New York City is on everyone’s travel bucket list, whether it’s to recreate a movie moment, explore the many famous attractions or to go on a weekend shopping spree. ‘The Big Apple’ is a wondrous place that can take its toll on your bank balance. However, this diverse city also provides great free alternatives. Keep reading to discover some entertaining and interesting ways to discover the city without spending a penny.
1) The High Line
The first free option, is to walk along The High Line. This urban park is a renovated cargo rail line and is one of the newer attractions in NYC. The walkway opens every morning at 7am and is open for at least 12 hours every day, and longer in the summer months. To be amongst the locals visit first thing in the morning, as you will see commuters and people going for their morning run. But, to stay in tourist mode, visit mid-afternoon and take a picnic. There are plenty of seating areas along the way, plus great spots to watch the city go by. The High Line as two main access points, they are Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District and West 34st between 10th and 11th Avenue.
2) National Museum of the American Indian
One of the lesser known attractions of New York City can be visited at 1 Bowling Green, Lower Manhattan. Many tourists walk straight past it and miss this wonderful free museum, as they quickly make their way to Liberty Island. The National Museum of the American Indian has an un-missable collection of Native American art, in fact its the best in the country. It’s the perfect opportunity to learn about the culture of the original residents of America.
3) New York Public Library
Located on Fifth Ave at 42nd St, Midtown East, spend a few hours admiring the interior architecture and décor of the New York Public Library. Even the outside of this giant building is jaw-dropping. Walking up the stairs and in between the marble lions named ‘Patience’ and ‘Fortitude,’ is empowering.
The most exciting contents of the library are an original Declaration of Independence and a Gutenberg Bible. Don’t miss these highlights, book yourself onto a daily free tour by checking in at the reception desk.
4) Free Trip to Staten Island
All aboard the Staten Island Ferry! While the ferry is always free, the best time to set sail is on Tuesday, because the Staten Island Museum is also free. Make sure you arrive at the museum around midday, as its free until 2pm.
5) Central Park
An obvious choice to spend the day with opening your wallet or purse is being in Central Park. The park has so many interesting elements, for example a toy boating lake, an Alice in Wonderland sculpture and a pool full of turtles. Admiring all the sights, coupled with walking and relaxing on the Big Lawn will fill an entire day.
In summer, they also have Shakespeare in the Park, which is free, but tickets need to booked online in advance. They are in high demand!
6, 7 & 8) Brooklyn Bridge, Park and Brewery
One of the coolest neighbourhoods of New York is Brooklyn. It doesn’t cost a penny to walk across the famous Brooklyn Bridge, take a selfie with the city skyline or explore Brooklyn Bridge Park. The Brooklyn Bridge became a National Historic Landmark in 1964, after opening 1883. For the first 30 years of it existence the bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the World, so you have to walk across or cycle it.
If you’re in Brooklyn on a Thursday in July or August, visit Brooklyn Bridge Park to watch a free movie, they range from Hollywood Classics to modern day Blockbusters. Alternatively, if you find yourself there at the weekend, check out the Brooklyn Brewery, at 79 N 11th St, Williamsburg because they offer a free tour on Saturday (1-5pm) and Sunday (1-4pm).
9) Become an audience member
The TV industry is massive in the USA. Wouldn’t it be a unique experience to sit in the audience of a popular show and see how it all works and maybe see a celebrity in the process? Check out the websites of TV channels like NBC, CBS and Fox. Audience tickets are always FREE, but order them in advance, as they are limited and in high demand.
10) Socrates Sculpture Park
The final free activity on our list, is the Socrates Sculpture Park in Astoria. It is a 4.5 acre park that was designed by local artists and activists to cover a landfill. It is open all year round, and due to the views of the Manhattan skyline and large scale works of art, it is great come rain or shine. Also, it’s a magical wonderland in the winter months when the snow has fallen. If you are lucky, between Spring and Autumn, you will also catch a free class of yoga or tai chi in the park.
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