45 Fabulous Free Things to Do in NYC (By a New Yorker!)


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Trust me — if you stay in New York, you shortly study all of the free issues to do in NYC. We joke that simply leaving your residence prices $20! It could also be in jest, but it surely’s a bit too near the reality.

One of the secrets and techniques of surviving in New York is studying the way to have enjoyable on as little cash as potential, as a result of this metropolis tends to be much more costly than you think about. And you’ll study that in your journey to New York! Whether you’re keen on eating out, seeing Broadway reveals, or dancing until daybreak, I assure you’ll find yourself spending greater than anticipated.

Luckily, there are tons of fantastic free actions in NYC to take pleasure in. Amazing parks and museums. Historic websites. Cool neighborhoods the place simply strolling round is an journey. All you want is a Metrocard (ideally limitless) to take pleasure in your go to!

That mentioned — issues change through the years, and New York in 2022 will not be New York in 2012. On one hand, points of interest just like the Metropolitan Museum of Art are now not providing pay-what-you-wish admission to all; it’s now just for locals. On the opposite hand, enjoyable free Instagram-friendly points of interest like Little Island have popped up, changing into new classics.

And elements of Brooklyn, the borough as soon as sniveled at by Miranda Hobbes, is now costlier and stylish than a lot of Manhattan. Queens is true behind.

One factor’s for positive — this metropolis is at all times evolving. And it doesn’t matter what your funds is, whether or not you’re a solo feminine traveler in New York, having a weekend getaway together with your buds, or visiting together with your youngsters, you will discover loads of enjoyable free issues to do in New York City.

Kate standing in a black crop top and blue denim skirt in front of modern skyscrapers in lower Manhattan.
Even simply taking a stroll round a special neighborhood is a pleasant free factor to do in New York!

So Many Free Things to Do in NYC

A big orange Staten Island ferry boat sailing past the Manhattan skyline.

Classic Free New York Experiences

Let’s begin with the long-lasting free issues to do in NYC! And you’ll be able to’t do higher than the Staten Island Ferry.

Ride the Staten Island Ferry

Submitted by Katie from KatieCafTravel.com  

Plenty of vacationers come to New York City and pay tons of cash to take a harbor cruise or the ferry to the Statue of Liberty — however what most individuals don’t know is that there’s a fair higher boat that runs 24/7, and it’s free to experience! 

The Staten Island Ferry is a favourite open secret in New York City for being the most effective time you’ll be able to have with out spending a single greenback. 

Operating since 1905, the Staten Island Ferry runs a ship each quarter-hour between Staten Island and Manhattan, 24 hours a day, day by day of the yr. 

In the daytime, you may get an important up-close view of the Statue of Liberty, and at night time the ferry provides implausible views of the New York Skyline all lit up. 

The Staten Island Ferry has additionally change into generally known as a celebration spot, with numerous individuals BYOB-ing their drinks onboard whereas they benefit from the view.  Sometimes there are even birthday events onboard! Making the Staten Island Ferry the most effective free get together venue in Manhattan. 

You can take the Staten Island Ferry from the Whitehall Ferry Terminal in south Manhattan.

Tip: Sometimes some guys attempt to promote tickets to the Staten Island Ferry outdoors of Whitehall Terminal — don’t give them any cash! The ferry is 100% free for everybody to make use of, individuals claiming to promote tickets are simply scammers. (Note from Kate: Just say, “I’m local,” and everybody will cease bothering you.)

Make it an inexpensive exercise: Both ferry terminals promote meals and drinks, together with beer, wine, and blended canned drinks, and it’s authorized to drink on the ferry. Spice issues up!

Times Square, filled with bright lights, taxis, and giant signs advertising Broadway shows like Wicked and Jersey Boys.
Times Square, through Andrey Bayda on Shutterstock.

Enjoy Times Square at Night

Submitted by Rasika from Bae Area and Beyond

Times Square is among the most iconic locations in New York City. It’s generally known as “the Crossroads of the World” as a result of it’s the place Broadway and seventh Avenue meet forty second Street.

It’s additionally one of many greatest vacationer points of interest in NYC due to its excessive focus of theaters and resorts, and brilliant lights that entice guests from all corners of the world. It’s the guts of New York City, and has been since 1904. Today, it’s house to a few of the world’s greatest manufacturers and largest points of interest. It’s an important place to people-watch and it’s filled with iconic landmarks.

Grab a spot on the pink staircase on the TKTS sales space for a large view of Times Square. There are loads of attention-grabbing retailers to take a look at, from Hershey’s Chocolate World to Hard Rock Cafe.

Times Square is nice to go to at any time of day, however night time is the most effective time of all. This is when all of the lights come on, and it’s simple to discover a spot for taking photographs. If you might be visiting through the day, you’ll be able to nonetheless get some good photographs by strolling across the space and taking pictures from completely different angles. There are additionally some avenue performers who carry out on sure days, which provides to the enjoyable of this place!

A couple leaning over the edge of the Brooklyn Bridge to take a picture, the Manhattan skyline behind them.

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge

Submitted by Jess from Uprooted Traveler

The Brooklyn Bridge, constructed within the late Eighteen Eighties, is an icon in New York City, with over 116,000 automobiles, 30,000 pedestrians and three,000 cyclists crossing the bridge every day! There’s one thing so magical about strolling from the shadows of the towering skyscrapers of Manhattan and, with every step, getting nearer to the Brooklyn skyline as Manhattan shrinks behind you.

Start on the Manhattan aspect, so that you’ll get to discover areas of Brooklyn, like DUMBO, when you attain the opposite aspect of the bridge. I like to recommend taking the 4, 5, or 6 practice to City Hall / Brooklyn Bridge or the J or Z practice to Chambers Street. 

Once coming into the bridge, be certain to stay to the left hand aspect of the walkway otherwise you would possibly get run over by a bicyclist! The bridge is a bit over a mile lengthy and can take roughly half an hour to stroll throughout.

For the most effective photographs, make sure to get to the bridge early — it’s a particularly fashionable vacation spot with guests, in addition to an vital thoroughfare for the town, so in the event you come any later than round 7:30 AM, anticipate your photographs to be filled with different individuals. To get one of many basic photographs of the bridge, make sure to stroll near the middle pylons, in order that their Gothic arches fill the digicam’s body.

Make it an inexpensive exercise: If you’re staying in Manhattan, contemplate taking the ferry again (simply $2.75!), when you’re achieved exploring Brooklyn- it leaves from Dumbo and can present epic views of the Manhattan skyline for 45 minutes till you’re dropped off at thirty fourth avenue.

A little park on the edge of Manhattan, and lots of green space propped up on flower-like concrete planters submerged in the sea. You see the lower Manhattan skyling in the background and it's all underneath a pink sunset.

Little Island

Submitted by Catherine Xu of Nomadicated

With an epic view of the Manhattan skyline, stroll across the winding pathways and pot-shaped buildings on one among New York City’s latest public parks, Little Island. Open in May 2021, the creation of Little Island remodeled the broken Pier 54 into an city oasis.

Little Island is a synthetic island floating simply off West thirteenth Street on the Hudson River. This small 2.4-acre space options greater than 400 species of crops, meant to represent a leaf floating on water.

Perfect for guests passing by Greenwich Village and Chelsea, this public park can also be an important beginning location for different New York sights just like the Vessel and the Highline.

A go to to this leisure space is open to the general public and free for all. However, particular occasions on the Amph require a paid ticket to attend. Check out the calendar of occasions for close to each day reveals starting from Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble and Interpretive Dance to Clowning Comedy and every thing in between.

Little Island is open, rain or shine, three hundred and sixty five days a yr beginning at 6:00 AM, save for extreme climate. Closing hours rely upon the season, with summer time hours ending at midnight and winter at 9:00 PM.

