10 Free Things to Do in NYC

November 9, 2019

New York is the city that never sleeps, and it’s also the city that never fails to overprice their attractions. Although a trip to New York City can be unforgettable, it can be pricy. Instead of dropping money on high-cost tourist traps, check out these things to do in NYC for free!

What to do in New York City for free!

Staten Island Ferry

The Staten Island Ferry is a 20-25-minute-long boat ride that brings you as close to the Statue of Liberty as you could possibly get. Take the ferry to Staten Island and back, and enjoy the view! The ride is especially beautiful at sunset!

Museum of Natural History

Don’t be fooled by the suggested donation price – the Museum of Natural History operates on a pay-what-you-can system. That means you can pay a penny for your entire family! See the giant dinosaur exhibit, the whale hanging from the wall, and re-imagined exhibits with thought-provoking captions. 


The Museum of Modern Art is another pay-as-you-wish museum in New York City. Once it re-opens following renovation in October 2019, it will have expanded galleries and spaces for live performances. 

9/11 Memorial and Museum

Pay respects to the fallen heroes and victims of the infamous 9/11 attacks. The National September 11 Memorial honours the 2,997 people who lost their lives in the 2001 attacks, and the museum showcases artefacts and narratives from the World Trade Center. Visitor passes used to be required, but entry is now free for all

Central Park

Not every attraction in Central Park is free, but there are plenty of free things to see there! Learn the story of Balto and his statue, admire the beautiful lake, and check out the castles and other structures. 

Grand Central Terminal

The Grand Central Terminal is a beautiful piece of architecture! Explore this train station and all of its fine details. When you’re done, take a train to your next destination.

National Museum of the American Indian

This powerful museum outlines the important history of Native Americans. Their exhibitions in New York discuss ancestry, heritage, and patriotism. If you’d like to learn more about America’s first inhabitants, this museum is worth checking out!

Brooklyn Botanical Garden

Take a ride to Brooklyn to see the beautiful botanical garden! The garden is free to visit on Tuesdays, with gorgeous floral collections to frolic in. The Brooklyn Botanical Garden is a perfect place to bring your kids, too!

Brighton Beach

Coney Island may cost money, but Brighton Beach is free! Lifeguards protect the seas while visitors swim and play in the Atlantic Ocean, and concessions are available for purchase. Since New York’s climate accommodates all four seasons, visit Brighton Beach during the summer months – between June and August. 

Watch a Taping of The Tonight Show

The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon releases free tickets for tapings a month in advance! Get yourself on a waitlist to be part of an exciting live audience. 

Save hundreds on your New York City trip by opting for free activities. Don’t spend more than you have to on your vacation!


  • Claire November 12, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    I had no idea there was so much that could be done for free, especially these key places. I would say that most of these are on my wish list.

    We hope to go next new year for our honeymoon and posts like this make my stomach flip!!

    Thank you for sharing x x

  • Tracey Kifford November 12, 2019 at 10:51 pm

    We found NY to be SO expensive – we’ll do more homework next time and and have a list of free places to visit

  • This German Mama November 13, 2019 at 9:47 am

    I cant wait to go, I have been wanting to go for years. This list is really handy, as new York looks expensive as it is

  • Rowena Corderoy November 13, 2019 at 11:15 am

    This is very useful I went to NY many years ago but would love to return with the kids

  • Laura Schwormstedt November 13, 2019 at 1:07 pm

    Oh wow this is a fantastic list especially as I hope to take the kids to NYC in the next year or so and didn’t realise there were so many amazing things to do for free
    Laura x

  • Anosa November 13, 2019 at 4:42 pm

    I was absolutely surprised at how costly some tourist attractions are in the states on my last visit, i am all for this post.

  • Kara Guppy November 14, 2019 at 1:01 pm

    My daughter got engaged in New York in March – I would love to visit

  • Laura - Dear Bear and Beany November 14, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    I would love to visit New York City, it always looks like it has a lot to offer. Maybe one day I will see for myself.

  • fashionandstylepolice November 14, 2019 at 6:32 pm

    We visited New York last year. It would be lovely to visit the city again. Lots to do there.

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