The Best Free Things to do in NYC this Week

Nestled amidst New York’s bustling streets and towering skyscrapers lies a selection of experiences that won’t break the bank. In a city often associated with grandeur and high expenses, it’s refreshing to discover that there are still remarkable activities to enjoy that come without a price tag.

This week, whether you’re a resident looking for a change of pace or a visitor eager to maximize your itinerary, our carefully curated list promises to highlight the best free events, free art exhibitions, free attractions and activities NYC has to offer. 

My tip: No plans for the weekend, yet? Check out my list of the best free things to do in NYC this weekend!

Free Things To Do In NYC This Week

Dive into my guide and uncover the city’s complimentary treasures awaiting your exploration:

  1. 01

    Bryant Park Winter Village

    Christmas Market in Midtown Manhattan
    Our Highlight
    Winter_Bryant_Park_New_York_191102210844006
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    Starting in October (and running through March), it is time once again for the best winter market in New York City to open its doors. The Winter Village in Bryant Park is not only the largest Christmas market in the city but also by far the nicest on account of its adjacent ice rink and places to shop and eat. This along with its amazing location among all the skyscrapers makes for an amazing Christmas experience. 

  2. 02

    You can visit the 9/11 Museum for FREE on Mondays

    Museum in Financial District
    Our Highlight
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    The 9/11 Memorial Museum is located at the 9/11 National Memorial and is probably one of the most emotional museums in New York. It is mostly located underground and displays debris from the former Twin Towers in addition to many of the personal belongings of those buried. Among them are fire trucks deformed by heat, a part of the antenna of the North Tower, a scorched elevator motor, the saving stone staircase (Survivor’s Staircase) as well as remains of sidewalks, street signs, bicycles and baby carriages that were in front of the World Trade Center.

    When?

    • Mondays, 5:30 – 7:00 PM
  3. 03

    Do a FREE High Line Tour

    Walking Tour in West Village
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    The High Line Park takes you along the old tracks of the elevated railway to the Meatpacking District. Thanks to the initiative „Friends of the High Line“ the park exists at all because originally the construction was supposed to be torn down. And the best thing? They offer free tours!

    When?

    • November – April: Wednesdays, 10:00 AM
    • May – August: Tuesdays, 6:00 PM | Wednesdays, 10:00 AM
    • September – October: Tuesdays 5:00 PM | Wednesdays, 10:00 AM
  4. 04

    Visit the Queens Botanical Garden for FREE on Wednesdays

    Park in Flushing
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    The Queens Botanical Garden is a wonderful place to escape especially in May when everything is in bloom. During the colder months from November to March, you do not have to pay any entrance fee. Many gardens here display a collection of roses, bees, and herbs. There’s even an art gallery as well.

    When?

    • Wednesdays, 3:00 – 6:00 PM
  5. 05

    Union Square Greenmarket

    Food Market in Gramercy
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    The Union Square Greenmarket in Manhattan is home to numerous local vendors where you can purchase fresh produce, meats, and seafood.

    When?

    • Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  6. 06

    9/11 Memorial

    Building in Financial District
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    Ground Zero has now become a place for quiet reflection. With two huge pools to commemorate the lives lost during 9/11 the beautiful memorial attracts people from far and wide. NYC will never forget 9/11 and the memorial is the perfect embodyment of this spirit.

  7. 07

    Green-Wood Cemetery

    Other Attraction in Park Slope
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    The cemetery is located about 10 minutes walking distance from Prospect Park. On an area of 1.9 km² there are about 600,000 graves and on the hill Battle Hill you can enjoy a great view of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.

  8. 08

    Explore Chinatown

    Districts in Chinatown
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    When walking around Chinatown there is never a dull moment. There are always things to do in Chinatown NYC. It can get confusing when getting around. The streets are not numbered like the rest of Manhattan and there are some roads that aren’t in a grid. Also, always be aware of your surroundings as Chinatown can get really busy and really crowded fast. When you walk around, make sure to check out the different restaurants and markets. The food here is absolutely amazing.

