Free Activities in NYC

As any big city New York can be really expensive. Sightseeing tours, museums’ fees, concerts, Broadway shows… These are just a few attractions that will require expenses from your side. Add traveling costs, meals, accommodation if you are not a NYC resident, and your NYC trip that is supposed to be an exciting experience will turn into a nightmare.

Get free scenic ferry ride on the Staten Island Ferry. Just one of many free activities in NYC.

Get free scenic ferry ride on the Staten Island Ferry. Just one of many free activities in NYC.

So now what? Cancel the trip? Cut your costs? Spend all the money and then regret for months that you have done it?

No, no, no, and no! New York welcomes each guest and provides a huge number of activities that are free of charge. If you plan your trip wisely you can enjoy just the same but save a huge amount of your hard earned money.

Where you should start?

NYC Museums

You can visit some museums for free. Many of them have “suggested admission” policy, some offer extra visits free of charge in the evenings.

Museums with Permanent Free Admission

Sony Wonder Technology Lab is a great place to go with kids, especially when you and your children are technology fan. Learn by doing seems to be the motto of this extraordinary museum. Sony Wonder Technology Lab offers programs for kids of all ages. There is no admission fee, but due to the popularity of this museum it might be wise to reserve in advance.

Goethe Institut. If you are interested in German language and culture, this is a place where you should definitely go.

The Forbes Galleries. This museum has permanent and changing exhibitions. Permanent ones include Toy Boats, Toy Soldiers, Monopoly, and Trophies.

National Museum of the American Indian. Since 1994 this museum works towards the goal of educating people about the culture of the Native inhabitants of the America.

Museums with Free Admission on Certain Days


Brooklyn Botanic Garden. A fantastic collection of plants is available to see for free each Tuesday (admission hours: 8am – 6pm)

Staten Island Museum. Art, history and science exhibits. Free admission from 12pm to 2pm. Get there by taking a free scenic boat ride on the Staten Island Ferry.


Bronx Zoo. Lion, red panda, snow leopard, polar bear, gorilla, birds, reptiles, fishes, and insects – you can see them all on Tuesday on a “suggested donation” basis. Admission fee for other days is $16.

New York Botanical Garden. Variety of flowers and colors can brighten your day. For your child there is a Children’s Adventure Garden where young gardeners explore the wonders of nature. Admission is free all day on Wednesday. There are also 2 hours on Saturdays when you don’t have to pay admission fee (from 10am till 12pm).


Museum of Art and Design. If you are interested in art and want to enjoy the Beautiful, you can visit this museum on any Thursday from 6pm till 9pm on the pay-what-you-wish basis.


Children’s Museum of Manhattan is a place that you can’t afford to miss. Your children will thank you for this unforgettable experience. Discovering ancient cultures, going on adventure with favorite cartoon characters, learning while playing – these are activities that you and your kids will deal with once you enter CMOM. A unique opportunity to visit this museum for free is offered each first Friday of the month from 5pm till 8pm.

New York Aquarium offers “suggested donation” alternative each Friday from 3pm. The 50 years old Aquarium with over 350 species is a place worth visiting.

Museum of Modern Art. Friday evenings from 4pm till 8pm there is free admission. This will permit you visit all galleries, exhibitions, and films.


In addition to a full day free admission on Wednesday Brooklyn Botanic Garden offers 2 hours (from 10am to 12pm) free admission on Saturdays.

Brooklyn Museum suggests different programs for the first Saturday of each month from 5pm till 11pm. The admission to the museum is free in this time-frame.


The Frick Collection offers for visitors a collection of famous European paintings, exquisite European furniture, porcelains, oriental rugs, and more. You can enjoy all this for free or on pay-what-you-wish basis each Sunday from 11am till 1pm.

If you don’t want to spend your New York time in museums, there are a lot of opportunities to enjoy your time.

Scenic Boat Ride

If the weather is good you can always opt for Staten Island Ferry. A round trip between Staten Island and Manhattan will cost you nothing. Instead you will gain positive emotions while enjoying beautiful views of lower Manhattan.

Central Park

Central park is a legend and a trademark of NYC. The huge territory, greenery, and water create a feeling of being outside the big city. If you wan to escape the hustle of NYC for a couple of hours or more, this is the place you should go to. But don’t afraid that you will be bored. This is a really happening place. A lot is going around. You just walk, observe, and enjoy.

As you can see if you plan your day in New York carefully, you will be able to save a huge amount of money without losing interest and excitement. There is so much this city has to offer. One should just be attentive enough to see the opportunity when it is offered.

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