The City of Dreams - New York City - is the ultimate destination for workers, students, and all of the human folk across the globe. Living in New York can truly be a dream come true and teach you so much about life in a metropolis that it will always be an experience to remember.
That being said, it's not the cheapest city in the world. And, with so many things to see in New York, such as museums, restaurants, parks, and iconic attractions, it's easy to lose track of time and expenses while you're there.
Lucky for you, there are plenty of free things to do in New York City! Here is a list of the best things you can do for free in the Big Apple.
- Central Park
- High Line
- Staten Island Ferry
- New York Public Library
- and more!
Free Things to Do in New York City: Central Park
Arguably the most famous park on the planet, Central Park needs no introduction. The backdrop for countless movies and TV shows, its 843 acres of verdant delight are enveloped by the towering concrete of Manhattan. For locals, it's a quick escape from the city's hustle and bustle. For you, it's an excellent excuse for some free fun!
If you need to burn off some calories from all the food, get your walking boots on and go exploring! There are tons of lakes, ponds, and bridges to explore, as well as trees to sit beneath with a book or picnic.
You could also visit the Conservatory Garden, a free garden full of seasonal flora, fountains, and sculptures. Need some holiday snaps? You'll find tons of Grammable things ripe for the taking.
You can even hike in Central Park, thanks to the North Woods. This 40-acre stretch of land includes trails, waterfalls, and opportunities to see some birds. Nice.
And, if you've got some spare cash, consider taking a guided bike tour of the park's best bits to see it all in one fell swoop.
Free Things to Do in New York City: High Line
The High Line is a park built on an old elevated train track. And, given it's the former New York Central Railroad track on the west side of Manhattan, it's guaranteed to offer some of the best views in the city. You can walk through the gardens, check out the contemporary art exhibits and performances, and savor delicious food with your friends and family while getting a unique perspective of the city.
Free Things to Do in New York City: Staten Island Ferry
Staten Island is where the famous rap ensemble Wu-Tang Clan first came together. So, if you're a fan and want to see where the members grew up, why not take the Staten Island Ferry? Not only will you receive a lesson in NY hip hop, but you'll pass the iconic Statue of Liberty, one of the most photographable monuments on the planet.
You can board the ferry at the St. George Terminal on Staten Island or the Whitehall Terminal in Lower Manhattan. The ferry ride takes approximately 25 minutes and operates every day of the week.
Free Things to Do in New York City: New York Public Library
Bookworms and students rejoice! The New York Public Library is free to visit! And yes, most libraries do offer free entry.
While the NYPL name encompasses over 90 libraries in the city's limits, we're talking about its most famous location - the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. And oh my, is it grandiose.
Each room and floor has unique architectural features and many activities besides reading.
For students living or studying in NYC, it can get a little mundane to work and hit the books at home. That's why the Rose Reading Room is so popular. This peaceful and spacious area allows anyone to set up shop and study to their brain's content.
Image courtesy of legacy1995/Shutterstock
Free Things to Do in New York City: Museums
No good city would be complete without a comprehensive list of museums, and New York is no different. And if you're looking for free things to do in the Big Apple, some of the best are free too!
The American Museum of Natural History is arguably the best of its kind on the planet. Featuring 28 interconnected buildings housing 45 permanent exhibition halls, a planetarium, and a library, you can spend literal hours wandering around. And, with recent additions like the gargantuan Titanosaur to eye up, it'll delight both kids and grown-ups alike.
If you're interested in more recent history, learn all about New York at the Museum of the City of New York. It's a mouthful, but there's no better place to chart the city's rise from settlement to metropolis.
Free Things to Do in New York City: Times Square
Times Square is one of the most iconic spots in New York; with bright lights, street art, and performances, you can take in the true blue New York energy at Times Square. It is also one of the best places to take pictures and indulge in some good food from across the globe.
Or, if you want to upgrade your experience, take a guided tour and get the low down on the area's history.
New York - a city so nice they named it twice; it is hands-down one of the best cities in the world, and getting the chance to live and study there is truly a dream come true. Make sure to make the most of your time and save some money by exploring these free things to do in New York City.
If you are in New York for a longer stay, consider your accommodation options. AmberStudent is an online student accommodation that helps you secure a home of choice on your study abroad journey. This is a great choice for international student housing.
And, if you're looking for things to do in New York City that aren't free, the New York Pass has got you covered. Featuring all of the city's best bits, including entry to the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and the Guggenheim, it's the best way to see it all for one low price!