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The Vessel is one of our favorite Instagrammable spots in NYC.

10 Things to Do in NYC for Free

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New Y0rk City is such a fun and exciting city! The problem? The city is extremely expensive! But don't worry, despite the high prices, there are still plenty of ways to do New York on a budget and really enjoy it without spending a crazy amount of money. Here are 10 things to do in NYC for free.


Things to do in NYC for free #1: Central Park

This park is iconic and a must see when you visit New York. The park is 1.3 square miles, so you can really spend a full day here! 


Enjoy all of the greenery, check out the Belvedere Castle, or admire the Bethesda Terrace and Fountains where a lot of famous movies were filmed. You can visit the strawberry fields, play sports, or just enjoy the views of nature surrounded by the towering skyscrapers.

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Want more? Well no matter the season, you will always find something to do here. Go for a boat ride in the summer,  ice skating in the winter, or have a picnic in the spring or fall. There are plenty of artists and musicians around the park that also offer their services for pretty reasonable prices.

Central Park, things to do in NYC for free
Central Park, things to do in NYC for free
Central Park, things to do for free in NYC

Central Park is one of the top things to do in NYC for free.

Things to do in NYC for free #2: Times Square

No one can go to NYC without going to Times Square. Famed for its busy and colorful lights and billboards, you will find plenty of street performers, shops, and unique souvenirs being sold.


Although the restaurants and shops in the area of expensive, it is free to just admire the hectic atmosphere and surround yourself with the crazy New York vibes,

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Things to do in NYC for free #3: The Vessel

Just recently built, this is one of our favorite things to do in NYC for free. The vessel is a structure that was built for the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project.


The honeycomb like structure is comprised of 154 interconnecting flights of stairs, and 2,500 steps! Tickets are needed, but at no cost! There is an option to book a spot in advance for $10, but we find that it isn't really necessary.


Go into the mall at Hudson yards and you can get the tickets right from one of the touchscreen directories. The vessel opens at 11 am, and closes at 7 pm. Keep in mind no drones or tripods are allowed here, but there is plenty of opportunity for great photos!

The Vessel NYC, what to do in New York
Instagrammable spots in NYC
The Vessel NYC, what to do in New York

The Vessel is one of our favorite Instagrammable spots in NYC.

Update: The Vessel is no longer free of charge to visit, and has a small fee to get in. Neverless, it is a cheap spot to visit!


Things to do in NYC for free #4: Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller center is a large complex consisting of 19 commercial buildings covering 22 acres between 48th Street and 51st Street in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. 


The best time to visit is during Christmas time, as it is home to the famous Christmas tree and ice rink. There is also a light show with music outside projected on the buildings a few times per hour.

Rockefeller Center NYC

Rockefeller Center is one of the best spots to check out around the holidays.

Enjoying the outside area is completely open 24/7 and free of charge. Want to splurge and get great views of the city? Head to the top of the rock!

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things to do in NYC for free Pin
things to do in NYC for free Pin


Things to do in NYC for free #5: The High Line

The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long elevated linear park, greenway and rail trail created on a former New York Central Railroad on the west side on Manhattan. We love th9is place because there is always new art, and beautiful spots to take some photos, while admiring different angles of the city on this pedestrian only area.

The High Line, what to do in New York

The High Line is one of the best things to do in NYC for free.

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Things to do in NYC for free #6: 9/11 Memorial

In our opinion, this is the most important landmark in NYC. 9/11 was one of the most tragic things to ever happen to the United States, with almost 3,000 deaths. The memorial that was built is truly a beautiful and an emotional experience. Originally it was completely open for all to visit at any time.


It is still free of charge, but being monitored by letting limited people in one at a time. The two large and overwhelming fountains are placed where the two original buildings once stood, and have the names of those who died etched around them.

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Want the full experience? You can actually pay to go inside and to the top of the new building "One World Trade Center" where you will have an elevator ride to the top narrating the events of that day, and have some of the best views of the city once you reach the top.

World Trade Center, what to do in New York

One World Trade Center is one of most significant spots to check out in NYC.


Things to do in NYC for free #7: The Oculus

Located right outside the World Trade Center, is a large modern building that is truly breathtaking. Inside this large white structure is a mall and a subway station. Check out the shops, or just admire its beautiful architecture from the inside out.

The Oculus in NYC
The Oculus, things to do in NYC for free

The Oculus has stunning architecture, and a mall inside.


Things to do in NYC for free #8: Brooklyn Bridge

This is one of the most beautiful and iconic bridges in the world! Walk across the top which is only for pedestrians and bikes. Admire the bridge’s unique architecture, while having the backdrop of the NYC skyline in the back. You can reach here from Brooklyn or from downtown Manhattan.

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While on the Brooklyn side make sure to head into Dumbo and walk along the water for some incredible views of the Brooklyn Bridge, as well as the Manhattan Bridge. The boardwalk is also completely free of charge, and a great way to see the Bridges from a different perspective.

What to do in New York- visit the Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most iconic landmarks in NYC.

Things to do in NYC for free #9: Liberty State Park

This park is one of our favorite hidden gems and things to do in NYC for free. Actually, it is located in Jersey City, but has some of the best views you will find of the NYC skyline!


 This is also the closest you can get to the statue of liberty without actually visiting Ellis Island. In addition, there is also a beautiful memorial for all of the victims of 9/11. The park is open 24/7 and is a great way to enjoy the city without all of the hustle and bustle.

Liberty State Park, things to do in NYC for free
Liberty State Park, things to do in NYC for free
Liberty State Park, things to do in NYC for free

Liberty State Park has some of the best views of the NYC skyline.


Things to do in NYC for free #10: Bryant Park

Located right in Midtown, this small park is located in a square surrounded by skyscrapers. Visit in December for the winter market, or enjoy Movie Monday in the summertime, when they have a free movie where everyone can setup on the grass and they give out free popcorn!

Bryant Park New York

Bryant Park does Movie Mondays in the summer for free!


New York is full of things to do, and one can spend a week or two here enjoying all that it has to offer! We hope you enjoy all of the things to do in NYC for free. The city can be done on a budget, and also has so much more if you are willing to spend a little extra.

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Want more info about how to get around, where to stay, and info on the food scene? Check out our full NYC guide here!


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