100+ Free Things To Do In NYC

100+ Free Things to Do In New York City

Kerwin McKenzieCity Guide

Discovering New York City: 100+ Free Things to Do

London | New York City | Paris 

New York City, a vibrant melting pot of culture, history, people, and, art, offers an endless array of activities to both its residents and visitors. What makes the city even more appealing is the plethora of free attractions available. From iconic landmarks to hidden gems, there’s something for everyone to enjoy without spending a penny, except maybe for transportation in some instances. Below is a curated list of 100+ free things to do in New York City (the Big Apple), complete with all the details you need to plan your visit.

Note

This post provides a glimpse into the vast number of free activities available in New York City. Due to the dynamic nature of city attractions (including operational hours, accessibility, and available services), I recommend visiting the official websites or contacting the attractions directly for the most current information. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned New Yorker, these free experiences are sure to enrich your exploration of the city.

Getting Around New York City

But first, let’s talk about getting around New York in the first place. Oh and if you need to figure out how to get to New York. I’ve written this article just for you.

You can do bikes, buses, ferries (free and paid), shared rides, taxis, trains and walking.

Buses

NYC Buses

Website: MTA Buses

The New York City bus system complements the subway, offering extensive service across all five boroughs with both local and express routes. It’s an essential part of the city’s public transportation network, connecting neighborhoods that are less accessible by subway.

Bikes

Citi Bike

Website: Citi Bike

New York City’s bike share program, Citi Bike, provides a fun, efficient, and eco-friendly transportation option. With thousands of bikes available 24/7 across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Jersey City, it’s a convenient way to explore the city or commute short distances. Day passes and annual memberships are available.

These transportation options together provide a comprehensive network, making it convenient to navigate New York City and its surrounding areas.

Ferries

East River Ferry

Various stops along the East River
Website: NYC Ferry

While there’s a fee for the NYC Ferry, it offers an affordable way to see New York from the water, with stunning views of the skyline and bridges.

NY Waterway

Website: NY Waterway

NY Waterway operates ferry services connecting Manhattan with various locations along the Hudson River in New Jersey, including Hoboken, Weehawken, and Jersey City. It’s known for offering scenic views of the New York City skyline and a pleasant alternative to traditional land-based public transportation.

Staten Island Ferry

Address: 4 South St, New York, NY 10004
Subway: 1 to South Ferry; R to Whitehall St.
Website: Staten Island Ferry

A staple of New York City transit, the Staten Island Ferry offers free, around-the-clock service between Manhattan and Staten Island. Beyond its role as a commuter ferry, it provides stunning views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the Manhattan skyline, making it a favorite among tourists and locals alike.

Trains

NYC Subway System (MTA)

Website: MTA

The backbone of New York City’s transportation network, the NYC Subway system offers extensive coverage throughout the city with 24/7 service. It’s an affordable and efficient way to navigate the five boroughs, featuring iconic stations and a vast network of routes.

New York City Subway (MTA)

New York City Subway (MTA)

Long Island Railroad (LIRR)

Website: LIRR

The Long Island Railroad is the busiest commuter railroad in North America, connecting Manhattan with destinations across Long Island. From Penn Station in Manhattan to the beautiful beaches of Montauk, the LIRR provides a vital link for commuters and visitors alike.

Metro North

Website: Metro-North Railroad

Serving the northern suburbs of New York City, Metro-North Railroad offers commuter services from Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan to destinations in the Hudson Valley, including Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess counties, and parts of Connecticut. Enjoy scenic views along the Hudson River and convenient access to several attractions.

PATH Train

Website: PATH

The Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) train offers 24/7 rapid transit service between Manhattan and neighboring New Jersey cities, including Newark, Harrison, Jersey City, and Hoboken. It’s a vital link for New Jersey residents working or visiting Manhattan and for New Yorkers traveling to New Jersey.

Roosevelt Island Tramway

Address: E 59th St & 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10022 (Manhattan side)
Subway: N, R, W to Lexington Ave-59th St; 4, 5, 6 to 59th St
Website: Roosevelt Island Tramway

Offering breathtaking aerial views of Manhattan, the East River, and the Queensboro Bridge, the Roosevelt Island Tramway provides a unique commute to Roosevelt Island. Operating since 1976, it’s one of the few aerial commuter trams in North America. MetroCard is accepted for payment.


Here’s your list of

100+ Free Things To Do In New York City and its Environs

1. Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge

Address: Brooklyn Bridge, New York, NY
Subway: A, C to High Street; 2, 3 to Clark Street
Website: NYC DOT – Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge offers breathtaking views of Manhattan, the East River, and beyond. This historic bridge connects Manhattan and Brooklyn and is perfect for a scenic walk or bike ride.

2. Central Park Exploration

Address: Central Park, New York, NY 10024
Subway: A, B, C, D, 1 to 59th St-Columbus Circle; 2, 3 to Central Park North
Website: Central Park Conservancy

Discover the wonders of Central Park, from the serene Bethesda Terrace to the bustling Strawberry Fields. It’s a haven for nature lovers, fitness enthusiasts, and those looking to relax in the green heart of Manhattan.

