New York City tops the list of most expensive cities in the United States. Visitors expect to put any sort of budget on hold when planning their stay. It’s not time to start shelling Benjamins out of your wallet just yet. While the cost of a coffee and buttered scone can reach ridiculous height, the financial blow can be offset by taking advantage of the numerous free things to do in New York City. There’s something for everyone whether you are interested in seeing historic sites, going to museums, or being outdoors.
- Free Friday Nights at the Museum of Modern Art
Visitors from all over the world flock to the Museum of Modern Art to see its world-class collection, which houses works by Picasso, Rothko, and Pollock. The chance to be view these masterpieces comes with a price, $25 for adult admission to be exact. Art lovers have reason to rejoice though, because every week MoMA hosts its Free Friday Nights from 4 to 8 pm. The sculpture garden is open free of charge daily from 9:30 to 10:15 am.
- American Folk Art Museum
Source: Folk Art Museum
Admission to the American Folk Art Museum is completely free with no strings attached. Come here whenever it best fits your schedule and see one of the city’s most unique art collections showcasing work by self-taught artists.
- Bronx Museum of the Arts
The Bronx Museum of the Arts was so committed to making arts experiences available to everyone that the institution implemented a free admission policy to honor its 40th anniversary. For no cost at all, you gain access to the museum’s stimulating art exhibitions and education programs that highlight the urban experience while celebrating the local community.
- Free Tours and Stargazing at the High Line
Source: National Geographic
The folks at the High Line want to make sure you get the ultimate experience when stopping. May through October, docents lead free tours highlighting the park’s history, design, and landscape. You can gaze at the stars through high-powered telescopes courtesy of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York every Tuesday from dusk to 30 minutes before the park closes. Check the website’s calendar for a complete schedule and information on more free happenings.
- Tour of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Source: High Quality Tours
Sure, you’ll learn about the roles and responsibilities of the Federal Reserve on this free tour. But the biggest draw of touring the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is getting to see the gold vaults located under the streets of New York City. Tours are offered Monday through Friday and registration is required. Check the website for more information.
- Staten Island Ferry
Source: The Epoch Times
Before bridges, people traveling from Manhattan to the future boroughs relied on the ferry system. The Staten Island Ferry is one of the last vessels still in operation from this time. Ferry rides are free and offer incredible views of the New York Harbor. The Ferry runs 24/7, check the schedule for a complete listing of ride times.
- Free Tour at the Brooklyn Brewery
Source: Brooklyn Brewery
The Brooklyn Brewery was cultivating its suds in Williamsburg long before the neighborhood emerged as the ultra-hip destination it is today. Free brewery tours are offered on the half hour every Saturday from 1 to 5 pm and Sunday from 1 to 4 pm. After you learn about the beer’s history and brewing process, head over to the tasting room and enjoy a cool lager.
- Coney Island Beach and Boardwalk
Source: Travel Freak
One of New York City’s most beloved attractions, Coney Island is a place where fun, romance, and dreams weave together. And much of it can be enjoyed for free. Walk along the boardwalk lined with novelty shops and food vendors. Soak up the sun on Coney Island’s nearly 3 miles of sandy beaches. Your visit wouldn’t be complete without a Nathan’s Famous Hotdog.
- Free Tuesdays at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Source: Culture Passport
Connect to nature’s splendor at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Free admission is offered every Tuesday and Saturday from 10 to noon. Be sure to stop by the peaceful Japanese Garden, flowering Cherry trees in spring, and Magnolia Plaza where the sweet scented flowers bloom March through June.
- Hamilton Grange
It’s near impossible to score tickets to the Broadway hit Hamilton. But for free, you can tour the founding father’s home that he built on his Harlem estate. Experience Hamilton Grange’s historically furnished rooms through guided and self-guided tours, walk the grounds, and view the exhibit gallery highlighting Hamilton’s major life events. If you can’t let not being able to see Lin-Manuel Miranda’s play go, try listening to the Hamilton Broadway Cast Recording on your phone and ear buds while exploring the site.
- Visit the Chelsea Art Galleries
Source: Leandro Michel Blogspot
New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood is home to hundreds of galleries, which you can visit for free. Many exhibitions show work by the same artists found in the city’s top museums – Andy Warhol, Richard Serra, Donald Judd, and Cindy Sherman just to name a few. At the same time, view work by contemporary art’s biggest talents. List Mitchell-Innes & Nash, David Zwirner, Galerie Lelong, Pace Gallery, Gladstone Gallery, and Gagosian on your gallery-hopping itinerary.
- New York Public Library
Source: Thousand Wonders
Housed in the Beaux-arts landmark near Bryant Park, the New York Public Library is the second largest library in the United States (the Library of Congress is the largest). It’s free to visit this cultural icon that has made appearances in the films Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Ghostbusters. The NYPL has an amazing program of exhibitions and events that are free and open to the public. Check the website for more information.
- Visit the outdoor 9/11 Memorial
Source: Cleveland Blog
The 9/11 Memorial honors the lives of those who were lost during the attacks while serving as a hopeful symbol for the future. You can pay your respects at the outdoor section, which is free and open to the public.
- The Brooklyn Bridge Park
Source: Brown Stoner
Located on the waterfront of Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO, the Brooklyn Bridge Park offers visitors stunning views of lower Manhattan. Come here for a leisurely afternoon and check out the park’s lush green landscape, rotating art installations, and free events. It’s a favorite spot of locals and tourists alike.
- Socrates Sculpture Park
Once an illegal dumpsite on the riverside of Long Island City, the Socrates Sculpture Park offers visitors a one-of-kind opportunity to check out large-scale sculpture and multi-media installations in an outdoor environment. View incredible works of art rising from the ground up against Manhattan’s skyline. During the warmer months, the park hosts free performances, events, and outdoor cinema screenings.
People come from all over the world come to New York City in search of its culture, history, and attractions. To experience it all does not have to cost all you have. Follow this list of free things to do in New York City and you just might have money left over that can be used to start planning your next trip back.