30 Free Things to do in NYC
NYC is great for spending your leisure time. There are many free things to do here. We have a list of 30 free things that you can do while you are exploring the city. Add more enthusiasm and excitement to your NYC exploration by going bagless. Opt to store away any unnecessary luggage with Luggage Storage New York City.
1 Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge is an iconic structure that is available to you for free every day. Be here during the early morning to enjoy the sunrise. Take a moment for yourself when the first rays of the Sun touch the skyline of NYC. The spectacular views of New York City will leave you in awe.
After admiring the skyscrapers of NYC, proceed for a slow walk across the bridge. The entire length of the bridge is around 1 mile. Stop at various points to click breathtaking pictures of the bridge and NYC’s skyscrapers.
If you want a night view, visit here when the bridge shines bright with the lights on it.
2 Brooklyn Bridge Park
Brooklyn Bridge Park is just beneath the Brooklyn Bridge. If you do not wish to walk across the bridge, you can choose to be here instead. You can enjoy the views of the Brooklyn Bridge while you sit on the benches here.
Many admirers come every day to gaze at the Brooklyn Bridge and the skyscrapers of NYC. You will also get amazing views of the East River. Click as many selfies as you want against the wonderful backdrop of the bridge and the river.
3 Brooklyn Brewery
Take a free tour of the Brooklyn Brewery. The tours are held every Saturday and Sunday between 1 pm and 6 pm every half hour. You have to get here early to be a part of the free tours. Only 40 people are allowed per tour.
If you like to taste their drinks, you can visit here on Friday or Saturday nights. The Brewery usually has happy hours and various tasting events. Make sure, you do not miss it. The Brooklyn lager is after all their product!
4 Brooklyn Museum
Brooklyn Museum is an art museum that is built in the beaux-arts style of architecture. The museum is free for visitors on Thursdays. It is the third-largest in New York City. There are over 1.5 million artworks on display.
Pick up the brochures from the admissions desk and explore the museum. You can take pictures of the artworks but flash is not permitted. You can also spend time in the museum sketching an artwork that you loved the most and take back home.
The museum is really huge to see everything in detail. You can do a quick tour of the entire museum or choose to spend more time in a particular section of your interest.
5 Prospect Park
Prospect Park in Brooklyn is an oasis of fresh air in the urban jungle. The entrance is free around the year. It has sprawling green lawns that are popular for family picnics and fun activities.
Store your bags with Vertoe New York City and take long walks or do yoga amidst nature. You can go cycling or skate on the designated tracks. If you want to do more than just exercise, there is a zoo that you can visit. However, there is an entry fee to the zoo.
6 High Line
The High Line is the elevated walkway in NYC. It is about 1.45 miles on the Western end of Manhattan. The walkway offers breath-taking views of NYC. Every morning, the High Line is filled with joggers and yoga enthusiasts. You can join them to take a stroll looking at the skyscrapers of NYC.
You can see the Hudson River towards the Western side of the High Line. You can also enjoy the greenery and fountains on the elevated pathway while you walk. Carry your own water bottle and snacks in your backpack. Make sure you click pictures at this amazing place.
7 Hudson River
If you like the views of the river, then get to the walkway above the Hudson River. Walking here can be really peaceful. There are benches on the walkway where you can sit and relax, or, read a book watching the river flow beneath. Walk around carefree and light by storing your bags with NYC Baggage Storage.
If you wish for a good swim, there are a few safe swimming areas in the river. Bring your family and friends for a picnic and enjoy your time with them. Sit and have fun as long as you feel like being around the river.
8 Times Square
When you want free things to do in NYC, being at Times Square can be awesome. Times Square is also known as the ‘Crossword of the World.’ The streets here are always bustling with entertainers. You can find your favorite cartoon character dancing.
When you walk around, you will be amazed to see huge billboards all over the streets. Take a note of all the Broadway shows that are currently running. You never know, you may feel like coming back to watch a Broadway show sooner.
9 Coney Island
If you want to enjoy some time on a beach, head out towards Coney Island. The three miles beach alongside the Atlantic Ocean is given for public access. You can play free volleyball, basketball, and handball listening to the soothing waves.
If you want to learn about the history of the island, there is a free walking tour organized by a non-profit group.’ You can be a part of this walk and understand the history of the place in more detail.
10 Staten Island Ferry
Cruise over the Hudson River on the Staten Island Ferry. The ferry services are free and run between Whitehall Ferry terminal (or South terminal) in Manhattan to Staten Island terminal. While you are on the ferry, you can see the Statue of Liberty that stands tall on Liberty Island.
It takes around 25 mins to cruise between the two terminals. When you reach Staten Island, you can visit Fort Wadsworth to get a glimpse of the Verrazzano Bridge and skyline of Brooklyn and Manhattan. If you need to explore more, you can stay for a while or head back to the terminal to catch the ferry back to Manhattan.
11 New York Public Library
New York Public Library is a great experience if you love reading.
