free things to do in new york city

20+ things to do in New York City that won’t cost you a penny

For one of the most expensive cities in the world, both to live in and to visit, there is a surprisingly high amount of free things to do in New York – not unlike London.

If you are on a budget but still want to tick off the big-ticket items off of your New York bucket list, look no further!

Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Discover how they set monetary policy and more. Mandatory advance registration here. Make sure to book a guided tour to access the famous vault.

Fashion Institute of Technology Museum

Holds one of the largest and most impressive collection of clothing, with items dating back to the 5th century.

Sony Wonder Technology Lab

For all things technology, geek and modern science.

Museum of Modern Art

Free on Fridays 4PM-8PM

Perhaps the most important museum of the city, with works by Monet, Dali, Warhol and Munch.

Guggenheim Museum

Pay-what-you-wish on Saturdays between 5:45PM and 7:15PM

Definitely worth a go, as the building is just as popular as what’s inside – namely Manet, Picasso and Chagal, for example.

Governor’s Island

Birthplace of the State of New York and home to Castle Williams. Easily reachable by ferry.

High Line

A 1.6 km long linear, urban park on an elevated railroad in the heart of the Meatpacking District.

free things to do in new york city
The High Line

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Free on weekdays between December and February; also Tuesdays and Saturday mornings the rest of the year.

52 acres of green goodness with a strong love for flora.

Bronx Zoo

Free on Wednesdays. More than 5000 species and Wild Asia monorail.

free things to do in new york city
Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge Park

For the best views of Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge, and the best ice cream on the planet. It just doesn’t get more New York City (and inexpensive!) on a summer day than this!

NBC Studios live tapings

The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and Saturday Night Live are free if you manage to get your hands on tickets.

free things to do in new york city
NBC Studios

Staten Island Ferry

Hop on the free ferry from Whitehall Terminal in Battery Park and admire the view of Lower Manhattan.

Brooklyn Brewery Tours

Free tours on Saturdays

Visit the iconic brewery and taste some authentic ales and lagers.

Grand Central Terminal

The largest train station in the world, and the most fascinating.

free things to do in new york city

Shakespeare in the Park

A tradition since 1954. Get to Delacorte Theater early or visit the online version to get tickets for the same night event. Still one of the most loved free things to do in New York City, even by locals.

St Patrick’s Cathedral

One of the oldest cathedrals in the city.

Public Library

The second largest library in the US, with more than 53 millions of books.

Rockefeller Center

Pick up a free map in the main lobby for a self-guided tour through the Art Deco skyscraper.

Coney Island

Easily reachable by subway for a day trip to the oceanside.

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