A tall Christmas tree in the center of Rockeller Center

Rockefeller Center

Submitted by Sam Opp from Find Love & Travel

Did you even go to New York City with out exploring Rockefeller Center? This free attraction is well one of many high issues to do in New York City. Commissioned by John D. Rockefeller Jr., this complicated is among the most acknowledged National Historic Landmarks.

Rockefeller Center stretches a complete avenue and a number of other blocks filled with Art Deco buildings, together with Radio City Music Hall! This is the right place to marvel at Manhattan structure and artwork from the Nineteen Thirties! 

If you might be visiting New York in December, Rockefeller Center is a must-see for the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree! Millions of individuals come from all all over the world to see this well-known Christmas tree all lit up with its large Swarovski star atop. Better but, the Saks Fifth Avenue Christmas mild present faces the other approach of the Christmas Tree. This provides you the most effective of each worlds, and all totally free! It is admittedly fairly spectacular!

Rockefeller Center can also be the place to be if you wish to attend a free stay TV taping. Shows together with Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon are all achieved proper right here at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

Additionally, all year long, Rockefeller Center has free occasions open to the general public. Many free actions embody enjoyable interactive artwork installations for everybody to take pleasure in. 

People wandering through a grand elegant Art Deco concourse of Grand Central Station.

Grand Central Station

Submitted by Noel from Visit California and Beyond

If you actually need to really feel the heart beat and beat of New York City, then head out to Grand Central Station. Located within the coronary heart of the town at forty second avenue and Park Avenue, the station is the hub of all rail, metro and public transportation out and in of New York City.

Grand Central Station performs an energetic position within the development and growth of the town and rail transportation regionally to the skin areas and surrounding areas of the state. Grand Central Depot was established in 1871 and represented three taking part railroads to the primary hub within the metropolis. The Vanderbilts purchased out all of the separate strains and created an enormous transportation community that reshaped the area and made Grand Central a really busy and vital transportation hub.

The Grand Central terminal was created with progressive engineering, sensible design and delightful aesthetics that have been made with marble, lofty arches and delightful particulars that mixed each perform and effectivity with a chic construction. You’ll take pleasure in seeing all of the beautiful craftsmanship and detailed artwork if you stroll across the huge hallway and inside constructing.

When you enter the primary corridor of the station, you’ll instantly be in awe of the grand scale however on the identical time see the advantageous particulars of ornamental prospers, bronze and stone carvings, vaulted ceilings with chandeliers and marble in all places. Grand Central Station is really a working transportation terminal but additionally a constructing of artwork and design.

Make it an inexpensive exercise: Head downstairs to seize a snack within the Grand Central Dining Concourse, or take pleasure in a bowl of New England Clam Chowder from the Oyster Bar.

People walking and sitting in green space between two rows of buildings
The High Line, through GagliardiPhotography on Shutterstock

The High Line

Submitted by Lori of Italy Foodies

When it involves fabulous free issues to do in NYC, it’s arduous to beat a stroll on the High Line, an elevated linear park on the town’s west aspect that’s practically a mile and a half lengthy.

Starting within the Meatpacking District, the High Line runs from Gansevoort Street close to 14th Street, by Chelsea and as much as the West Side Yard on thirty fourth Street close to the Javits Center.

The Park itself is constructed on the location of the deserted western spur of the New York Central Railroad. Today it’s a beautiful city greenway dotted with distinctive sitting areas, dwelling pure areas, and intimate gardens.

Especially mind-blowing for artwork lovers are the variety of commissioned artwork and sound installations which have been curated for the reason that Park’s inception, a lot of which characteristic the Hudson River and the historical past of the commercial age manufacturing crops that after stood right here.

Perhaps as equally spectacular because the challenge itself is the group effort concerned in creating it. What began as a small grassroots effort in 1999 ultimately gained the assist of the residents, Mayor Bloomberg and main company donors and building lastly started in 2006. Three years later in 2011, this section was opened at 14th and sixteenth Street and two extra phases started and completed in 2014.

Don’t miss a cease on the Chelsea Market on fifteenth Street or a go to to the brand new wing of The Whitney Museum of American Art close to the High Line’s south finish on Gansevoort Street.

An up close view of the edge of the 9/11 Memorial fountain, with names carved into the edge including Sean Booker, Sr. In the background are the white wings of the Oculus buildings and several modern skyscrapers.

9/11 Memorial and National September 11 Memorial Museum

Located in decrease Manhattan, the 9/11 Memorial occupies the land on which the Twin Towers as soon as stood. Today, it’s an attractive and somber artwork set up.

Each of the Twin Towers is printed on the bottom and was a fountain, water cascading to hidden depths. Around the sides are the names of every one who died on 9/11. You’ll see roses in a few of the names, and every day the memorial workers places a rose within the names of individuals on their birthdays.

You may see the one tree that survived 9/11 and is prospering to this present day.

Please know that it is a place for quiet reflection. Many New Yorkers misplaced family members right here; others have been traumatized without end. Some individuals journey right here to honor their useless kinfolk. It’s hurtful to see vacationers deal with the 9/11 Memorial like a wacky selfie backdrop. Do that actually anyplace else within the metropolis. Not right here.

The band One Republic standing on a stage in front of a crowd, the words Summer Concert Series behind them.
One Republic performs on GMA’s Summer Concert Series, through Lev Radin on Shutterstock.

Attend a Live TV Taping

Submitted by Merry Allison from Virginia Vacation Guide

Attending a stay television taping is an iconic New York expertise! There is a variety of numerous reveals which can be filmed within the metropolis in entrance of a stay viewers, and common admission for these occasions is free to the general public. 

Watching a stay television taping provides you the distinctive alternative to see how tv reveals are produced, together with how lighting, mics, cameras, and teleprompters all come collectively to carry a present to life on the small display. You additionally get the possibility to see hosts and visitors in a extra relaxed setting throughout industrial breaks. 

Some of the primary television packages which have a stay television viewers are morning reveals, equivalent to The Today Show and Good Morning America (however be ready to rise up early!); late night time reveals like The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert; discuss reveals like The View; and selection reveals like Saturday Night Live

Each present has its personal protocol for the way to request tickets to attend a stay taping. You can go to the present’s web site to study extra about the way to attend a stay taping. 

Some reveals, equivalent to Saturday Night Live, are extremely fashionable and will be very tough to get tickets to. (Note from Kate: I’m an enormous SNL fan and there’s a lottery you join originally of the season. I’ve by no means gotten tickets.)

For different reveals, just like the Today Show, you’ll be able to merely go to the situation of the filming (on this case Rockefeller Plaza) and stand outdoors for an opportunity to be a part of the present when the hosts come out to greet guests. 

One distinctive stay television taping expertise is technically a television present and stay live performance rolled into one. Good Morning America hosts a Summer Concert Series each Friday in the summertime. You must request a ticket on-line first, however then you’ll be able to simply line up the morning of the live performance and see a free out of doors live performance, plus get an opportunity to be a part of the stay television broadcast. 

One robust advice when attending a stay television taping is to verify to line up nicely prematurely. Even in case you have a ticket to the occasion, most reveals are oversold, which implies you aren’t assured admission.

Attending any stay television present taping will usually take a little bit of persistence and a good period of time ready in line, nonetheless, the expertise is certainly price it.

An audience in front of a play set

Shakespeare within the Park

Submitted by Anwar from Beyond My Door

One of the premier summer time actions in New York, the Public Theater hosts two Shakespeare Performances yearly in Central Park’s Delacorte Theater.

Originally conceived by Joseph Papp in 1954, the sequence of performs has grown and moved till it discovered its current location in Central Park in 1962. The Series of productions draw a excessive caliber of administrators and actors with a number of well-known movie and theater actors starring in productions through the years.

