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Free New York
The Greatest City in the World is renowned for being incredibly expensive. Spending one week here can be like dropping your full wallet into the garbage disposal and waving goodbye.
From rent you'd have to sell your kidneys to pay to restaurants whose menus would make your eyes bleed, New York is pretty much one of the easiest places to spend money and to do it fast.
But most of us don't want to spend any money, let alone a lot of it!
So what if you visit or live here and want to entertain yourself without spending a dime? That's right... there's more than enough stuff to do in New York for free!
Washington DC may be famous for its abundance of free museums, but true New Yorkers know that's not fair! Plenty of worthwhile museums in New York are free, and even more than that have a "suggested donation" (which means you can pay a penny or a thousand, no matter what). Here's a list of free or "suggested donation" museums in New York City, with a ** next to the ones I personally recommend!
- American Museum of Natural History **
- Brooklyn Children's Museum **
- Brooklyn Museum of Art **
- Carnegie Hall / Rose Museum
- The Cloisters **
- Dahesh Museum
- Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum
- Metropolitan Museum of Art **
- El Museo del Barrio
- Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology
- Museum of the City of New York
- New York Historical Society
- Goethe House German Cultural Center
- Guggenheim Museum SoHo
- Museum of American Folk Art
- National Museum of the American Indian **
- New York City Police Museum
- Taipei Gallery
- Queens Museum of Art
- Whitney Museum at Philip Morris
TV Show Tapings
I've never done this personally, but tens of famous shows tape almost daily in New York! Some of their tickets are harder to get than others, but if you plan in advance you're sure to get a seat! The following are some of the shows I know about that tape in New York City and have free tickets.
- The Colbert Report
- The Daily Show
- David Letterman
- The Early Show
- Good Morning America
- Judge Hatchett
- Montel Williams
- The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet
- Rachael Ray
- Saturday Night Live
- The Today Show
- The View
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So there's an innumerable amount of parks in New York City, and obviously they're free to go to! Whether you pack a picnic and spend the day or just take a sunset walk through the trees, visiting a park can be a great way to entertain yourself or your guests for absolutely no money!
Here's a list of some of my favorite parks in the city and a few words about them.
- Central Park -- obviously the largest park in New York, and filled with adventures. Even if you grew up in the city, there are corners of the park you've never explored. I especially love the Rambles, the Reservoir, and walking by the Central Park Zoo.
- McCarren Park -- a big park in Brooklyn just a few stops outside of Manhattan with a lot of open space. The McCarren Park Pool is one of the coolest concert venues in the whole city (though the concerts aren't usually free).
- Washington Square Park -- a tiny park in the Village that is constantly vibrant with life. If you want to find a bunch of interesting people playing music, hula hooping, doing yoga, or just relaxing, there's no better place.
- Riverside Park -- a long and skinny park lining the Upper West Side. There's a lot of architectural beauty along this park and a great view of the Hudson, as well as three dog runs!
- Madison Square Park -- another relatively small park but one with lots of beautifully tall trees and with a cute 50s-feeling hot dog and malt soda restaurant (which is obviously not free). This park has a very open feeling and is easy to wander through on your way down to Union Square or up to Times Square.
- Fort Tryon Park -- up by the Cloisters (suggested donation only!), this is a seriously gorgeous park; you won't even believe you're in a city. The Rockefellers bought the New Jersey Land that Ft Tryon overlooks so that it could never be developed and would retain its natural beauty.
You don't have to spend a lot of money to have a huge amount of fun. Be creative, and make things into an adventure! Take a free ride on the Staten Island Ferry and admire the view or take a walk up or down Broadway. With so much to see, it's a crime to do anything but soak it all up!