3. The High Line

Address: The High Line, New York, NY 10011; Runs from Gansevoort St to 34th St, New York, NY
Subway: L to 14th St. & 8th Ave.; A, C, E to 14th St. & 8th Ave.; 7 to 34th St-Hudson Yards
Website: The High Line

A prime example of urban revitalization, The High Line is a park built on a historic freight rail line. It offers unique views of the city’s architecture and the Hudson River.

4.  The Vessel at Hudson Yards

Address: Hudson Yards, New York, NY 10001
Subway: 7 to 34th St-Hudson Yards
Website: The Vessel

A striking honeycomb-like structure offering climbable viewpoints of the city and Hudson River. You can view the structure without a ticket and walk around it. Free tickets may be available on a first-come, first-served basis; booking in advance is recommended. Check the website for details as its temporarily closed.

5. Hudson Yards Public Square and Gardens

Address: Between 10th and 12th Avenues from West 30th to West 34th Streets, New York, NY
Subway: 7 to 34th St-Hudson Yards
Website: Hudson Yards New York

Nestled in the heart of the Hudson Yards development, this expansive public space offers visitors a blend of natural and urban landscapes. With its innovative design, the gardens feature rolling landscapes, woodland plants, and seasonal blooms, providing a refreshing escape amidst the city’s newest neighborhood. It’s a great place to unwind, with plenty of seating areas and art installations to enjoy.

6. Staten Island Ferry

Address: 4 South St, New York, NY 10004
Subway: 1 to South Ferry; R to Whitehall St.
Website: Staten Island Ferry

The Staten Island Ferry is a commuter ferry that doubles as a fantastic way to see the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the New York Harbor, all for free.

Staten Island Ferry, New York USA - Sunset Statue of Liberty

Staten Island Ferry, New York USA – Sunset Statue of Liberty

7. Times Square

Address: Manhattan, NY 10036
Subway: N, Q, R, W, 1, 2, 3, 7 to 42nd Street-Times Square
Website: N/A

Times Square, the “Crossroads of the World,” is famous for its neon lights, Broadway marquees, and bustling atmosphere. It’s a quintessential New York experience.

New York City Times Square

New York City Times Square

8. Grand Central Terminal

Address: 89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017
Subway: 4, 5, 6, 7, S to Grand Central-42nd St. and Metro North Trains
Website: Grand Central Terminal

Marvel at the architectural wonder that is Grand Central Terminal. Not just a transportation hub, its celestial ceiling in the main concourse is a sight to behold, making it a must-visit landmark.

Grand Central Terminal in New York

Grand Central Terminal in New York

9. Chelsea Market

Address: 75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011
Subway: A, C, E to 14th St; L to 8 Ave
Website: Chelsea Market

Nestled in the heart of the Meatpacking District, Chelsea Market is an enclosed urban food court, shopping mall, office building, and television production facility rolled into one. While dining and shopping might cost you, exploring this vibrant space is free.


Need A Hotel?

If you need a hotel while you’re in the city, check out this map.

I’ve stayed at several places over the city, but my favorite place to stay is in Times Square. It’s central and everything is right there. You don’t have to stay there as you can walk or take the Subway to almost every place. I do recommend staying close to where you’d like to be though and if the place is too cheap, it’s not worth staying there.

 


10. Battery Park

Address: New York, NY 10004 (Lower Manhattan)
Subway: 4, 5 to Bowling Green; R to Whitehall St
Website: N/A

Battery Park offers lush green spaces, perfect for a leisurely stroll with unparalleled views of the Statue of Liberty. It’s a peaceful retreat from the city’s hustle and bustle.

11. New York Public Library

Address: 476 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018
Subway: B, D, F, M to 42nd St. – Bryant Park; 7 to 5th Ave
Website: NYPL

The New York Public Library’s main branch, known for its majestic lion statues guarding the entrance, is an iconic NYC landmark. The Rose Main Reading Room is a place of beauty, tranquility, and inspiration. The Library is also known as the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. It is the second largest public library in the U.S., and fourth largest in the world. Tour details can be found here.

New York City Public Library

12. 5th Avenue

Address: 5th Ave, New York, NY
Subway: N, R, W to 5th Ave; E, M to 5th Ave/53rd St
Website: N/A

Strolling down 5th Avenue offers a window into the luxury and glamour of New York City. Window shop at some of the world’s most famous stores and enjoy the historic buildings along the way.

13. Chinatown

Address: Chinatown, New York, NY
Subway: N, Q, R, W to Canal St; 6 to Canal St
Website: N/A

Explore the bustling streets of Chinatown for an immersive experience into Chinese culture, markets, and street food. It’s a vibrant community with deep historical roots in the city.

14. Greenwich Village

Address: Greenwich Village, New York, NY
Subway: A, B, C, D, E, F, M to West 4th St; 1 to Christopher St-Sheridan Sq
Website: N/A

Greenwich Village offers a charming escape with its quaint streets, historic homes, and vibrant nightlife. Known for its artistic history, it’s a great neighborhood to explore on foot.