Each of the productions runs for about 4-5 weeks, with reveals operating from Tuesday by Sunday. Some of the reveals will keep very true to the unique Shakespearean manufacturing, whereas others will modernize parts for present occasions and crowds. The fashionable interpretations imply that even with earlier staging of the performs, it might be a brand new expertise for attendees.

This can also be a very talked-about occasion for recognizing celebrities within the viewers!

Shakespeare within the Park tickets are free, and there are a number of choices for acquiring. Hopeful theater goers can line up for tickets at Delacorte the morning of productions, later within the day for standby tickets, or lottery tickets on the Public Theater  downtown or on-line through TodayTix.  

People wandering around the inside of the Oculus
The Oculus in its full glory, through Shutterstock.


Submitted by Sean from Living Out Lau

Perhaps one of many most lovely locations in NYC architecturally talking is the Oculus, which coincidentally is totally free to go to. Also generally known as the World Trade Center,  it is a transportation hub that connects Lower Manhattan with New Jersey through the PATH. The complicated additionally options loads of retail areas, boutiques retailers, and luxurious manufacturers.

As one of many buildings that have been constructed following the assaults on 9/11, the structure of the Oculus is spectacular. The construction has steed-clad ribs that act because the structural integrity of the constructing, proving that performance and magnificence will be achieved on the identical time.

(Note from Kate: When the Oculus was constructed, some New Yorkers questioned whether or not a shopping center was an applicable reconstruction close to the previous Ground Zero. Others identified that there’s already a 9/11 memorial and including in a brand new, cool-looking mall was quintessentially NYC transfer.)

The inside of the constructing is all white, with the ground utterly made out of marble, making it extraordinarily photogenic. The smartest thing to do within the Oculus is to only stroll round and admire the small print that went into setting up this architectural masterpiece.

After you might be achieved exploring the huge venue, take a look at the photograph platform on the second flooring of the northwestern a part of the constructing. From there, you’ll be able to seize the great thing about this place in good symmetry. If you’re a vacationer in NYC, there isn’t a higher spot to take a selfie than right here! And the most effective half, it’s all free!

New York Public Library, through DepositPhotos

New York Public Library

Submitted by Kim Swanson from Traveling Swansons

When in NYC, the most effective free issues to do is go to the New York Public Library Main Branch; also called the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. This library is situated subsequent to Bryant Park at 476 Fifth Avenue and forty second Street.  

New York Public Library is not any unusual library. This Beaux-Arts fashion library is completely beautiful, marked by two well-known marble lions on the entrance. As you stroll in, you can be in awe of the magnificent, ornate structure all through.

A giant draw to the library is the Polonsky Exhibition of The New York Public Library’s Treasures. You can acquire a free timed ticket from an digital kiosk on the library or reserve your time on-line.

At the Polonsky Exhibition, you’ll discover many historic articles together with manuscripts, artwork, letters, recordings and extra. Some of those treasures embody the Gutenberg Bible, the unique copy of the Declaration of Independence handwritten by Thomas Jefferson and unique sheet music from Mozart and Beethoven.

If you might be in New York City with youngsters or are a Disney fan, be certain to try the true stuffed animals that impressed Winnie-the-Pooh and associates.

Your may additionally be taken with understanding that New York Public Library is a chosen NYC Cooling Center. This is a free public facility providing cooling aid to all in sizzling climate. So in case your in search of a spot to chill down within the warmth of the NYC summer time, come right here.

Two bikers riding down a path, to the left is a building and beautiful trees and in front is water and the NYC skyline

Governor’s Island

Submitted by Megan from Your Brooklyn Guide

One of the most effective free issues to do in New York City that’s a bit beneath the radar for many vacationers is having fun with just a few hours (or entire day) at Governor’s Island. This island is free to go to on weekends earlier than midday.

This former navy base, situated on an island in New York Harbor, has been remodeled into the most effective city green-spaces the town has to supply accompanied by a few of the greatest unobstructed views of the Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan skyline.

Beyond the views, there are a number of superior issues to take a look at when you’re right here. Open year-round, you’ll be able to take pleasure in picnicking on the varied lawns, lease bicycles to discover the island, go to the in-house artists and their exhibitions inside the previous navy houses, take a experience down the longest slide in New York City on Slide Hill, rejuvenate on the new QCNY Spa, and even keep the night time on the luxurious glamping yurts with Collective Retreats (not free, however well worth the splurge).

There are varied meals distributors, cafe, and biergarten all on the island as nicely. You can spend as little or as a lot time right here as you’ve. 

To get to Governors Island you need to take the ferry from Lower Manhattan at The Battery Maritime Building (each day) or Pier 6 at Brooklyn Bridge Park or Atlantic Basin in Red Hook (each Brooklyn ferry departures are weekends solely) and is totally free to go to on the weekends earlier than midday.

Make it an inexpensive exercise: Visit every other time for as little as $4 for a spherical journey ferry ticket.

Browse Chelsea Art Galleries

New York is famed for being a haven for artists and artwork lovers alike, and Chelsea is the pulsing coronary heart of the NYC artwork scene. The neighborhood, which spans about ten blocks and is settled within the West Side of Manhattan, is lined with former warehouses that home greater than 200 galleries. This makes it a must-stop vacation spot for aesthetes, connoisseurs, or these simply in search of a enjoyable cultural exercise that received’t break the financial institution.

There are quite a few galleries which can be price touring, together with these from famed artwork sellers like David Zwirner and Larry Gagosian. Hauser & Wirth, Yossi Milo Gallery, C24, Greene Naftali, and Petzel Gallery rank amongst others that shouldn’t be missed.

Galleries are virtually at all times open to the general public and free, so guests can usually simply stroll in and browse, with out paying any admission payment. You might want to do a little analysis on which galleries specialise in the kind of artwork that the majority appeals to you and examine if there are any displays that you just need to see, earlier than you intend your journey.

However, it can be enjoyable to only stroll round and discover! Visiting artwork galleries is an effective way to broaden your horizons, as a result of they usually show artwork that’s newer and typically extra experimental than what you would possibly come throughout in museums.

An art display inside the Bronx Museum of Art

Free Museums and Attractions in NYC

New York has numerous free museums and points of interest price visiting. Some of the top-notch museum have free instances to go to (although take into account these are typically very crowded instances to go to); others are free on a regular basis!

Beyond that, there are New York’s National Historic Landmarks, that are free to go to on a regular basis. Here are a few of our favorites.

Bronx Museum of the Arts

Submitted by Gerry Isabelle from Dominican Abroad

The Bronx Museum of the Arts is a cultural gem for the South Bronx group, and nicely price visiting for guests from anyplace in New York City. This museum acknowledges the contributions of the Bronx, together with vital actions equivalent to hip hop, graffiti artwork, and Caribbean jazz. Today, the museum owns over 2,000 works of up to date artwork by American and native Bronx artists. 

In addition to that, they host varied particular exhibitions. Currently, there are two you’ll be able to go to. The first is Gerardo Dexter Ciprian’s Medicina de Amor, which makes use of blended mediums, oral histories, and folklore to spotlight the Dominican diaspora’s tales, resilience, and sweetness. The second is Jamel Shabazz’s Eyes on the Street, which options native New Yorker’s avenue tradition and traditions by pictures. 

The Bronx Museum of Art additionally provides guided excursions, poetry slams, household days, and different occasions listed on their museum calendar. Best of all, that is one among many free museums in NYC — an incredible approach to hold the humanities and tradition accessible to the area people.

A metal plaque on a brownstone building reading Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace.

Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace

Submitted by Carole from Travels with Carole

Visiting one among New York City’s outdated brownstone townhouses is at all times a deal with, although often it requires an invite or payment. But not on the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace nationwide historic website, the place you’ll be able to drop in throughout visiting hours and the tour of the 4-story Dutch brownstone is free. (Note that the attraction is at the moment closed for renovations however must be reopening shortly.)

Arrive in your 40-minute ranger-led tour a few half-hour early so you’ve time to peruse the ground-floor shows, which embody a candy exhibit of teddy bears and one other of vintage political cartoons. You may view a movie in regards to the lifetime of Theodore Roosevelt, the twenty sixth president of the United States and the primary U.S. president born in NYC, who lived right here till he was 14.

The tour consists of 5 interval rooms on two flooring, re-created as to their Twenties look. Though it has massive rooms and excessive ceilings, the slim home will not be a mansion. Exterior options embody a mansard roof and a excessive stoop above the basement.  Approximately 60% of the furnishing are unique to the home. 

After, since that is situated within the Flatiron District close to Union Square, simply head down Broadway for a plethora of locations to get a snack and, maybe, a browse within the legendary Strand Book Store with its “18 miles of books.”

St. Patrick's Cathedral lit up at night
St. Patrick’s Cathedral at night time, through DepositPhotos

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Submitted by Christine from Guide to Day Trips

The structure of New York City is a kaleidoscope of types. Buildings of all designs will be appreciated by even those that have no real interest in structure. St. Patrick’s Cathedral is one shining instance.

It’s unattainable to overlook this cathedral in Manhattan, which takes up an entire metropolis block between fiftieth and 51st streets, Madison Avenue, and Fifth Avenue. If you’re in search of the most effective free issues to do in New York which can be simple to entry from one another, you’re in luck. This magnificent cathedral is true throughout from one other NYC landmark price visiting: Rockefeller Center.

Originally erected as a substitute for Chinatown’s Old St. Patrick’s Church within the 1800s, the cathedral has since undergone quite a few renovations. Enormous bronze doorways and a excessive altar in a Neo-Gothic fashion are a few of the most notable options of this architectural marvel. You’ll discover a Tuckahoe marble slab and a rose window amongst its distinguished design options. The monumental Pietà sculpture and the hundreds of stained-glass home windows are additionally to not be missed.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a must-see no matter your spiritual beliefs, and it supplies guests with an enriching cultural expertise that’s distinctly New York.

Yellow house with white shutters and a fall tree and blue sky behind it

Hamilton Grange

Submitted by Francesca of Homeroom Travel

Hamilton Grange National Monument, also called The Grange or The Hamilton Grange Mansion or just The Grange, is among the greatest free issues to do in New York City, particularly for historical past lovers and must be added to any New York City itinerary. This space is run by the National Park system and was as soon as the nation house of Alexander Hamilton. 

Hamilton was born and raised within the West Indies and got here to New York on the age of 17 to attend Columbia University. In the early 1800s Hamilton commissioned the Grange to be constructed and it served as his house for 2 years. 

Although the Grange doesn’t lie on its unique location, the home is a restored unique. The home was moved within the late 1800s to assist guarantee its preservation. The Grange is at the moment situated on 414 West 141st Street. 

To get there, guests can hop on the A to 145 St. From there, it’s a 4 block stroll from the subway station. The inside the Grange is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, so be certain to plan accordingly. 

You can e-book a self-guided tour by recreation.gov for $1. Tickets are launched at 10:00 AM one week or two days prematurely. Tours depart each quarter-hour. If you don’t reserve tickets forward of time, a number of of the excursions are reserved for walk-up tickets solely. National Park Rangers on website to reply any questions you’ll have.

People standing around a concrete block with NYPD and FDNY 343 painted on it at the 9/11 Museum.
The 9/11 Memorial Museum, through Pit Stock on Shutterstock

National September 11 Memorial Museum

The National September 11 Memorial Museum is situated subsequent to the 9/11 Memorial in decrease Manhattan. This museum, which has free entry on Monday afternoons, is a deep dive into the occasions of September 11, 2001.

Some of the displays embody artifacts from the encompassing space, video displays how the occasions unfolding on actual time, audio from the flights, and somber memorials to the two,977 individuals killed on that day.

Speaking personally, I discovered the 9/11 Museum to be a really heavy place to go to. Give your self ample time, and you could need to clear your schedule afterward so you’ve time to course of it. I wouldn’t advocate sandwiching it in between enjoyable actions.

The National September 11 Memorial Museum has free entry on Mondays, 3:30-5:00 PM. There is at all times free entry for 9/11 relations, 9/11 rescue and restoration staff, members of the NYPD and FDNY, and energetic and retired navy.

The African Burial Ground national monument with green space in front and a red building behind

African Burial Ground National Monument

Contributed by Allison Green of Eternal Arrival

There’s way more to downtown Manhattan than the One World Observatory (the tallest statement deck in NYC), Wall Street, and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

While downtown Manhattan is commonly visited in a blur, you shouldn’t skip over the African Burial Ground National Monument situated simply two blocks from City Hall. It’s free to go to, and it’s an vital a part of New York historical past.

It is the location of North America’s oldest and largest burial floor for individuals of African descent (most of whom have been enslaved), the place an estimated 15,000 African-Americans have been buried.

The African Burial Ground is a National Park Service-managed website, and it consists of a memorial with two essential elements, the Ancestral Chamber and the Circle of the Diaspora. There can also be a Visitor Center in regards to the website situated at 290 Broadway.

Passing by the triangular, claustrophobic Ancestral Chamber is supposed to represent the Middle Passage that transported captured Africans to the Americas, the place they’d be enslaved.

The Ancestral Chamber leads to a couple stairs all the way down to a map of the world with West Africa at its heart. This a part of the monument is the Circle of the Diaspora, the place you slowly ascend up a spiraling ramp, passing spiritual symbols from completely different West African religions as you ascend and depart the monument.

It’s a shifting memorial that reminds you of the position that slavery performed in constructing New York by an interactive, academic expertise.

Outside the NMAI, through Victoria Lipov on Shutterstock

National Museum of the American Indian

Located in decrease Manhattan, the National Museum of the American Indian is a division of the Smithsonian Institution situated proper right here in New York. And due to that, it’s free — at all times!

The NMAI is a gigantic assortment of artifacts from Indigenous cultures within the Americas — as far north because the Arctic and as far south as Tierra del Fuego.

The New York museum is house to rotating exhibitions that give voice to Natives. Here you’ll discover artistic endeavors, clothes, and instruments; in addition to exhibitions on Native artists. You’ll see a highlight on native tribes who inhabited the unceded land that’s now New York State, together with the Iroquois and Lenape peoples.

The outside of the Museum at FIT

Museum at FIT

Submitted by Kelly of Travel New York Now

Looking for the most effective and completely free issues to do in NYC? If so then head over to Greenwich Village and take a look at the FIT Museum on the Fashion Institute of Technology. 

Known for being the primary gallery of vogue within the nation, this unbelievable, two-floor museum showcases upwards of fifty,000 clothes that embody grunge stylish items from the Nineteen Nineties, elaborate attire from the 18th century, flapper impressed garb from the Twenties, and extra. 

So, after pursuing by the small gallery on the bottom flooring that’s brimming over with historic outfits and vogue accesories, take the steps to the basement and benefit from the short-term displays on show right here. 

Also, as a result of the items on show right here frequently change, you’ll be able to at all times come again to the Museum at FIT to see one thing new as a part of an incredible 2 days in NYC itinerary

It’s additionally a captivating area the place you can’t solely see historic clothes from a selected decade, however you’ll be able to study in regards to the bigger social context of the items offered earlier than you. 

