Walk The Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge can be walked over 24 hours a day, and until around 9 or 10 pm you will likely find many other people here.
Sunsets are especially spectacular.
From the bridge, youll get incredible 360- degree skyline views of the New York Harbor, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and you can see the Statue of Liberty way off in the distance.
You can use our detailed post on walking the Brooklyn Bridge to make the most of this unforgettable experience.
For those who want some personal guidance while walking the Bridge at night, join us for our combined 911 Memorial and Brooklyn Bridge Night Tour.
It runs Tuesday, Fridays, and Sundays at 7:30 pm from March through October.
We also have a GPS-enabled audio tour of the Brooklyn Bridge that can be used at any time of the day or night.
Visit the 9/11 Memorial
This memorial to the lost lives of 9/11 is located in a simple, spacious wide-open plaza in Lower Manhattan.
Its massive twin fountains are an architectural wonder. Click here to find out about how to visit the Memorial.
Note: If you are considering visiting the 9/11 Museum, they have free hours on Tuesday evenings. To find out more, click here.
Walk the High Line
The High Line is one of the most unusual city parks, built on an abandoned elevated railroad.
A stroll during the day is lovely but it also attracts crowds.
Which Museum: Met Or American Museum Of Natural History
If you have a short time in New York or arent much of a museum person, we would encourage you to choose just one. We saw both, albeit briefly, and wished we would have spent more time in just one so we didnt feel as rushed.
Both museums are impressive and everyone has differing opinions on which is the best. We felt like the American Museum of Natural History was better for families with children, while we personally enjoyed the MET a bit more. Bonus: The rooftop bar at the MET has nice views!
Insider Tip: The MET has free hour-long highlight tours every 15 minutes between 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you have a short amount of time, this is a good way to get the inside scoop on some of the museums most noteworthy pieces.
The guide did a good job of showing us very different pieces from wood carvings to paintings to stained glass to armor to statues. Its a good way to pack a lot into a short amount of time!
Foodie Tip: If you go to the American Museum of Natural History, dont miss the famous cookies at Levain Bakery just a few blocks away. You wont regret it!
Metropolitan Museum of Art : $25 per person or FREE with NYC CityPASS
American Museum of Natural History: $28 per person or FREE with NYC CityPASS
Upright Citizens Brigade Theater
It’s no secret that New York City is known as the theater capital of the world. With Broadway, Off Broadway, and Off Off Broadway, it would be a sin to forego visiting at least one theater in Manhattan. Although, in the middle of a recession where money is tight for most people, and since Broadway tickets can reach into the hundred-dollar range, why not try a theater known for its experimental stagings? At the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater are several free shows, such as Liquid Courage, where brave, and most likely inebriated souls, submit their sketches and perform them if they’re picked that night. It is free to both watch and participate in the show. The weekly School Night performances showcase some of New York City’s best experimental material by stand-up and sketch performers from around the five boroughs. If you’re ready to see what the city that never sleeps has to offer in sketch comedy, check out this paradigm of improv.
- Check the schedule for free shows
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Museum Of Jewish Heritage
Moshe Huberman from The Top Ten Traveler recommends another small museum:
The Museum of Jewish Heritage, located next to The Battery, is one of the most interesting and important museums in New York City. It opened to the public in 1997 with a goal to educate people on Jewish life in the 20th and 21st centuries before, during, and after the holocaust. However, the exhibitions focus mostly on the events of the holocaust, and the full name of the museum reflects that: Museum of Jewish Heritage A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.
The permanent exhibition contains photographs of holocaust survivors that are NYC residents and the Garden of Stones which was created together with holocaust survivors, but the main attraction of the museum today is the exhibition Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. This is a powerful and emotional journey that tells the story of the most significant site of the Holocaust, from its establishment until the liberation of the camps. The Auschwitz exhibition does not just tell the story, it also presents more than 700 real objects and 400 photographs, donated by other museums and institutions from all around the world. The collection includes prisoners uniforms, personal items like shoes, glasses, and suitcases, an original freight train car that was used to bring people into the camp, parts of the camps fence, and more.
Free Things To Do In New York
BY Andrea WienNew York Local Expert
Sure, you coulddrop a bunch of coin to go to the top of the Empire State Building, eat at the fanciest restaurants or walk around on the grounds of the Statue of Liberty. But what if we told you that you could take a boat ride right past Lady Liberty without spending a dime? It’s a possibility and thousands of New Yorkers who ride the Staten Island Ferry do it every day.