  9. 09

    Visit the Bronx Zoo for FREE on Wednesdays

    Other Attraction in Bronx
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    Do you want to experience the largest metropolitan zoo in the US? Then go check out the Bronx Zoo. It’s perfect for families, especially kids. At the Bronx Zoo, you can experience your wild side and explore a national treasure in the Bronx. The Bronx Zoo is known as one of the best in the country and offers many different species from all over the world. The Bronx Zoo is one of my absolute highlights in the area and something you shouldn’t miss.

    Enjoy free Limited Admission all day on Wednesdays at the Bronx Zoo! Be sure to secure your spot by visiting the Wednesday Ticket Store, which opens every Monday at 5:00 pm for reservations on the upcoming Wednesday. Remember, it’s essential to have a reserved ticket; otherwise, you won’t be able to enter the zoo.

  10. 10

    Go for a swing at Pier 35

    Pier in Lower East Side
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    On the Lower East Side, you will find an often overlooked part of the East River Esplanade. We took a closer look at the route and discovered Pier 35 there, which we think is so great that we have to tell you about it! Because: At Pier 35 you have a great view of the East River and you can swing comfortably!

  11. 11

    Take a picture of the Vessel

    Building in Hudson Yards
    The Vessel
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    The Vessel is an attraction in the Hudson Yards – and it’s free! Designed by British Thomas Heatherwick (designer of the „Rolling Bridge and UK Pavilion at Expo 2010), „The Vessel“ offers around 2,500 steps to climb up and down. The symmetrical steel structure, connected by 154 interwoven stair segments, attracts tourists from all over the world to climb the vertical distance of about one mile!

    Note: The Vessel is unfortunately still closed at the moment. You can only enter at the bottom, the stairs are still closed and it is not known if and when they will be open to the public again.

  12. 12

    Marvel at the famous Manhattan Bridge

    Other Attraction in Dumbo
    Best of Brooklyn
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    Don’t forget to capture the most famous photo on Washington Street in Dumbo: With the Manhattan Bridge and the tiny Empire State Building in the background, the street is popular with all tourists to take the perfect photo. Manhattan Bridge is the second famous bridge in Dumbo. If you like, you can also cross it on foot and enjoy the great view of the skyline as well as the Brooklyn Bridge from there.

  13. 13

    The New York Public Library - one of the most famous buildings in NYC

    Building in Midtown Manhattan
    new_york_public_library_new_york_public_library_180508105745004
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    The New York Public Library is one of the most famous buildings in NYC. Having featured in countless films and photographs, this is one of the best public libraries in the United Sates. The New York Public Library is not only a place for students, professors, and bookworms but also a must visit for toruists of the Big Apple.

  14. 14

    Pier 54 - Little Island

    Other Attraction in Meatpacking District
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    Not far from the Meatpacking District and the High Line, Little Island is one of the newest attractions in New York and is something very special: a park on 132 beautiful tulip-shaped concrete stilts in the Hudson River!

  15. 15

    The Bronx Museum of the Arts

    Museum in Bronx
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    At the Bronx Museum of Arts you can learn all about 20th and 21st century American art. In addition, there is a very good insight into the art and design scene from Africa and Asia. Especially exciting is the overview of the creative scene in the Bronx.

  16. 16

    Washington Square Park

    Park in Greenwich Village
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    Washington Square Park, centrally located in the Village, extends over almost 4 hectares. Close to New York University with its distinctive Washington Square Arch, a triumphal arch inaugurated in 1895, the park is a popular place to be when the weather is fine. Through the Arch you have a wonderful view along 5th Avenue to the top of the Empire State Building. 

    If you are lucky, you can even enjoy a free jazz concert from the many jazz artists of the Village. Here, friends and family meet to relax, play chess, or just in general have a good time.

  17. 17

    Enjoy free skyline views from the Staten Island Ferry

    Cruise in Staten Island
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    One of New York’s most popular tourist attractions is the Staten Island Ferry, which commutes between the southern tip of Manhattan and Staten Island. The crossing is free of charge! The 5 mile journey takes about 20-25 minutes and offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the skyscrapers and the Statue of Liberty.

Profilbild Steffen Kneist
About the author

I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 25 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!

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