We all know NYC is an expensive place! When I planned to visit this summer I had to create an itinerary that included AS MANY free things as humanly possible so I didn’t throw my chequing account into overdraft.
So here’s a list of everything I did and planned to do as well as some tips to save you more money!
- Walk around Brooklyn!
This by far was the most fun and picturesque activity on my trip. Brooklyn is home to many beautiful industrial and historical buildings as well as trendy cafes and bars. It’s way too easy to spend a whole day here! Don’t forget to catch that Instagram worthy DUMBO shot at the corner of Washington and Water street! (Check out Brooklyn Roasting Company for an early morning coffee and treat if you’re a sunriser like me). Also, Don’t forget to walk across (or partway) across the Brooklyn Bridge!
Some other notable places would be Main Street park, Pebble beach, Janes carousel, St Annes warehouse/The max family garden.
- The Highline!
Running from West 30th street to Gansevoort street there is plenty of arts and culture to soak up along this old train track converted park!
- The Staten Island Ferry!
Locals and tourists alike all know this not-so-secret way to catch a free glimpse of the statue of liberty! Hop on the free ferry from Manhatten and sail on over to Staten Island! Stand on the right side of the ferry for the view and the left side when you’re returning to Manhatten.
- Central Park!
This activity can involve spending as much money as you want but I would suggest haggling with the bike renters who are outside the south left corner of the park and scoring a cheap rental (don’t forget your helmet and lock) and see the park this way! It’s the easiest and fastest way to see everything! Cruise past countless filming locations and famous landmarks! Catch the man playing Beatles tunes outside the Strawberry Fields memorial, have a picnic on the Great Lawn, and watch the boats go by at the Bethesda Fountain.
- American Museum of Natural History
The best way to cram some learnin into your trip if you have the time is to go to the American Museum of Natural History! Not many people know this museum is pay what you can, making it a really fun and relatively cheap activity for half a day (or full-day)
- Times Square!
This tourist trap is a must-visit on everyone’s NYC list! To be quite honest I enjoyed the lively crowds and constant activity! The best time to visit is during the day, the night time crowd can be unbearable. If you do happen to visit at night be sure to check out the Midnight moment, where all the ads in TS turn into an art exhibit!
- The Vessel!
This awe-inspiring, honeycomb-like structure in the Hudson Yard is something you shouldn’t miss! Entry is free with a timed ticket you buy on-site (through an agent or QR scanner. Catch the intriguing view as you climb the 16 flights of stairs to the top!
Some other notable activities include:
- One World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial
- Wall Street, the brave girl statue, charging bull, historical buildings, stock exchange
- Thomas J Watson Library
- Central Station
- Have gelato in front of the Flat Iron Building
- Walk around Greenwich, Tribecca or Soho
- Hang out in Washington Square park
- Free kayaking at pier 26 in Manhattan or at the Brooklyn Bridge park pier 2 (best views)
Other money-saving tips:
- Buy a metro card (weekly pass) if you plan on staying 3 or more days. The subway is the fastest way to get around Manhatten and it will save you time and money.
- 99 Cent pizza! There are so many places around the city selling 99 Cent cheese pizza (the more toppings you want the more expensive it is, but still relatively cheap) They get so many customers in a day the pizza is always fresh!
- Happy hour is a great time to find a bar that also offers free food when you buy a drink. Yes, this is an actual thing that happens!
I hope you enjoyed this free list of activities for NYC! Tell me, what did you see and do when you were there? Or what do you hope to see?