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11 Free or Cheap Things to Do in NYC

Lily Burke

While New York City is arguably the most exciting city in the world, it comes at a cost. The temptation of a new restaurant, trendy workout class, or expensive rooftop bar is always present to make a dent in your bank account. Sometimes, it feels nearly impossible to leave your apartment without spending at least $20. If you’re on a budget, along with the majority of the city’s population, you need to get savvy when entertaining yourself. Here are 11 free or cheap activities to do in the city that are just as fun as an extraordinary outing — without the price tag.


At Hudson River Park, you can choose from three locations to participate in free (yes, free) kayaking during the summer months. There is nothing more relaxing than sitting back and enjoying the skyline from the lively river. The Beyond the Lounge Chair Tankini Top is the perfect wardrobe choice, because it comes with sun protection. Afterwards, take a stroll down the Hudson River walkway to Battery Park to see a beautiful view of the Statue of Liberty.

Chelsea Art Galleries 

New York City is abound with fabulous art galleries. The majority of them are concentrated in Chelsea, and you can usually visit them daily from 10am-6pm. Thursday is the night for new exhibit openings, so hop around the neighborhood accompanied by friends or a date to view art on display from 6-8pm with free wine. 

Free Museum Entrance 

Spending a day or evening at a museum is a great way to fill your free time, and luckily, NYC is full of great ones. While many extraordinary New York City museums require you to pay for an entrance ticket, you might not need to depending on the day of the week. Institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim, and the New York Botanical garden are all included in this lengthy list of free museum times

Image Courtesy of Unsplash // Drew Patrick Miller

Comedy Show

Many comedians call NYC their home, and therefore, the city boasts endless places to get a good laugh. Reserve an affordable ticket for the Comedy Cellar, where many famous comedians have been known to make surprise appearances, or attend a free show at a bar like The Lantern


Movie Nights In The Park 

Throughout summer months, you can find free movies in the city’s public parks. Brooklyn Bridge Park in Dumbo, Brooklyn is a natural crowd pleaser as it gives you a beautiful skyline view while simultaneously enjoying a movie.

Image Courtesy of Unsplash // Ben Duchac

The High Line

The High Line is a 1.45 mile long elevated railway track that has been converted into a public park. Located in Chelsea, it is adorned with beautiful gardens, art and views of the Hudson River and city skyline. Musicians and food vendors line the walkways, making the High Line a perfect place to unwind after work or enjoy your well deserved Saturday.  Wander the High Line looking effortless in The Globetrotter Maxi Dress.


Don’t want to spend $30 on dinner, but want a great atmosphere to enjoy your meal? Picnic in a park! Create your own charcuterie board or toss a salad, and bring it to any one of NYC’s beautiful public parks. My favorites include Washington Square Park, for fascinating people watching, and Central Park, the closest place to nature in the city. 

Il-Boro Hotel // Image Courtesy of Josh Appel


Adjacent to SoHo, Chinatown exists in its own little, bustling space. You’re transported to the other side of the world as you walk around the unique neighborhood. Eat delicious dumplings, sip on bubble tea and visit local markets for a different experience in the city. 

Little Italy

Little Italy is located beside Chinatown. There, the Italian community celebrates their culture with incredible gelato, traditional pasta, and charming shops. Take a stroll down Mulberry Street, the main attraction, for an enchanting taste of Italy. 

Image Courtesy of Unsplash // Alex Haney

Day trip to Rockaway Beach

While the Hamptons is a luxurious getaway that not all can afford, everyone has access to a beach. Visit Rockaway Beach, the nicest beach accessible by subway, for a fun day in the sun! The trek takes up to two hours, depending on where you’re located in the city, so leave early to enjoy a full beach day. Throw on The Cool Off Coverup to make the commute more enjoyable in hot weather and swim in the ocean while looking stylish in The Surf.

Image Courtesy of Unsplash // Malaya Sadler

Elizabeth Street Garden

Visit Elizabeth Street’s sculpture garden to marvel in its charm. A public area for almost 200 years, the garden evokes emotion as art and nature intertwine in a shared space. Read a book, enjoy a slice of pizza or soak up the sun in this hidden gem.