The 45 best for free and totally. This post lists hundreds of free things to do in New York. We include nighttime activities, things to do with children, museums and attractions. During my decade of living in New York City, I've learned some unique hobbies that anyone can enjoy, regardless of their interests and for free.
In a city full of scammers, you have to learn how to play ball on a limited budget, and class begins. Are you going to visit New York City? If you haven't decided where to stay yet, check out our helpful guide to where to stay in New York City (The best neighborhoods for first-time visitors and should avoid +2). Don't you have time? This is our favorite hotel in New York, hands down. Today, visitors can pay their respects to President Ulysses S.
Grant and Julia Grant visiting their grave on the Upper West Side. It's one of the most unique free things to do in New York. Grant's grave is, without a doubt, one of the most famous buildings in New York City because of its importance, especially among history buffs. You can get free tours of the mausoleum through the National Park Service.
Located in the heart of charming Greenwich Village, this is one of the most beautiful parks in New York City. There seems to be a gravitational pull in this place because (like most New Yorkers) I can't help but stop by every time I'm a mile away. Best known for the large monolithic marble arch that is located at the north entrance of the park and overlooks the central fountain. The Washington Square Arch was built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of George Washington's inauguration.
Many people consider this to be one of the most attractive parks in New York and come from all over the city to let go and be themselves. The atmosphere makes Washington Park an ideal place for one of my favorite New York City pastimes, people watching. The energetic atmosphere is contagious and you'll notice park visitors from all corners of the world. You'll see everything from businesswomen to relaxed college students and nervous tourists.
The stars of the show are usually the talented street musicians who give the park a relaxed atmosphere. Entertainment helps make this one of the best free things to do in New York. Coney Island's famous amusement parks and beaches are hot spots during New York City's summer months. I've spent whole days here with friends hanging out on the beaches enjoying one of the best things that can be done for free in New York City.
And of course, taking a dip in the ocean is one of the best things to do for free in New York. This vibrant neighborhood has a lot of history and has fun things to do for all ages. Stroll along the waterfront and enjoy the carnival shops and attractions. You'll never be short of fun summer activities in this New York City neighborhood.
Rockefeller Square is a group of 19 buildings commissioned by the Rockefeller family during the Great Depression in Midtown. The buildings have housed shops, offices and art galleries, among other things. As for free things to do in New York, visiting Rockefeller Plaza is essential during a season, the winter. In fact, it's so popular that it's estimated that more than 100 million people visit the tree a year.
Even if you're not visiting during the holidays, Rockefeller Square is worth a visit. Seasonal works of art are usually on display. The shops and cafes open among the imposing buildings in the center of the city also contribute to the atmosphere of New York City. St.
Patrick's Cathedral is the most beautiful cathedral in New York City. Visiting it is one of the best things to do for free in New York. With more than 5 million visitors a year, this iconic New York City cathedral took 21 years to build because construction stopped during the Civil War. You'll be surprised by the stained glass windows, which consist of 3700 stained glass panels.
The star of the show is the impressive rosette, which spans 26 feet. You'll also see the 20 altars located within the boundaries of this sacred space, two of which were designed by Tiffany %26 Co. There is also a crypt in the basement that serves as the final resting place of all New York cardinals. The shows, which are presented at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park and have great production value, are entertaining for audiences of all ages.
It's a professional-quality play, and even if you're not a “theater geek”, you still have a good time ahead of you. Enjoying a theater of the caliber of Broadway in Central Park is undoubtedly considered one of the best free things to do in New York, if you ask me. You'll find a history that dates back to the War of Independence, making it a great place for history buffs. You can walk around Fort Jay and Castle Williams, both managed by the National Park Service.
The other weekend, one of my friends suggested spending Saturday on Governors Island. Since I never visited her, I enthusiastically accepted the invitation. We spent four hours exploring Governors Island and I was quite impressed. The island is full of public green spaces and we saw a lot of people picnicking and napping on the grass.
Even if the plan is to come here to get a tan on a summer day, it's one of the best free things to do in New York. There is a beautiful rocky outcrop that visitors can climb to enjoy views of New York (that's where I took the photo) and the Statue of Liberty. One of the best free things to do in New York is to be part of a live audience at a television recording. Most of the programs available are late-night talk shows and, if I'm honest, it's a little strange to see your favorite shows being recorded.
The amount of work involved in producing a single episode is staggering, and seeing the presenters and guests up close is surreal. It's a memory I'll never forget. To be honest, it's one of the best free things I've ever done in New York. I highly recommend trying to get tickets for a live recording.
Most of them are free, you just have to request them in advance and stay on the waiting list. I know this may seem like a remote possibility, but my wife and I have done about half of the recordings that we have requested. You can find Bryant Park perfectly tucked away among the imposing office buildings that form the heart of downtown Manhattan. Spanning 9.6 acres, this isn't the biggest park in New York City, no matter how much you can imagine, but it often seems the most crowded.
