New York City, NY

10 Free Things To Do in NYC This Year

Becca C

For a notoriously expensive city, there are actually many fun, free things to do in NYC!

You can explore so many cool things in New York City for free without sacrificing quality.

Grab your camera or your phone and adventure through the city that never sleeps! Check out where to begin with the helpful list below!

10 Free Things to do in NYC

Times Square

If you’ve visited New York City, Times Square is likely not a new sight for you. The is one of the more obvious free attractions that you can see in New York, especially if you’re visiting this city for the first time.

Besides being fascinating to explore, the place is free to visit.

Visiting Times Square in the evening is really quite breathtaking when you can see all of the digital billboards all lit up along the dark sky.

This is definitely a very touristy spot, and there are many overpriced things here targeted at tourists, so if you’re concerned about budgeting, I would consider stopping for a meal or souvenirs elsewhere.
Canva Pro

With the naked cowboy, the M&M store, huge billboards, groups doing street performances, it is certainly a compelling place to visit. E

ven though the residents of New York don’t give much attention to Time Square, it’s still one of the great places to experience the life of the city that operates 24/7.

The Highline

Another great way to spend time is to head to the famous Chelsea Highline!

If you’re wondering where you can visit during an incredibly sunny day, this iconic railway is the best place to start with. Here you can find greenery, murals, and a glimpse of Manhattan.
Canva Pro

This site has a lot of photo spots, which are not only cute but also fascinating. You can make use of these sites for some really funky photo backgrounds.

Keep in mind that if the weather is very nice, the location will attract many visitors, you may need to plan to go earlier, like in the morning.

If you happen to feel thirsty or hungry, you can trek the Highline downwards to the popular Chelsea market where you can take any favorite foods and traverse like a resident.

Central Park

Are you looking for absolutely free things to do in NYC? Look no further than Central Park.

Central Park is a site popular to come in any time of the year. Whether it is Fall foliage, epic summer picnics, walking through the snow during the winter months, or spotting cherry blossom blooms in the spring, you’ll not be let down with the plentiful offers and beautiful sights of Central Park.
Canva Pro

Some favorite locations you can pay a visit to in this locale may include Belvedere Castle, The Mall (in the fall especially), Bethesda Fountain, and Bow Bridge.

This exceptional park covers 843 acres in the middle of Manhattan and it’s found between the Upper Eastside and Upper Westside.

One word of advice, don’t take carriage or horse ride, because in most cases the horses aren’t treated well.

So, what are you still waiting for? Come enjoy free tours and see birds, statues, gardens, and monuments. What’s more, during summertime, be on the lookout for free concerts that take place in the park.

NYC Public Library

Another free thing you can do while in New York is visit the New York City Public Library.

The New York Public Library is a great place for people who are wowed by architecture. This building is so beautiful. You could easily get lost wandering around the building for an afternoon.
Canva Pro

As you may know, NYC is a renowned home for cultural institutions around the world. You can have a taste of this destination by using a Culture Pass. This service enables you to go to many cultural institutions in NYC for free.

Brooklyn Bridge

Take a walk on the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge spans 1.1 miles and it was once one of the longest suspension bridges.

Initially, the bridge was not part of the free things to do in NYC. You had to pay a penny to cross it by foot while for those who wanted to use carriage and horse they had to pay 5 cents.

Fortunately, we can now include passing over Brooklyn Bridge in the list of free things to do in NYC!

Travel fact about this bridge; when the bridge was first opened, safety issues were raised, and safety was ensured by enabling 21-elephants to pass through Manhattan.

Rockefeller Center

This building is one of the most famous buildings in the city and it is visited by many people all year round.

You can explore the outside of the building for free all year round, and can watch skaters in the winter months. If you want to join in with the skating you will have to pay. Also if you want to check out the view from the Top of the Rock, that will also cost, however, it is definitely worth it!

Around Christmas, this is one of the most unique landmarks with its famous Christmas tree and the skating rink. The surrounding limestone buildings offer more beautiful pieces of art that New Yorkers and other visitors would love to see.

On the public display are some sculptures, murals, and statues made by some popular artists. Be sure to grab some photos of them, they’re really quite unique.

Washington Square Park

During spring or summer, Washington Square Park becomes one of the free places you will never want to miss out visiting while in Manhattan.

You can view the fountain as you enjoy a snack and gaze at the Washington Square arch.

Several different events are also held here during the summer months.

You can also find different performers, musicians, buskers, and many other people providing entertainment here. Anyone with any kind of instrument can enter and play whenever they want.

Grand Central Station

If you are looking for the prettiest subways in New York City or even all of America, then Grand Central station is the best place to check out. It doesn’t take much time to explore, but it is still one of the must-visit places in the city.

The ceiling has art that is beautiful to look at and also many movies to watch. It was built in 1913 and became one of the most elegant wonders in NYC. The Campbell is located within the station and acts as a dreamy cocktail bar.

It was initially opened by a business tycoon referred to as John Campbell. Later on, it was closed for a year but reopened its doors to become one of the most iconic train stations worldwide.

Flatiron Building

This building is so well known for its unique triangular shape that splits the streets, that the entire neighborhood is known as the Flatiron District.

The building was designed in the year 1902 by architect Daniel Burnham. It has never been the tallest building however it has attracted most photographers and artists making it more popular. Some people originally doubted its stability due to its weird design. They thought that it was never going to stand solidly long term.

Despite all of these original critiques, it has become one of the most visited places in the city.
Canva Pro

Since it’s a neighborhood it has free access. The area has gained more popularity in recent years. Due to its growing popularity, there is an increase of local restaurants, shopping centers, and more.

This building houses several publishing businesses and many other shops on the ground floor. You have more than enough to explore so don’t miss out on this place whenever you are in NYC.

The Oculus

The Oculus is well known as a Trade Center Transportation Hub which is both a Subway and a mall as.

The structure itself was designed by Santiago Calatrava. Its design resembles a dove leaving the arms of a child.

Both the inside and the outside parts of the building is are great to visit for free.

On the inside, it has a farmers’ market. Though it has several commuters going past each other, you can always admire the arched roof that resembles a bird that is in motion. Enjoy your time here since it costs nothing.

You will get to enjoy more if you get inside than only exploring the outside part.

With the bright interior, you can take good-looking photos to create some memories. You can as well take a look through the window and you will see the Freedom Tower.

This is an inspiring place to explore during your free time in New York City.

Hopefully, this list has given you some great ideas for some cheap, if not fully free things to do in NYC!

Originally Posted On:

Comments / 1

Published by

Travel Writer & Content Creator

North Carolina State

More from Becca C

Comments / 0