10 Fun and Free Things To Do in New York City

What’s better than having fun things to do? Having fun free things to do. Welcome to our blog series, 10 Free Things. Make the most of the city that never sleeps with 10 fun and free things to do in New York City.

1. Smell the roses at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

The beautiful Brooklyn Botanic Garden is home to a stunning collection of flora, including an impressive array of orchids. Admission is free every Tuesday and on Saturdays from 10am to noon. Tip: Stick with free admission Tuesdays to avoid the crowds.


2. Get a fashion fix

The museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology houses a world-renowned rotating collection of dresses, accessories, photos textiles, and more. Even non-fashionistas are likely to enjoy a peek at the museum’s 250 years of fashion history.

3. See amazing art

There’s something for everyone at the MoMA, one of NYC’s most beloved art museums. During any given month, you might find a special exhibit on Monet or Gauguin, a daring piece of performance art, or works from just the last few decades. Admission to the museum is free on Fridays from 4-8pm. Also free on Friday evenings: The Whitney (6-9pm) and the Museum of the Moving Image (4-8pm)


4. Walk the Highline

Built (and grown) on abandoned section of railroad track, this garden sits 30 feet above the ground, making it an excellent place to gaze at the Hudson River or people watch on the sidewalks below. Bonus: You’ll also find excellent food and shopping in the Meatpacking District at the Highline’s southern end!


5. Have an island picnic

Governor’s Island is a favorite urban hideaway of locals. A free ferry runs from lower Manhattan to the small island, which is open from 10am to 7pm on weekends and holidays from May through September. Bring a picnic, rent a bike, play a round of mini golf, and sunbathe the day away.


6. Tour the Brooklyn Brewery

Think you can only find excellent brewery tours in Bavaria? Think again! Head to the Brooklyn Brewery in Williamsburg for a free tour every hour on the hour from 1pm to 5pm on Saturdays and until 4pm on Sundays. If you’re hungry, there’s an excellent selection of food nearby including Smorgasburg, a giant food-only flea market open every Saturday starting on April 5th.


7. Visit the New York Public Library

The famous main branch of the New York Public Library is a must-see destination if you’re visiting the City. The NYPL is the largest marble structure ever built in the USA, and its interior is even more impressive than the outside. If the amazing architecture wasn’t enough, the Library also houses a copy of the original Declaration of Independence, a Gutenberg Bible, and an extensive collection of old maps in addition to its millions of circulating items.


8. Get spiritual at St. Patrick’s Cathedral

This stunning example of neo-gothic architecture welcomes over 5 million visitors every year. Check out the tour schedule or download the virtual tour app, which is narrated by Cardinal Timothy Dolan.


9. Go backstage

Think you have to be a VIP to attend a taping of The Daily Show or Late Night with Jimmy Fallon? All you really need is some patience and a little luck. It’s fun and free to attend tapings of many shows, and you can request tickets in advance (or wait inline for standby options). Wave to the camera!


10. See some (incredible) student performances

Most of the student performances at the legendary Juilliard school are absolutely free (and those that aren’t are just $20). You can reserve tickets by calling the box office or checking the schedule online.

Previously: 10 Free Things in Sydney

3 Comments on “10 Fun and Free Things To Do in New York City

  1. What about walking across the Brooklyn Bridge? It’s the ultimate NYC experience (for out-of-towners like me)

    • Yes! Did that in September of 2009. Still a highlight. Read about the amazing engineering feat first and marvel more. Will do again when I go Spring 2017, but will explore Brooklyn’s promenade, too.

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