New York is chock full of free gems like these ones, but to find them, the secret is connecting with a local who knows all the tricks. Luckily for you, we’re spilling our beans and dishing up the best free spots to enjoy in New York City.
From long, luxurious walks through the city’s parks, including the elevated High Line, to the weird, wacky and wonderful sights at Coney Island, this list curates the best of New York’s offerings into a tidy little package.
So, no matter how small – or non-existent- your budget is, you’re still capable of having a great time in the Big Apple. Now, without further ado, allow us to present to you the 10Best list of New York City’s free things to do.
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American Museum Of Natural History
Located on Central Park West & 79th Street, the Museum of Natural History features incredible exhibitions about human cultures, nature, and the universe. Whether you are interested in dinosaurs or ecology, rare wildlife or Native Americans, this museum has something for everyone.
The museum is divided into seven sections, with each featuring one aspect of nature and the universe. If you are interested in wildlife, then head to Alaska Brown Bear, Blue Whale, Mammoth, The Titanosaur, and Tyrannosaurus rex exhibitions. If human culture is your thing, then go to Origami Holiday Tree, Great Canoe, and Rapa Nui Moai Cast.
There are also special displays in the museum that requires you to pay an additional fee. For instance, The Butterfly Conservatory, which I like a lot.
Visit The Empire State Building
Probably one of the most famous skyscrapers in the world, seeing the Empire State Building is pretty hard to miss.
You see, the Empire State Building actually dominates Midtown and is easy to visit.
If you fancy, head to the top of the Empire State Building which has some great views across the city. Just like the Top of the Rock, its a perfect place to see the city from above.
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Central Park In The Fall
One of the most beautiful retreats in Manhattan is Central Park. There is something going on at every corner and the trees are now in their best autumnal color. You can just stroll around Central Park, ride your bike, or take a guided tour.
Here you find everything you need to know about Central Park Fall Foliage.
Night Itinerary: Dinner A View And A Night Cap
The options available for dinner in New York City are virtually endless. Home to some of the world’s finest restaurants, as well as many more affordable choices, it’s hard to suggest just one place to have dinner, but if you’re in the mood for some of the best Chinese food in the United States, head on over to Chinatown.
Chinese food in New York City is famously delicious, and surprisingly affordable. Two local favorite Chinese restaurants are Wo Hop and Oriental Garden . Wo Hop serves classic Chinese-American cuisine from lo mein to chop suey, in a plain below-street-level location while Oriental Garden focuses on fresh Chinese seafood that’s still swimming in tanks when you arrive. You can also check out some Recommended Chinatown Restaurants for some other ideas.
Getting There: From the West 4th Street Subway, take the B or D downtown 2 stops to the Grand Street Station. Exit on Grand Street and walk west, crossing Bowery. If you’re heading to Oriental Garden, take a left onto Elizabeth Street and walk two blocks. If you’re heading to Oriental Garden, take a left onto Mott Street and walk two blocks.
Getting There: From the recommended restaurants above, you can take the B, D, F, or V train uptown to 34th Street. Walk one block east to 5th Avenue and take a left. The entrance to the Empire State Building is on 5th Avenue between 33rd & 34th Streets.
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Meet A Tyrannosaurus Rex At The Museum Of Natural History
Come face to face with dinosaurs at the American Natural History Museum one of the most fun things to do in NYC. See real Night at the Museum exhibits and size up to an enormous blue whale.
It is not often you can travel to the depths of the Pacific Ocean and visit far-off galaxies all in the same building!
Head To A Bar With Games
There are plenty of bars in New York, but some of them also have games to make your after-work life less boring. One of the bars that my best pal frequently goes to with his co-workers is The Australian NYC, where trivia quizzes are hosted every Tuesday. However, his all-time-favorite is Carraghers, a lively gathering of soccer fans who like to join each other and watch games on the big screens.
For me, I like bars with more unusual games, such as Kick Axe Throwing, where you pay $35 for the opportunity to throw an ax at a large wooden target. At first, it might sound a bit alarming, but it is really fun and operated in a highly controlled environment. You will also always have an Axe-pert with you to ensure your safety.
A few other great options include Barcade in East Village, which has an abundance of vintage game machines, The Diamond in Greenpoint, which has the vibe of a college room and shuffleboard, and Freehold in Williamsburg, which is famous for its ping pong tables, and skeeball machines.
The walls piled high with boardgames at The Uncommons.
