New York is a spectacular place, no one will deny that. What everyone will almost always agree on as well, is that it’s expensive. New York embraces you as in a way that almost no other city can. There is an vibe, almost impossible to explain, that envelopes your soul and invites you in. An energising pace that allows you to throw yourself in and ultimately, fall in love.
Here are the top 8 free things to do whilst in New York City
Do a free walking tour and pay what you like.
I used Free Tours by Foot and obviously the guides were so knowledgeable and fantastic we couldn’t help but throw money at them. Some tours, like the tour of Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO, are on foot (approximately 3 hours). Others are on bike and you will be charged the cost of the bike hire upon booking. It’s a great way to get some historical insight and insider know how of places to eat/drink after your long walk around the city.
Snug Harbour is a perfectly preserved collection of architectural and historical significance. A trip to Snug Harbour will take you across centuries and cultures, particularly if you pay the small fee to enter the Chinese Scholar’s Garden, which is based on the Ming Dynasty Gardens (1368-1644).
Personally, Snug Harbour is one of New York City’s most underrated attractions and you can read more about it here.
Staten Island Ferry
The Staten Island Ferry is a great way to see the Statue of Liberty for free. Obviously if you want to get up close and personal with the lady of liberty then you will need to book way in advance. To see schedules click here.
Explore Central Park on foot (you will need to hire a bike if you want to cover more ground)
It’s pretty much a given that a visit to New York City will entail a visit to it’s famous Central Park. You can explore on foot easily but won’t cover too much ground. Visit Wholefoods in Columbus Circle and have a picnic, feed the ducks or, if you are willing, hire a bike and see all Central Park has to offer. The benefit of being on foot though, is going where the path takes you and sometimes that is an inland forest full of friendly squirrels. Read more about Central Park here.
The High Line, a 1.45-mile-long (2.5km) park built on an elevated section of a disused New York Railroad. Stretching quite some distance you can walk from one end to the other discovering great artwork, architecture, places to sun bake and end at Greenwich Village to satisfy the appetite you will surely earn. To read more about The High Line go here.
The public memorial itself is free and a great opportunity to reflect on the enormous amount of lives lost during the tragic event. The museum is certainly a moving experience and tickets are free every Tuesday from 5pm to close. All they ask is a small donation. I suggest pre-booking the ticket though as there is often a big line to utilise the free admission. Get tickets here.
Walk over Brooklyn Bridge
A trip to New York is not complete without this iconic pilgrimage. If you complete the walk on a Sunday morning you can visit the famous flea markets in DUMBO (under the Manhattan Bridge). To read more about it go here.
Walk over Manhattan Bridge
You might as well make your return journey via the Manhattan Bridge which offers different views of Manhattan. You can end in Chinatown and get a great feed.
Any other suggestions for free things to do in New York City please leave a comment.