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11 Things To Do In New York City For FREE

Find out what you can do for free in New York City. Here’s a list of places and attractions that will cost you $0.

We all know how expensive New York City can be. No matter if you are a local or a visitor, Manhattan can definitely take its toll on your wallet, especially if you are not familiar with the city or traveling in general.

The reality is that, no matter where you are going, traveling can be just as expensive as you want it to be, and New York City is not exception to this golden rule.

This might blow your mind: most of the landmarks and attractions that make New York City iconic are free. So, here is a list of things to do in New York City for free.

Staten Island Ferry

city skyline across body of water during daytime
Photo by Carson Vara on Unsplash

If you are looking from a cheaper (or rather, free) way to see the Statue of Liberty, Staten Island Ferry is definitely the best bargain in New York City and one of the most memorable think you will do during your stay here.

The Staten Island Ferry is a free public transport which does round trips from the New York City batter to Staten Island and back again.

It operates between the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island and the Whitehall Terminal in Lower Manhattan.

Socrates Sculpture Park

Socrates Sculpture Park is an internationally renowned outdoor museum and public park situated at the confluence of the Harlem and East Rivers. This has a very unique and picturesque view of “Hell Gate“. It was once an abandoned landfill, which in the 1980s was turned into an exhibition space for artists. It is free to enter!

New York City Public Library

People studying in the New York Public Library [ IG: @clay.banks ]
Photo by Clay Banks / Unsplash

With 53 million items (6 million of which are books) and 92 locations, the New York Public Library is the second largest public library in the United States and the third largest in the world (behind the British Library). It is free to enter and it is located in the 5th Avenue, definitely worth visiting if you are visiting the Big Apple.

New York City Hall

Located at the center of City Hall Park in Lower Manhattan, New York City Hall is the seat of New York City government. The peculiar thing about it is that this building is the oldest city hall in the United States that still houses its original governmental functions. New York City Hall is a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Outdoor Cinema

This is definitely an experience I would recommend. Watching a movie sat in a park in New York City is just magic and definitely has its charm, especially if you are after a romantic moment with your loved one.

There are a number of parks which take part in this initiative, one of these is Bryant Park, located in West Midtown. There is nothing better then spending your Monday evenings sat on the grass, watching a movie. For days and movie selections, visit the website of Bryant Park.

Central Park

The world turned upside down
Photo by Hector Argüello Canals / Unsplash

The iconic Central Park is unlike any other parks in the world. Definitely recommend to have a walk and get lost in it if you need to “un-plug” yourself from the phrenetic and hectic rhythms of New York City.

Let me tell you, it will be a very interesting walk, where you will come across interesting landmarks (like John Lennon’s memorial, Balto’s statue, Bethesda Fountain), but also beautiful scenery (like Bow’s Bridge).

Walking Across Bridges

Photo by Colton Duke / Unsplash

New York City has 6 bridges that connect Manhattan to the rest of of world beyond. These can be crossed in different ways, like walking, cycling, skating, and driving.

We will concentrate on the walking bit since this article is about free attractions and things to do.

The first one on your list should be the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. Highly recommend walking on it from Brooklyn to Manhattan during sunset, having an amazing view of the skyline approaching.

The other bridge I would recommend is the Manhattan bridge. Why not taking some pictures of it from DUMBO before actually walking on it? It is truly worth seeing it from that spot.

High Line

brown wooden train rail near glass building during daytime
Photo by Paulo Soeiro on Unsplash

Once an historic freight rail, it was saved from demolition by neighborhood residents and the City of New York. It is now a hybrid public park opened in 2009, and visitors can experience nature, art and design. It will be a very fascinating walk, offering beautiful scenery of Manhattan whilst being surrounded by nature and art.

Brooklyn Brewery Tours

If you are a beer lover, the Brooklyn Brewery tour is definitely a stop you want to squeeze in somewhere in your itinerary.

New York City is home to several breweries, and a couple of them actually offer free tours of their facilities and Brooklyn Brewery is one of them. Its beer is distributed in 25 states and in 20 different countries. It is located in the 79 N 11th Street in Brooklyn.

From Monday to Friday there is a small fee to pay ($10), but on Saturday and Sunday they offer a free tour.

Chelsea Galleries

Chelsea galleries are free to enter and no pressure to buy once inside. Chelsea art district is one of the most important and most influential art district in the world. It features hundreds of galleries in different streets and it is located between West 18th and West 27th Streets, and 10th and 11th Avenues.

Bushwick Collective

Speaking of art, do you know about the Bushwick Collective? If not you are definitely missing out some of the best street art in the world. It begins on Jefferson Street and continues on Troutman Street towards Saint Nicholas Avenue, in Brooklyn.