15. Wall Street and the Financial District

Address: Wall Street, New York, NY
Subway: 2, 3 to Wall St; 4, 5 to Wall St
Website: N/A

Discover the heart of New York’s financial district with a visit to Wall Street. See the New York Stock Exchange and the famous Charging Bull sculpture.

16. Bushwick Collective Street Art

Address: Troutman St at Saint Nicholas Ave, Brooklyn, NY
Subway: L to Jefferson St
Website: Bushwick Collective Street Art

The Bushwick Collective is an outdoor street gallery known for its vibrant street art and murals by artists from around the world. It’s a colorful testament to Brooklyn’s creative spirit.

17. Governors Island

Address: Governors Island New York, NY 11231
Ferry: Ferries leave from Battery Maritime Building, 10 South St.
Website: Governors Island

A seasonal escape from the city, Governors Island offers biking, art installations, and sprawling lawns for picnics with a view of the Statue of Liberty. Though the ferry ride is free during certain hours, always check the current schedule.

18. Sunset Park

Address: Sunset Park, Brooklyn, NY 11220
Subway: D, N, R to 36th St
Website: N/A

Named for its stunning views of the Manhattan skyline at sunset, Sunset Park in Brooklyn is a community hub with a vibrant atmosphere, offering a swimming pool, recreation areas, and green spaces.

19. Socrates Sculpture Park

Address: 32-01 Vernon Blvd, Queens, NY 11106
Subway: N, W to Broadway (Astoria)
Website: Socrates Sculpture Park

An outdoor museum and public park on the waterfront in Queens, Socrates Sculpture Park showcases large-scale sculpture and multimedia installations in a beautiful outdoor setting.

20. Astoria Park

Address: 19 19th St, Queens, NY 11105 (19 St. bet. Astoria Park S. and Ditmars Blvd.)
Subway: N, W to Astoria-Ditmars Blvd
Website: Astoria Park

With stunning views of the Robert F. Kennedy and Hell Gate bridges, Astoria Park offers sprawling green spaces, a track, tennis courts, and New York City’s oldest and largest swimming pool.

21. Free Museum Days

Many of New York City’s museums offer free admission on certain days or evenings each week. Check individual museum websites for details on these offers, allowing you to explore art, history, and culture at no cost.

Here are a few to get you started in no particular preference/order:

22. Kayaking on the Hudson River

Location: Pier 26 in Tribeca
Website: Downtown Boathouse

Yes, you can kayak on the Hudson River for free! Experience New York City from a new perspective by taking advantage of free kayaking sessions on the Hudson River. Offered by various organizations during warmer months (usually the end of May to October), it’s a unique way to see the skyline.

23. Kayak at Brooklyn Bridge Park

Location: Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 2, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Subway: A, C to High St; 2, 3 to Clark St
Website: Brooklyn Bridge Park Boating

Free kayaking sessions are available at the Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse during the summer months.

24. Bryant Park

Address: New York, NY 10018
Subway: B, D, F, M to 42nd Street-Bryant Park
Website: [Bryant Park]

Bryant Park is a dynamic area in the heart of Manhattan that hosts free movies, yoga classes, and other events seasonally. It’s also a lovely place for a leisurely stroll or to read a book from the park’s outdoor reading room. And in the summer, they have movies in the Park at nights. In the winter it’s time to ice skate.

Free Summer Movie Night in Bryant Park, New York

Free Summer Movie Night in Bryant Park, New York

25. Coney Island Boardwalk

Address: Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY 11224
Subway: D, F, N, Q to Coney Island-Stillwell Ave
Website: N/A

The Coney Island Boardwalk offers a nostalgic stroll with views of the beach and Atlantic Ocean. While the amusement park rides have a fee, exploring the boardwalk and beach is free and open year-round.

26. Williamsburg

Address: Brooklyn, NY 11211
Subway: L to Bedford Ave
Website: N/A

Williamsburg is a cultural hub known for its indie music scene, street art, and hipster vibe. Explore trendy shops, bars, and restaurants, or simply enjoy the eclectic street scenes and waterfront views.

27. Rockefeller Center

Address: 45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10111
Subway: B, D, F, M to 47-50 Streets-Rockefeller Center
Website: Rockefeller Center

While known for its ice-skating rink and annual Christmas tree lighting, Rockefeller Center offers much to see with its art deco architecture and stunning views of the city from the Top of the Rock Observation Deck (admission fee for the deck).

Free Things To Do In New York City - Rockefeller Center, New York City

As we continue to uncover the many layers of New York City’s free offerings, it’s evident that whether you’re a history buff, art lover, or nature enthusiast, the city has something incredible to offer.

28. Little Italy

Address: Little Italy, New York, NY
Subway: N, Q, R, W to Canal St; 6 to Spring St
Website: N/A

Immerse yourself in the Italian culture with a stroll through Little Italy. Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere, especially during the San Gennaro festival each September.

29. Harlem

Address: Harlem, New York, NY
Subway: A, B, C, D to 125th St
Website: Harlem

Explore the rich cultural heritage of Harlem, known for its significant contributions to music, literature, and arts during the Harlem Renaissance. Don’t miss the iconic Apollo Theater.

