21 Free Things To Do in NYC


by Liam Clark

New York City, the big Apple, is famous for all the things you can do here. But being one of the most visited and beloved city in the world “things” to do often comes with a price.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that NYC is one of the most expensive cities on our planet. That said, there are “things” that is definitely worth doing while you either are visiting or live here, that won’t cost you anything. That’s right, zero! And these things are no secret, since the list is here for you to read.


Here are 21 free things to do in NYC:

1. NYC Highline

This is now a known spot for many but less known for first timers. Use the stairs behind the Chelsea Market and head upwards (north) on this incredible highline (1.6km long). It’s amazing to walk up here and be off the streets. If you feel like a longer route, walk all the way to Central Park for some nice greenery.

2. Museum of Modern Art

It’s free on Fridays 4PM-8PM, this can change

Being one of the most important museums in the city if not in the US it’s a must stop when visiting this town. There are so many things to discover and see here that we simply cannot list them all. Just go here when you have time!

3. Brooklyn Brewery Tours

It’s free on Saturdays

If you like beer or just want to see who this now renowned brewery makes its famous ale, then head to Brooklyn and enjoy the show!

4. NYC Public Library

As libraries around the world get less used make sure to visit New York City’s and the US largest library before its too late (we hope not). It home for over 50 millions books.

5. Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Here you can book a tour, in advance, to get a glimpse of the incredible and famous vault. Also get to know how they set monetary policy etc.

6. Sony Wonder Technology Lab

You don’t need to be a total geek in order to enjoy this Wonder Lab in NYC. It’s a place for anyone with a slightest interest for technology or for the whole family for that sake.

7. Shakespeare in the Park

This is an old tradition from the fifties. Get your tickets online, to the same night event, or just head to Delacort Theater, be early very early, and secure your place.

8. Guggenheim Museum

On Saturdays from 5:45 – 7:15 its “pay what you like, days can change

There are different exhibitions depending on when you are going here (what year), but normally you can discover Picasso, Manet and more. Just the building itself, by Guggenheim, is a true inspiration for many.

9. Staten Island Ferry

Catch the free ferry from Battery Park that will take you to State Island and enjoy the amazing views of the financial district as well as, of course, the Statue of Liberty. You can then combine this with walking back over Brooklyn Bridge if you have some stamina. Definitely worth it though!

10. Governor’s Island

If you didn’t know, this is the very birthplace of the State of New York as well as the home to Castle Williams. Its easy to get here by using one of the many ferries on this route. Check time schedule before arriving.

New York Rockefeller Centre

11. Visit the 9/11 Memorials

Even if it’s a crowded place it's for sure worth coming here and a must when you are here.

12. Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Free during December – January (Weekdays only) and normally Tuesdays and Thursdays

As the name inclines it’s a massive garden with an impressive flora. Great to just stroll around in and breathe.

13. Bronx Zoo

General admission is free on Wednesdays

Head to 2300 Southern Boulevard in Bronx and enjoy the show as penguins, sea lions, camel and much more are living here. Perfect family trip but an experience for everyone.

14. Brooklyn Bridge Park

This might be where you’ll have one of the best views of Manhattan

15. Central Park

Probably not forgotten by anyone but its still free. Stroll along the green areas while the buzzing from the traffic drops away. A must of course!

16. NBC Studios live tapings

This is where the Tonight Show and Saturday Night Live hangs around, and believe it or not, there are free tickets, you just need to get them which could be easier said than done. Still free though!

17. Fashion Institute of Technology Museum

Interested in clothing? Then head here and have a look at an impressive collection of items from the 5th century and onwards.

18. Grand Central Station

Being one of the largest, if not the largest, train stations in the world it’s a must visit while you are here. It’s simply amazing! Look up and discover the ceiling.

19. Get lost in West Village

Just plain and simple, get lost while strolling around the tiny streets of West Village, just be sure to ask for direction after a while. Maps are forbidden ;)

20. St Patrick’s Cathedral

This is the oldest cathedral in New York City and its magnificent. Perhaps you are lucky and get a glimpse of his eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan.

21. Rockefeller Center

Perhaps its best experienced during winter but even during summer it’s worth a visit. You can do a self-guided tour just visit the receptions in the lobby for more info and a map. During winter and especially close to christmas, its just amazing to stand outside and enjoy watching people ice skating, some for the very first time.

NYC could be expensive to visit or to live in, but there are a few exceptions. Here's a list of 21 Free Things To Do in NYC!