my itinerary by following the tips and suggestions from several travel blogs. They were very useful specially for travelers who are on a budget. I visited free museums and the High Line Park. In the evening I watched a free concert 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 who are looking for free things to do. 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. High Line Park (attraction)
  2. Central Park (attraction)


answered by
Kelly from Massachusetts

I enjoyed The National Museum of the American Indian located at One Bowling Green right at the Bowling Green Subway Station. Different and enjoyable. I couldn't stop looking at the beautiful building itself. Great for architecture enthusiasts. It was interesting finding out the history of how Manhattan was named. Could be another thing to do with kids before the Statue of Liberty visit. Another place is Washington Square Park which is a nice spot to picnic. Very picturesque with street performers, gardens, and water fountains.   


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. National Museum of the American Indian (attraction)
  2. Statue of Liberty (attraction)
  3. Washington Square Park (attraction)


answered by
Michael from New York City

Check out High Line Park. (Free) 

Staten Island Ferry. (Free)


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. High Line Park (attraction)
  2. Staten Island Ferry (attraction)


answered by
Ron from Fair Lawn, New Jersey

Museum of Modern Art-during the week and the Jewish Museum


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Museum of Modern Art (attraction)
  2. Jewish Museum (attraction)


answered by
Shayna from New York City

Also, the Museum Mile Festival is on June 9th.  Free admission to 9 different museums + outdoor block party.  Lots of fun!






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