They say “the best things in life are free!”, but hey we’re talking about New York here! So, let’s have a look at some of the free things to do in New York.
Most of the state’s popular tourist attractions come with pricey tickets, be it the Empire State Building ($27 = INR 1,809), The Met ($25 = INR 1,675) or The Whitney ($20 = INR 1,340). So you end up spending more than what you plan.
To save you from the trouble of counting dollars throughout the trip, we’ve got you a list of 1o free things to do in New York that also promise a bucketful of great memories. Enjoy!
#1 Say Aye To A Brewery Tour
Where? Brooklyn Brewery, Williamsburg
A perfect weekend hangout spot, Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Brewery offers free tours from 1-5pm on Saturday and between 1-4pm on Sunday. Now isn’t it one of the best free things to do in New York? The tour lasts around thirty minutes after which you can grab a spot and drink some of their best beers. Don’t forget to try ‘Unsung Hero’, their exclusive offering. Cheers!
#2 Art-y Things To Do In New York – Art Crawl
Where? Chelsea (20th Street, Between 10th & 11th Avenues)
For an art enthusiast, a holiday without a gallery crawl is just incomplete and probably one of the MUST things to do in New York. If you too fall in this category, then a trip to Chelsea is highly recommended! Here you can visit some of New York’s most renowned art galleries, and enjoy uninterrupted time with your favourite art pieces without the pressure to buy them. Oh and try to match your visit timings with the wine-and-cheese openings on Thursday evenings. Check westchelseaarts.com or Gallery Guide for listings.
#3 No Park Like Central Park
If you have ever read ‘The Catcher in the Rye’, then you’ll be well-acquainted with Central Park. Constructed in the 1860’s, this park bustles with free activities throughout the year. Free concerts, top-notch dramas, mesmerising views, lush paintings and cross-country skiing and sledding activities barely scratch the surface of what Central Park has to offer. Some of the popular stops at this park are the Bethesda Fountain, the Shakespeare Garden, the Ramble and the Imagine mosaic. The park is generally crowded park with joggers, in-line skaters, musicians and tourists, but is relatively empty on weekday afternoons. Among all the free things to do in New York, visiting Central Park should definitely be on your list.
#4 Learn The Language Of Fashion
Where? Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) Museum, NYC
Want to attend the New York Fashion Week, but think it’s out of your budget? Well, then visit the next best thing, the FIT Museum. It’s always Fashion Week in the FIT Museum and it’s absolutely free! The museum features gorgeous rotating exhibits by its students and is home to a very elaborate and detailed collection of the country’s first gallery of fashion. The display is chosen from a collection of 50,000 garments dating from the 18th century to present. One of the most fun things to do in New York, if you ask us!
#5 Say Hello To Lady Liberty
Where? Staten Island Ferry, Manhattan
Considered to be New York’s best free attraction, the Staten Island ferry provides you with a gorgeous view of the Statue of Liberty. As the name suggests, the ferry is used to travel between Staten Island and New York, but due to the magnificent views, it’s a tourist favourite! As the ferry cuts across the New York Harbour, the passengers are awarded with panoramic views of the Manhattan and New Jersey skyline, as well as the Brooklyn Bridge. Many say that it provides a better perspective of the Lady Liberty, than the Liberty Island. If you aren’t up for some island exploration then just hop back on the ferry. Sail at around these timings (7-9 am and 5-7 pm) to avoid rush.
#6 Visit An Outdoor Museum
Where? Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City
A result of public co-operation, New York’s former dumpsite now exhibits the work of new and upcoming artists. This outdoor museum/public park overlooks the Roosevelt Island and the Upper East Side, and welcomes artists to display their sculptures and multi-media art installations. In addition to the exhibition space, the Socrates Sculpture Park offers an arts education and artist residency program. Come here on a Wednesday evening to enjoy light shows and movies and other free things to do in New York.
#7 Ready For Some Adventure?
Where? Public Boathouse Kayaking
Adrenaline junkies you are in luck, New York offers kayaking absolutely free of cost! Just head to public boathouses like the Downtown Boathouse and Long Island Community Boathouse in Queens for a free ride. Do not miss out on this one of the most fun things to do in New York.
#8 Step Into The World Of Literature
Where? New York Public Library, NYC
Among all the free things to do in New York, this is our favourite! A mini-universe of books, the 104 year old New York Public Library stands proud in the east of Times Square. A complete jaw-dropper, the entrance of the building is flanked by two huge marble lions ‘Patience’ and ‘Fortitude’ who welcome you to into the lavish universe of age-old charm and beauty. Along with impressive interiors and books by nearly every author of English literature, the library has pretty amazing exhibits too. It houses a copy of the original Declaration of Independence, a Gutenberg Bible and some 431,000 old maps. Free tours are conducted between 11am and 2pm from Monday to Saturday and 2pm on Sundays.
#9 Float Above The Streets
Where? The High Line Park, Manhattan
The High Line breaks free from the conventional ideas of parks and stands out as one of Manhattan’s most visited locations. Placed 30 feet above the ground and surrounded by gorgeous views, this elevated park is perfect for a visit on a sunny day. The High Line park is basically an abandoned rail track resurrected as a 1.45-mile-long green space running from the Meatpacking District to the northern edge of Chelsea (remember Chelsea galleries?). Today it’s an urbanite’s playground adorned with wildflowers. One of the most amazing things to do in New York would surely be lying on the lush green grass.
#10 Explore The Heart Of New York Harbour
Where? Governors Island, NYC
Formerly an off-limit military base, the Governors Island was opened for public in 2012 after a rigorous redevelopment process. The 172 acre island is perfect for family outings with its 2.2-mile bike path, mini-golf course and picnic areas. It also has military sites, such as the Admiral’s House, a ‘ghost town’ of sorts at Nolan Park, and its own one weekend art fest – Figment.
New York will surprise you with its diversity and uniqueness. These are some of the free things to do in New York, but there are lot more to explore and experience.
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