New York is one of the most amazing cities to visit in the world. But many people are under the assumption that is has to be expensive, well, that isn’t true at all. In fact there are plenty of things to do in NYC that won’t cost you a cent!
Here are my favourite things to do for free in NYC:
Staten Island Ferry
This is a classic, the Staten island ferry is an amazing service provided by the city of New York for free. The crossing takes around 30 mins and you will get amazing views of downtown New York, the Statue Of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge. What is also great is that it is full of locals too meaning you get the chance to chat and also just see a part of everyday NY life.
LOCATION: Southern most tip of Manhattan near Battery Park
SUBWAY: In Manhattan, J/Z to Broad Street; 1 to South Ferry; 4/5 to Bowling Green. In Staten Island, Staten Island Railway to St. George.
New York is full of amazing parks all offering something different. Of course central park is the main one and it is massive, lots of things to see and do in here for free, make sure you don’t miss Bethesda fountain and the lake.
LOCATION: Runs through the centre of Manhattan (Pretty hard to miss!!)
SUBWAY: Subway covers all sides of the park well with the West being the closest so it depends where in the park you want to go, but 72nd is a good place to start as it is near the John Lennon memorial and a short walk to the fountain and lake.
Over in Chelsea this converted railway line is a really unique park, complete with natural flora, existing train lines and amazing views as it cuts through the city, across intersections, past old factories and apartment buildings.
LOCATION: Meatpacking Dist/ Chelsea/ Lower West Side
SUBWAY: 14th Street & 8th Avenue, 23rd Street & 8th Avenue, 14th Street & 7th Avenue, 18th Street & 7th Avenue, 23rd Street & 7th Avenue
Washington Square Park:
Famous for the Washington arch and street performers this park is always a centre of activity, culture and creativity.
LOCATION: Greenwich Village
SUBWAY: W4 Wash. Sq, 8th St. NYU, Astor Pl.
Brooklyn Bridge is a brilliant way to see the city and one of it’s most famous landmarks. The walk is about a mile long but well worth it. I would recommend getting the subway over to the Brooklyn side of the bridge and then walking back over to Manhattan.
LOCATION: Downtown Manhattan/ City hall
SUBWAY: Manhattan: Brooklyn Bridge/ City Hall, Chamber Street
Brooklyn: High Street, Borough Hall.
WEBSITE: How to walk the Brooklyn Bridge
Obviously this is a very moving thing to see but in my opinion is something no one should miss. Although this is free you will have to book a time slot online at least a day before you go for which there is a small admin fee. The time slot isn’t strictly enforced but you may be required to bring ID.
LOCATION: Downtown Manhattan/ Financial District
SUBWAY: Fulton Street, Park Place, World Trade Center, Rector Street, Cortlandt Street.
Wall Street/ Federal Hall
Wall street is the centre of world finance and depending on your point of view the home of all that is wrong or great about capitalist society. Either way it is somewhere not to miss, along Wall Street there is also Federal Hall which is the site where Washington was inaugurated as the first president of the USA. (Inside is closed on weekends)
LOCATION: Downtown Manhattan/ Financial District
SUBWAY: Wall St, Broad St, Fulton St.
Grand Central Terminal/ Station
This beautiful and historic station with it’s famous main hall is an amazing site and a must do. There are plenty of shops, markets, restaurants and details to see and make sure to step outside to see the main entrance too.
LOCATION: Midtown Manhattan
SUBWAY: Grand Central – 42st.
New York Public Library (Stephen A. Schwarzman Building)
This building is probably most famous for being in the blockbuster “The Day After Tomorrow” but not only that this beautiful and historic building is the second largest public library in the world (behind the Library of Congress). There are lots of historic artefacts and texts in here but the building itself and specifically the rose main reading room will take your breath away.
LOCATION: MidTown/ 5th & 42nd
SUBWAY: 42nd Street and Broadway, 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue, Fifth Avenue, Grand Central Station
What is a trip to NYC without going to Times Square, granted it is full of shops and restaurants to spend your money on but it is also an experience in itself. The flashing lights and sea of people, the buzz and hive of activity, it’s great just to sit on the red steps and take it all in. Toy’s ‘r’ us and other shops are also great to just walk around.
LOCATION: Midtown, Broadway & 7th.
SUBWAY: Times Square.
Flatiron Building/ District.
Built in 1902 the Flatiron was New York’s first skyscraper and this unusual building has become an icon of the city. Madison square park is also across the road and is a great place to relax and admire the building and surrounding area from.
LOCATION: 5th & Broadway, Midtown.
SUBWAY: 23rd St (N, R, 6)
Walking/ Subway/ City Hall
Ok, so bear with me on this one was it might seem obvious but I truly think the best way to see and experience any city is by walking. The great thing about New York and many other cities in this respect is that with the subway covering almost everywhere you can wander to your hearts content and know once you are ready to head back a subway stop with usually be within a block or two.
Walking is when you come across the little unexpected things which make you feel that much more connected to a place, things that would not usually be mentioned on lists like this too, those little details which make a place unique. Soho, Chelsea and Greenwich village have to be some of my favourite walking locations but the whole of the city is out there for you.