10 Free Things To Do In New York City

New York on a budget is very, very possible. In fact, it's one of the easiest cities to find free things to do that are all fantastic! Which is why I've made this complete list of the free things you can do on your upcoming visit to NYC!

Seeing a vast majority of the major attractions in New York City can mean spending a large amount of your budget on tickets.

However, there’s something for everyone in this magnificently beautiful city that doesn’t have to cost a cent. Which is why I dedicate todays post to my top ten free things to do in New York City.


1. Central Park

Designed in the 1860’s to boost real-estate value uptown. Central Park is without a doubt the most famous park in the world. A must see destination on your trip to New York City and better yet, completely free.

Spread across 843 acres this park includes everything from rolling meadows to an outdoor theatre right through to a reservoir.

Central Park is my favourite free thing to do in New York City

2. High Line

The high line is a fantastic example of urban renewal. Sitting 30ft above the city on an abandoned rail line, this attraction is now one of New York’s most loved outdoor spaces.

The high line walk connects the meatpacking district with the Chelsea galleries, making it the perfect stop for a picnic as you wizz around the city.

The High Line is a fantastic free place to visit in New York City

3. Staten Island Ferry

This has to be one of my favourite travel hacks of all time. Everyone wants to see the world famous Statue of Liberty but with ferry tours starting at $12 the costs can soon stack up. Instead take the commuter route with the Staten Island Ferry.

The route cuts across New York Harbour carrying up to 19 million passengers a year and is completely free.

Free transport in New York how is this possible?

4. Grand Central Terminal

On the subject of transport. Let’s talk about another commuter hotspot, Grand Central Terminal. With over 750,000 commuters pacing the floors of it’s 44 platforms every single day there’s no where quite like Grand Central Terminal.

Filled with everything from an Oyster Bar to an old fashioned shoe shine you’re free to wonder the vast majority of the terminal without a train ticket.

5. Brooklyn Bridge

The iconic Brooklyn Bridge is over 1,500 foot long suspended over the East River it’s designed to connect Manhattan to Brooklyn. Completed in 1883, it’s estimated that 27 people died during it’s construction.

To take a stroll across this iconic bridge start at Centre Street near the City Hall. Along you’re walk you’ll be able to take in great views of theManhattan skyline, Statue of Liberty and Governors Island.

The Brooklyn bridge is perfect for a stroll

6. Brooklyn Brewery

The Brooklyn Brewery was established in 1988 by Steve Hindy and Tom Potter. At a time where Brooklyn was the centre of the beer brewing industry.

Almost thirty years on and the brewery still stands strong offering completely free tours on a weekend. This gives you a fantastic chance to explore the history and an insight into the brewing industry.

If you’re looking go midweek the tour will cost $20 and includes a beer tasting session.

Brooklyn Brewery offers fantastic free tours of their facilities

7. Governors Island

Governors Island is a 172 acre island in the heart of New York Harbour that’s open to the public during the summer months. Whilst the island is just 800 yards away from lower Manhattan you’re still going to need to take the ferry from the Battery Maritime Building in the financial district.

The service is half hourly and the ride takes approximately 7 minutes. After safely arriving on Governors Island you can cycle around it’s 2.2 mile bike path, have a picnic in the picnic area. Take in sights at the Admirals house or even play a round of mini golf.

Governor's Island is a fantastic little gem in New York City

8. New York Public Library

Inside the Stephen A Schwarzman Building you’ll find the New York Public Library. At more than 100 years old this jaw-dropping building is somewhere not to be missed. Situated east of Times Square and fronted by marble lions named Patience and Fortitude.

The library plays host to more than 430,000 old maps and has a reading room designed for more than 500 guests. You are free to wonder the library on your own or take part in a tour hosted Monday to Saturday at either 11am or 2pm.

The New York Public Library is a fantastic and completely free place to visit

9. Socrates Sculpture Park

In 1986, American sculptor Mark di Suvero created Socrates Sculpture Park on an abandoned landfill and illegal dumpsite in Long Island City.

Over thirty years later, and this four acre site is now the largest outdoor space in New York City dedicated to exhibiting large-scale sculptures. Highlights of the park include a piano harp that’s been transformed into a beehive as well as a self-sustaining forest garden.

Socrates Sculpture Park

10. The Fashion Institute of Technology

While many museums offer free or pay as you feel times. Not all of us are flexible enough to be able to visit at those times.

Fortunately, the museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology is free year-round.With more than 4,000 pairs of shoes and 50,000 pieces of clothing and accessories there’s plenty to see. The museum plays host to a mix of both permanent and rotating exhibits from designers including Dior and Chanel.

There we have it, my top ten free things to do in New York City. As always I’d love to know you’re favourite things to do in the big apple. In the meantime, feel free to use the map I’ve created. It has every location I’ve spoken about pinned, allowing you to map out your trip itinerary with ease…

In the meantime, if you enjoy seeing the sights that America has to offer on a budget, then be sure to check out my other posts.


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