Our concrete jungle gets expensive. You may hope that you’re bringing in the big bucks, but the reality is you’re probably working day after day for next to nothing. To decompress, all we want is to go out, be with friends, and not break out budget calendars to do it. It sounds like a pretty impossible task, but I promise you, you can do it! New York City is bursting with free and mostly free activities to get you up and out of your tiny apartment.
Visit the Museums
The city is a mecca for art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Natural Museum of History, The Guggenheim, and MoMA, each boast incredible collections. That’s only scratching the surface. The best part is that many of these museums are able to open their doors for free to New Yorkers.
A brilliant new feature of a New York Library Card (also free!) isCulture Pass. More than 30 museums throughout the city offer absolutely free admission to library cardholders. You do need to make reservations online for the date you want to attend, but it’s so worth it. World class art, now at our fingertips, for free! If you don’t see a museum you want to attend on the list, check their website for free times.
Movies, movies, everywhere! New York City is teeming with chances to catch free movies, provided by various organizations around the city. Most happen outdoors in public parks, which creates a perfect date night activity, or get together with your girlfriends.
Bring a picnic, BYOB, and catch up on your weeks while falling in love with a movie all over again. Check back periodically on the NYC Government Parks website for all movie listings, additions, cancellations, and updates.
Coney Island Fireworks
Although you do have to pay for access to Coney Island’s boardwalk, watching their fireworks are absolutely free! Every Friday night, from the end of June until late August, fireworks illuminate the sky. Visitors are welcome to watch from the Amusement District, as well as from the beach and the boardwalk. Spend a lazy Friday after work on the beach, and cap it off with a light show.
When most people think of New York City islands, they first think of Manhattan. Obviously. Then maybe their mind turns to Staten Island. However, Governor’s Island sits below Battery Park and to the west of Red Hook, Brooklyn. Its history dates back into Colonial times, and it was used as a military headquarters in the 20th century. Now, the island boasts historic buildings, parks, and breathtaking views of Manhattan’s skyline to be explored.
Take the ferry over from Battery Maritime Building from Manhattan, or from Pier 6 in Brooklyn. Since it’s high season, evening hours are extended on Fridays and Saturdays until after Labor Day. While free ferry rides are available on Saturday mornings, a mere $3 can buy you one round trip ride, so it still won’t break the bank.
Wander Through Art Galleries
Beautiful art galleries are nestled all over Chelsea. For an intimate night out, take a walk with a friend between 10th and 11th Avenues between W 14th and W 29th to find new and inventive art. You might even be lucky enough to walk into an opening party, which often offer complimentary wine and opportunities to speak with the artist. Chelseagalleries.nycoffers a complete listing of exhibits going on, with a specific page for openings.
Ride the Staten Island Ferry
Unlike the ferry to Governor’s Island, riding the Staten Island Ferry is completely free. Although up-close views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are breathtaking, this way, you don’t need to brave the hordes of tourists. If you aren’t planning to go off and explore Staten Island, the adventure might take you about an hour roundtrip.
Otherwise, plan in more time for you to shop at Empire Outlets, slated to open in November 2018, or explore their museums. You can catch the ferry from the east end of Battery Park.