Although considered one of the most expensive cities to reside in and visit, New York City actually offers plenty of activities, events, and sightseeing opportunities for free.
One of the best free things to do in New York City is to simply walk through the busy streets of Manhattan and get a feel for the urban NYC streetscape. Although it may just seem like a busy intersection, Times Square is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Manhattan. Times Square has a pedestrian only area is full of tables, chairs, and benches, which allow the public to sit back in a unique vibrant atmosphere among the high rising skyscrapers, a myriad of flashing advertisements, and non stopping flow of pedestrians amidst the Broadway Theater District.
Similarly, walking or biking along the iconic pedestrian and bike friendly Brooklyn Bridge is another experience that allows tourists to absorb a true New York experience. To get a sense of community in NYC, there are several distinct neighborhoods which define Manhattan. Dominated by historic 19th century cast iron architecture, Tribeca and SoHo in downtown Manhattan are some of the most unique communities in the Northeast. Little Italy and Chinatown offer excellent examples of an what an ethnic tight knit community is all about.
When it comes to free events in New York City, there are several options. In late August, the qualifying week of the U.S. Open is open to the public free of charge. Visitors can enjoy world class tennis while being only steps away from a top NYC recreation area, Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Central Park also hosts a variety of free events ranging from fundraisers and walks for causes around the park to live music and theatrical performances on the Great Lawn. The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, one of the most notable events in New York City, is a family friendly activity which doesn't cost a penny.
Getting into Manhattan's museums without paying admission is at the top of the list of free things to do in New York City. Located in downtown, the National Museum of the American Indian offers an extensive exhibition and collection of artifacts on Native American history. The museum is housed in the historic former U.S. Customs House. The Jewish Museum on the Upper East Side is open for free on Saturdays.
When it comes to NYC recreation, a true New Yorker will say that there is nothing like jogging through the West Side of Manhattan along the Hudson River, with the New Jersey Coastline visible across.
Whatever you choose to do, just realize there are a ton of great, memorable things to do in New York City that don't cost a penny. Get out there and explore today!