30. Free First Fridays at the Noguchi Museum

Address: 9-01 33rd Rd, Queens, NY 11106
Subway: N, W to Broadway; F to Queensbridge/21 St.; 7 to Vernon-Jacksona
Website: The Noguchi Museum

Dedicated to the work of Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi, the museum offers free admission on the first Friday of every month, providing access to its serene sculpture garden and galleries. Tickets are released two weeks before each date, at 12 pm ET.

31. Prospect Park

Address: Prospect park, Brooklyn, NY 11225
Subway: B, Q, S to Prospect Park; 2, 3 to Grand Army Plaza
Website: Prospect Park

Brooklyn’s flagship park, designed by the same landscape architects as Central Park, offers a zoo, a boathouse, sports facilities, and the sprawling Long Meadow.

32. Smorgasburg

Locations: Williamsburg, Prospect Park, World Trade Center, Jersey City
Subway: Varies by location; World Trade Center, Williamsburg and Prospect Park. Check website for directions.
Website: Smorgasburg

This open-air food market operates seasonally and features dozens of local vendors. While the food isn’t free, browsing and soaking in the atmosphere is. Runs weekends, April through October.

33. Greenpoint’s Transmitter Park

Address: Greenpoint Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Subway: G to Greenpoint Ave
Website: Transmitter Park

Once a radio transmission facility, this waterfront park offers open lawns, a playground, and stellar views of the Manhattan skyline, making it a peaceful spot for relaxation.

34. Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Address: Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens, NY 11368
Subway: 7 to Mets-Willets Point
Website: Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Home to the Unisphere, New York Hall of Science, and the Queens Museum, this park is a remnant of the 1964 World’s Fair and offers vast green spaces perfect for outdoor activities.

35. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Address: 1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028
Subway: 4, 5, 6 to 86th St
Website: The Met

The Met offers pay-what-you-wish admission for New York State residents. There are also complimentary admissions for select individuals. It’s one of the world’s largest and finest art museums, housing over two million works.

36. Fort Washington Park – The Little Red Lighthouse

Address: Fort Washington Park, New York, NY 10032
Subway: A to 181st St
Website: NYC Parks

Underneath the George Washington Bridge lies this charming historic lighthouse, the subject of a beloved children’s book. It’s a picturesque spot for photos and picnics.

37. Hunters Point South Park

Address: Long Island City, Queens, NY
Subway: 7 to Vernon Blvd-Jackson Ave
Website: Hunters Point South Park

The Long Island City Waterfront where the Hunters Point South Park is located offers some of the best skyline views of Manhattan, along with parks and piers for public enjoyment.

38. Brooklyn Brewery Tour

Address: 79 N 11th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249
Subway: L to Bedford Ave
Website: Brooklyn Brewery

The Brooklyn Brewery in Williamsburg offers free hourly tour on Sundays from 1-6 PM, giving visitors a peek into the brewing process (check the current schedule and availability).

39. Bronx Zoo

Address: 2300 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10460
Subway: 2, 5 to West Farms Sq – E Tremont Ave
Website: Bronx Zoo

The Bronx Zoo offers free admission (Wednesday Limited Admissions tickets to the pPark only) on Wednesdays (check current policies), providing a chance to see thousands of animals in diverse habitats.

40. New York Botanical Garden

Address: 2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10458
Subway: B, D, or 4 to Bedford Park Blvd
Website: NYBG

Enjoy free access to the New York Botanical Garden on Wednesdays between 10-11AM, where you can explore beautiful plant collections and the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.

41. Brooklyn Heights Promenade

Address: Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn, NY
Subway: 2, 3 to Clark St; A, C to High St
Website: Brooklyn Heights Premenade

The Promenade offers iconic views of the Manhattan skyline, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty, making it a favorite spot for photographers and visitors alike.

42. Fort Tryon Park

Address: Riverside Dr To Broadway, New York, NY 10040
Subway: A to 190th St
Website: Fort Tryon Park

Known for its stunning views, beautiful gardens, and medieval architecture, Fort Tryon Park is also home to The Cloisters museum of medieval art.

Continuing our exploration of New York City’s free attractions, let’s dive into more unique and accessible experiences. Each of these spots offers visitors a chance to see a different side of the city, from its artistic communities to its tranquil green spaces and historic landmarks.

43. Arthur Avenue in the Bronx

Address: Arthur Avenue, Bronx, NY 10458
Subway: B, D to Fordham Rd
Website: Arthur Avenue

Often referred to as the “real Little Italy” of New York, Arthur Avenue in the Bronx is famous for its authentic Italian bakeries, markets, and eateries. Walking through the neighborhood offers a cultural experience reminiscent of old-world Italy.

44. Queens Museum

Address: New York City Building, Corona Park, Queens, NY 11368
Subway: 7 to Mets-Willets Point
Website: Queens Museum

The Queens Museum is home to the Panorama of the City of New York, a detailed architectural model of the entire city. The museum offers “pay what you wish” admission and also offer complimentary admission to select individuals.

