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Exploring New York: 7 free things to do in the Big Apple

20 May 2024

We love sharing ways for you to travel at the best price. This includes budget-friendly flights, accommodation, and car rentals, along with fun activities to help you discover your destination, ensuring your budget remains intact.

While New York City might seem like a pricey destination, we’re here to debunk that myth. Once you arrive, you’ll find countless opportunities to experience the Big Apple without emptying your wallet. From free attractions to budget-friendly activities, there’s no shortage of ways to enjoy NYC on a budget. So, why wait? Find the perfect flight and hotel deal with us, and start planning your budget-friendly trip to the city that never sleeps. Take a look at these 7 free things to do in New York:

1. Free Staten Island Ferry. Let’s start with one of the most well-known free things to do in New York. If you’re looking for information about NYC, one of the first tricks you’ll discover is this one. Manhattan and Staten Island are connected by a free ferry that operates 24/7. It’s the best way to get close to the Statue of Liberty for free since riding the big orange boat costs nothing.
But what many don’t know is that once in Staten Island, there are some interesting things to see, such as the Staten Island 9/11 Memorial, a monument that’s about a 10-minute walk from the terminal.

2. Challenge a chess master at Union Square. Union Square Park is the ultimate battleground for chess enthusiasts. Step up and face off against seasoned players in the heart of the city. Best of all, it won’t cost you a dime to play, but be warned: the competition is fierce.

3. Visit the New York Public Library. Many pass by 42nd Street heading to Grand Central and stop to admire the classical-style building right next to Bryant Park. It’s the New York Public Library, and it’s another place you can visit for free in New York. Among its rooms,Rose Main Reading Room stands out, with its carved wooden ceilings, hundreds of books, huge lamps, and an unheard-of peace in the Big Apple.

4. Want to see other museums? You can also get in for free… or almost! There are some museums that offer free entry on a certain day of the week. This is the case with the 9/11 Museum, which is free entrance Monday from 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. The Bronx Museum which is free every day and MoMA PS1 which price is suggested if your are not a resident. Finally, the Jewish Museum, which is free on Saturdays and on some Jewish holidays.

5. Enjoy outdoor cinema. Embrace summer nights in NYC with free outdoor movies! From the beginning of May until September, iconic parks like Bryant Park and Central Park transform into open-air cinemas, offering classic films under the stars. Pack a picnic, arrive early to snag a spot, and enjoy the magic of a movie night with the city skyline as your backdrop.

6. Ice Skating in Winter and Swimming in a pool in Summer. How many movies have we seen the typical image of a couple skating on an ice rink in NYC? Well, you can do it too and for free, but you’ll have to travel to New York in winter, and not all rinks are free since some are paid. But you can go to Bryant Park and skate without paying for entry to the rink, although you’ll have to rent the equipment, which starts from $15 USD.
If you’re traveling in summer, you can take advantage of swimming in a public pool. The entry cost is $0, and you can enjoy a different day in New York. You can go to Astoria Pool in Queens, the Pop-up Pool in Brooklyn Bridge Park, or Lasker Pool in Central Park.

7. Consider taking a stroll along the High Line. High Line is an elevated park built on an old train track, spanning approximately 1.45 miles. Afterward, wrap up your day by visiting The Vessel for an unforgettable experience.

Do you also know of any free places or plans in New York? We encourage you to share them with us by leaving a comment on the post.

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