Things to Do in New York City for Free

Things to Do in New York City for Free
Nothing in New York City is free. Well, actually, that's not true. The financial capital of the country is often a great place for residents and visitors who need to live less extravagantly. For those needing to pass up expensive admission fees, there are many free activities to enjoy.


Rarely visited by tourists, Inwood Park can be found at the northern end of Manhattan in Washington Heights. This area of the city is worth a visit, as it is the only place in Manhattan where visitors can trudge through original forest that once covered the island. Overlooking the Hudson River, the park at one time was home to the Lenape (Delaware) Indians, colonial farmers, occupation by the British in 1776, philanthropic institutions during the 1800s and WPA workers during the depression, who built many of the parks trails and roads. Though the park does offer ballfields and barbecue pits, the area is best appreciated by hiking through the rougher, less groomed areas. Afterward, grab a bite to eat at one of the city's best Dominican eateries, El Malecon.

Inwood Hill Park
630 Isham St.
New York, NY 10034
(718) 846-2731

El Malecon Restaurant
4141 Broadway
New York, NY 10033
(212) 927-3812


Enjoy one of the best views of the city for free by taking the Staten Island Ferry. Residents of Staten Island use the big orange boats to commute back and forth from Staten Island to downtown Manhattan. For visitors, the ferry offers expansive views of the Statue of Liberty, the harbor and the skyline of downtown Manhattan. When the ship docks in Staten Island, don't just sit there and wait for the return trip, get out and explore the Greenbelt. The Greenbelt is a system of parks located in central Staten Island that offer numerous pedestrian-only hiking trails for all levels of fitness.

Staten Island Ferry
1 South St.
New York, NY 10004
(212) 788-7476

The Greenbelt
700 Rockland Ave.
Staten Island, NY 10306
(718) 351-3450

In Between

Take a break from all that hiking by visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Though the ominous sign above the admission booth lists hefty admission prices, it is worth mentioning that these figures are suggested donations. If you can stomach the guilt, this means you can pay what you like. Though not completely free, for as little as one cent, visitors can examine one of the country's best art collections. Among its many collections, it is especially known for its 20th-century European, Egyptian and Asian collections. Also, take the elevator to the roof garden for inspiring views of Central Park and the midtown skyline. Note that the roof garden is open from roughly May through October. Opening and closing dates vary depending on the weather.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10028
(212) 535-7710

Article Written By Mike Biscoe

Mike Biscoe has been writing since 2009. Focusing on travel, sports and entertainment topics, he has credits in various online publications including LIVESTRONG.COM and Trails. He often writes articles covering uncommon travel destinations from firsthand experience. Biscoe holds a Certificate of Completion in acting from the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts.

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