With myriad cultural attractions and a large city park system, New York has a lot to offer its visitors.
So it’s easier to find free activities to spend your days in New York than you might think. You just have to know where to go. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of free things to do in New York to help you plan a budget-friendly New York itinerary.
Free New York Activities
Looking for free things to do in New York? Here are some ideas:
Yes, most of New York’s parks are free to visit, but rest assured that most parks don’t have as many activities as Central Park. Perhaps the most famous park in New York City, Central Park is full of free events, statues, people-watching, and landmarks like Strawberry Fields, an “Imagine” mosaic near the Dakota where John Lennon was murdered in 1980. Uptown.
New York’s most concentrated area for a gallery tour is Chelsea, mainly on 20s Street between 10th and 11th Avenues. All are free, but if you get the chance, you can visit them on Thursday evenings during the wine-and-cheese openings.
The town hall
Since 1812 seat of the government of New York City. Guided tours of the town hall lead to the domed marble hall, the governor’s room and the place where the coffin of Abraham Lincoln briefly lay in 1865. Tours must be booked in advance. City Hall Park, looking towards the Brooklyn Bridge, Lower Manhattan.
This amazing park, created on an abandoned stretch of elevated railway line, has great views of the Hudson River or of the pedestrians on the sidewalks below. Look out for public art installations and events. Gansevoort Street to 30th St (currently), between 9th & 11th Aves, Chelsea.
National Museum of the Indians
The National Museum of the Indians is one of the best Native American collections in the country. Testries, cave paintings, and artifacts all thousands of years old make up some of the exhibits. Find it at 1 Bowling Green, Lower Manhattan.
New York Public Library
New York’s most famous library is housed in a large Beaux Arts icon east of Times Square. It is lined with marble lions called “Patience” and “Fortitude” and they are just amazing to walk through, especially the reading room which can accommodate 500 visitors who read with the help of the library’s original Carre and Hastings lamps .
There are also exhibits, including a copy of the original Declaration of Independence, a Gutenburg Bible, and 431,000 old ms. There are free guided tours from Monday to Saturday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. (closed on Sundays in summer). It’s located on Fifth Ave on 42nd St, Midtown East.
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
The Schomburg Center is home to the country’s largest collection of documents, books, recordings, and photographs about the African American experience, and also hosts free exhibits, musical performances, and self-guided tours. Guided tours must be booked at least one month in advance. It can be found at 515 Malcolm X Blvd on 135th St, Harlem.
Staten Island ferry
For a scenic maritime tour of New York Bay, hop aboard the Staten Island Ferry. The cruise route offers views of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline and is completely free. East end of Battery Park, Lower Manhattan.
Read our tips for visiting the Statue of Liberty.
As you can see, New York has a lot of free things to do. Don’t worry, you can have fun without spending a dime!