The lawn in the center of the park houses a stage and a screen where every year films are screened between skyscrapers. A date or meeting here won't cost anything and is one of the most popular free things to do in New York. You can expect crowds of New Yorkers from all five boroughs, as well as tourists clamoring for a good spot. The whole countryside is filled with cheerful people wearing picnic blankets and you can't help but feel like you're in a movie.
During the summer, the lawn opens every Monday at 17:00 and each film starts at 20:00. Food and beverages from the Hester Street Fair can be purchased, as well as beer, snacks and wine from Stout NYC. Continuing the list of free things to do in New York, Bryant Park makes his second consecutive appearance thanks to his ice skating. The magic of New York City during the holiday season is magnified by this enchanting winter pastime.
The lawn, which houses many other free activities in New York, such as yoga and movies in the park, is transformed into a 17,000 square foot ice rink. Admission is free for those who bring their own skates with tickets booked in advance. Skate rental and storage fees are charged for those who need the services. My suggestion for those who would like to enjoy this free activity in New York City is to bring a backpack and skates.
Backpacks are allowed on the ice, so put your shoes in your backpack while you have your skates on and simply change when you get off the ice. Since 1965, seeing a performance by the New York Philharmonic has been considered one of the best things to do for free in New York. His “Concerts in the Park” series has been a staple of summers in the Big Apple for thousands of New Yorkers. Combining world-class classical music with incredible outdoor venues would normally cost an arm and a leg.
Fortunately, these events are free and help expand the reach of classical music to a wide audience. I encourage all my friends to make it a priority to see a show at least once. Classical music isn't to everyone's taste, but seeing it live is completely different. It's epic and monumental, and an experience you won't soon forget.
During the summer months, New Yorkers can kayak on the East River for free, as long as they reserve their spot in advance on their website. Although this is one of the best free things to do in New York, they encourage donations to help keep the program free. It's well worth a stop at the New York Public Library during your visit to New York. Designed in a Beaux-Arts style, this building contrasts sharply with the glass and iron that surrounds it.
As a public library, spending time exploring it is one of the best free things to do in New York. When it opened to the public in 1911, the New York Public Library was officially the largest marble building ever built in the country. Not an easy task, considering that it took 16 years to build this epic structure. However, the wait was worth it: more than 50,000 people showed up on the opening day.
One of my favorite free activities in New York City is finding a book and sitting down to catch up on reading. Being in a historic building somehow makes it much more romantic and really gives it a main character touch. Even though it's not a yacht, riding the Staten Island ferry is an unmissable experience and one of the best free things to do in New York. The ferry leaves from Lower Manhattan and offers stunning views of New York, so you'll want to be as close to the shore of the ferry as possible and have your phone ready to take a picture.
Not to mention that the view of the Statue of Liberty is epic and I was even thrilled the first time I saw it. The views are spectacular and the experience is like being in a playground for adults. I bring all my out-of-town guests here because it's unique. Green grass complements the gorgeous landscape design with ample seating and views to enjoy.
If a hot day is in the forecast, you can expect to find the locals stretched out in the many gardens with picnic baskets and friends. Spending time in New York City's backyard is one of the best free things to do in New York. Central Park exudes a romantic charm that few can resist falling in love with. And there's no denying that visiting the park is a must-see, whether it's your first visit to the Big Apple or your hundredth.
There are street artists who play music and serenade those who pass by, wildlife is engaged in their daily activities and abundant opportunities for my favorite pastime, watching people go by. The best thing to do for free in New York is to enjoy one of the many colorful parades that the city's streets host every year. It may take a little planning, but it's worth the effort. With more than 40 shows a year, it can seem like there's one every two weeks.
Hell, my wife and I were on the Upper East Side a few months ago and when we tried to go home the whole of Fifth Avenue. We heard applause and looked down the street to see the Greek Independence Day parade that was coming directly to us. We had no idea, but we were happy when the procession passed by us. Parades are one of the best things to do for free in New York.
Bring your water bottle and comfortable shoes to stand and enjoy the show. Regardless of whether you have a horse in the race or not, it's fun to celebrate the occasion with your neighbors and guests. Notify me of new publications by email. But I assure you that, as a local resident of New York for more than 20 years, this more than daring statement is 100% true.
So, look for an insurance agency that covers travel changes related to COVID-19, such as my two all-time favorites, World Nomads and Safety Wing. You can also read more about which policy is right for you in my full review here. If so, say hello to your new best friend, the Staten Island Ferry. Think of it as the frugal man's solution to getting an up-close and personal view of Lady Liberty herself.
So if you want to be like all the coolest locals, hop on the Staten Island ferry at the aptly named “Staten Island Ferry Terminal” in Battery Park. Beautiful features that were designed by architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux during the 1860s and 1970s. If you want, you can even enjoy a theatrical performance of Shakespeare in the Park. And yes, it really is 100% free.
