New York City is the tourist destination that just keeps giving more and more inspiration, and sometimes you just have to narrow things down.
We were there for 5 days of adventures and although we wanted to do everything…our planning took a real twist when the sheer number of Free Things started to appear. Can’t wait to share our list!
10 Free Things to do in New York City
In the midst of the glitz and glamor of Manhattan is a park. To say that you’ll want to spend time in this 840 acre urban escape…well there’s a reason why it’s #1 on our list!
You’ll want to see The Pond & Gapstow Bridge, The Dairy, The Carousel, Sheep Meadow, The Mall, The Statue of Balto and Bethesda Terrace. On top of those, the number of hidden gems that you’ll discover is limited to the time that you’re able to invest on your vacation. Remember to plan ahead for food – and where you’ll want to exit the park (because you will get lost)
Staten Island Ferry
Let’s be honest – you’ll be spending a ton of money in The Big Apple, so when you have the chance to save some cash, take advantage of it. The Staten Island Ferry is a commuter mode of transportation that just happens to have a route that goes right past the Statue of Liberty.
Not only do you get a great view of Lady Liberty once…but coming back, you’ll get another photo op!
I was so excited to spend time in Times Square, only to realize that it’s all about the time of day that you visit AND what you actually want to see. You’ll be able to get your customary selfie with the steps and the billboards, but outside of that…just stand back and people watch.
Fun fact – washrooms are difficult to find, but if you stop into the Knickerbocker Hotel (42nd St), they’ve got a great set of public washrooms on the same floor as the bar/restaurant.
The High Line
The newest “Must See” in Manhattan is the High Line trail, which is a repurposed elevated subway line that brings a unique view to the ever-changing landscape of NYC. Grab a coffee from a local vendor and get your “art walk” on!
One World Trade Centre – 9/11 Memorial
We had the opportunity to visit the 9/11 Memorial on two separate occasions during our trip – at night and during the day. To pay tribute to one of the most difficult times in the history of the USA, you should definitely put this on your itinerary.
New York Public Library
Also known as the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, the New York Public Library is a must-see for either rainy days OR times when you just want to take some time and wander around a huge landmark with hidden gems all around it.
From the architecture to the treasures on display, be prepared to adventure around the halls (with free wifi of course!)
There are free one-hour walking tours of the building at 11am and 2pm (Mondays to Saturdays) and 2pm on Sundays, so if you’re feeling lucky…keep in mind that the groups are limited to 25 visitors.
Free Walking Tours*
Exploring the city through walking tours just makes sense, as you’re able to get info from a local about the stuff that you should know. That being said, this is on the list with an asterix because the “free tours” are actually classified as “Pay what you wish”…so not really free in the end. We would recommend doing your research into tours like the Boroughs of the Dead ghost tour or any of the tours on the New York Pass (and just pick and choose your preference)
The Strand Bookstore
18 miles of books in a centrally located store at 828 Broadway…can’t go wrong when you’re talking about exploring new, used and rare books.
Disney Store at Times Square
Magic is alive and well at the Disney Store in Times Square, and it’s probably one of our favorite Free Things to do in New York! From
You can start in Manhattan OR Brooklyn, but walking over the Brooklyn Bridge is by far and away a breathtaking experience! The trick is to do it first thing in the morning or late at night, but know that during daylight hours, it’ll be incredibly busy with tourists.