45. Zuccotti Park

Address: Broadway and Liberty Street, New York, NY 10006
Subway: R to Rector St; 4, 5 to Wall St
Website: N/A

Zuccotti Park, known for being the site of the Occupy Wall Street protests, is a small, granite-paved refuge amidst the skyscrapers of Lower Manhattan. It’s a nice spot for a quick break.

46. The African Burial Ground National Monument

Address: 290 Broadway, New York, NY 10007
Subway: 4, 5, 6 to Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall; R, W to City Hall
Website: African Burial Ground

This monument and museum honor the memory of the African men, women, and children who were buried in the 17th and 18th centuries in what was then the outskirts of New York City.

47. Federal Hall National Memorial

Address: 26 Wall St, New York, NY 10005
Subway: 2, 3 to Wall St; J, Z to Broad St
Website: Federal Hall

Visit the site of George Washington’s inauguration as the first President of the United States and the birthplace of American government.

48. New York City Hall

Address: City Hall Park, New York, NY 10007
Subway: 2, 3 to Park Place; R, W to City Hall
Website: NYC City Hall

Take a tour of New York City Hall, the oldest City Hall in the United States that still houses its original governmental functions. Tours are free but require reservation.

49. The 9/11 Memorial

Address: 180 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10007
Subway: A, C, 1, 2, 3 to Chambers St
Website: 9/11 Memorial]

The 9/11 Memorial honors the lives lost in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. The memorial’s twin reflecting pools sit in the footprints of the Twin Towers. The 9/11 Memorial is free and open to the public seven days a week, 8 a.m.–8 p.m. The Museum is free from 5:30p to 7:p on Mondays only.

50. The Oculus

Address: Church St, New York, NY 10006
Subway: A, C, 1, 2, 3 to Chambers St; R, W to Cortlandt St
Website: The Oculus

The Oculus, part of the World Trade Center transportation hub, is known for its striking architecture designed by Santiago Calatrava. It’s a great spot for photography and architecture enthusiasts.

51. Bush Terminal Piers Park

Address: 43rd St, Brooklyn, NY 11232
Subway: D, N, R to 36th St
Website: Bush Terminal Piers Park

A hidden gem in Brooklyn, Bush Terminal Piers Park offers waterfront views, lush landscaping, and a quiet escape from the city buzz.

52. Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Address: 1047 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025
Subway: 1 to 110th St
Website: St. John the Divine

As one of the largest cathedrals in the world, this stunning architectural marvel offers visitors the chance to explore its beautiful interiors and peaceful gardens.

53. Trinity Church Wall Street

Address: 75 Broadway, New York, NY 10006
Subway: 4, 5 to Wall St; 2, 3 to Wall St; R, W to Rector St
Website: Trinity Church

This historic Episcopal church, located at the intersection of Wall Street and Broadway, is known for its active community services, beautiful architecture, and the Trinity Church Cemetery, which houses the graves of several notable historical figures.

54. St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Address: 5th Ave, New York, NY 10022
Subway: E, M to 5th Ave-53rd St; B, D, F, M to 47-50th Sts-Rockefeller Center
Website: St. Patrick’s Cathedral

A stunning example of Neo-Gothic architecture, St. Patrick’s Cathedral stands as a beacon of spiritual life in the heart of Manhattan. Visitors are welcome to explore its magnificent interior, attend Mass, or simply enjoy a moment of quiet reflection.

St. Patrick's Cathedral

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

55. Riverside Church

Address: 490 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10027
Subway: 1 to 116th St-Columbia University
Website: The Riverside Church

Modeled after the 13th Century gothic cathedral in Chartres, France, Riverside Church is renowned for its commitment to social justice, interdenominational services, and stunning architecture. The church’s bell tower offers one of the best vantage points in the city.

56. Grace Church

Address: 802 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
Subway: N, R, W to 8th St-NYU; 6 to Astor Pl
Website: Grace Church

An architectural gem in the heart of the city, Grace Church is a Gothic Revival masterpiece that welcomes visitors to enjoy its peaceful ambiance, breathtaking stained glass windows, and vibrant music program.

57. Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden

Address: 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY 10301
Ferry: Staten Island Ferry to St. George, then Bus S40 to Snug Harbor
Website: Snug Harbor

This cultural center and botanical garden in Staten Island features art exhibitions, performance spaces, and beautiful gardens, making it a diverse cultural destination.

58. The High Bridge Park

Address: High Bridge, New York, NY
Subway: C to 155th St; B, D to 161st St-Yankee Stadium
Website: NYC Parks – High Bridge

The High Bridge is New York City’s oldest standing bridge, connecting Manhattan and the Bronx. It’s a picturesque place for a walk, offering views of the Harlem River.

59. Hamilton Grange National Memorial

Address: 414 W 141st St, New York, NY 10031
Subway: A, C, B, D to 145th St
Website: Hamilton Grange

The home of Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of the United States, has been preserved as a museum. It’s an important piece of American history and a must-visit for history buffs.

