Bike Or Walk Across The High Line
Formerly an elevated train line built in the 1930s, this innovative urban public park is a must-see for anyone visiting NYC. You will encounter interesting artwork, cozy seating areas, and food vendors while taking in some of the city’s best views. After your walk, drop by Chelsea Market for a bite to eat or pop into the Whitney Museum of American Art, which is included in the NYC Culture Pass.
Venture to the Bronx Zoo to get up-close and personal with lions, bears, flamingos, tigers, lemurs, and more. The California Sea Lion show is always a big hit regardless of age. Your little ones might also enjoy exploring the Butterfly Garden or Dinosaur Safari. Bronx Zoo Admission is reduced for adults and children over 2 on Wednesdays. Although, you must reserve your spot in advance online.
Chelsea Market A Popular Place To Go In Nyc For Free
If you take the High Line, which I mentioned earlier, youll pass by Chelsea Market, another place to goin NYC for free. This huge market is actually a remodeled Nabisco factory, and today it includes all kinds of food stalls, markets, shops, a TV production studio, and corporate offices.
10. Chelsea Market, a popular place to go in NYC for free
As you walk through Chelsea Market, youll find a variety of foods and products, ranging from ethnic dishes and artisan cheeses to fresh produce and specialty items and crafts. Its quite an experience to browse through all these products, not to mention a fun, free thing to do in NYC on a rainy day!
Moreover, surrounding the market youll find public art and interesting galleries, so its worth exploring the area.
Hear Sizzling Live Jazz At Barbs
Having helped to launch the careers of legendary jazz artists like Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk, New York Citys club scene is enshrined into the pages of jazz history, and seeing a live show here is an essential NYC experience for music lovers. If iconic venues like the Village Vanguard and the Blue Note are way out of your price range, head across the bridge to Barbès in Brooklyn to enjoy stellar nightly performances for free.
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Interact With The Art At Socrates Sculpture Park
Overlooking Roosevelt Island and the Upper East Side on the East River, the site of a former landfill now hosts Socrates Sculpture Park, a playful and free outdoor museum and public park with large-scale interactive sculptures and multimedia art installations. On Wednesdays in the summer, free movie screenings take place, with an emphasis on foreign films, preceded by corresponding music and cultural performances.
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Best Things To Do In New York City
In no particular order, here is our list of the best things to do in New York City. At the end of this article, you can see all of them on a map.
1. Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island
Location: Liberty Island and Ellis Island
If it is your first time to New York City, the Statue of Liberty is a must-see. This copper statue, which was a gift from France to the United States in 1886, greeted millions of immigrants in the late 19th century and early 20th century.
The Statue of Liberty was designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and the metal framework was built by Gustave Eiffel. The statue is the figure of Libertas, a Roman goddess of liberty. In her left hand, she holds the tabula ansata, dated July 4, 1776, the date of the US Declaration of Independence.
You can visit just the Statue of Liberty or you can combine the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island together as a round trip excursion from Manhattan.
Statue of Liberty | Best Things to Do in New York City
On Liberty Island, you can climb the base of the Statue of Liberty or go all of the way to the crown. Both of these options require advance tickets, and they do sell out, so make sure you book your tickets well in advance.
Ellis Island was an immigrant inspection station and approximately 12 million immigrants were processed here between 1905 and 1954.
2. Visit Central Park
Central Park is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world. Its also one of the most filmed locations in the world.
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Movies With A View At Brooklyn Bridge Park
There are many different locations that offer movies outside for free during the summer but I think the best one is at Brooklyn Bridge Park. It certainly is a free thing to do in NYC that is actually worth doing! They set up the viewing screen to be at the bottom of a hill so that no ones view is blocked, plus you have stunning panoramic vistas of the Manhattan Skyline surrounding the screen. Make sure you arrive early to claim your spot because it can get crowded. I recommend bringing a picnic with you to enhance the experience.
New Yorkers Arent Really Rude
Hear me out! For some reason, New York has this image of being full of rude people, but thats really not the case! If you were to ask for help from a stable looking human on the streets, most people will be more than happy to help you!
In general New Yorkers are just known to be in a rush, like things fast-paced, potentially overworked, or stressed. City life! Also with so many people crowded in the city, its just easier to not make eye contact with people.
New Yorkers do have some pet-peeves that could bring some rudeness out, but as long as you know these New York City travel tips, you shouldnt run into any trouble!