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Let The Kids Loose In One Of The Citys Inventive Playgrounds
New York City has no shortage of playgrounds for kids to burn off extra energy, but some are simply cooler than others. At Ancient Playground, next to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, kids can explore pyramid-shaped climbers and check out the obelisk and sundial, both inspired by The Mets collection of Egyptian Art. The Imagination Playground at Burling Slip, designed by architect David Rockwell, encourages kids to use their imagination with giant foam blocks, fabric, and crates. Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park features playgrounds like the Sandbox Village where kids can play in little wooden houses in the sand, and the Water Lab, guaranteed to leave them soaking wet and cool on hot summer days in the city.
Test Your Strength At An Indoor Rock Climbing Spot
Unlike my exercise-obsessed friends, I have never hit a gym, not even once in my life. However, living in New York where people spend most of their free time seeking fit lifestyles, I should squeeze one or two physical activities into my life so that I wont regret it when I get older. This how I came across indoor rock climbing and became obsessed with it.
You can find this growing sport at the top climbing gyms in New York at the price of $10-$15 per session. Some of the popular ones that worth your visit are:
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Experience Van Gogh Art In A New Immersive Way
Have you ever dreamt of living inside a painting?
Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience is an innovative art exhibition in NYC that displays the universe of Vincent van Gogh in a 360-degree digital composition.
Explore Van Goghs work and his secrets in a unique experience, with virtual reality features and an unconventional light and sound atmosphere.
Ready for a spooky night? Go behind the scenes at the Basilica of St. Patricks Old Cathedral. Get access to the off-limits and hidden areas of the Basilica grounds, and step into the only active catacombs in New York City.
Metropolitan Museum Of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the largest museum in the United States and will reopen Saturday, August 29th after being shut down for more than six months amid the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We cannot wait to go back and have the chance to view more than two million works of art curated from Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
Did you know that The Met had not been closed for more than three days in more than a century?
Comprehensive safety procedures, following guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control , New York State, and New York City for increased health and safety procedures, will take place.
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Go To An Interactive Magic Show
Hell have you believing in magic as soon as you see his think a drink illusion.
During this trick, hell pour any drink you name out of his magic silver kettle. Everything from iced coffee to cocktails has poured out of it.
He always hosts these in hotels, so arrive early and grab a cheeky pre-show cocktail in the hotel bar. Its a formal event, so wear a cocktail dress.
Indulge In Pasta In Little Italy
I dont think there is a cooler Italian area anywhere in the world . This is a part of the city that has somewhat kept its heritage. Buildings are decorated with white and green stripes and even the garland hanging over the streets are in Italys colors of red, white and green.
Some eateries have been around since the 1800s and so far, Little Italy has survived gentrification . So go in for a bite to eat and follow in the footsteps of NYCs most famous Italians.
- The best way to experience this area is through food. Book a food tour to truly immerse in Little Italys culture.
- Directions: A Good Start is on Mulberry Street and Canal Street
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The American Museum Of Natural History
If you are looking for things to do in New York with kids, then the American Museum of Natural History is one of the places you will want to add to your itinerary. This is a fun museum for them to see dinosaurs, life size animals and scenic displays.
We didnt love this the American Museum of Natural History museum, but a lot of people do! And the life-like displays are very impressive.
Go Birdwatching In Central Park
There are about 230 different species of birds in Central Park, with many paying a visit to the Big Apple to rest and feed during the spring and fall migrations. Bird watching novices can also borrow a free, kid-friendly discovery kit with binoculars, a guidebook, maps, and sketching materials from a Central Park Conservancy visitor center.
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See A Free Comedy Show
If you love a good laugh, then head to any of these venues to see a comedy show: Comedy Cellar and Gotham Comedy Club for standup and Upright Citizens Brigade for improv, sketch, and standup.
For those who dont want to squander on expensive tickets, head to Peoples Improv Theater, a comedy theater and training center that hosts improvisational comedy for free every Wednesday.
Go See A Taping Of The Daily Show
America’s favorite satirist has priceless pearls of parodied political wisdom, but you won’t have to pay a dime to see him live. Jon Stewart receives uproarious laughter Monday through Thursday on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, as he points out the contradictory nature of politics and the media. With guests ranging from actors to politicians, Stewart never disappoints, whether he’s criticizing someone’s book or bringing his guest to tears of laughter. Stewart and his Daily Show correspondents deliver comedy along with common sense making the news easily digestible. While many shows are sold out because of the show’s enormous popularity, you can still contact the studio directly to see if there are any open dates.
- How to get tickets to the Daily Show
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