60. Green-Wood Cemetery

Address: 500 25th St, Brooklyn, NY 11232
Subway: R to 25th St
Website: Green-Wood

Historic Green-Wood Cemetery offers guided tours of its beautiful grounds, which are home to stunning architecture, sculptures, and the resting places of famous New Yorkers.

61. New York Earth Room

Address: 141 Wooster St, New York, NY 10012
Subway: C, E to Spring St; N, R, W to Prince St
Website: Dia Art

An interior earth sculpture by Walter De Maria, the New York Earth Room is a room filled with 280,000 pounds of earth, offering a unique and contemplative experience in the heart of SoHo. There are other free exhibits too.

62. The Irish Hunger Memorial

Address: Vesey St & North End Ave, New York, NY 10282
Subway: A, C, 1 to Chambers St; E to World Trade Center
Website: Battery Park City

This memorial is dedicated to raising awareness of the Great Irish Famine. The design incorporates stones from each of Ireland’s 32 counties, and it’s situated in a contemplative space overlooking the Hudson River.

Expanding our list further, here are 20 more free things to do in New York City, showcasing the city’s endless capacity for wonder, learning, and exploration. From iconic landmarks to serene natural spaces and engaging cultural experiences, there’s always something new to discover.

63. Wave Hill Public Gardens

Address: 4900 Independence Ave, Bronx, NY 10471
Subway: 1 to Van Cortlandt Park-242nd St, then Bx7 or Bx10 bus
Website: Wave Hill

A serene oasis overlooking the Hudson River, Wave Hill offers spectacular gardens, art exhibitions, and programs for all ages. Free on Thursdays, either all day or 9 am to 12 pm, varying by season.

64. Williamsburg’s Domino Park

Address: 300 Kent Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249
Subway: L to Bedford Ave
Website: Domino Park

Built on the site of the former Domino Sugar Refinery, this waterfront park offers spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline, play areas, and a unique industrial heritage.

65. Brooklyn Bridge Park

Address: 334 Furman St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Subway: A, C to High St; 2, 3 to Clark St
Website: Brooklyn Bridge Park

This 85-acre waterfront park offers stunning views of the Manhattan skyline, playgrounds, sports fields, and seasonal activities.

66. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

Address: 40 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023
Subway: 1 to 66th St-Lincoln Center
Website: NYPL for the Performing Arts

Explore collections related to music, theater, dance, and recorded sound. Free exhibitions and events are often held here.

67. The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) Museum

Address: 227 W 27th St, New York, NY 10001
Subway: 1 to 28th St
Website: The Museum at FIT

The FIT Museum is known for its innovative and thought-provoking fashion exhibitions, showcasing the work of emerging designers as well as historical retrospectives. Admission is free.

68. The Morgan Library & Museum

Address: 225 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016
Subway: 6 to 33rd St
Website: The Morgan

The Morgan Library & Museum houses an extensive collection of rare books, manuscripts, and artworks. Admission is free on Fridays from 5 pm to 7 pm. Reservations are required. Tickets are available one week in advance. Admission to the historic rooms of J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library is free Tuesday and Sunday 3 to 5 pm. Reservations for these free hours are not required.

69. Inwood Hill Park

Address: Payson Ave. & Seaman Ave, New York, NY 10034
Subway: A to Inwood-207th St
Website: Inwood Hill Park

Offering natural woodland walks, rocky outcrops, and stunning views of the Hudson River, Inwood Hill Park is a slice of wilderness in Manhattan.

70. National Museum of the American Indian

Address: 1 Bowling Green, New York, NY 10004
Subway: 4, 5 to Bowling Green; R to Whitehall St
Website: NMAI

This museum is dedicated to the life, languages, literature, history, and arts of the Native Americans. Admission is always free.

71. Governors Island National Monument

Address: Governors Island
Ferry: Ferry from 10 South St, New York, NY
Website: Governors Island

Explore historic forts and enjoy recreational activities. Free ferries are available on weekend mornings before noon.

72. Free Tours by Foot

Various locations
Website: Free Tours by Foot

Enjoy walking tours on a pay-what-you-like basis across various neighborhoods, learning about the city’s rich history and culture.

73. The Japan Society

Address: 333 E 47th St, New York, NY 10017
Subway: 6, E, M to Lexington Ave/53rd St
Website: Japan Society

Offers a variety of programs and exhibitions related to Japanese art and culture. The Gallery is free on the first Friday of each month from 7-9PM. Check their website for free event days.

74. The General Grant National Memorial

Address: W 122nd St & Riverside Dr, New York, NY 10027
Subway: 1 to 125th St
Website: Grant’s Tomb

Visit the final resting place of Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th President of the United States, and learn about his life and legacy.

75. The Skyscraper Museum

Address: 39 Battery Pl, New York, NY 10280
Subway: 4, 5 to Bowling Green; R to Rector St
Website: The Skyscraper Museum

Dedicated to the study of high-rise building, past, present, and future. Admission is currently free; check the website for any future changes. A reservation is required.

76. The Old Stone House

Address: 336 3rd St, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Subway: R to Union St
Website: The Old Stone House

A reconstructed 1699 Dutch farmhouse with a rich history in the Revolutionary War and as a centerpiece of Brooklyn’s Park Slope.

