There’s no denying that New York is one of the coolest cities in the world, with a ton of things to see and do. But let’s face it, just like other cities in the US – like Las Vegas or Washington DC – exploring New York doesn’t always come cheap!

That’s why it’s not surprising that many tourists choose to stay in New York only for a weekend or for a short period of time. Luckily, however, the Empire State has many things to offer to those who are on a budget, and although that might sound too good to be true – it is, nevertheless, true.

6 Free Exciting Things to do in New York on a Weekend | Travelettes | A weekend in New York City doesn't always come cheap - but here are 6 exciting things to do in New York on a weekend that are absolutely free!

There are plenty of things you can do in New York without having to spend a single penny. Here are some of my suggestions for a fun and free weekend in New York City!

 

1. Taste some NYC goodies

6 Free Exciting Things to do in New York on a Weekend | Travelettes | A weekend in New York City doesn't always come cheap - but here are 6 exciting things to do in New York on a weekend that are absolutely free!

If you fancy trying some culinary delights, then you’re in the right place! Many restaurants (and bars especially) offer free food when you check in via Foursquare, participate in a quick survey or buy some drinks (not entirely free – you got me – but cheaper than lunch).

Some of the places you may want to check out on a weekend (or any day of the week, actually) are Pangea at 178 Second Avenue for hummus, Mexicue at 345 Seventh Avenue for free chips and salsa, Rudy’s Bar and Grill at 627 9th Avenue for a free hotdog, Crocodile Lounge at 325 East 14th Street for a free slice of pizza, and Terri at 60 West 23rd Street for any sandwich on the menu.

If, however, you literally don’t want to spend anything just to get food, you may want to go to Union Square Greenmarket and sample some of their food for free. You can definitely find stalls that are willing to let you taste their free samples.

 

2. Watch live shows

Another fun, free activity you may want to add to your weekend itinerary in New York is to watch a live performance in one of many party locations in New York. Especially if you are visiting in the summer, New York likes entertaining its visitors with free live shows. One of the popular shows you may want to check out is Sundays at the Panther Room.

There are also some comedy shows that offer free access for everyone; some of the famous venues for that are Friends and Lovers and RaR Bar. But don’t forget to check their calendars first to be updated on the schedule!

 

3. Join a Free Tour

6 Free Exciting Things to do in New York on a Weekend | Travelettes | A weekend in New York City doesn't always come cheap - but here are 6 exciting things to do in New York on a weekend that are absolutely free!

You’ll be happy to know that there are several New York walking tours offered for free by neighborhood organizations in Manhattan. While you might not constantly hear about them or easily find details about them – as no one profits from them, they don’t really advertise them either – they do exist! These free tours are normally operated by volunteers and non-profit organizations. Even though they are free, most of them accept donations that go to the volunteers who dedicate their time and offer their knowledge to introduce the beauty of the city. Some of these tours include Pretty Good Tours – FREE NYC Walking Tours, Free Tours by Foot, and FREE Central Park Tours.

Another tour that you can join for free is the one offered by the Brooklyn Brewery. This one and a half hour tour is offered for free on Saturdays and Sundays. They also have free tasting throughout the tour, but if you have some bucks to spare, you can have eight glasses of beer for only $4. Make sure you are of legal age, though! Remember, unlike the drinking age in Italy or other European countries, and you are not allowed to drink in the US until you are 21.

 

4. Take a Free Ferry Ride

6 Free Exciting Things to do in New York on a Weekend | Travelettes | A weekend in New York City doesn't always come cheap - but here are 6 exciting things to do in New York on a weekend that are absolutely free!

Another free thing you wouldn’t want to miss in your New York weekend itinerary is a free ferry ride. You can take the free ferry to Governor’s Island where you can enjoy hanging out at picnic areas, Nolan Park, and several military sites.

If you are only interested in a ferry ride and don’t care much about where it will take you, then hop on the Staten Island Ferry! This is known to be one of the best attractions on the Eastern seaboard. The ride will give you beautiful views of several sites and when you get to Staten Island, you can hop on again to get back to New York.

 

5. Enter Museums

Visiting New York museums can be an expensive venture, but fortunately, there are museums that offer free entrance while some accept pay-what-you-wish donations. Some of the museums you may want to check out include the Bronx Museum of the Arts; Brooklyn Museum which is free on the first Saturdays of the month from 5pm to 11pm; The Jewish Museum, which is open all day on Saturdays, and Studio Museum in Harlem which is open the first Sunday of every month.

 

6. Visit a Famous Attraction

6 Free Exciting Things to do in New York on a Weekend | Travelettes | A weekend in New York City doesn't always come cheap - but here are 6 exciting things to do in New York on a weekend that are absolutely free!

Being able to see the Rockefeller Center, the Brooklyn Bridge, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and other points of interests on the scenic skyline of New York are also known to be some of the best things to do when exploring New York. But on top of being some of the most interesting spots in the state, they also wouldn’t cost you anything to enjoy! You can enter and take as many photo-ops as you want without having to take out your wallet.

However, one of the highlights of New York that you should not miss is Grand Central Station. Who wouldn’t want to meet underneath the Tiffany glass clock and relish the real magic of traveling to this beautiful city by romantic rail?

6 Free Exciting Things to do in New York on a Weekend | Travelettes | A weekend in New York City doesn't always come cheap - but here are 6 exciting things to do in New York on a weekend that are absolutely free!

So, there you have it; six of the best free things to do in New York on a weekend! I hope I’ve convinced you that contrary to popular opinion, you don’t have to spend a lot of money in this city in order for you to enjoy it.
However, keep in mind that you might need to plan these activities well in advance, because sometimes time and schedule may vary without prior notice – but with a bit of research you could enjoy all of these things for free when you visit the Big Apple, and probably find a few to add of your own!


This is a guest post by Alice Ross.

Alice is the founder of ForTravelista.com. Moving from place to place for the past two years, she learned how to live life from different perspectives. She shares her knowledge and experiences she gained from her trips to encourage others to also experience the life outside their comfort zone. Follow her on her adventures!