This approach, you’ll be able to higher perceive why these items have been created and what they are saying about designers and society as an entire throughout this era in time.

Make it an inexpensive exercise: Afterward, if you wish to spend a bit of cash, take pleasure in a scrumptious afternoon tea at close by Tea and Sympathy. It’s a comfy, genuine British restaurant that serves an enormous, well-priced afternoon tea that features a few of the greatest Victoria sponge and scones within the metropolis.

A round red barn building with a tree with fallen leaves next to it

Queens County Farm Museum

Submitted by Carley from Home to Havana

Did that there’s a farm proper within the coronary heart of New York City? Many New York City residents are shocked to study that inside Queens sits a 47-acre working farm, in operation for the reason that late 1600s. And better of all, the farm and all its points of interest are open and free to guests of all ages. 

A go to to the Queens County Farm Museum — also called the Queens Farm — consists of the chance to tour the farm’s historic buildings, see the livestock and fields, classic farming tools, and way more.

The farm additionally provides lessons and actions associated to sustainable agriculture and historic farming practices and common excursions. You’ll really feel such as you’ve pushed hours outdoors of the town whereas nonetheless only a brief subway experience away from New York’s busiest points of interest.

The Queens County Farm Museum is an ideal vacation spot to go to within the fall for New Yorkers trying to expertise fall on the farm, with common hayrides by the property. The farm additionally sells contemporary fruits, greens, squash, eggs, honey, and pumpkins at its farm stand, open year-round however significantly festive and bountiful through the fall.

An elephant statue in front of the Bronx Zoo entrance

Free Wednesdays on the Bronx Zoo

Submitted by Julie Dameron from Family Trips and Travels

Just a practice experience away from Manhattan, the Bronx Zoo has over 265 acres to discover and greater than 10,000 animals to see. Founded in 1899, the Bronx Zoo is among the oldest zoos within the United States and in 1916 opened the primary fashionable zoo animal hospital. The Bronx Zoo focuses its mission on wildlife animal conservation and defending its species.

The better part? Every Wednesday admission to the Bronx Zoo is free to all guests! Hop on the #2 practice and take a experience up for a full day tour.  

Make positive to pack a lunch if you wish to hold issues free, however there’s additionally a meals corridor on website. Exploring the zoo can dissipate lots of power. There is lots of floor to cowl whereas seeing so many unbelievable displays. Check out World of Birds, Sea Lions, World of Reptiles, Baboon Reserve, African Plains, Himalayan Highlands, Tiger Mountain, and a lot extra.  

For a small payment, there are additionally a number of add-on displays to select from. The greatest provide would be the full expertise which involves round $17 for entry to all displays. If you need to select just one, go for the $7 monorail experience across the African Plains for an unbelievable view.

Whether you’re a longtime resident of New York City or a first-time customer, the Bronx Zoo is a superb place to study wildlife and to see a few of your favourite animals up shut.

The Mrogan Library in its full glory, through DepositPhotos

Free Fridays Morgan Library

Submitted by Anukrati Dosi from Bulbul On The Wing

The Morgan Library will not be merely one other library in New York City. It is a museum, analysis library, and piece of artwork, which I beloved being an introverted artwork lover.

The posh neighborhood solely provides to the appeal of the library. Apart from getting fascinated with the outdated age magnificence, I used to be impressed by the large assortment of uncommon books and manuscripts, drawings, and different unusual items that Morgan Library and Museum homes.

The library consists of an version of the collected works of Phillis Wheatley, the primary recognized African-American poet; Mozart’s handwritten rating of the Haffner Symphony; a manuscript article by Albert Einstein describing how he developed his General Theory of Relativity, and so forth.

Morgan Library actually feels larger-than-life. It options 30-foot ceilings, three tiers of bronze and walnut bookcases, stained glass, a big marble fire, and grand tapestries. I additionally visited Mr. Morgan’s examine. The room’s pink silk damask partitions, and vintage wood ceiling ooze appeal.

I ended up spending a few hours within the library. As I got here out, I felt like I used to be in one other world (one thing like Narnia) all this whereas. I puzzled why Morgan Library is off the everyday vacationer’s radar. 

There is free entry to the Morgan Library on Fridays, 5:00-7:00 PM. Advance reservations are required, and tickets are launched one week prematurely.

A pond with lily pads inf ront of a blue building

New York Botanical Garden

(free on Wednesdays, 10-11 AM, grounds admission solely)

If you’re visiting the Bronx, you shouldn’t miss the chance to go to the New York Botanical Garden. Though it’s vital to notice that the New York Botanical Garden isn’t at all times free, they simply open up a window on Wednesdays from 10-11 am, the place the grounds admission payment is waived for everybody. However, getting to take a look at a basic NYC attraction totally free, when it often prices $15-30 to go to, makes this tour additional particular.

The Botanical Garden isn’t really one backyard, however fairly a sequence of gardens. This beautiful 250-acre expanse of land is embellished with quite a few areas of curiosity that characteristic crops equivalent to roses, perennials, daffodils, daylilies, azaleas, and lots of extra. There’s a rock backyard, forest, wetland path, and conservatories as nicely.

The sprawling city jungle that makes up New York City is its personal sort of lovely, however in the event you’re taking an prolonged journey to NYC, you could begin to miss greenery. The Botanical Garden will make it easier to get a repair of pure magnificence and can help you expertise the native and native flora, in addition to extra unique crops too.

Brooklyn Children’s Museum

America’s first Children’s museum – and doubtlessly the primary ever Children’s museum on this planet – is housed proper in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, the place it initially opened in 1899. Like the New York Botanical Garden, The Brooklyn Children’s Museum often prices cash to go to. However, on Thursdays, from 2-5 pm, they provide free admission as a substitute of charging their regular fee of $13 per individual.

This is the right place to go in the event you’re visiting New York with younger youngsters. It options 4 essential displays and usually has a number of which can be visiting as nicely. The everlasting ones are the Totally Tots, the NEST, Neighborhood Nature, and World Brooklyn.

The Totally Tots part of the museum targets toddlers and the youngest youngsters, and the NEST supplies all youngsters a spot to climb and play outdoor on the rooftop terrace. Neighborhood Nature provides youngsters an opportunity to study in regards to the world by science, and consists of animals and crops as dwelling elements of the exhibit. Finally, World Brooklyn lets youngsters discover and play in a miniaturized reproduction of Brooklyn’s numerous and culturally-rich neighborhoods, in order that they will study in regards to the locations and other people round them.

Visiting the Children’s Museum is the right approach to squeeze in some cultural and academic enrichment in your trip, whereas nonetheless making it enjoyable for the kiddos.

The Harlem Meer in Central Park, through Shutterstock.

Free Parks, Beaches, and Outside Spaces

New York is all in regards to the parks — and there’s excess of simply Central Park! Here are our picks for the most effective parks, seashores, and all types of out of doors areas in New York which you could take pleasure in totally free.

Visit the Good Parts of Central Park

Here’s a secret — whereas each New York customer desires to go to Central Park, the overwhelming majority of holiday makers solely see a tiny portion of it. Mostly they stick with the southern a part of the park, or the sides of Central Park West or Central Park East.

While there’s rather a lot to see right here, from the Strawberry Fields John Lennon Memorial to The Lake with its boat leases to the Central Park Zoo, I like to recommend going a bit deeper and additional north to expertise the park as New Yorkers do.

The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir is a lot larger than you suppose it’s going to be, and surrounded by a 1.58-mile operating monitor. It’s the most effective locations to run or stroll in NYC (and I’d stroll it a number of instances every week).

The northern fringe of Central Park, alongside a hundred and tenth Street, is house to the Harlem Meer, a stunning little pond, and many good locations to take a seat and people-watch.