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Admire The Ceiling At Grand Central Station
Even if youre not taking a train, its worth a stop to visit Grand Central Station, if only to admire the architecture, its famous, celestial ceiling and famed opal clock above the Information Booth. Exit at 42nd Street and Park Avenue to view the second-most famous clock at Grand Central and the viaduct.
Tour Street Art Galleries
Besides museums, did you know theres a ton of one-of-a-kind art to be seen right on the streets of NYC? Here are the best spots for street art in the city:
8. First Street Green Art Park : This special park on the Lower East Side celebrates art with murals, music, sculpture, workshops, photography and installations.
Address: 33 E 1st St.
9. The Bowery Wall: The history of this mural wall goes back to 1982, when Keith Haring created his first public work there. It moved back and forth between artistic endeavors and advertising space over the years, but now is reserved for murals by new NYC artists. Currently there is a mural that reflects the graffiti roots and history of NYC.
Address: 76 E Houston St.
10. Wellington Art Mural Project: This display in Astoria hosts over 100 murals by local and international artists alike spanning multiple blocks. See a full map on their website here.
Address: 11-98 Welling Ct., Astoria
11. The Bushwick Art Collective: This Brooklyn outdoor street art gallery is likely the largest in NYC, totaling about 100 blocks of art displays.
Address: 427 Troutman St., Brooklyn
12. Freeman Alley: You might pass this little alley, also on the Lower East Side, without a second glance, but it actually holds some of the most interesting layered displays of local artwork and graffiti. And, theres even a restaurant hidden at the end of the alley!
Address: Between Bowery and Chrystie St. on the Lower East Side
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The Brooklyn Botanic Garden
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a 52-acre botanical garden within Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, open to the public for free each Friday before noon and throughout the day on weekdays between December and February. The gardens were originally founded in 1910 and house significant collections of cherry trees, roses, and other native and exotic plants, attracting more than 900,000 visitors each year. Outdoor gardens include a Japanese garden, a native flora garden, and the oldest continually-operating children’s botanic garden in the world. Three indoor plant pavilions and an aquatic plant house are also showcased within the Steinhardt Conservatory, which is also home to the C.V. Starr Bonsai Museum.
990 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225, Phone: 718-623-7200
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Explore Art And History At The Green
You don’t need to be paying respects to a loved one in order to visit Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. The 478-acre plot, which is free to the public and open seven days a week, is a destination for art and history lovers. Slip a secret into Sophie Calles “Here Lie the Secrets of the Visitors of Green-Wood Cemetery,” a 25-year-old installation, or peruse 9,000 artifacts belonging to Green-Wood residents. Despite being in the city, the cemetery’s world-renowned arboretum provides a tranquil escape to nature.
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Cheap Thrills In The Big Apple: New York Citys Best Free Experiences
May 7 8 min read
Cheap thrills in the Big Apple: New York Citys best free experiences
May 7 8min read
New York City evokes both high-rise luxury and savvy deals. And the best offer in town? The number of free attractions the Big Apple has to enjoy.
Read on for our roundup of some of our favorite concerts, museums, tours and much more to take in, all of which are always free.
Tour An Ice Cream Museum
At Ample Hills’ interactive ice cream museum, located in their 15,000-square-foot Red Hook factory, you can watch ice cream being made and even make flavor suggestions on their “every flavor tells a story” board. If you get hungry after , try The Hook, a flavor unique to the factory made of burnt sugar ice cream mixed with salty fudge bites and Dutch stroopwafels.
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Sightsee At Little Island
You must reserve a free admission timed ticket to access this modernized public pier park, but rest assured that this is a trip that is worth it. This is a renovated version of the pier that used to be used as the main proponent in the shipping and handling of goods coming into the city by boat.
This newly reimagined space now has lush green surroundings with flowers, amphitheaters for events, and even hosts art festivals. You can visit this Little Island for free and have access to most of the events being hosted by the island such as art festivals and outdoor performances at the amphitheater. This is an exciting way to experience a natural outdoor art renovation that is becoming a popular New York City standout.
Best Neighborhoods To Explore In New York City
This is New York City. Every neighborhood has an insane amount of cool bars, restaurants, shops and unique things to do.
But we cant list them all, otherwise this would be a 1000 things to do in New York City article and it probably wouldnt even load on your device!
