It’s no secret that New York is an expensive city to visit, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune to have fun here. The city is full of free things to do and see. Whether you’re a tourist here for a few days or a long-time resident, you can always find things to do that won’t cost you a dime.
Top Free Things to Do in NYC
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The Museum of Modern Art
The MOMA has a lot to offer, and you can see it without paying the $25 admission fee. Every Friday from 4 pm to 8 pm you can get free admittance. You can also see the sculpture garden for free every day from 9:30 to 10 am.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
A trip to the Brooklyn Botanic garden is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. On Tuesdays, you can enjoy the whole area for free.
Stargazing at the High Line
It is well known; that you can see New York’s most famous elevated; High Line park, for free but less well known is the free stargazing. Every Tuesday, starting at dusk, the Armature Astronomers Association sets up telescopes along the stretch from West 15th to West 16th Street. It’s a perfect time to visit the park and usually less crowded than during the daytime.
The Staten Island Ferry
A trip to New York wouldn’t be complete without a boat trip on the Hudson or East River. These trips cost money, except for the Staten Island ferry which is entirely free.
Attend a Cultural Event at the New York Public Library
The Public Library is hard to miss but less well known is the Schwarzman building on 42nd Street and 5th Avenue. This architectural gem is not only free to visit but also hosts archival photographs and lectures by acclaimed authors.
Kayak the Hudson River
From mid-May to mid-October you can take out a kayak on the Hudson River for free. Just head to Pier 26 in Tribeca. It’s first to come first serve so make sure to get there early.
Distilling Company Tour and tasting
Feel in the mood to try some gin and whiskey? One of Brooklyn’s best distilleries does free tours on the weekends between 2 pm and 5 pm.
The Galleries of Chelsea
Art lovers won’t want to miss the chance for free galleries, and Chelsea is where you can find most of them. Check the guide for listings and try to make your visit on Tuesdays for wine-and-cheese openings.
The New York Earth Room
Now for some real dirt. Located in SoHo, the Earth room is a 22-inch-deep layer of ground spread across a 3,600 square foot gallery space. Inside the smells of New York are reduced to only one, the rich aroma of soil. Admission is free, and it’s certainly something different.
See the Gold at the Federal Bank
A little known but fascinating attraction lies in the Financial District, 6,500 tons of gold. Most of it arrived after WWII, and anyone can sign up to see it for free on weekday afternoons.