Schwarzman Building is the flagship building of the entire New York public library system. It is located in the midtown of Manhattan. The library offers many free lectures that you can attend during your visits. The entry is based on first come first serve. If you are interested in these lectures, be there on time.
If you want to read a book in the library, head to the Rose Main Reading Room. You will fall in love with the majestic appearance of the room.
12 Bryant Park
Bryant Park hosts an array of free events throughout the year. Movies are screened during summer, Broadway shows are held during July and August. Holiday Shops are organized during November and December.
If you are a movie buff, you will surely enjoy watching a free movie here. This can be one of the best free things to do in NYC. Take a mat and your favorite snacks. Watch the movie and relax in the open space of Bryant Park. Make new friends with people who have arrived just like you to experience a free movie.
13 9/11 Memorial and Museum
For free things to do in NYC, paying a visit to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum can be truly memorable. Located at the Western corner of the former twin towers site, the entrance to the memorial is free. It was inaugurated on 11th September 2011 to honor the 2977 people who lost lives in the terror attack.
There are different sections in the museum that takes you through different aspects of the tragic day. The history exhibition is a collection of artifacts, images, and video recordings. In the memorial exhibition, you can see the pictures of all the 2977 victims.
You can download the audio guide app on your phone and take a tour of the memorial.
14 Washington Square Park
Washington Square Park is popular in Lower Manhattan. It has the famous Washington Square Arch on the Northern side. The Arch is a historical landmark that was built to commemorate the inauguration of George Washington as the first President of the USA. Leave any unwanted luggage with New York City Luggage Storage and head to the park.
Today, it is a place of meeting for residents and tourists. There are plenty of chess tournaments that happen every day with visitors. You can be a spectator and cheer the chess players.
15 New York City Hall
The New York City Hall is one of the oldest City Halls located in Lower Manhattan. It is well-known for its marvelous architecture with arched windows and Corinthian columns.
The Governor’s room is the attraction. This room was visited by former President Abraham Lincoln and Albert Einstein. The tour inside the New York City Hall is free with prior reservation. It can be taken as an individual or in a group.
If you want to visit the city hall without reservation, then you can do it during the non-reservation lunch hours.
16 Wall Street
When you want free things to do in NYC, visiting Wall Street is a must. Wall Street is iconic as the financial district and is located in Lower Manhattan. Walking through the streets can give you goosebumps if you imagine the millions of dollars that are transacted here on a daily basis.
After you have completed walking, you must stop at the Charging Bull. The bronze sculpture is a symbol of the American spirit and especially the New Yorkers. After seeing the Charging Bull, walk further to meet the Fearless Girl. The Fearless Girl represents the strength of women and gender equality.
17 5th Avenue
Want to know what is trending in fashion? Head towards 5th Avenue. You do not need to actually buy anything. Many visitors come here only for window shopping. It will be a great experience for you.
5th Avenue is the most famous shopping destination in NYC and all over the world. All your favorite elite brand stores are present here. Gucci, Armani, Prada, or Louis Vuitton, you name it and you have it here. You can see the beautiful display of the latest collection through the glass panes.
Make a mental note or take pictures of what you liked. You can come back here later or buy a similar one elsewhere.
18 Central Park
Central Park is an iconic landmark that offers many free things to do in NYC. One of the best things to do here is to run around the complex. You can see a lot of greenery and will have many runners alongside you.
Apart from physical activities like walking and running, you can experience many other free things. You can get to the top of Belvedere Castle. The observation deck provides amazing views of Central Park and the skyline of NYC. To be able to truly enjoy Central Park and what it has to offer, keep your bags at a Vertoe store and have the best time at the park.
Shakespeare Garden is dedicated to the celebrated English poet and playwright Shakespeare. You can see a variety of flowers that were mentioned in the poems of the renowned poet.
Shakespeare in the Park festival is one of the greatest free events at Central Park. During summer, it stages Shakespearan dramas at the Delacorte Theater, an open amphitheater in Central Park. Free tickets are distributed during the event.
19 Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller Center is a big attraction in Midtown Manhattan. If you are here during December, you will be mesmerized to see the annual lighting of the Rockefeller Center’s Christmas Tree. It is going to be a spectacular view and a joy of celebrating Christmas.
After seeing the Christmas Tree, you must reach the observatory deck of the Center. The deck is also called the ‘Top of the Rock.’ Standing here, you will get amazing views of the skyline of Midtown Manhattan and beyond.
Visiting the Center is not complete without being at the iconic ice-skating rink. If you love to skate, this can be the best free things to do in NYC. Just remember, the rink is available subject to the weather conditions on that particular day.
20 Grand Central Terminal
This is one of the best free things to do in NYC. It is located at 42nd Street and Park Avenue and is famous for its glorious art and architecture. You can spend a great time walking around and admiring the splendor of the area.
When you are here, you must experience the fascinating Whispering Gallery. Stand near one of the dome intersections in the arched walkway of the lower floor. Stand there leaning your ear pressed against it. You can listen to what others are talking from the other intersection! Isn’t it really amazing?
