Enjoy these free NYC activities.
Did you see my post about our recent whirlwind of a trip to New York City? We had so much fun in the big apple! I fell in love with all of the beautiful buildings and delicious food. This is a trip I went on with my frugal sister and we both tried to keep costs low. Fortunately, we were able to find so many things to do in New York City for free. Yay!
20 Free Things to Do While in NYC
Explore a City Park
New York City has so many beautiful, unique parks to explore. We had so much fun visiting a few of them and can’t wait to see more the next time we visit.
1. Wander Around Central Park
You could literally spend DAYS in Central Park. There is SO much to see and do! We loved wandering around, enjoying the beauty and little sections of the park.
Be sure to visit The Mall, Belvedere Castle and Bethesda Fountain. They were all incredible!
2. Walk the High Line
The High Line is a beautiful elevated park. It was made from an old railroad no longer in use.
This unique park provides miles of walking paths and gardens. We were sad to miss it on this trip, but will be sure to visit it another time. I have heard such good things!
3. Washington Square Park
Washington Square Park has over 9 acres of beauty located in Greenwich Village. It is well known for the landmark Washington Square Arch.
This park has many different things to see and do, so you can easily use up a few hours visiting it!
4. Bryant Park
Bryant Park is located right in midtown, making it a quick and easy stop.
We visited Bryant Park in late October and they had their Christmas Shops and ice skating rink set up. It was so fun to walk around looking through the cute little shops and watching the ice skaters.
It is also conveniently located near the library, for another free must do!
5. Battery Park
Near the entrance to the free Staten Island Ferry you will find Battery Park.
This is another large city park with paths, many statues and memorials. A visit to Battery Park will also give you a good view of the Statue of Liberty! Don’t forget to hop on the free Staten Island Ferry while you are there!
Famous NYC Landmarks
If you are a first timer to New York City, or even if you have been there before, make sure you check out some of it’s famous landmarks. You know, the fun spots you see in every movie! They are so fun to see in real life and get to experience them for yourself.
6. Take the Staten Island Ferry to View The Statue of Liberty
You may not be able to go visit the Statue of Liberty for free, but you can get a free boat ride that will take you right past Lady Liberty.
We decided to take the ferry to get a glimpse of lady liberty and I was impressed by how well we could see here! The Staten Island Ferry is a completely free round trip ride with fantastic views!
7. Visit Grand Central Station
It only takes a few minutes to pop in and visit Grand Central Station, but it is WORTH it! The architecture of this building is absolutely breathtaking! I loved ever minute we spent inside.
8. Walk Across The Brooklyn Bridge
We had so much fun walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, it is such a fun activity to do in New York City for free.
The architecture is absolutely beautiful and it only takes about 30 minutes to walk across! The best views are when you walk from Brooklyn into Manhattan, but either direction works just fine!
9. 9/11 Memorial Plaza
The incredible 9/11 museum is not free, but walking around the memorial is free! I really enjoyed the special reverence on the grounds and seeing the twin waterfall pools.
10. Times Square
There really is nothing quite like Times Square. A true melting pot of lights, colors, people and sounds. It’s loud, it’s busy and it is completely free! A must stop (at least for a few minutes!).
11. Rockefeller Plaza
Another thing to do in New York City for free is a visit to the famous Rockefeller Plaza. It’s a fun section of the city to walk around and explore for a few minutes.
We visited when the ice skating rink was set up and we loved watching the skaters for a few minutes and window shopping past the buildings.
12. Flat Iron Building
The iconic Flat Iron Building is a perfect spot for an Instagram photo! It is such a unique building and I am so sad we weren’t able to stop and see it this trip.
10. New York Library
I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t really believe a library was a worthwhile stop on our trip, but I was SO wrong! This building is absolutely beautiful!
We spent about 20-30 minutes walking around and viewing the different rooms (be sure to stop by the Rose Reading Room!). This was one of my favorite buildings we saw.
11. The Charging Bull
If you are in the Wall Street area, you must stop by and see the famous Charging Bull. It’s another picture perfect spot!
New York City is home to many amazing museums, and a couple of them are even free!! Hooray!
12. Bronx Museum of the Arts
The Bronx Museum of the Arts is the home to many unique art exhibits. It is large and open and rarely ever crowded. The best part is it is completely free! Be sure to stop by if you are in the area!
13. Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology
If you have any interest in clothing and fashion, you would probably enjoy the free Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. The exhibits inside all showcase the history and workings of the exciting fashion world.
Visit an Old Church
The many old church’s in New York City are all breathtaking and free to visit.
14. Trinity Church
A visit to Trinity Church on Wall Street gives you not only a visit to a beautiful old church, but it’s also has an old cemetery on the grounds that’s fun to explore. In this cemetery you will be able to find a few historical figures buried there, including Alexander Hamilton and his wife (any other Hamilton fans?!?!?).
15. Cathedral of St. John the Divine
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is the largest cathedral in the world and it just so happens to be in the big apple. With plenty of detail and beautiful stain glass windows, it is definitely worth stopping at!
16. St. Patricks Cathedral
St. Patricks Cathedral is a must see when in New York City. I originally thought we would only stop by for a few minutes, but the cathedral was so gorgeous with lots of details to look at, we ended up staying much longer.
Explore a New Neighborhood
One of my favorite parts of New York City was the new vibe around every corner. I loved that there was always something different and unique to see. There are so many fun neighborhoods with different attractions, so take some time to visit a few of them.
18. Walking Tour
Google “NYC Walking Tour” and you will find countless free guides that tell you exactly where to walk and what to visit in each neighborhood. One of my favorite parts of New York City was taking in the beauty and uniqueness of each neighborhood.
19. China Town
There is really nothing like visiting China Town. I love walking through the streets, browsing the shops and taking in all of the sights, sounds, and smells. China Town is a place you could spend hours in, or just walk through quick, it’s completely up to you!
20. Window Shop on 5th Avenue
We had so much fun walking down 5th Avenue and peeking in all of the different stores. This is not shopping for the cheap! But, it is free (and fun!) to look in all the pretty windows and buildings!
There really is nowhere like New York City. You can enjoy this great city, without breaking the bank! Have I missed any other things to do in New York City for free??? Let me know in the comments if you have any other recommendations!
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