77. Lefferts Historic House

Address: 452 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225
Subway: B, Q, S to Prospect Park
Website: Lefferts Historic House

Explore this 18th-century house and learn about life in Brooklyn 200 years ago. Events and workshops focus on historical and environmental themes.

78. The New York Hall of Science

Address: 47-01 111th St, Queens, NY 11368
Subway: 7 to 111th St
Website: NYSCI

Free admission (Community Hours) are on Fridays from 2-5 PM, the Hall of Science offers interactive science exhibits and activities.

79. Valentino Pier

bAddress: Ferris St and Coffey St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Subway: F, G to Smith-9th St
Website: Valention Pier

Offers one of the best views of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor. A quiet spot perfect for picnics and watching sunsets.

80. Pier 6 Brooklyn Bridge Park

Address: Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 6, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Subway: R to Court St; 2, 3 to Clark St
Website: Brooklyn Bridge Park – Pier 6

Pier 6 of Brooklyn Bridge Park features expansive lawns, volleyball courts, playgrounds, and a water lab. It’s a fantastic spot for summer fun and offers stunning views of Lower Manhattan.

81. Walk the Manhattan Bridge

Address: Entrance at Canal St and Forsyth St, New York, NY
Subway: B, D to Grand St; N, Q, R, W to Canal St
Website: N/A

Experience unique views of the East River, Brooklyn Bridge, and surrounding areas by walking the Manhattan Bridge.

82. Dyckman Farmhouse Museum

Address: 4881 Broadway, New York, NY 10034
Subway: A to Dyckman St
Website: Dyckman Farmhouse

As Manhattan’s oldest remaining farmhouse, this museum offers a glimpse into rural life in the 18th century. The museum hosts several free events throughout the year. Admissions to the gardens is free.

83. The Rubin Museum of Art

Address: 150 W 17th St, New York, NY 10011
Subway: 1 to 18th St; A, C, E to 14th St
Website: The Rubin

Focusing on the art of the Himalayas and surrounding regions, the Rubin Museum offers free admission on Friday evenings (6-10PM). It’s a peaceful place to explore art and spirituality. Seniors are free every first Thursday of the month.

84. Fort Greene Park

Address: Washington Park St, Brooklyn, NY 11205
Subway: G to Fulton St; C to Lafayette Ave
Website: Fort Greene Park

A historic park that offers lush green space, a Prison Ship Martyrs’ Monument, and various recreational facilities. It’s also a great spot for cultural events and festivals.

85. Red Hook Waterfront

Address: Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY
Subway: F, G to Smith-9th St, then B61 bus
Website: Red Hook Waterfront Neighborhood

Red Hook’s waterfront offers stunning views of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor. This eclectic neighborhood is also home to art galleries, shops, and delicious eateries.

86. New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex & Store

Address: Grand Central Terminal, Shuttle Passage, New York, NY 10017
Subway: 4, 5, 6, 7, S to Grand Central-42nd St
Website: NY Transit Museum

Located in Grand Central Terminal, the annex features changing exhibitions related to New York City’s transportation history. Admission is free to see the Gallery and the Store, but there is a charge for the Museum.

87. The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument

Address: Riverside Dr & W 89th St, New York, NY 10024
Subway: 1 to 86th St
Website: NYC Parks

A grand monument commemorating Union Army soldiers and sailors who served in the Civil War, offering a piece of history and a picturesque setting in Riverside Park.

88. Staten Island Greenbelt

Address: Staten Island, NY
Subway/Ferry: Staten Island Ferry, then various buses depending on entry point
Website: Staten Island Greenbelt

A network of trails and parks spanning 2,800 acres, the Greenbelt offers natural beauty, hiking, bird watching, and educational programs.

89. City Hall Park

Address: City Hall Park, New York, NY 10007
Subway: R, W to City Hall; 2, 3 to Park Place
Website: NYC Parks

Surrounding New York City Hall, this park features walking paths, green lawns, art installations, and historical landmarks.

90. Seward Park

Address: Essex St & Hester St, New York, NY 10002
Subway: F to East Broadway
Website: Seward Park

Home to the first municipally built playground in the United States, Seward Park offers a historic setting with modern playgrounds, a library, and a vibrant community atmosphere.

91. The Bronx Museum of the Arts

Address: 1040 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY 10456
Subway: D to 167th St
Website: Bronx Museum

A contemporary art museum that reflects the borough’s dynamic communities. Admission is always free.

92. Weeksville Heritage Center

Address: 158 Buffalo Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11213
Subway: 3 to Kingston Ave; C to Ralph Ave
Website: Weeksville

Discover one of America’s first free Black communities with historic homes dating back to the 19th century. The Center offers educational programs and tours. Admission is free.

93. Columbia University Campus

Address: 116th St & Broadway, New York, NY 10027
Subway: 1 to 116th St-Columbia University
Website: Columbia University

Explore the beautiful campus of one of the world’s leading academic institutions. Enjoy the architecture, sculptures, and green spaces.

