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

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

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Trust me — while you stay in New York, you rapidly study all of the free issues to do in NYC. We joke that simply leaving your house prices $20! It could also be in jest, nevertheless it’s somewhat too near the reality.

One of the secrets and techniques of surviving in New York is studying the best way to have enjoyable on as little cash as attainable, 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 like 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 get pleasure from. 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 get pleasure from your go to!

That stated — issues change through the years, and New York in 2022 is just not 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 dearer and classy than a lot of Manhattan. Queens is true behind.

One factor’s for certain — this metropolis is all the time 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 along with your buds, or visiting along with your youngsters, yow 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 distinct 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 may’t do higher than the Staten Island Ferry.

Ride the Staten Island Ferry

Submitted by Katie from KatieCafTravel.com  

A whole lot 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 very best time you may 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, daily of the 12 months. 

In the daytime, you may get a fantastic up-close view of the Statue of Liberty, and at evening the ferry affords unbelievable views of the New York Skyline all lit up. 

The Staten Island Ferry has additionally develop into referred to as a celebration spot, with plenty of 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 very best free celebration 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 affordable 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 without doubt one of the most iconic locations in New York City. It’s referred to 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 inns, and vivid 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 residence to a few of the world’s greatest manufacturers and largest points of interest. It’s a fantastic place to people-watch and it’s filled with iconic landmarks.

Grab a spot on the purple staircase on the TKTS sales space for a large view of Times Square. There are loads of fascinating 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 evening is the very best time of all. This is when all of the lights come on, and it’s straightforward to discover a spot for taking photographs. If you’re visiting in the course of the day, you may nonetheless get some good photographs by strolling across the space and taking pictures from totally different angles. There are additionally some road 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 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 prepare to City Hall / Brooklyn Bridge or the J or Z prepare to Chambers Street. 

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

For the very best photographs, remember to get to the bridge early — it’s an especially well-liked vacation spot with guests, in addition to an necessary 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, remember to stroll near the middle pylons, in order that their Gothic arches fill the digital camera’s body.

Make it an affordable exercise: If you’re staying in Manhattan, contemplate taking the ferry again (simply $2.75!), when you’re completed 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 road.

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 constructions on one in all 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 via Greenwich Village and Chelsea, this public park can also be a fantastic 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 every day reveals starting from Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble and Interpretive Dance to Clowning Comedy and all the pieces in between.

Little Island is open, rain or shine, one year a 12 months 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 definitely one of many high issues to do in New York City. Commissioned by John D. Rockefeller Jr., this advanced is without doubt one of 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 proper place to marvel at Manhattan structure and artwork from the Thirties! 

If you’re 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 big Swarovski star atop. Better but, the Saks Fifth Avenue Christmas mild present faces the alternative method of the Christmas Tree. This provides you the very best of each worlds, and all without spending a dime! It is basically 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 completed 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 get pleasure from. 

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 road 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 lively position within the progress and improvement 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 collaborating railroads to the primary hub within the metropolis. The Vanderbilts purchased out all of the separate traces and created an unlimited transportation community that reshaped the area and made Grand Central a really busy and necessary transportation hub.

The Grand Central terminal was created with revolutionary engineering, sensible design and exquisite aesthetics that have been made with marble, lofty arches and exquisite particulars that mixed each operate and effectivity with a chic construction. You’ll get pleasure from seeing all of the attractive craftsmanship and detailed artwork while 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 similar time see the positive particulars of ornamental thrives, bronze and stone carvings, vaulted ceilings with chandeliers and marble in every single place. Grand Central Station is really a working transportation terminal but additionally a constructing of artwork and design.

Make it an affordable exercise: Head downstairs to seize a snack within the Grand Central Dining Concourse, or get pleasure from 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 exhausting to beat a stroll on the High Line, an elevated linear park on the town’s west aspect that’s almost a mile and a half lengthy.

Starting within the Meatpacking District, the High Line runs from Gansevoort Street close to 14th Street, via 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 gorgeous 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 were curated for the reason that Park’s inception, a lot of which characteristic the Hudson River and the historical past of the economic age manufacturing crops that when 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 finally gained the help 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 exquisite and somber artwork set up.

