Free Things To Do In NYC: A Budget-Friendly Itinerary

Free Things to Do in NYC

If you’ve been on vacation before, you’ll know how easy it is to spend more money than you intended. Extra costs seem almost inevitable when you’re trying new foods or going on excursions. Hopefully, at the end of your trip, you’ll think that every penny was worth it! New York City is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, which means that things can be pretty pricey. Luckily there are tons of free things to do in NYC that will not only help you stay within budget but will make your trip even more memorable. From sight-seeing to catching a live show, New York City has so much stuff to see and do– for free!

Visit Central Park

Central Park Free NYC

One of the most iconic destinations within New York City, Central Park is a must-do for any visitor. The best part is that you can explore NYC’s most famous park for free! Central Park is beautiful year-round, whether you catch the cherry blossoms blooming or see the park exploding with brightly-colored fall foliage. There are many popular spots within the park that not only tourists love but locals flock to as well. Any Beatles fan must visit the Strawberry Fields’ “Imagine” mosaic, which is located near where John Lennon lived. Other sites within Central Park include Cleopatra’s Needle, the Conservatory Garden, Conservatory Water, and the Literary Walk. Visitors can also visit Belvedere Castle, a lookout tower built in 1872 that offers stunning views of the park and of surrounding Manhattan.

Take A Trip On Staten Island Ferry

Staten Island Ferry

If you’re looking for one of the best views of NYC for free, then you’ll want to hop on the Staten Island Ferry. This surprisingly free boat ride will take you from Battery Park in Manhattan to Staten Island. On your journey, you’ll see sweeping views of the NYC skyline and get as close to the Statue of Liberty as you can for free. Once you get to Staten Island, you can check out the Empire Outlets mall where you can snag discounted items from your favorite brands. If you time your ferry ride back to Manhattan right, you can catch the sun setting over New York City. Alternatively, if you catch a ferry back at night, then you can see the famous skyline all lit up.

Free Beaches in NYC

Free Beach NYC

When you think of New York City, your mind most likely doesn’t immediately go to beach days. You may be surprised to learn that NYC has some great beaches to visit during the summer—and for free! Of course, the beaches in New York City won’t be like the tropical white-sand beaches that you’ll find in other vacation destinations. However, you can still have a relaxing beach day just a few miles from the bustling metropolis. Coney Island in Brooklyn, perhaps the most famous beach in NYC, offers beach-goers sandy shores and a fun-packed boardwalk. Rockaway Bay in Queens is another popular free beach in NYC and is the only surfing area in the city!

Free Museums in NYC

Free Museums NYC

If you’re planning a trip to New York City, you’ve likely added a few museums to your itinerary. There are a few free museums to visit in NYC, so you can immerse yourself in the arts without breaking the bank. Some museums that are always free (or pay-what-you-wish) include the American Folk Art Museum, The Museum at FIT, and The Brooklyn Museum. You’ll find that quite a few museums in New York City offer free entry on select days or during certain hours. These museums include the Brooklyn Children’s Museum and the New Museum. Be sure to check the website of the museum that you wish to visit to see when they are offering free entry.

Take A Free Scenic Walk in NYC

The High Line NYC

One of the best ways to see New York City is to just get out and explore! There are plenty of things to see for free during a stroll through NYC. Plus, there are now quite a few designated walking paths for visitors (and locals) to get incredible views of New York City.

The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most iconic sites in New York City. Walking across the bridge will give you unforgettable views of Manhattan and the Hudson River. This National Historic Landmark provides views that you can’t get from anywhere else in the city! Keep in mind that the bridge is about a mile long. So, plan ahead if the journey there and back is too far for your travel party.

The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long walking trail that runs from the northern edge of Chelsea to Hudson Yards. In 2009, this former rail track was transformed into a walking trail lined with wildflowers and outdoor art installations. Once in Hudson Yards, visitors can marvel at The Vessel, a towering 150-foot copper-colored structure.

Sandemans New Europe is a company that offers free walking tours of NYC. Their 2.5-hour guided tour through Manhattan will take you to some of the most historic areas of the city. Stops include St Paul’s Chapel, Wall Street, and the 9/11 Memorial. These tours are free, but tipping your guide is suggested.

Do Some Window Shopping

Free Things to Do in NYC

Of course, it’s hard to visit New York City without doing a little shopping. However, if you’re a fashion lover looking for some free fun in NYC, then window shopping might hold you over. Many of NYC’s department stores have lavish window displays that dazzle onlookers. These department stores really kick it into high gear during the winter holidays! So, if you’re visiting around Christmastime, you’ll definitely want to check out the luxuriously festive decor at each store. These displays change every year and usually have a different theme! The most popular window displays are in Midtown at Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bergdorf Goodman.

Free Live Entertainment in NYC

Free Things to Do in NYC

As you may know, New York City is a vibrant community that celebrates art in all forms. If you’re in NYC and looking for some free live entertainment, you’re in luck! Throughout the year you can find some incredible performances throughout the city! You might even stumble upon some live music while exploring the city—this is New York, after all!

Shakespeare in the Park is one of NYC’s most popular free events in the summer. These full-scale productions of Shakespeare’s famous works are put on annually at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Some of the most notable actors in the world have performed at Shakespeare in the Park, including Meryl Streep and Denzel Washington.

Some of your favorite television shows are filmed in NYC, and you might be able to be in the audience for free! Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live, and The View are just a few shows that offer free tickets to live tapings! You can also catch the tapings of the Today Show and Good Morning America without tickets.

Free Outdoor Movies In NYC

Free Things to Do in NYC

There are tons of spots around NYC that offer free outdoor movie nights. Grab a blanket and your loved ones for a movie night like no other! During the summer months, you can catch showings of cult-classic films like Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones at spots around the city. The best outdoor movie nights in NYC are either in the heart of the city or have the dazzling skyline as a backdrop. Some of the most popular spots for a free outdoor movie in NYC include Bryant Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and Governors Island.

Planning a Trip To NYC?

Hilton Club West 57th Street New York

Are you looking to take a vacation to NYC for less? With a timeshare rental in NYC, you can enjoy all of these free activities while staying in spacious timeshare accommodations. A timeshare in New York is a great way to visit NYC on a budget. Booking a timeshare rental can save you money compared to booking a regular New York City hotel. If you’re interested, browse available timeshare rentals in New York City now! If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at One of our rental experts can help you navigate the timeshare rental process!

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