New York is the kind of city that you cannot see in one trip, unless you spend a good couple of weeks here. Seeing it all also means dishing out . Budget traveller or not, there are countless free things to do in the Big Apple if you know where to look. That’s where we come in.
City sights & museums
Like every city there are some museums you’ll always have to pay for, others that are free only on certain days of the week or month and others that are free to enter any time. It’s good to know beforehand which museums you’re interested in seeing and then planning your days around their free times.
- Museum of Modern Art is free Fridays from 4-8pm
- Bronx Zoo is free Wednesdays (excluding special exhibitions)
- Museum of Arts and Design is free Thursdays from 6-9pm
- Brooklyn Botanic Garden is free all day on Tuesdays
- Staten Island Zoo is free on Wednesdays after 2pm
- Whitney Museum of American Art is free on Fridays from 6-9pm
- New York Aquarium is free Fridays after 3pm
It’s nearly impossible to visit and explore all of New York’s neighbourhoods in one go, it can also be very expensive. Whether you choose to see a bit of it all or really dig deep into one particular area of the city, these free tours are a great start to city sightseeing for nothing, or next to it.
Big Apple Greeter – Volunteer-based, this organization plans free walking tours throughout the city guided by locals. Tours last 2-4 hours and aim to show parts of the city tourists wouldn’t normally visit, a for more local experience. Rain or shine, these tours are a hit. For more info, visit: greenapplegreeter.com
Opening the Way: A Women’s History Walk – You’ll need a mobile phone for this tour through downtown Manhattan. Text messages lead the way with challenges and quotes that give you insight into the lives of famous female New Yorkers. There are 21 stops on the tour including Trinity Church, City Hall Park and Louise Nevelson Plaza. For more info, visit: womensenews.org
Free Tours by Foot – Tours take you all around the city, from lower Manhatten to Greenwich Village, SoHo, Chinatown, Harlem and others. Note that guides work for tips so while the tour is “free”, it’s good to support your guide if they do a good job. For more info, visit: freetoursbyfoot.com
Let’s not forget one of the city’s most popular and free attractions: Central Park. More than 800 acres large in the centre of Manhattan, Central Park is not only free to enjoy but also features some great attractions to enjoy while on holidays in NYC. The Wollman Rink is a classic for winter ice skating, Central Park Zoo and the Friedsam Memorial Carousel is fun for everyone. In the summers, catch free concerts performed by the New York Philharmonic on the Great Lawn and visit Strawberry Fields, a living memorial for John Lennon.
What are your favourite spots around New York? What free things would you recommend?