Each of the Twin Towers is printed on the bottom and changed into a fountain, water cascading to hidden depths. Around the perimeters 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 also see the one tree that survived 9/11 and is flourishing to today.

Please know that this can be a place for quiet reflection. Many New Yorkers misplaced family members right here; others have been traumatized eternally. Some individuals journey right here to honor their lifeless family. 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 might be filmed within the metropolis in entrance of a stay viewers, and basic 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 convey a present to life on the small display screen. You additionally get the possibility to see hosts and visitors in a extra relaxed setting throughout business breaks. 

Some of the primary television packages which have a stay television viewers are morning reveals, resembling The Today Show and Good Morning America (however be ready to rise up early!); late evening 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 best way to request tickets to attend a stay taping. You can go to the present’s web site to study extra about the best way to attend a stay taping. 

Some reveals, resembling Saturday Night Live, are extremely well-liked 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 firstly of the season. I’ve by no means gotten tickets.)

For different reveals, just like the Today Show, you may merely go to the placement 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 may simply line up the morning of the live performance and see a free outside live performance, plus get an opportunity to be a part of the stay television broadcast. 

One robust suggestion when attending a stay television taping is to ensure to line up effectively upfront. Even when you’ve got a ticket to the occasion, most reveals are oversold, which suggests you aren’t assured admission.

Attending any stay television present taping will usually take a little bit of endurance and a good period of time ready in line, nevertheless, 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 via 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 trendy interpretations imply that even with earlier staging of the performs, it will likely be a brand new expertise for attendees.

This can also be a very fashionable 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 referred to as the World Trade Center,  this can be a transportation hub that connects Lower Manhattan with New Jersey through the PATH. The advanced 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 class will be achieved on the similar 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 fully made out of marble, making it extraordinarily photogenic. The neatest 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’re completed 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 may seize the fantastic thing about this place in good symmetry. If you’re a vacationer in NYC, there is no such thing as a higher spot to take a selfie than right here! And the very best 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, among the finest free issues to do is go to the New York Public Library Main Branch; often known as the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. This library is positioned subsequent to Bryant Park at 476 Fifth Avenue and forty second Street.  

New York Public Library isn’t any atypical library. This Beaux-Arts model library is totally gorgeous, 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 can find 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 authentic sheet music from Mozart and Beethoven.

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

Your may also be concerned about realizing 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 very best free issues to do in New York City that’s a bit beneath the radar for many vacationers is having fun with a number of hours (or entire day) at Governor’s Island. This island is free to go to on weekends earlier than midday.

This former army base, positioned on an island in New York Harbor, has been remodeled into among the finest city green-spaces the town has to supply accompanied by a few of the finest 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 may get pleasure from picnicking on the numerous lawns, hire bicycles to discover the island, go to the in-house artists and their exhibitions inside the previous army properties, take a experience down the longest slide in New York City on Slide Hill, rejuvenate on the new QCNY Spa, and even keep the evening on the luxurious glamping yurts with Collective Retreats (not free, however well worth the splurge).

There are numerous meals distributors, cafe, and biergarten all on the island as effectively. You can spend as little or as a lot time right here as you could have. 

To get to Governors Island you need to take the ferry from Lower Manhattan at The Battery Maritime Building (every 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 affordable exercise: Visit some 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 gained’t break the financial institution.

There are quite a few galleries which might 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 all the time open to the general public and free, so guests can sometimes simply stroll in and browse, with out paying any admission charge. You might want to do a little analysis on which galleries focus on the kind of artwork that the majority appeals to you and test if there are any displays that you just need to see, earlier than you intend your journey.

However, it will also 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 generally 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 plenty of free museums and points of interest price visiting. Some of the top-notch museum have free occasions to go to (although bear in mind these are usually very crowded occasions 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 effectively price visiting for guests from anyplace in New York City. This museum acknowledges the contributions of the Bronx, together with necessary actions resembling 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 numerous particular exhibitions. Currently, there are two you may go to. The first is Gerardo Dexter Ciprian’s Medicina de Amor, which makes use of blended mediums, oral histories, and folklore to focus on the Dominican diaspora’s tales, resilience, and sweetness. The second is Jamel Shabazz’s Eyes on the Street, which options native New Yorker’s road tradition and traditions via images. 

