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The Best Free Activities in New York City

By Alford Daley III

Let’s face it guys: New York City can be tough. Over a million people live here, new people move in everyday with hopes and dreams, and of course, almost everything is expensive. Oh and guess what? That one really pricey event you think you deserve because you’ve been saving up for months and want it so bad? Like Hamilton tickets? Everyone else wants it, too—so you might not even get to go.

However, being that NYC is literally the greatest city in the world, there are plenty of FREE activities that are fun, exciting, and even adventurous. (Did I mention free?) Here are my top four favorite activities that won’t bust your wallet.

1. Attend a taping of an NBC show

Ever wanted to be in the audience of the legendary “Tonight Show,” or marvel at 40 years of comedy history at “Saturday Night Live?” A lot of people don’t know this, but tickets to an NBC show at 30 Rockefeller Plaza is free! 30 Rock is the home to NBC’s entire late night lineup, including “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” and “Saturday Night Live.” Getting tickets can kind of be tricky and often sell out within minutes of availability. But with preparation and timing, you can have a night of laughs for the price of zero dollars.


2. Walk around the best of NYC parks

NYC is famous for its beautiful parks. And the most gorgeous thing about them is that they all cost the lovely price of nothing. You and your friends can have an adventure walking through some of the cities best parks like Bryant Park, Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, and your Instagram favorite, Central Park. Winter or spring, New York City parks are a visual delight that’ll allow you and your expenses to rest easy.


3. Walk the High Line

Aside from being a really cool train-track-turned-elevated-linear-park, the High Line is also famous for being the go-to “I’m a tourist but I’m tired of Times Square so let’s go do something that seems not touristy but really is” destination. It also has really nice views of the Chelsea area and is featured in the opening credits of SNL. So maybe you’ll run into Kenan Thompson! With its unique structure and dazzling sights, the High Line is the cool hip alternative to every crowded, cracked, and rigid sidewalk you usually find in NYC.


4. Go to a pay-what-you-wish museum

I know I’ve broken the sacred rule, and I’m counting this as my one cheat. But with all that NYC’s famed museums have to offer, while only asking you to pay whatever you want, this might as well be free. MOMA, The Met, and Whitney Museum are just a few examples of places that offer this fantastic deal. And don’t be shy about abusing that rule. I once saw a family of 15 get into The Met for only one dollar.  Don’t worry, spare a dollar, and have fun being educated at a fancy museum.


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