Free (Offbeat) Things to Do in NYC

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blogsIMG_4192New York is an expensive town.  Sure, it would be great to eat at all the best restaurants, and see a different show every night of your vacation.  But the truth is, visiting New York City is expensive.  But I’m here to help.  There are LOTS of free things to do in NY – and lots of places to find out all about them.  Here are some resources to help you be frugal some of the time you’re here….so you won’t have to be frugal all of the time you’re here. (Because, really, what would a trip to NY be without a little shopping). 

1. Play Ping Pong in Bryant Park.  It may sound weird, but just like the free ice skating Bryant Park has in the winter months, this free ping pong (now through September 30th) holds a strange allure.  There’s just something fabulous about playing ping pong – not in a basement rec-room, not in a bar – but right smack in the center of the greatest city in the world.

2. Get lost in the Water Lilies.  No, not real water lilies. Monet’s water lilies. The Museum of Modern Art is FREE on friday nights.  Don’t miss this opportunity to see one of the great collections of 20th century art.


3. Go Kayaking.  Really.  I’m not kidding. You can actually get in a kayak and go out on the Hudson River! The New York City Downtown Boathouse is an all volunteer organization that provides access to the Hudson River for everyone – they even loan you the kayak! You can get started at 72 street, Pier 40 and Pier 96. Available May 16 to October.

4. Go for the Gold – maybe you’ll never have a room filled with gold – but you can visit one!  If you sign up enough in advance, you can take a free tour of the NY Federal Reserve – and ooh and ahh about all that glitters.

5. Stop and Smell the Flowers – The Bronx Botanical Gardens is free on Wednesdays and Thursdays.  You’ll be amazed at how lush and beautiful the Garden is.  Truly an oasis in the city.  And easy to get to with Metro North.

6. Go to a Drive In – Bryant Park again.  Starting in June, every Monday night HBO sponsors a free movie out on the lawn as part of the Bryant Park Summer Film Festival.  Bring your blanket (no chairs allowed) and hang out watching a movie under the stars.  Though technically speaking, I guess it’s a walk-in, and not a drive-in…you still get the drift.

7. Go to the Beach – or play mini-golf, or take a bus tour, or play in the public art/gardens.  It’s all in one place, and it’s all free on Governor’s Island, – even the ferry to get there –   opening on May 27th.

Just think!  With all the money you save, you’ll be able to splurge on something fantastic!

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One Reply to “Free (Offbeat) Things to Do in NYC”

  1. What a great list! I’m going to print these out and try a few this summer, when the kids are “bored” but the budget is tight. Thanks!

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