The Bronx Museum of Art additionally affords guided excursions, poetry slams, household days, and different occasions listed on their museum calendar. Best of all, that is one in all many free museums in NYC — an incredible strategy to preserve 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 in all New York City’s previous brownstone townhouses is all the time a deal with, although normally it requires an invite or charge. But not on the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace nationwide historic website, the place you may 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 could have time to peruse the ground-floor shows, which embody a candy exhibit of teddy bears and one other of vintage political cartoons. You may also 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 Nineteen Twenties look. Though it has giant rooms and excessive ceilings, the slender home is just not a mansion. Exterior options embody a mansard roof and a excessive stoop above the basement.  Approximately 60% of the furnishing are authentic to the home. 

After, since that is positioned 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 evening, 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 little interest in structure. St. Patrick’s Cathedral is one shining instance.

It’s inconceivable to overlook this cathedral in Manhattan, which takes up a complete metropolis block between fiftieth and 51st streets, Madison Avenue, and Fifth Avenue. If you’re in search of the very best free issues to do in New York which might be straightforward 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 alternative 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 model are a few of the most notable options of this architectural surprise. You’ll discover a Tuckahoe marble slab and a rose window amongst its outstanding design options. The monumental Pietà sculpture and the 1000’s 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 gives 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, often known as The Grange or The Hamilton Grange Mansion or just The Grange, is without doubt one of the finest 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 residence 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 residence for 2 years. 

Although the Grange doesn’t lie on its authentic location, the home is a restored authentic. The home was moved within the late 1800s to assist guarantee its preservation. The Grange is at the moment positioned 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 within the Grange is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, so be certain that to plan accordingly. 

You can e-book a self-guided tour via recreation.gov for $1. Tickets are launched at 10:00 AM one week or two days upfront. 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 will 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 positioned 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 chances are you’ll need to clear your schedule afterward so you could have time to course of it. I wouldn’t suggest sandwiching it in between enjoyable actions.

The National September 11 Memorial Museum has free entry on Mondays, 3:30-5:00 PM. There is all the time free entry for 9/11 members of the family, 9/11 rescue and restoration employees, members of the NYPD and FDNY, and lively and retired army.

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 remark deck in NYC), Wall Street, and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

While downtown Manhattan is usually visited in a blur, you shouldn’t skip over the African Burial Ground National Monument positioned simply two blocks from City Hall. It’s free to go to, and it’s an necessary 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 most important parts, the Ancestral Chamber and the Circle of the Diaspora. There can also be a Visitor Center in regards to the website positioned at 290 Broadway.

Passing via 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 middle. 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 totally 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 via an interactive, instructional 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 positioned proper right here in New York. And due to that, it’s free — all the time!

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 residence 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 among the finest 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 style within the nation, this unbelievable, two-floor museum showcases upwards of fifty,000 clothes that embody grunge stylish items from the Nineties, elaborate attire from the 18th century, flapper impressed garb from the Nineteen Twenties, and extra. 

So, after pursuing via the small gallery on the bottom flooring that’s brimming over with historic outfits and style 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 repeatedly change, you may all the time 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 an enchanting house the place you cannot solely see historic clothes from a specific decade, however you may study in regards to the bigger social context of the items introduced earlier than you. 

This method, you may higher perceive why these items have been created and what they are saying about designers and society as a complete throughout this era in time.

Make it an affordable exercise: Afterward, if you wish to spend a bit of cash, get pleasure from a scrumptious afternoon tea at close by Tea and Sympathy. It’s a comfortable, genuine British restaurant that serves a large, well-priced afternoon tea that features a few of the finest 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 — often known as the Queens Farm — consists of the chance to tour the farm’s historic buildings, see the livestock and fields, classic farming gear, and way more.

The farm additionally affords courses 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 quick 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 seeking to expertise fall on the farm, with common hayrides via the property. The farm additionally sells recent fruits, greens, squash, eggs, honey, and pumpkins at its farm stand, open year-round however significantly festive and bountiful in the course of 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 prepare 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 without doubt one of the oldest zoos within the United States and in 1916 opened the primary trendy 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 prepare and take a experience up for a full day tour.  

