Free Things (Really, Truly Free) Things To Do in New York City

Spending money and having fun don’t have to go hand-in-hand — there’s plenty to see and do on a budget

The High Line, formerly a delivery rail line, is an elevated park and walking trail built on top of the old tracks. It is currently open every day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The park, which stretches 1.45 miles between West 34th Street and the Whitney Museum, offers visitors views of both the city and pieces of art sprinkled throughout the park.


New York is a notoriously expensive city to live in, but that doesn’t mean breaking the bank is the only way to take advantage of many of the city’s experiences. There are dozens of parks and open spaces that are publicly accessible, as well as a multitude of art galleries and museums that are free at least part of the week. As the weather gets warmer, several parks will also be offering free activities, such as educational events at Washington Square Park and music and poetry events on Little Island. 

There is also a plethora of public art throughout the city to add intrigue to commuters’ days. A New York Public Library (NYPL) card, for which students are eligible, is free and gives cardholders access to complimentary resources and free admission to museums, botanical gardens and exhibits through the Culture Pass

Furthermore, there are unique experiences throughout the city that don’t cost anything to enjoy. One example is Sweet Pickle Books, a used bookstore on the Lower East Side where customers can trade their old books for jars of pickles.

Indoors or outside, there are plenty of things to do on a budget.