New York City is home to a rich assortment of culture, parks and cuisine. Unlike many mega cities of the world, New York City’s major sightseeing spots are free if you know when, where and how to get to them. Whether you are a budget or luxury traveler, a whole new world awaits you in New York City.
Come with us to New York City and discover where and how to find 10 free things to do and still have money to spare for the last minute shopping spree on Fifth Avenue.
One: Free museum visits
There are over 80 museums in New York City. Travelmath’s 5 must-visit museums are:
1. Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET)
2. American Museum of Natural History
3. Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum
4. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
5. Museum of Jewish Heritage
To visit all these museums would cost you a couple of hundred dollars. Here are the days you can visit some museums in New York City for free:
Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum – first Friday of every month year-round
MOMA – Fridays from 4 to 8 pm
Museum of Jewish Heritage- Wednesdays from 4 to 8 pm
Frick Collection – Sundays 11 am to 1 pm (pay what you wish)
Solomon R. Guggenheim – Saturdays 5:45 to 7:45 pm (pay what you wish)
Neue Galerie – first Friday of every month from 6 to 8 pm
Museum of Chinese in America – Thursdays
According to New Yorkers we met, the MET and American Museum of Natural History would let you visit for free or pay what you wish every day. You can read an article on New York Times on Seeking Clarity on Fees at the MET.
The MET website shows a list of recommended fees, note the word RECOMMENDED. However we recommend that you pay in full because this is one of the best museums in America.
Two: Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
A public library, this Beaux-Arts style building was opened to the public in 1911 and houses NYPL’s world-renowned collections of books and fine arts.
The library offers free guided building, exhibition and group tours.
Information: History of Stephen A. Schwarzman Building part of NYPL
Three: High Line
The High Line is a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Avenues.
It is worth a trip if you like history, architecture and plant design.
Four: Walk on Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge was opened in 1883 and designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service. This suspension bridge is best to visit during sunset. You can view The Statue of Liberty, Manhattan and Brooklyn when you walk on the bridge.
Five: Grand Central Terminal
The Grand Central Terminal is a must-visit iconic building in New York City. The terminal is open to the public from 5:30 am until 2:00 am. Inside are a grand design, historic items, shops, Apple Store, restaurants and market.
Six: Staten Island Ferry to view Statue of Liberty
The 25-minute ferry ride to and from Staten Island and Manhattan provides an incredible view of New York Harbor, skyscrapers and bridges of Lower Manhattan, Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
The ferry runs 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. You must debark from the ferry and re-board the ferry through the waiting room back to Manhattan.
Information: Staten Island Ferry
Seven: Central Park
Central Park is a 750-acre conserved land free to the public. It is one of the leading urban parks in the world. You have endless things to do and see in Central Park.
Find out more on things to do and see in Central Park here.
Eight: Brooklyn Botanic Gardens
Did you know that Brooklyn Botanic Gardens is free to visit on Tuesdays (all day) and Saturdays until noon?
It is one of the best places to view cherry blossoms in New York City in spring. Check out when it is available this year here.
Nine: Arthur Avenue, the real Little Italy of New York City
According to NYCGo.com, Arthur Avenue located in the Belmont section of the Bronx was where 100,000 Italians settled in the early 1900s to help build the Bronx Zoo. Today you can still find stores with colorful pastries, cured meats and fresh fish on Arthur Avenue and East 187th Street.
Ten: Free TV Tickets
You can get free tickets to your favorite TV shows before you leave for NYC. These shows include The Tonight Show, David Letterman, SNL, Dr. Oz, Jerry Springer, The View, Good Morning America, Katie Couric and more.
Remember to register for your TV tickets email offers on their website.
Information: Free TV Tickets
Tips before traveling to NYC:
1. Read Travelmath’s articles on New York City.
2. Get Travelmath’s mileage guide.
3. Find out the cost to drive or fly (this example shows Cleveland to New York City).
4. Airlines flying to New York.