Instead, we will very briefly touch on the more popular trendy areas to eat and drink your way through once youre done with attraction hopping.
Here are the best NYC neighborhoods to explore:
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Join The Audience Of A Live Taping
New York live TV shows offer a list of free tapings to its audience members. Exciting, right? From Saturday Night Live, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert or the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, all shows request an audience, and you can be in it.
Typically, tickets are released a month in advance, so definitely plan ahead. Filming can begin anywhere from later afternoon to early evening, and I highly suggest arriving early so you can get the best seat! Good Luck!
Roam Around Socrates Sculpture Park
Open every day from 9 a.m. to sunset, the Socrates Sculpture Park is situated on a former abandoned waterfront landfill in Long Island City, and has hosted large-scale works from more than 1,000 artists over the years. Past exhibits include “Planeta Abuelx” by Guadalupe Maravilla and “The Lake Project 62” by David Maisel. The park also hosts activities like yoga, meditation, and a farm stand.
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Visit The Brooklyn Museum
This museum offers free admission days to all visitors, usually on the first Saturday of most every month, aside from January and September. The museum has recently expanded their free admissions by now offering this deal on Thursday nights as well. This museum is open for free admission on these days from 6pm to 11pm.
If you want to spend your night admiring paintings and sculptures from multiple different cultures, such as Egyptian and other African art, then this is your perfect option. A hub for cultural art located in Brooklyn, this is a great stop to add if you are planning to museum hop and want to get a taste of the multiple different art mediums associated with these unique cultures.
Visit The Queens Night Market
Located in the heart of beautiful Flushing Meadows Corona Park, this fantastic evening food festival offers great food, live music, and art installations. You will likely find more inexpensive options at Queens Night Market than at Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg. However, either food festival will make an exciting addition to your New York City trip itinerary! We suggest getting to the park a bit earlier to check out The New York Hall of Science and the famous Unisphere.
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African Burial Ground National Memorial
Visit the oldest and largest ever known African burial ground in Lower Manhattan for both free and enslaved Africans at the African Burial Ground National Memorial. This burial ground had over 15,000 skeletal remains from Africans who lived and worked in colonial New York.
Tours are available to gain a deeper understanding of the grounds or freely walk around this national memorial. Here stories, see artifacts and pay your respects.
Seasonal Activities For Kids
Summer in NYC keeps the kids busy with water activities, outdoor movies, playgrounds, and theatrical performances.
The fall has the Halloween Parade, Thanksgiving Parade, and pumpkin-related events galore, like the Great Pumpkin Flotilla in Central Park.
In winter, they can go ice-skating and see the holiday lights, including the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.
Spring has Easter egg hunts, Governors Island opens for the season, and baby animals abound at the Bronx Zoo.
See the Seasonal/Monthly section below for more information.
Be sure to look at the monthly posts for the time you are visiting, as they have a section dedicated to things to do with kids, including some free events
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Go Kayaking On The Hudson River
An exciting way to take in the beautiful sights of Manhattans skyline while at the same time burning some calories takes place in the Hudson. The Manhattan Community Boathouse offers free kayaking at Pier 96, where you can loan a kayak for up to 2 people. If you think theres a catch to this, youre wrong! Generous donations and volunteers make the free rentals possible.
The kayaks are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, meaning you may have to wait in line until its your turn unless youre early. If youre early enough, you can enjoy one of the most fun things to do in New York City that are free without waiting in line. Also, know that you must be 18 years old to pilot a kayak. Every minor needs to be accompanied by an adult in a two-seater.
Check the opening hours before you go!
Manhattan Community Boathouse opens to the public from May through October but has a varying schedule.
- Saturday and Sunday: 10 am 6 pm
- Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 5:30 pm 7:30 pm
See The Christmas Tree
What to do for free in New York during the holidays? One of the free Christmas things to do is going to Rockefeller Center to check out the Christmas tree. The famous tree attracts thousands of visitors every day when its lit up during Christmas time in NYC. Its very romantic too which is why a lot of men go down on one knee at this location in New York. So if you were wondering what is there in Manhattan to do for free, there you go.
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Picnic At The Brooklyn Bridge Park
Stationed under the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge Park welcomes thousands of visitors each week who flock here for awe-inspiring views of Manhattan and pleasant picnic spots along the waterfront. The park also features special events on select days, including free movies , kayaking, rowing , and fitness classes.