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26 Free things to do in New York City

Updated on August 24, 2014

Why I love New York City

I love Manhattan, let me count the ways. Being a single person I have been a minority in every single place I've ever lived...EXCEPT Manhattan. I love that, I love that we are the majority. I never feel like a leper here. Even the church I attend is mostly single people. Not only is it a mecca for single people but there really are so many things to do here and really for very little money. Here are 26 things to do that are absolutely free. I've done most of them but not all and if you have any ideas you'd love to share...please feel free to comment. Enjoy!

Free things to do in New York City

  1. The David Letterman Show soon to be replaced by Steven Colbert

  2. Saturday Night Live Show

  3. Regis and Kelly show

  4. Attend a Broadway rehearsal

  5. The View: You have to sign up way ahead of time and then they will call you.

  6. Have a picnic in Central Park and listen to free music: almost all summer long there are free concerts in the park.

  7. Look at ads on Craigslist for someone who has an extra ticket to a show...answer the ad...go to a free show!

  8. Ice Skating at Bryant Park in the Winter, just watching the ice skaters is fun.

  9. Book Readings at local book stores, one of my all time favorites.

  10. Lectures check activities site on Craigslist or there are places noted in "Time Out" magazine or Intelligence Squared where people debate issues.

  11. Get the book Movies made in New York and visit all the places in the movies like the Breakfast at Tiffany's apartment on 71st Street.

  12. Watch court proceedings; personally I've not done this but it was always on my list.

  13. Visit 9/11 site. Visiting the site is free, going to the museum is not.

  14. Go to a parade. All summer long there are parades in Manhattan.

  15. Run in a marathon. You can find out about them in "Time Out" magazine.

  16. Swing Dancing at Lincoln Center in the Summer, great music even if you just want to listen and not dance.

  17. Listen to string quartet at the MET balcony. I used to do this all the time the drinks cost money but it's free to just listen.

  18. Go to any of the churches whether St. Patrick's or St. Johns, or any other church service.

  19. Window shop at Macy's or try on diamond tiaras at Tiffany's. I did this and channeled Audrey Hepburn the whole time. Of course it helped that I lived down the street from where her apartment was in the movie.

  20. Take the tour at NBC. This is absolutely free and very interesting to see where all the TV shows and news shows are filmed.

  21. Go to the Today Show, get on TV

  22. Listen to organ music at one of the oldest churches Grace Church in New York City designed by the same man who designed St. Patrick's Cathedral.

  23. Watch the filming of a movie, maybe become an extra. At any given day there are film crews filming movies, TV shows, or commercials.

  24. Go to the Holocaust museum on Wednesdays because it's free on Wednesdays.

  25. Go to the Teddy Roosevelt museum on East 20th street, it's free everyday.

  26. Go anywhere and watch the people!

Manhattan is a wonderful place, and should be a must see on everyone's bucket list. I hope you enjoy every minute spent in this crazy, wacky town.


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    • Brie Hoffman profile imageAUTHOR

      Brie Hoffman 

      6 years ago from Manhattan

      Why, it's true?

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      6.Have a picnic in Central Park and listen to free music

      take that off the list!! lol

    • Brie Hoffman profile imageAUTHOR

      Brie Hoffman 

      7 years ago from Manhattan

      I was told it isn't free any longer.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      What about The Staten Island ferry ? That used to be free when I lived there in the 90's and was a great tourist thing when friends would come in town.

    • Brie Hoffman profile imageAUTHOR

      Brie Hoffman 

      7 years ago from Manhattan

      Dear allie pocket: They don't say "if you can make here you can make it anywhere" for nothing. NYC is a very difficult town to survive in. It's wonderful but it is very difficult especially if you don't have relatives or connections. Yes, people have told me Tina Fey, Sarah Palin etc..but I looked like them before they did :)

    • profile image

      allie pocket 

      7 years ago

      i love new york! hands down, the best city in the world. i would love to move there someday (soon) but as a twnety-something with not much accomplished, it may be a tough road. do you know of any opps for aspiring artists, actors or musicians that are just starting out? any connections? =] allie_pocket ps. you kind of look like tina fey. ever thought of doing "30 rock"? heheh..

    • Brie Hoffman profile imageAUTHOR

      Brie Hoffman 

      8 years ago from Manhattan

      I've never seen that sheila.

    • sheila b. profile image

      sheila b. 

      8 years ago

      How about watching the shell games on the sidewalk? It's pretty amazing to see people suckered into it.

    • Brie Hoffman profile imageAUTHOR

      Brie Hoffman 

      8 years ago from Manhattan

      Even I forget how wonderful it is if I don't get out. It's a very special place.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I've been to New York City many times, but not lately. I need to go shopping, take in a show. Ah, the wonder that is New York.

    • Brie Hoffman profile imageAUTHOR

      Brie Hoffman 

      8 years ago from Manhattan

      You do that Tony!

    • tony0724 profile image


      8 years ago from san diego calif

      Brie I will call ya when I get there ! And throw in lunch too. I always have wanted to see the Big Apple !

    • Brie Hoffman profile imageAUTHOR

      Brie Hoffman 

      8 years ago from Manhattan

      Whatever you do, don't come in the hot and sweaty! But come, it's a great place, my favorite city.

    • Vladimir Uhri profile image

      Vladimir Uhri 

      8 years ago from HubPages, FB

      It would be nice to go to New York again.


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