Make certain to pack a lunch if you wish to preserve issues free, however there’s additionally a meals corridor on website. Exploring the zoo can expend quite a lot of vitality. There is quite a lot 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 charge, there are additionally a number of add-on displays to select from. The finest 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 good place to find out about 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 is just not merely one other library in New York City. It is a museum, analysis library, and piece of artwork, which I cherished being an introverted artwork lover.

The posh neighborhood solely provides to the attraction of the library. Apart from getting fascinated with the previous age class, 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 identified 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 many others.

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 purple silk damask partitions, and vintage picket ceiling ooze attraction.

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 questioned why Morgan Library is off the standard 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 upfront.

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 necessary to notice that the New York Botanical Garden isn’t all the time free, they simply open up a window on Wednesdays from 10-11 am, the place the grounds admission charge is waived for everybody. However, getting to take a look at a basic NYC attraction without spending a dime, when it normally prices $15-30 to go to, makes this tour further particular.

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

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, chances are you’ll begin to miss greenery. The Botanical Garden will enable you 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 probably the primary ever Children’s museum on the 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 normally prices cash to go to. However, on Thursdays, from 2-5 pm, they provide free admission as a substitute of charging their ordinary fee of $13 per individual.

This is the proper place to go in the event you’re visiting New York with younger youngsters. It options 4 most important displays and sometimes has a number of which might be visiting as effectively. 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 gives all youngsters a spot to climb and play outdoor on the rooftop terrace. Neighborhood Nature affords youngsters an opportunity to study in regards to the world via 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 folks round them.

Visiting the Children’s Museum is the proper strategy 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 way over simply Central Park! Here are our picks for the very best parks, seashores, and every kind of outside areas in New York which you can get pleasure from without spending a dime.

Visit the Good Parts of Central Park

Here’s a secret — whereas each New York customer needs to go to Central Park, the overwhelming majority of tourists solely see a tiny portion of it. Mostly they keep on with the southern a part of the park, or the perimeters of Central Park West or Central Park East.

While there’s so much 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 greater than you assume it’s going to be, and surrounded by a 1.58-mile operating observe. It’s among the finest locations to run or stroll in NYC (and I might stroll it a number of occasions per week).

The northern fringe of Central Park, alongside a hundred and tenth Street, is residence to the Harlem Meer, a beautiful 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 definitely among the finest free issues to do in New York City. It was additionally one of the vital peaceable issues we did while within the metropolis. The park is positioned close to Prospect Heights and the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and it gained’t value you a penny to enter. It’s additionally way more than merely an expanse of superb inexperienced house.

Inside the park, you’ll discover a vary of points of interest and issues to maintain you busy dotted across the wetlands. In reality, the wetlands themselves are actually one thing to have 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 purple roof, on the sting of Lullwater, a lake within the japanese 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 lively to do within the park, you gained’t be dissatisfied. There’s additionally a zoo, the place you may see sea lions, emus, monkeys, and even purple pandas. You may also go ice skating, experience a carousel, or just kick a ball round. Overall, the park is the proper mixture of enjoyable, exercise, and exquisite pure landscapes, and one of many finest 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 positioned within the eclectic DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn, and affords magnificent views of the Manhattan skyline. This 85-acre park consists of six totally 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 house with tons of lookout factors. Look for the “New York Skyline Lookout” on Google Maps for the precise location of among the finest views from this park. This can also be a fantastic place to get pleasure from 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 in reality very peaceable and quiet, making it the proper spot to get pleasure from tranquil panoramic views.

It’s definitely that visiting Brooklyn Bridge Park in NYC is without doubt one of the finest issues to do on the East Coast of the US, particularly in the event you’re in search of a calming strategy 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 may get pleasure from some great seashores right here! Just know that it requires going a bit additional out on the subway.

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

And in the event you’d reasonably keep on 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 proper place to get pleasure from 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 dearer methods to get there quicker — 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 in all the very best 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 proper place to hang around and calm down at one in all the tables across the gardens, or have a picnic on the garden, having fun with the view of the again of the attractive New York Public Library.  

But there may be so way more. You can borrow a chess set and play a sport without spending a dime, or, when you’ve got your individual gear, you may as well play desk tennis at their ping pong tables. Practice your golf placing expertise, or discover ways to play Kubb, a Scandinavian garden bowling sport. If you like one thing much less lively, there’s a Reading Room the place you may sit and skim newspapers, e-book and magazines, for no value in any way.  

