SEE THE SIGHTS
– Want to take in New York City’s famous skyline without the added price tag? Take a free cruise down the New York Harbor on board the Staten Island Ferry for prime views of downtown Manhattan and Lady Liberty herself!
– Exchange the water for the air on a ride on the free Roosevelt Island Tramway. Primarily used by residents, all you need is a swipe of your metro card for breathtaking vistas of midtown Manhattan and the gorgeous Queensboro Bridge.
– Built on an abandoned elevated railroad track, the High Line is a beautiful place to take a walk and admire the Hudson River as well as various naturalized plants that originally grew on the out-of-use tracks.
– For a grand view of the city sometimes it’s necessary to step outside of Manhattan, and Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City is a quick trip off of the island that returns grand sights.
– Or take a stroll across the famous Brooklyn Bridge for jaw-dropping views of both sides of the East River.
SEE A LIVE SHOW
– Many of America’s favorite live television shows, including The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Good Morning America and more, are taped right here in the Big Apple, and tickets are free!
– Usually tickets are available months in advance but the show’s websites will often release any remaining or canceled tickets the days before the taping and many have stand-by options as well.
– If you don’t get tickets to a show you can always gather at Rockefeller Plaza weekday mornings to watch the taping of the Today show. The hosts and guests are outside on the plaza from 7-9AM, bring a sign showing your hometown pride, get there early enough and you could be on live TV!
– Some of the city’s greatest live comedy can also be seen for free or for very cheap at Upright Citizen’s Brigade. The two locations in the city feature multiple shows a night and are known for having big name comedy stars top in unexpectedly.
– Another great venue for free performances is Rockwood Music Hall on the Lower East Side. Its three stages feature a huge number and variety of musical acts every night, many of which are completely free.
PACK A PICNIC
– Whoever says there’s no greenery in New York City obviously hasn’t been to any of our beautiful parks! Pack a picnic and head out to Central Park to enjoy the weather, any area is good but in particular Sheep Meadow and the Great Lawn are popular picnicking destinations.
– Farther uptown you’ll find the enormous Fort Tryon Park, acres of land with prime Hudson River views and playgrounds that also plays host to The Met Cloisters, a medieval Europe museum with beautiful art, architecture, and gardens.
– Washington Square Park is always hopping with live music when warmer weather hits New York City, grab some cheap eats from the many restaurants in the surrounding Greenwich Village area and settle in to soak up the history of a park that has been the starting point for many political and cultural movements throughout the years.
– If you want to step away from some of the crowds in Manhattan, jump on a train to Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, home to the U.S. Open tennis tournament and the famous Unisphere created for the New York World’s Fair of 1964-65.
LEARN SOMETHING NEW
– New York boasts an extensive list of top tier museums, and for many a trip to the city isn’t complete without wandering through one. Some of those museums are free all the time, some are suggested admission meaning you can pay any amount you would like, and many are free on certain days of the week.
– For a complete list of free museums consult www.nycgo.com/articles/free-nyc-museums.
– In addition to an impressive museum list New York City also plays host to a huge number of art galleries, most of which are free and way less crowded. These galleries can be found everywhere but stroll through Chelsea or the Lower East Side and you’re sure to find a multitude.
TAKE A TOUR
– There are plenty of ways to walk the city the way New Yorkers do, for absolutely free! Consider requesting a guide from Big Apple Greeter, a free service that pairs visitors with native New Yorkers who volunteer to share a few hours of their time to discuss their knowledge and love for NYC.
– Free Tours by Foot offers walking tours of different Manhattan and Brooklyn neighborhoods as well as delicious food tours that will show you the most authentic and delicious places to eat, all at a pay-what-you-like cost!
– The famous Brooklyn Brewery offers free tours of its facilities on weekends, as do some of the other breweries and distilleries around town, some of which come with a free tasting!