Four Free Things To Do In New York City

With the launch of New York City as one of our destinations, as well as an integral part of our Global Student Exchange Programs, we thought it was about time we put together a list of things to do in New York.

Visiting New York City can often result in some empty wallets, especially if you want to see the city’s top attractions. For example, the Empire State Building will cost you a 36 USD entry fee! The Guggenheim and the Whitney both go for 25 USD per person.

Of course, we want to see New York from one of the tallest buildings, and learn about some of the world’s most famous artists. But there’s a lifetime of fun to be had without spending all your money on tickets – just read on and become inspired by our top four free things to do in New York.

1. Central Park

Now we all know, that most parks are for free, wherever you travel. But it is safe to say that most parks aren’t Central Park, Manhattan’s famous greenery in the middle of the city.

Designed in the 1860s, its aim was to boost real estate prices – and it has. Some of the most expensive apartments in the world are located around Central Park. You can wander through the park and enjoy the free events, statues, and sites like the Strawberry Fields: the ‘Imagine’ mosaic near the Dakota, where John Lennon was killed in 1980.

Another interesting site for our literary lovers is located in the southeastern corner, near the pond. Here you’ll recognize the imagery that Holden Caulfield describers in The Catcher in the Rye, “You know those ducks in that lagoon right near Central Park South? That little lake? By any chance, do you happen to know where they go, the ducks, when it gets all frozen over?”

2. Free Walking Tour

Join one of the many free walking tours in New York. There are many to choose from but if you are lucky enough to be staying at the fantastic HI NYC you will be able to take advantage of their daily free walking tour schedule.These amazing free walking tours exist in almost all metropolitan cities worldwide.

Okay, it’s not 100% free, but the concept allows you to pay what the tour is worth to you. Different tours focus on different topics – you can pick between a food-focused tour vs. a history tour, for example.

The guides on these types of tours tend to be local licensed freelance tour guides, sometimes often art-history students or teachers.

Little fun fact: Simon, our CAS Trips Director, was a tour guide in Prague!  

3. Brooklyn Museum of Art

Normally, the esteemed Brooklyn Museum of Art always operates with suggested-donation admission, but during the first Saturday evening of the month, the institution offers both free admission and a special program.

You can attend art workshops, join gallery tours, watch movie screenings and enjoy live performances – all for free! We do suggest you bring your wallet though, so that you can grab a refreshment and snack from the bar – and maybe a souvenir!

4. Staten Island Ferry

Who doesn’t want to see the Statue of Liberty? Want to save the 18.50 USD for the ferry tour and the long cues? We have the perfect insider tip!

Take the Staten Island Ferry, which cuts across New York Harbor and provides you with an amazing view of Lady Liberty. Plus – it is absolutely free!

The ferry has been in service since 1905 and carries 19 million people across the harbor each year – a remarkable number. So hop on and enjoy the views! #SelfieTime

Ready for your New York adventure? Check out our itinerary here.

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