20 things to do for free in New York

Benefit from all the experiences in the Big Apple!


Sometimes it happens, we plan to visit the major attractions of a city and we realise the greatest part of our budget has gone. New York City is no exception and if we are willing to visit the emblematic buildings such as the Empire State, we will have to pay for it. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t treat ourselves at some point of our travel. Some say the greatest things in life are for free, you just need to be there to appreciate it.

This time, we’re giving you a list of 20 free things to do on your next trip to New York:

1 – One of the prettiest spots in the city is of free access on Tuesdays and Saturdays. That is the Wave Hill Public Gardens and Cultural Center, a 28-acre estate on the banks of the Hudson River. Don’t miss out on the river views!

Wave Hill - New York Public Garden and Cultural Center

Wave Hill

2 – Every two Thursdays at 7pm there is a literary meeting at the reading series organised in Pete’s Candy store. There, literary icons and rising stars share their creations with the public attending at Brooklyn.

3 – On the Upper East Side, the New York Historical Society museum opens its doors on a pay what you want basis to those who venture into its majestic collections on Fridays from 6pm to 8pm. Don’t miss the chance to visit the oldest museum in the city.

New York Historical Society

New York Historical Society

4 – Over the Summer several New York parks organise free outdoor cinema. Among them you have the McCarren Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Brooklyn Bridge Park

5 – A walk through New York’s Public Library will be a delight for all your senses!

6 – Free live music and performances of all kinds take place on the first Saturday of the month. As hard as it seems to believe, we’re talking of the Brooklyn Museum.

7 – For those who enjoy listening to Jazz, you’ll find your place at Barbès, for free, all week long! Its name is inspired by a northern parisien neighbourhood.

8 – Contemplating the giant screens of Times Square at night is one of the essentials of any visit to New York.

Times Square New York

Times Square

9 – To see the Statue of Liberty, it is not strictly necessary to pay for a private boat tour. Simply hop on the free ferry to Staten Island and you’ll get a good view.

Statue of Liberty, New York

Statue of Liberty from the boat

10 – At the Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens, many free events are organized, such as yoga classes on weekends from May to September.

11 – For the passionates about the African-American culture, it is interesting to pay a visit to Schomburg Center, part of the city’s library system. You will find documents, books, recordings, photographs, exhibitions and free visits.

12 – Contemplate the mythological statues of Prometheus and the Atlas at the Rockefeller Center and study their significance for free.

Statue of Prometheus at Rockefeller Center

Statue of Prometheus at Rockefeller Center

13 – Practice kayaking at no cost in public boathouse communities located on the banks of the Hudson River.

14 – If you are into architecture and history, a good alternative will be to visit the New York City Hall. Free tours are organised on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

City Hall New York

City Hall

15 – The beer brand Brooklyn Brewery makes some of the most exquisite beers in the city. Not only that, on weekends they offer free tours in the facilities of their factory in Williamsburg.

16 – Cross one of the famous New York bridges through its pedestrian lanes. The Manhattan Bridge and the Williamsburg Bridge can be two good options.

Manhattan Bridge

Manhattan Bridge

17 – Attending a Gospel Mass in Harlem on a Sunday morning can be a lifetime experience you will never forget. If you are curious you can investigate the origin of these masses. They will pass on the collection basket, that’s for sure.

18 – Some of the most important works of art in the world are located in the MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) and on Fridays from 4 to 8 in the afternoon you can visit this museum for free.

MOMA New York

Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)

19 – Stroll through more than two kilometers of the urban park High Lane, a green area elevated on an old railway line in New York.

20 – Do not forget to visit one of the icons of New York, St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Built in neo-Gothic style and dedicated to the patron saint of Ireland.

St. Patrick's Cathedral New York

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

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