The shows are generally held at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. However, tickets can be difficult to come by as the event is INCREDIBLY popular. It was also the site of the first Dutch settlement in the region in 1625 and was where the city's battery was first built (hence the name of the park). It is an imposing 77-story building that was initially designed by William Van Alen and that was finally completed in 1930 as the headquarters in New York of Chrysler, the famous car manufacturer that we all know and that we may or may not love.
Initially built in 1913, the Grand Central Terminal is an instantly recognizable Beaux-Arts style building, with flashy marble floors, elegant Italian marble bill counters and a main esplanade that has a turquoise roof beyond Gorg, inlaid with constellations. In total, it's 1.5 miles long and runs from the Javits Center (near Hudson Yards) to the Whitney Museum in Chelsea. Anyway, as you probably already know, this place is truly iconic. So much so that it was officially declared a national monument in 1987, which easily makes it one of the best free things to do in New York.
Otherwise, you can always attend the Good Morning America summer concert series. It's held in Central Park and it's how I saw the Backstreet Boys for the umpteenth time. Again, come here the night before so you can reserve a spot. However, once you find a gigantic mall on Pier 17 packed with premium retail stores and high-end restaurants, you'll quickly remember exactly where you are.
Although the hippies of the 1960s disappeared long ago, they live among the New York University college students who call this park home. Nowadays, however, there is a monument, museum and visitor center on the corner of Duane Street and African Buriture Ground Way. This is where visitors can pay homage to the 15,000 different people who were buried here throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. Yes, this impressive FIT museum houses a lot of impressive exhibits that show a whopping 50,000 different garments.
Some of which date back to the 18th century. Although there are a lot of different art galleries lining Chelsea's 20th Streets, between 10th and 11th Avenues, the Pace Gallery is easily one of my favorites. Sure, it's a hell of a lot smaller. However, it is located inside the old New York customs house from 1907, which has impressive beaux-art style architecture that is quite impressive on its own.
Besides, you're not supposed to walk on the ground at 100%. Afterwards, explore one of the 100 different stores that house the Westfield World Trade Center shopping center before heading to the Market Lane food court for lunch. Okay, this isn't one of the 100% free things to do in New York. However, it is quite close and worth dedicating 110% of your time to it, since the Bronx Zoo is one of the best animal research and conservation institutions in the entire world.
Founded in 1971, the Bronx Museum of Art has more than 800 multicultural art awards, with a special emphasis on 20th and 21st century artists who live in the Bronx or are of African, Asian or Latino descent. After all, this iconic 12-acre collection of street art murals in Bushwick was first created by local resident Joe Ficalora and has long since become one of the best places to see street art in New York. No trip to downtown Brooklyn would be complete without a walk along this paved walkway that is more than 1800 feet long. First built in 1950, this impressive place is also one of the best free things to do in New York, as it will allow you to enjoy stunning views of Lower Manhattan and the surrounding New York Harbor.
However, for the best views, try to visit it at night. You can also walk along the Squibb Park walkway, which will connect you to Pier 1 of Brooklyn Bridge Park. I mean, Coney Island is a more than historic place that was first converted into an amusement park in the mid-1820s. Finally, the famous Luna Park, ideal for families, was inaugurated in 1903 and turned this area into the modern Mecca of fun that it is today.
This beautiful cemetery was first established in 1838 and is spread over 478 acres. In total, more than 600,000 souls reside permanently. It also opened in 1911 and is a serene 52-acre park filled with thousands of plant species, including a magnificent collection of bonsai trees that may be over 300 years old. And that makes sense, since the Queens County Agricultural Museum has been in operation (as a farm) since 1697 and has a wealth of fun activities for the whole family.
This green space, which dates back to being a swamp for Native Americans and a cemetery for those who fell because of yellow fever, has become one of the most coveted places to visit in New York. Just a 10-minute ferry ride from Lower Manhattan, Governor's Island is a relaxing respite from the nonstop rhythm of New York City. The Roosevelt Island cable car offers an almost free and amazing 360-degree view of New York City, and runs every night after midnight. Fear not, as there are plenty of things to do in New York City that don't cost a penny, but still take advantage of its history and culture.
If you want to visit a New York park that's less touristy, then head to the Socrates Sculpture Park. New York is full of the most prestigious art and history museums, but sometimes their tickets don't seem accessible enough for the everyday New Yorker. Find cows, sheep, pigs and more at the Queens County Agricultural Museum, which dates back to 1697 and is one of the oldest continuous breeding sites in New York State. It's one of the few free things to do in New York City that's now cheaper than it was in 1817, when a round trip ticket.
New York has some of the best street art in the world and Bushwick, in Brooklyn, is a neighborhood where you can see many world-renowned artists. In addition, while this New York City travel guide is full of fun activities that you can enjoy for free in New York, if you plan to see many of the main attractions, one of the most affordable ways is with one of the New York passes. .