94. The Elevated Acre

Address: 55 Water St, New York, NY 10041
Subway: 2, 3 to Wall St; J, Z to Broad St
Website: Elevated Acre

A hidden gem in the Financial District, The Elevated Acre offers a green escape with spectacular views of the East River and Brooklyn Bridge.

95. The Museum at Eldridge Street

Address: 12 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002
Subway: F to East Broadway; D to Grand St
Website: Museum at Eldridge Street

Housed in the historic Eldridge Street Synagogue, this museum offers insight into Jewish American history. ‘Pay What You Wish’ admission is offered Mondays & Fridays.

96. Hallett Nature Sanctuary

Address: Central Park, New York, NY 10019 (South of Wollman Rink)
Subway: N, R, W to 5th Ave-59th St; F to 57th St
Website: Central Park Conservancy

A once-forgotten piece of Central Park, now restored as a sanctuary, offers a peaceful retreat with walking paths and views of the Pond.

97. Manhattan Waterfront Greenway

Address: Surrounds Manhattan Island
Subway: Various, depending on entry point
Website: NYC Parks

A scenic bike and pedestrian path that encircles Manhattan, providing stunning views of the city, rivers, and bridges.

98. The New York Marble Cemetery

Address: 41 1/2 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003
Subway: F to 2nd Ave
Website: New York Marble Cemetery

A hidden historic gem in the East Village, this cemetery dates back to the 1830s. It’s open to the public on select days throughout the year.

This list now totals 98 incredible free things to do in New York City, spanning the realms of art, history, nature, and architecture. Whether you’re looking for a quiet retreat or an educational adventure, NYC offers an abundance of options that won’t cost you a penny.

Diving even deeper into the heart of New York City, here are additional experiences that highlight the diverse and rich tapestry of this urban landscape, all available without a ticket price. This continuation aims to round out our comprehensive guide to exploring NYC on a budget.

99. Randall’s Island Park

Address: 20 Randall’s Island Park, New York, NY 10035
Subway: N/A; Accessible by M35 bus from Lexington Ave and 125th St
Website: Randall’s Island Park

A recreational hub in the middle of the East River, Randall’s Island Park offers miles of scenic waterfront pathways, sports fields, gardens, and environmental education programs. It’s a great spot for picnics and outdoor activities.

100. The Community Bookstore in Park Slope

Address: 143 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Subway: 2, 3 to Grand Army Plaza
Website: The Community Bookstore

While not a museum or park, this beloved local bookstore hosts free readings and events, making it a cultural staple in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood.

101. DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass)

Address: DUMBO, Brooklyn, NY
Subway: F to York St; A, C to High St
Website: DUMBO Neighborhood

This trendy 32-acre neighborhood offers stunning views of the Manhattan skyline, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Manhattan Bridge, perfect for photography enthusiasts. Enjoy waterfront parks, art galleries, and unique shops. Free to explore.

102. The Holocaust Memorial Park

Address: Shore Blvd & West End Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11235
Subway: B, Q to Brighton Beach
Website: Holocaust Memorial Park

Dedicated to the memory of those who were lost in the Holocaust, this solemn park in Brooklyn’s Sheepshead Bay area offers a place for reflection and education.

103. Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

Address: Cross Bay Blvd, Queens, NY 11693
Subway: A to Broad Channel
Website: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

Part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, this wildlife refuge is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with various trails and unique habitats to explore.

104. Free Art Galleries in Chelsea

Various addresses along W 20th to W 28th Streets between 10th and 11th Avenues, New York, NY
Subway: C, E to 23rd St; 1 to 23rd St
Website: Free Chelsea Art Galleries

Chelsea is known for its vibrant art scene, with numerous galleries offering free admission. It’s a fantastic way to spend an afternoon immersed in contemporary art.

Summary

New York City, often heralded as the epicenter of culture, history, and innovation, proves that the best experiences don’t always come with a price tag. From iconic bridges and lush parks to vibrant street art and historic landmarks, the city offers an abundance of free activities catering to every interest and age group.

Whether you’re meandering through the serene paths of Central Park, marveling at the architectural wonder of the Brooklyn Bridge, or soaking in the artistic ambiance of Chelsea’s galleries, there’s no shortage of experiences waiting to be discovered.

Beyond the immediate visual and recreational delights, New York’s diverse transportation options like the Staten Island Ferry, the NYC Subway, and the Metro-North offer unique perspectives of the cityscape, while doubling as practical means to explore further afield.

Similarly, the city’s spiritual landmarks and new developments like Hudson Yards extend the range of free attractions, providing spaces for reflection amidst the urban buzz.

This curated list of 100+ free things to do in NYC serves as a testament to the city’s enduring charm and its commitment to accessibility and inclusivity. Whether you’re a lifelong New Yorker rediscovering your city or a visitor seeking to experience the Big Apple’s vast offerings, these free activities underscore that New York City’s true essence lies not in its price tag, but in its boundless opportunities for exploration, inspiration, and connection.

As you set out to explore these free gems, you’re not just saving on expenses; you’re enriching your experience of one of the world’s most dynamic urban landscapes.