The Brooklyn Museum lawn and cherry trees
The Brooklyn Museum is one of the many museums in New York City that offers free admission.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

14 Free Ways to Make the Most of New York City

Make Sure the Big Apple Doesn’t Take a Bite out of Your Wallet

Even though New York City is one of the more expensive cities in the United States, there are a wealth of things you can do in the Big Apple without opening your wallet.

From exploring world-class museums to enjoying relaxing time outdoors to taking in stunning views of the city skyline, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite free things to do in NYC to keep you entertained and making the most of the big city.

Browse the following attractions for inspiration and save your cash to splurge on a Broadway show or dinner out in a nice restaurant.

Free Museums and Free Museum Days

New York City is home to a wealth of world-class museums. Some of them charge fairly hefty entrance fees, but others are always free or offer certain free days each month.


Even though the world-renowned Museum of Modern Art usually charges a $25 USD admission fee, the museum has free admission every Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. You can also visit the sculpture garden for free any morning you wish from 9:30 to 10 a.m.

Brooklyn Museum

The Brooklyn Museum, one of the city’s largest art museums, is free on the first Saturday of every month (excluding September). It is also free from 5 to 10 p.m. each Thursday.

Sony Wonder Technology Lab

The Sony Wonder Technology Lab in midtown Manhattan is a great place to visit if you have kids. The four-story museum is always free, however the museum is quite popular and tickets require a reservation. So, even though you might luck out and score a ticket as a walk-up guest, you’d be better off to call and reserve ahead of time.

Botanical Gardens

The stunning 52-acre Brooklyn Botanical Garden is free on Fridays before noon (and always for kids under 12). The park includes a zoo, conservatory, gallery and other interesting attractions.

If you are looking for a bit of outdoor fun and don’t mind the weather, the Queens Botanical Garden is free in the off-season (November to March). Note that it is closed on Mondays, however.

Other Museums

Other museums that are always free include the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the American Folk Art Museum, the National Museum of the American Indian, the Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology and the Socrates Sculpture Park, so there are plenty of ways to get your culture fix without spending a penny.

Other museums in New York also offer free or pay-as-you-wish days, so just do a Google search for the name of the museum you’d like to visit and “free days” and see if you happen to be lucky enough to be visiting the city when these free days are offered.

High Line Park, New YorkCheck out New York's famous High Line Park built on disused rail tracks.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Stroll Along the High Line

The famous elevated park built on a former New York Central Railroad line always has free admission. The best way to experience everything the High Line has to offer is to simply stroll through and discover as you explore.

Along the way you’ll find interesting site-specific artwork, water features in the summer months, beautiful plants, various viewpoints and nice places to sit and soak it all in.

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Bryant Park in New York CityBryant Park offers tons of free activities for the whole family to enjoy!Photo Credit: Getty Images

Learn a New Skill at Bryant Park

Bryant Park is a beloved year-round attraction and is one of the best things to do in NYC for free. The park is famous for its lush gardens and is home to a plethora of free activities at all times of the year. Check out the calendar on their website to find everything from fitness classes and poetry slams to language classes and free tours of the park, and much more!

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