NEW YORK CITY, U.S.A. Living in (or travelling to) New York on a budget? Take advantage of these free activities to enjoy the Big Apple without breaking the bank.

If you are looking for free admission to museums, check out the related article about the free admission days in New York City’s major museums. 

The High Line>

Take a stroll down the High Line, a public park built on a historic freight rail line above the streets of Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, to see some great views of the Hudson and the city. You can additionally find art exhibitions here as well as participate in free exercise classes and activities such as stargazing.

View of the Hudson from the High Line | © Erin McCulloch

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Like the High Line, when the weather is nice in the City, the Brooklyn Bridge Park is a great place to enjoy the day outdoors. There are six piers all with different activities as well as other grounds (the Uplands) for picnicking, playing Frisbee, running or just hanging out.

Click here to learn more about what each pier has to offer.

Brooklyn Bridge Park | © Brooklyn Bridge Park

Central Park

Though it may not be the largest park in New York City, Central Park surely is the most famous. Strolling through Central Park is one of the most popular New York activities and the best part is it doesn´t cost a dime. Check out Strawberry Fields – a tribute to John Lennon – or some of the other famous statues that are found throughout the park.

Bethesda Terrace (© Erin McCulloch)

Prospect Park

Prospect Park, located in Brooklyn, offers spaces for organized sports and other activities such as running, walking, bird watching and bicycling. It additionally offers Nature Programs and places to have barbeques and picnics.

Nethermead Arches (© Wikipedia)

Castle Clinton National Monument

Located at the Southern tip of Manhattan, Castle Clinton is remembered as America´s first immigration station. Admission is always free.

Castle Clinton National Monument (© National Park Service)

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

This gorgeous cathedral located in the Midtown district is worth visiting for its architectural beauty and history.

St. Patrick´s Cathedral (© Visit 5th Avenue)

Grand Central Station

Even if you aren’t arriving to or leaving from the city in train, you should visit Grand Central Terminal  just to see its iconic painted ceiling.

Grand Central Terminal (© Shed Expedition)

New York Public Library

Even for those who aren’t book-lovers, a day spent reading and relaxing in the New York Public Library will inspire your inner novelist. There are free tours at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm from Monday to Saturday and additional classes and programs available. See website for more details.

New York Public Library (© Erin McCulloch)

City Hall

Tour City Hall, home of the New York government since 1812. Tours must be reserved in advance.

New York City Hall (© Wally Gobetz, Flickr)

Socrates Sculpture Park

For a unique art experience, head on over to Long Island City and check out the latest sculpture exhibitions. Additionally, Socrates Sculpture Park offers free movie nights during the summer months as well as free sunset paddling and free dance and theater performances.

"Queen Mother of Reality" (© Socrates Sculpture Park)

Rockefeller Center Public Art Exhibits

Pop by the famous Rockefeller Center to see some the sculptures and other pieces of artwork signifying man’s development in spirit, science, industry and more.

Atlas (© My Ephemerality)

Chelsea Galleries

New York’s most concentrated area for a gallery crawl is in Chelsea, mostly in the 20s Streets between 10th and 11th Avenues. Check West Chelsea Arts for listings. Visit on Thursday evenings for wine-and-cheese openings.

Chelsea Galleries (© Smith College Club of New York City)

Brooklyn Brewery Tours

Free tours of Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Brewery run on the hour from 1:00-5:00pm on Saturdays and 1:00-4:00pm on Sundays.

Brooklyn Brewery (© Brooklyn Paper)

Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace

Free admission to the historic birthplace of Teddy Roosevelt (open Tuesday – Saturday, 9:00am – 5:00pm). Guided tours are also available.

Teddy Roosevelt Birthplace (© National Park Service)

Comedy at the Knitting Factory

Want to share a good laugh with friends? Every Sunday night at 9:00 pm, the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn offers free comedy shows (for ages 21+).

Knitting Factory (© Technically Media, Inc.)

Hispanic Society of America Museum and Library

Discover the arts and cultures of Spain, Portugal and Latin America. Free admission and 45-minute guided tours available.

Hispanic Society of American (© High School Everywhere)

National Museum of the American Indian

Explore the diversity of the Native people of the Americas and the National Museum of the American Indian. Located within the historic Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, the museum offers permanent and temporary exhibitions, as well as additional programs such as music and dance performances and films.

(© Pixdaus)

American Folk Art Museum

“Devoted to the creative expressions of self-taught artists, past and present,” the American Folk Art Museum offers free admission to the art collections as well as to various programs. See website for more information on monthly programs.

(© Folk Art Museum)

The Museum at FIT

Every week is Fashion Week at the Fashion Institute of Technology Museum, which features rotating exhibits by students and a detailed gallery of fashion pieces – an enormous collection of garments dating from the 18th century to present.


Sony Wonder Technology Lab

Free technology and entertainment museum with fun, interactive exhibits. Great for all ages. Additional programs and exhibits available to take part in, as well.

(© Sony Wonder Tech Lab)

Governor’s Island

Open to the public since 2003, the 172-acre Governor´s Island has a bike path, mini golf, a picnic area and military sites such as Admiral’s House and the ‘ghost town’ of Nolan Park. Ferry rides to the island are free.

(© Feather by Feather)

(© Feather by Feather)