And in the event you’re up for part of Central Park that feels faraway from the town, take a look at the North Woods, a thickly forested space with strolling trails that may be a haven for bird-watchers.

Prospect Park

Submitted by Alice from Adventures of Alice

A visit to Prospect Park, the “Central Park of Brooklyn,” is well the most effective free issues to do in New York City. It was additionally some of the peaceable issues we did while within the metropolis. The park is situated close to Prospect Heights and the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and it received’t price you a penny to enter. It’s additionally way more than merely an expanse of wonderful inexperienced area.

Inside the park, you’ll discover a vary of points of interest and issues to maintain you busy dotted across the wetlands. In truth, the wetlands themselves are actually one thing to take a look at with lovely waterfalls, trickling streams, and peaceable ponds teeming with wildlife.

Around these, you’ll additionally discover some lovely buildings together with my private favourite — the Boathouse. This is a beautiful white constructing with a pink roof, on the sting of Lullwater, a lake within the jap a part of the park. Around this constructing you’ll discover loads of birds, making it good for birdwatchers.

If you’re after one thing extra energetic to do within the park, you received’t be disenchanted. There’s additionally a zoo, the place you’ll be able to see sea lions, emus, monkeys, and even pink pandas. You may go ice skating, experience a carousel, or just kick a ball round. Overall, the park is the right mixture of enjoyable, exercise, and delightful pure landscapes, and one of many greatest issues to do in the event you’re visiting New York on a funds.

A view from Brooklyn Bridge Park with green grass, water, and the NYC skyline in the background

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Submitted by Jiayi of The Diary of a Nomad

Brooklyn Bridge Park is situated within the eclectic DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn, and provides magnificent views of the Manhattan skyline. This 85-acre park consists of six completely different piers reaching towards Manhattan, and whereas most vacationers linger on the first one, it’s very price going additional and exploring all six of them. 

On Pier 1, there’s a charming inexperienced area with tons of lookout factors. Look for the “New York Skyline Lookout” on Google Maps for the precise location of the most effective views from this park. This can also be an important place to take pleasure in a picnic on the grass.

Pier 1 can also be the place you’ll discover Luke’s Lobster, which has been serving scrumptious seafood for many years. As you enterprise additional to the following piers, you’ll discover a tiny sand seashore on Pier 4, and a barbecue space between Piers 4 and 5.

Perhaps the nicest spot in the entire Brooklyn Bridge Park is Pier 5, the place you’ll discover a very clear view of the Manhattan riverfront with none vacationers round. This scenic pier is the truth is very peaceable and quiet, making it the right spot to take pleasure in tranquil panoramic views.

It’s indubitably that visiting Brooklyn Bridge Park in NYC is among the greatest issues to do on the East Coast of the US, particularly in the event you’re in search of a calming approach to spend a day.

Rockaway Beach on a sizzling summer time day, through Shutterstock.

Visit New York’s Beaches

Yes, even in a metropolis as city and dense as New York, you’ll be able to take pleasure in some fantastic seashores right here! Just know that it requires going a bit additional out on the subway.

The Rockaways in Queens are one among New York’s hottest seashore locations, in addition to a serious surf hub.

And in the event you’d fairly stick with Brooklyn, hit up Coney Island for the amusement park goodness, or head subsequent door for Soviet-flavored Brighton Beach.

Up within the Bronx, City Island is a fishing village that seems like a throwback to yesteryear — a real gem.

Any of those seashores is the right place to take pleasure in a sizzling summer time day in New York on a budget!

While all of those seashores are accessible through subway and/or bus with a Metrocard, there are costlier methods to get there sooner — like ferries from Lower Manhattan. Keep in thoughts whether or not you need to save time or cash in your seashore day in New York.

People gathered on benches and the green space in a park, with the New York skyline behind them
Bryant Park on a sunny day, through ymgerman on Shutterstock.

Bryant Park

Submitted by James Ian from Travel Collecting 

Bryant Park is one among the most effective locations to move in NYC in the event you’re in search of free issues to do. First up, within the hotter months it’s the right place to hang around and calm down at one among the tables across the gardens, or have a picnic on the garden, having fun with the view of the again of the gorgeous New York Public Library.  

But there may be so way more. You can borrow a chess set and play a sport totally free, or, in case you have your personal tools, you may also play desk tennis at their ping pong tables. Practice your golf placing abilities, or learn to play Kubb, a Scandinavian garden bowling sport. If you like one thing much less energetic, there’s a Reading Room the place you’ll be able to sit and browse newspapers, e-book and magazines, for no price in anyway.  

The park additionally hosts greater than 1,000 free occasions all year long. In summer time, their Picnic Performances program consists of 26 music, dance, and theater occasions. An actual spotlight is their program of free Monday Night motion pictures. Be there when the garden opens at 5:00 PM and run to seize a spot. Then take pleasure in a picnic on the garden earlier than becoming a member of within the “Movie Dance” simply earlier than a basic film is screened. 

In winter, Bryant Park is remodeled right into a Winter Wonderland Village. There’s a big skating rink that’s completely free in case you have your personal skates (if not, you’ll be able to lease some for a small payment). The surrounding space is full of stalls for his or her Holiday Market – it prices nothing to browse! 

No matter if you go, there may be at all times one thing to see, do or expertise totally free in Bryant Park.  

A metal sculpture in Socrates sculpture park

Socrates Sculpture Park

Submitted by Caitlin from The Country Jumper

Socrates Sculpture Park in Astoria, Queens, ought to most likely be thought-about extra of a museum than a park. It resides, respiratory, and at all times altering as new works are created and put in. The park is small – simply 5 acres, and it was once a landfill and unlawful dumpsite, however now the items that finds their approach there are each visually and culturally participating.

The views, out throughout the East River to Roosevelt Island and the Upper East Side, are an ideal backdrop for the art work and the greenery of the park. While you’ll be able to at all times see a number of installments all through the property, you might also be capable to catch a glimpse of some artists at work. 

Absolutely every thing on the park, from entry (three hundred and sixty five days of the yr from 9:00 AM to sundown) to lessons like sculpture workshops or dance lessons for youths (all listed on their web site), is completely free. 

The park is a superb spot for a heat, sunny day (there are many various wet day actions round NYC) and picnics are welcome on the grounds. Alcohol and huge events usually are not allowed, however pets are welcome on leash. 

And when you’re within the space, one other candy, hidden spot is a patch of sand simply across the nook known as Hallett’s Cove Beach. Definitely don’t go for a dip right here, however a day on the park mixed with a drink by the water is an ideal afternoon in Astoria!

A wooden pergola with trees growing overhead

Wave Hill Garden and Cultural Center

Submitted by Michele DeBella from From Inwood Out

Take benefit of admission-free Thursdays to discover this superbly cultivated 28-acre public backyard within the Bronx. Because of its comparatively small measurement, the grounds, with its sloping lawns and wooded trails, resemble a chic nation property greater than a botanic backyard in probably the most populated metropolis within the nation.

Wave Hill sits on a ridge above the Hudson River, creating a sense of open area that’s good in the event you’re in search of a fast escape from metropolis crowds. It’s additionally one among New York City’s much less touristy locations.

Visitors will encounter varied gardens at Wave Hill. See vivid bursts of colour within the Flower Garden, the place annuals, shrubs, and perennials have been thoughtfully planted to create symmetry in each season. In the Conservatory Garden, tropical crops flourish in an surroundings that simulates steamy rainforest circumstances, whereas cactus and succulents develop close by in a desert setting.

And don’t miss the Aquatic Garden, the place you’ll be able to gaze into the shallow waters and spot frogs and fish darting between the lily pads. The Pergola, an Italianate construction that sits excessive above the river, supplies unobstructed views to the Palisades and is undoubtedly Wave Hill’s masterpiece. 