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 films. Be there when the garden opens at 5:00 PM and run to seize a spot. Then get pleasure from 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 when you’ve got your individual skates (if not, you may hire some for a small charge). The surrounding space is crammed with stalls for his or her Holiday Market – it prices nothing to browse! 

No matter while you go, there may be all the time one thing to see, do or expertise without spending a dime 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 in all probability be thought of extra of a museum than a park. It resides, respiratory, and all the time altering as new works are created and put in. The park is small – simply 5 acres, and it was a landfill and unlawful dumpsite, however now the items that finds their method there are each visually and culturally partaking.

The views, out throughout the East River to Roosevelt Island and the Upper East Side, are an ideal backdrop for the paintings and the greenery of the park. While you may all the time see a number of installments all through the property, you may additionally be capable of catch a glimpse of some artists at work. 

Absolutely all the pieces on the park, from entry (one year of the 12 months from 9:00 AM to sundown) to courses like sculpture workshops or dance courses for youths (all listed on their web site), is completely free. 

The park is a good spot for a heat, sunny day (there are many different wet day actions round NYC) and picnics are welcome on the grounds. Alcohol and huge events aren’t allowed, however pets are welcome on leash. 

And whilst you’re within the space, one other candy, hidden spot is a patch of sand simply across the nook referred to 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 house that’s good in the event you’re in search of a fast escape from metropolis crowds. It’s additionally one in all New York City’s much less touristy locations.

Visitors will encounter numerous gardens at Wave Hill. See vivid bursts of coloration 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 atmosphere 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 may 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, gives 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 keep on with a low funds, convey your individual meals and drinks and luxuriate 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 might be a bit off the overwhelmed path, contemplate heading to South Brooklyn to the neighborhood of Sunset Park the place yow will discover the OG park in NYC earlier than Central Park.

Green-Wood Cemetery is without doubt one of the most lovely cemeteries within the United States, well-liked amongst taphophiles or “Tombstone Tourists” and was used as a park within the Victorian-era that impressed the necessity to create one of the vital well-known points of interest in all of NYC, Central Park! While a cemetery looks like 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 is just not solely hauntingly lovely, however there are 478-acres of winding pathways via this degree III arboretum and even skyline and Statue of Liberty views.

The cemetery is particularly lovely to go to within the fall in the course of the fall foliage and within the spring when the flowers are in bloom.

Some of probably the most fascinating factors of curiosity to take a look at are a few of the notable individuals which were 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 a number of.

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 placement of one of the vital vital battles of the American Revolutionary War on Battle Hill. Those who’re followers of Walt Whitman can get pleasure from strolling in his footsteps as Green-Wood Cemetery was one in all his favourite locations to frequent and folks watch which impressed his writings about life in New York City.

The cemetery is open every day and fully 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 via 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 road performers, and the weekends are the time to go to to see the park in full movement. 

The park has a fantastic vibe and is a enjoyable place to spend a day. Bring a picnic and a few drinks and benefit from the vitality 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 previously.

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

For these with furry buddies, 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 get pleasure from, so ensure 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 bit 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 recent water ponds, woods and intertidal salt marshes of its namesake bay.

It’s attainable to do some chook watching, as accounts of over 300 chook species have been noticed at occasions throughout the refuge. Along with birds, you can spot turtles and butterflies. From woodsy bushes to wildflowers, there’s some superb vegetation to be seen right here as effectively. During hotter months, greenness is ample 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 12 months spherical besides on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. A customer’s middle is provided with restroom amenities however you need to convey your individual foods 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 prepare on the Rockaway sure aspect to Broad Channel Station. The S prepare additionally stops at this station through the Rockaway Park department line. After exiting the station, stroll alongside Noel Road to achieve 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 gives an incredible view of Midtown Manhattan. You can take a stroll alongside the East River whilst you absorb staples of the NYC skyline, such because the Empire State Building and the United Nations. It’s significantly spectacular to go to at evening, when the town is all lit up round you.

