Although New York City is known for being outrageously expensive, traveling as a tourist doesn’t have to be.
There are plenty of affordable Airbnb, hostel, and hotel options to choose from.
When my mom and I stayed in NYC, we chose to rent an apartment from a Korean lady for around $100 a night, which was very affordable and spacious for the both of us. We were situated right next to Central Park and The Met.
New York City exceeded my expectations and definitely made my top 5 favorite cities list.
To make it easier for you, I’ve compiled a list of free things you can do in New York City. Don’t let the cost refrain you from visiting this majestic city! Here is a book on New York City, if you like learning more in-depth about the country and all of the sights to visit.
Many of you wonder how I travel monthly, and it’s because I’m a full-time blogger.
Blogging has allowed me to visit amazing cities around the world. Check out how to start a blog here.
Facts About New York City
- Over 800 languages are spoken in New York City
- The first pizzeria opened in NYC
- NYC has the largest Chinese population outside of China and also has the most Jewish people outside of Israel
- Commercial delivery companies such as FedEx and UPS receive over 7,000 parking tickets daily, leading to a revenue of 120 million for the state
- The Empire State has its own zip code
- The state of Texas could hold the entire world’s population if it were as densely populated as NYC
My Top Amazon Travel Picks
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.
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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 enormous the park is. At one point, Monaco used to be smaller than Central Park (insane!), just 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 totally different place. You can’t hear sirens or honking cars, which is a big reason why it’s such a hot spot for locals!
Related: How I’ve Seen 5 Continents by Age 23
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.
Related: If I don’t stay in a hostel, I use Airbnb’s on my trips. Depending on the city, it’s cheaper to get an entire apartment to myself versus a hostel. Get travel credit here towards your first trip!
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.
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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.
Related: Free 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!
What are other free things to do in New York City?
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