When you’re prepared for a break, the on-site café serves soup, salads, and sandwiches, however if you wish to stick with a low funds, carry your personal meals and drinks and revel in them in Wave Hill’s designated picnic space.

Green-Wood Cemetery

Submitted by Megan of Bobo and Chichi

If you’re in search of free issues to do in New York City which can be a bit off the overwhelmed path, contemplate heading to South Brooklyn to the neighborhood of Sunset Park the place you will discover the OG park in NYC earlier than Central Park.

Green-Wood Cemetery is among the most lovely cemeteries within the United States, fashionable amongst taphophiles or “Tombstone Tourists” and was used as a park within the Victorian-era that impressed the necessity to create some of the well-known points of interest in all of NYC, Central Park! While a cemetery looks as if an odd or macabre place to go to, this cemetery was at one level the second most visited vacationer attraction within the United States solely behind Niagara Falls.

Green-Wood Cemetery will not be solely hauntingly lovely, however there are 478-acres of winding pathways by this stage III arboretum and even skyline and Statue of Liberty views.

The cemetery is very lovely to go to within the fall through the fall foliage and within the spring when the flowers are in bloom.

Some of probably the most attention-grabbing factors of curiosity to take a look at are a few of the notable individuals which have been laid to relaxation right here together with artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, composer Leonard Bernstein, and Louis Comfort Tiffany of the well-known Tiffany stained glass and son of the person who created the well-known Tiffany & Co. jewellery to call just a few.

Beyond the everlasting residents of Green-Wood Cemetery, structure buffs will benefit from the Gothic Revival Main Entrance and Chapel among the many gorgeously designed mausoleums and tombstones. History buffs can retrace the situation of some of the vital battles of the American Revolutionary War on Battle Hill. Those who’re followers of Walt Whitman can take pleasure in strolling in his footsteps as Green-Wood Cemetery was one among his favourite locations to frequent and other people watch which impressed his writings about life in New York City.

The cemetery is open each day and utterly free to go to. 

Washington Square Park

Submitted by Wes from Walkabout Wes

Washington Square Park is a well-liked public park within the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan. As you method the park from 5th Avenue, you’ll be greeted by the grand marble Washington Square Arch on the north entrance. 

Walk by the arch and also you come to the guts of the park, the Washington Square Fountain. The park is thought for its assortment of artists, musicians, poets, DJs, and avenue performers, and the weekends are the time to go to to see the park in full stream. 

The park has an important vibe and is a enjoyable place to spend a day. Bring a picnic and a few drinks and benefit from the power and the ambiance.

Washington Square Park is probably much more well-known as a chess venue. Playing right here on “Chess Plaza” has been a longstanding custom for the locals and icons like Chess Grandmaster Bobby Fischer have plied their commerce right here up to now.

Several sport tables attract locals and vacationers alike.  If you’re ready to make a bit wager, you’ll undoubtedly discover a keen opponent to check your abilities. But don’t anticipate to win! These gamers are GOOD.

For these with furry associates, reap the benefits of two dog-run enclosures — one for smaller canine and one for bigger canine — and there’s a playground for younger youngsters.

Washington Square Park is certainly an area for everybody to take pleasure in, so be sure you add this to your subsequent New York itinerary.

A gravel parking lot with green and water in the distance

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

Submitted by Michele Herrmann from She Is Going Places

The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is in a piece of Queens you wouldn’t suspect at first – a nature sanctuary within the borough’s Broad Channel neighborhood. As a part of the National Park Service’s Gateway National Recreation Area, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is a sanctuary encompassed with contemporary water ponds, woods and intertidal salt marshes of its namesake bay.

It’s potential to do some chook watching, as accounts of over 300 chook species have been noticed at instances throughout the refuge. Along with birds, you can spot turtles and butterflies. From woodsy timber to wildflowers, there’s some superb vegetation to be seen right here as nicely. During hotter months, greenness is plentiful and flowers are colorfully in bloom. You can come throughout all of this through strolling paths.

The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is open to guests yr spherical besides on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. A customer’s heart is provided with restroom amenities however you need to carry your personal food and drinks; there’s adjoining picnic bench seating, too, as a chosen picnicking space. The refuge is located throughout from Cross Bay Boulevard.

Via the subway, take the A practice on the Rockaway sure aspect to Broad Channel Station. The S practice additionally stops at this station through the Rockaway Park department line. After exiting the station, stroll alongside Noel Road to succeed in the boulevard. If you intend on driving there, park on the Visitor Contact Station parking space. As for buses, the Q21 and Q53 go alongside Cross Bay Boulevard. 

A Pepsi Cola neon light in front of sky scrapers
Gantry Plaza, through Sean Pavone on Shutterstock

Gantry Plaza

Gantry Plaza is a 12-acre state park that provides an incredible view of Midtown Manhattan. You can take a stroll alongside the East River when you soak up staples of the NYC skyline, such because the Empire State Building and the United Nations. It’s significantly spectacular to go to at night time, when the town is all lit up round you.

The park includes a set of 4 piers alongside the river, and in addition has beautifully-maintained gardens to stroll by and discover. The namesake of the park is a sequence of commercial gantries which have been restored and maintained as a monument to the historical past of the waterfront. Other actions and points of interest embody playgrounds, courts for varied sports activities, and public live shows when the climate is heat.

The better part about this plaza is that it isn’t touristy in any respect. It’s actually a hidden gem and might’t be missed if you wish to get have a look at the town with out weaving by crowds of vacationers snapping photographs.


A view of a yellow sign outside a building from under an over pass with cars passing
Brighton Beach brings Russian taste, through valerii eidlin on Shutterstock

Cool Neighborhoods and Free Places to Visit

Just exploring the completely different New York neighborhoods is an effective way to discover the town on a funds. Here are just a few of our favorites.

Brighton Beach

Submitted by Amy of Moonshine and Mini Buses

New York is a mosaic of various nations, and some of the underrated neighborhoods is Brighton Beach, the place Russian is the widespread language. Here, in “Little Odessa,” you’ll be able to discover all issues Eastern European.

The woman on the sidewalk sells Georgian khachapuri and different tasty pastries, the grocery store labels the vegatables and fruits by their Russian names, and the grocery store shows Roshen candies from Ukraine. And in the event you want some aspirin from indulging in an excessive amount of Georgian wine or Russian vodka, don’t search for a pharmacy — search for an apteka.

Brighton Beach skilled its first wave of Russian-speaking immigrants within the Nineteen Seventies, primarily Russian-speakers from Ukraine and Russia. Since then, there was a rise in residents from different post-Soviet nations, together with the Caucasus and Central Asia. 

There are methods to splash out in Brighton Beach (the opulent and barely outrageous banquet at Tatiana’s could be a memorable night!), however maybe the most effective factor to do is spend an hour shopping St. Petersburg Books & Gift retailer, making an attempt to decipher the Cyrillic books.

Then head to one of many native grocery shops and decide up picnic provides, full with kvass (a just-barely alcoholic drink made out of fermented bread). Head to the seashore and benefit from the views of the bay with far more room to your self than in neighboring Coney Island.

A bench along a river with a blooming cherry blossom tree next to it
Roosevelt Island in Cherry Blossom Season, through Andrea Quintero Olivas on Shutterstock

Roosevelt Island

Submitted by Alex Chapman from Travel and Baffles

Need a break from the fast-paced craziness of metropolis life? Roosevelt Island, on the East River between the Upper East Side and Queens, is a wonderful getaway for if you need to escape the concrete jungle for a bit. Accessible by tram, practice, or automotive, the island makes for an important expertise that everybody ought to add to their New York bucket checklist. 