The park contains a set of 4 piers alongside the river, and likewise has beautifully-maintained gardens to stroll via and discover. The namesake of the park is a sequence of business gantries which were restored and maintained as a monument to the historical past of the waterfront. Other actions and points of interest embody playgrounds, courts for numerous sports activities, and public concert events 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 an excellent take a look at the town with out weaving via 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 totally different New York neighborhoods is an effective way to discover the town on a funds. Here are a number of of our favorites.

Brighton Beach

Submitted by Amy of Moonshine and Mini Buses

New York is a mosaic of various international locations, and one of the vital underrated neighborhoods is Brighton Beach, the place Russian is the widespread language. Here, in “Little Odessa,” you may discover all issues Eastern European.

The girl 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 sweets 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 international locations, 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 can be a memorable night!), however maybe the very best 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 extra space 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 while you need to escape the concrete jungle for a bit. Accessible by tram, prepare, or automotive, the island makes for a fantastic expertise that everybody ought to add to their New York bucket listing. 

From the island, you may get an exquisite 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 residence to quite a lot of distinctive New York City historical past, and you’ll nonetheless go to a few of the ruins of asylums and hospitals that when performed a serious half within the metropolis’s medical subject. 

Since the island is reasonably small, you may tour the entire space on a motorcycle. Bring your individual or hire a Citibike for affordable, and for an additional particular deal with, go to the island throughout Cherry Blossom season. It’s exhausting to search out an exercise within the metropolis extra enjoyable than driving a motorcycle beneath some Cherry Blossom bushes and viewing the towering skyscrapers from afar.

This has develop into one in all my favourite issues to do in New York, because it actually provides you a second to breathe throughout your journey and really respect 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 road in New York? It’s Convent Avenue, between 143rd St. and 145th St. Seriously. This road within the Hamilton Heights neighborhood of neighborhood is residence to an eclectic assortment of upscale brownstones, every with their very own model and weird particulars, however all of them work collectively superbly.

In reality, that is the place yow 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 crammed with extra architectural treasures. Hamilton PlaceIf you need to go additional afoot, I extremely suggest Sylvan Terrace, simply off 161st Ave. and St. Nicholas Ave. close to the Morris-Jumel Mansion, a historic road with uncommon picket homes so totally different from the rest in New York City!

Another cool structure road is Astor Row — the south aspect of W. a 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 occasions, that iconic image of the huge blue Manatthan bridge flanked by purple brick buildings, and the Empire State Building peaking via, so tiny from that perspective. If you like images, I’m certain you need to get that shot too, particularly if you’re visiting New York City for the primary time.

For that, you should get to DUMBO — Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass — in all probability one of the vital 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 one of the vital instagrammable locations in New York and a full of life 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 search out unbelievable road performers by the Jane’s Carousel or random free artwork expositions alongside the close by streets. 

If you like strolling you can begin strolling from Manhattan Bridge and proceed beneath Brooklyn Bridge via 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 without doubt one of 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 residence to a few of the most gorgeous murals on the planet and there may be one place the place you may see rows and rows of such dazzling road artwork, and that too fully freed from value! 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 all around the world to color the partitions with social and political road artwork.

The best strategy 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 road artwork with an optionally available $3 reserving charge; notice that you just do have to 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 will 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 may 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 an excellent enjoyable strategy to get a singular expertise in your New York journey. The Manhattan Boathouse affords free kayaking to anybody daily of the week, climate allowing.

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

Not solely is the service fully freed from cost, nevertheless it’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 a fantastic exercise for all ages and also you don’t should be significantly athletic to get pleasure from paddling your kayak. It’s simply necessary that anybody collaborating is aware of the best way to swim in case the kayak ideas over.

If you’re seeking to get somewhat train in whereas in your trip, get pleasure from nature, or simply do one thing off the overwhelmed path, then benefiting from the free kayaks at Pier 96 is a good choice.

Free Comedy Shows

New York is a cultural hub. It’s nice for music, artwork, theater, and many others., nevertheless it’s additionally among the finest locations on the planet for comedy. Aspiring comedians journey from each state and nation to attempt to make it in New York. So why not hearken to their jokes and have amusing without spending a dime while you’re within the metropolis?

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

A whole lot of the nice free reveals are in Greenwich Village, however yow 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 improve the probability you’ll watch a identified amount’s routine. No matter which method you go, you’re certain to have amusing 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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