Also, do not forget to go to the Grand Central Terminal Clock and click a picture. It is created by Seth Thomas Clock Company and is estimated to be worth 20 million dollars!
21 Governors Island
Governors Island offers delightful free things to do during the warm weather. It is open from the month of May till September on all days of the week. Reaching the island is just around a 10-minute ride from Manhattan. Store your excess baggage with Baggage Storage New York City and enjoy your island visit.
At the Governor’s Island, you can enjoy biking without the interference of cars. You can bring your own bike on the ferry and ride on the island. After you finish riding, you can rest on the Hammock grove. The grove has 50 hammocks that are completely free for the visitors.
If you like to get stunning views of the Manhattan skyline from the island, get to free kayaking. It is organized by Downtown Boathouse every Saturday at the island’s Pier 101. They offer free training and safety equipment during the season.
22 Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art has the largest collection of modern art in the world. It has free admission every Friday. With your free ticket, you can access all the museum galleries and exhibitions. The entire museum is 6 floors large and contains the artworks like paintings, sculptures, photographs from renowned artists.
If you are overwhelmed to see the entire museum, you can choose to go to your favorite section and spend meaningful time understanding the artworks. Some of the paintings that are a must-see in the museum are The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Pablo Picasso, Self-Portraits by Frida Kahlo to name a few.
23 National Museum of the American Indian
National Museum of the American Indian is known as the George Gustav Heye Center in Manhattan. It is a part of the Smithsonian Institution. The entry is free for the visitors. Inside the museum, you can see artifacts and artworks of indigenous Americans.
This is a designated National Historic Landmark in NYC. It can be a great place to visit with children too. They will certainly enjoy looking at the rocks that were used to create tools and weapons. The tour to the museum may require around 2 -3 hours in total.
24 Bushwick Street Art
Bushwick is a popular neighborhood in Brooklyn. It is filled with stunning street art and graffiti. You can take a walk for free in the Bushwick Collective. The collective begins from Jefferson Street and continues on Troutman Street towards Saint Nicholas Avenue.
The entire stretch is art lovers’ delight. You can see many life-size paintings and other artworks from various artists. On the art street, you are sure to notice the work of Sheryo & Yok, Blek le rat, Nychos to name a few.
If you feel like seeing more artwork, you can visit a few artists-run galleries around the area. You can find some interesting artworks there too.
25 Socrates Sculpture Park
Socrates Sculpture Park is open on all days of the year and is always free admission. It is an outdoor museum and a public park that allows artists to display their artworks. The entire park is dedicated to supporting emerging artists.
The park organizes several exhibitions throughout the year. The majority of artworks that are exhibited in the park are built on the site. This is a place to witness interesting sculptures that are labor-intensive.
If you are interested to know more about how the sculptures are installed, you can visit the park before the exhibition and watch the artists at work too.
26 Hamilton Grange National Memorial
Hamilton Grange National Memorial is a National Park Service site in NYC. This is a relocated home of Alexandar Hamilton, the Founding Father of the United States of America. It is located at St. Nicolas Park in Manhattan and is preserved by New York City.
You can learn a lot about Alexandar Hamilton by visiting here. Entry to the public is always free. You can take a self-guided tour of different rooms in the house. A ranger will be present to answer any of your questions. You can also watch a 20-min introductory movie about the life of the founder before you begin the tour of the memorial.
27 Federal Hall
Federal Hall is a historic building on Wall Street in the Financial District of Manhattan. You can see two different styles of architecture on the site – the Federal style and the Greek Revival style of architecture.
You can see a large statue of George Washington on the front steps of the Federal Hall. As you enter, you can go to the Visitors Center to know what the place can offer to you. You can watch an introductory video and talk to the Ranger present here.
Store your belongings with Vertoe NYC and visit the Washington inaugural gallery. Take public guided tours about the history of the site.
Admission to Federal Hall is always free.
28 African Burial Ground National Monument
This site is designated as the National Historic Landmark and National Monument. It is here that the remains of 419 enslaved Africans from the 17th and 18th Centuries were found. After this discovery, further excavation and research were conducted and the study showed more than 15000 African-Americans were buried here.
Thi study is known to be the most important historic urban archaeological project in the United States. Today at this monument, you can take a free tour around and learn important historical aspects of African-Americans.
29 Jazz at Barbes
If you want a free performance in NYC, head out to Barbes. Barbes is a bar and performance space located at 9th Street, 6th Avenue in Brooklyn. You can check their website to see who is performing on a particular day. Enjoy the free performances and indulge in great music with a $10 suggested donation.
30 Free Comedy Shows
If you are tired of a busy week, a free comedy show can help you relax. Head out to the Lantern Comedy Club in Greenwich Village for a free comedy show. The shows are performed throughout the week. Monday to Thursday at 5.30 pm, Friday to Sunday at 4 pm, and Sunday at 2 pm is exclusively for lady performers.
We hope, our list of 30 free things to do in NYC was helpful to you. Don’t forget to utilize NYC Luggage Storage with Vertoe and enjoy your visit to New York City!