From the island, you may get an attractive and distinctive view of the Manhattan skyline, go to Roosevelt Memorial Park, and have a picnic round a cute lighthouse. The island can also be house to lots of distinctive New York City historical past, and you may nonetheless go to a few of the ruins of asylums and hospitals that after performed a serious half within the metropolis’s medical discipline. 

Since the island is fairly small, you’ll be able to tour the entire space on a motorcycle. Bring your personal or lease a Citibike for affordable, and for an additional particular deal with, go to the island throughout Cherry Blossom season. It’s arduous to seek out an exercise within the metropolis extra stress-free than using a motorcycle beneath some Cherry Blossom timber and viewing the towering skyscrapers from afar.

This has change into one among my favourite issues to do in New York, because it actually provides you a second to breathe throughout your journey and actually admire what’s round you.

A row of brownstones in random different designs.

Explore Harlem and Its Outstanding Architecture

Are you in search of probably the most lovely avenue in New York? It’s Convent Avenue, between 143rd St. and 145th St. Seriously. This avenue within the Hamilton Heights neighborhood of neighborhood is house to an eclectic assortment of upscale brownstones, every with their very own fashion and strange particulars, however all of them work collectively superbly.

In truth, that is the place you will discover the brownstone from The Royal Tenenbaums. It’s on the southeast nook of Convent Ave. and 144th Street.

The surrounding streets of this a part of Convent Ave. are full of extra architectural treasures. Hamilton PlaceIf you need to go additional afoot, I extremely advocate Sylvan Terrace, simply off 161st Ave. and St. Nicholas Ave. close to the Morris-Jumel Mansion, a historic avenue with uncommon wood homes so completely different from the rest in New York City!

Another cool structure avenue is Astor Row — the south aspect of W. one hundred and thirtieth St. between Lenox Ave. and fifth Ave. — the place the brick buildings have elegant inexperienced porches that look straight out of the South.

Read More: Best Things to Do in Harlem

The Manhattan bridge as photographed between two brick buildings, the Empire State Building seen in the distance through the bottom of the bridge.


Submitted by Isabella Biava of Boundless Roads

You might have seen it dozens of instances, that iconic image of the huge blue Manatthan bridge flanked by pink brick buildings, and the Empire State Building peaking by, so tiny from that perspective. If you’re keen on pictures, I’m positive you need to get that shot too, particularly in case you are visiting New York City for the primary time.

For that, you will need to get to DUMBO — Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass — most likely some of the visited neighborhoods in New York and an absolute should in your NYC journey.

Stretching between the Brooklyn and the Manhattan bridges proper in entrance of the Manhattan skyline, the beautiful space of DUMBO is certainly some of the instagrammable locations in New York and a vigorous place to hang around. 

Besides admiring the breathtaking views of the town, vacationers and locals alike love to collect right here and take lengthy walks alongside the east river promenade, eat in one of many high-end river aspect eating places and benefit from the artsy vibes of this stylish space of downtown Brooklyn. It’s not uncommon to seek out unbelievable avenue performers by the Jane’s Carousel or random free artwork expositions alongside the close by streets. 

If you’re keen on strolling you can begin strolling from Manhattan Bridge and proceed beneath Brooklyn Bridge by the piers alongside the Brooklyn Heights promenade. 

Especially throughout spring, you will notice many individuals jogging, strolling their canine, rollerblading, or sunbathing alongside the East River. 

Spending time in DUMBO is among the high free issues to do in New York, for its uncommon relaxed ambiance, proper within the coronary heart of the town. Sunsets are significantly particular from right here. 

A mural of an African American girl with her hands reaching out of the mural

Explore Bushwick and its Murals

Submitted by Paroma Chakravarty from Year of the Monkey

New York City is house to a few of the most beautiful murals on this planet and there may be one place the place you’ll be able to see rows and rows of such dazzling avenue artwork, and that too utterly freed from price! I’m speaking in regards to the well-known Bushwick Collective murals in Brooklyn the place bigger than life murals adorn the partitions and retailer fronts of the semi-deserted industrial neighborhood of Bushwick.

What began as an effort to uplift the neighborhood in 2012 by Joseph Ficalora, a neighborhood businessman, has now grown into a world phenomenon with artists coming to Bushwick from everywhere in the world to color the partitions with social and political avenue artwork.

The best approach to get to the Bushwick neighborhood from Manhattan is by boarding the L line to Jefferson Street. It takes about 15-Half-hour to get there relying in your location in Manhattan. Start strolling as quickly as you get off the subway to find the murals.

The murals are principally concentrated round Jefferson Street, Flushing Avenue, Troutman Street, St. Nicholas, Wyckoff, Johnson, Gardner and Cypress Avenues. There can also be one other cluster of murals on Morgan Avenue, Grattan and Siegel Streets (see the full interactive map right here, courtesy of Free Tours by Foot who present performed excursions of Bushwick avenue artwork with an elective $3 reserving payment; observe that you just do must tip the tour information).

Free NYC Performances and Activities

Brooklyn Brewery Free Tours (Sundays solely)

This is a nice exercise for the grown-ups, particularly craft beer fanatics! Brooklyn Brewery has been round since 1988 and sells beers each throughout the nation and all over the world, so you’ll have already loved their drinks – together with the fan-favorite Brooklyn Lager – earlier than you go to New York.

The free excursions begin each hour on Sundays from 1-6pm. Unfortunately, the beer isn’t free, however you’ll get to study extra in regards to the brewing course of and have a singular expertise with out paying a dime. Then afterwards, in the event you’re up for it, you’ll be able to go forward and pattern a few of their signature and seasonal beers within the taproom.

Two yellow kayaks on water in front of the NYC skyline
Kayak Rental at Manhattan Boathouse, through Shutterstock

Free Kayak Rental at Manhattan Boathouse

This is a brilliant enjoyable approach to get a singular expertise in your New York journey. The Manhattan Boathouse provides free kayaking to anybody day by day of the week, climate allowing.

The kayaks are distributed on a first-come-first-serve foundation, so you could need to get there on the early aspect. However, to attenuate wait instances, every kayaker is given a 20-minute time restrict to paddle the cove, if there’s a line.

Not solely is the service utterly freed from cost, but it surely’s additionally all-inclusive. You’ll get a single or two-person kayak rental plus paddle, in addition to a locker and lifejacket.

It’s additionally an important exercise for all ages and also you don’t should be significantly athletic to take pleasure in paddling your kayak. It’s simply vital that anybody taking part is aware of the way to swim in case the kayak suggestions over.

If you’re trying to get a bit train in whereas in your trip, take pleasure in nature, or simply do one thing off the overwhelmed path, then making the most of the free kayaks at Pier 96 is a superb possibility.

Free Comedy Shows

New York is a cultural hub. It’s nice for music, artwork, theater, and so forth., but it surely’s additionally the most effective locations on this planet for comedy. Aspiring comedians journey from each state and nation to attempt to make it in New York. So why not take heed to their jokes and have fun totally free if you’re within the metropolis?

While some comedy golf equipment cost a canopy or have a drink minimal, there are tons of reveals which can be utterly freed from cost. Typically these are going to characteristic new and up and coming comedians, fairly than those who have established themselves on the scene. But that may be simply as enjoyable, and it’s an important alternative to doubtlessly witness the following massive comedy star.

Plenty of the good free reveals are in Greenwich Village, however you will discover them throughout. Some that you just would possibly need to take a look at embody Paid by the Bell and Ambush Comedy. There’s additionally Wet Cash, The Bomb Shelter Comedy Show, and Backroom Comedy, if you wish to enhance the probability you’ll watch a recognized amount’s routine. No matter which approach you go, you’re positive to have fun and a good time.

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What’s your favourite free factor to do in New York? Share away!


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