New York On A Budget – 10 Free Things To Do In New York

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New York City is known for being expensive; traveling as a tourist doesn’t have to be.

There are plenty of affordable Airbnb, hostel, and hotel options to choose from.

I visited New York City and thought it was going to be like any other city. I was so surprised! It was such an incredible trip. I miss the city so much. 

Tips to save money in New York City:

  • Read How to Travel the World on $50 a Day.
  • Use Airbnb to save a ton of money and get a more authentic travel experience.
  • Use Ibotta to get legit cash back on groceries, clothes, travel items, and so much more.
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1. High Line

At 1.45 miles long, the New York City High Line is a hot spot for locals and tourists.

Once a railroad, the High Line is now an aerial greenway that gives stunning views of New York City, both during the day and in the evening.

The walkway sits 30 feet above the city, allowing you to see gorgeous views of the city at no cost.

Every Tuesday at dusk, you can stargaze using telescopes set up by the Astronomers Association between West 15th and West 16h streets.

Related: 10 Destinations for a Tight Budget

2. Staten Island Ferry

To see the Statue of Liberty on a budget, you can take the Staten Island Ferry at no cost at all.

You’ll cut across the New York Harbor and get amazing views of the NYC skyline.

The ferry is for locals who need to get back and forth from Manhattan to Staten Island, but it’s also heavily used for tourists wanting to see the Statue of Liberty on a budget.

3. Brooklyn Botanic Garden

This 52-acre garden is free on Tuesdays, from 10 AM to 12 PM on Saturday, as well as weekdays in the winter time.

During April and May, you can see the blooming cherry trees and take your time walking down several different trails with bonsai trees, roses, and even a Shinto shrine.

4. Tour Central Park

There are tons of free walking tours of Central Park, which might not seem necessary at first, but it proves to be once you realize how huge the park is.

At one point, Monaco used to be smaller than Central Park (insane!), to prove how large it is.

Although the park is set in New York City, once you get inside the park, it feels like you’re in a different place.

You can’t hear sirens or honking cars, which is a big reason why it’s such a hot spot for locals!

5. New York Public Library

Over 100 years old, the New York Public Library holds over 15 million books.

The library not only houses millions of books but is also known for its artifacts exhibits, such as the original Declaration of Independence and over 431,000 old maps.

Free tours available at 11 AM and 2 PM Monday – Saturday & 2 PM Sunday.

6. Socrates Sculpture Park

Not only is this a sculpture park, but it’s also a park that holds free events, such as yoga classes.

Numerous artists have created unique sculptures that are spread out around the spacious park.

The park also holds many festivals, has an outdoor cinema, and has camps for children as well.

7. Yoga at Bryant Park

Bryant Park is filled with tons of free activities, including free yoga classes on Tuesdays at 10 AM and Thursdays at 6 PM.

There are tons of free exercise classes to choose from, so do a quick Google check your options.

8. 9/11 Memorial

I couldn’t make this post without mentioning the 9/11 Memorial.

You’re able to see all of the names of the people who perished because of the terrorist attacks.

Though the 9/11 Memorial Museum isn’t free, it’s definitely worth spending a few hours at.

9. Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge is an iconic bridge that connects the Manhattan and Brooklyn boroughs.

The bridge is an awesome spot to come to at any time of day, particularly during sunset.

RelatedFree 12-week savings plan

10. Attempt to get Access to a Show

All you have to do is stand in line or register online to get free tickets for a show, whether it be Late Night with Seth Meyers, the Dr. Oz Show, the Late Night Show with Stephen Colbert.

There are several shows to choose from, which you can check out here.

New York City is a city that everyone must experience at least once in their life.

Don’t let the stereotype of NYC being expensive steer you away!

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What are other free things to do in New York City?

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This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. This is a great list! I went to NYC almost 9 years ago, but it was a last minute trip and was only about 6 hours long. I wish I’d known about some of these things so we could have done a little more.

    1. You have to visit again then! 😉

  2. This is such a wonderful post! I am bookmarking it for sure! We are about an hour out from NYC and we’ve always wanted to go but not break the bank! Thank you for putting this list together!

    1. That’s awesome! You’re so close.

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