Angelina is a lifestyle blogger and freelance writer from New York. She is an adventure-seeking, travel enthusiast with a love for margaritas and learning about new places. She is the go-to girl for what to do and when to do it!
New York City can be more than a little on the expensive side. But believe it or not, there are plenty of ways to enjoy all that New York has to offer this summer without breaking the bank. They do say the best things in life are free. Not only are these activities guaranteed a good time, they’re definitely budget-friendly.
Bryant Park Summer Film Festival
For movie buffs in New York, the annual HBO Summer Film Festival is back for its 22nd festival in Bryant Park. Every Monday during the summer (June 22 through August 24), you can head to the Lawn for free viewings of classics like Ghostbusters, Footloose and Back to the Future. Roll out your blankets at 5pm and wait for the opening credits to start 30 minutes after sunset.
On a warm summer day there is nothing better than taking a stroll up above the traffic and congestion. The Highline Park is a 1.45-mile-long linear park built on an elevated section of the old West Side Railroad Line. It’s an artistic mix of industrial railroad and blossoming foliage. This public space has multiple entrances from 34th Street down to Gansevoort, and offers areas for sunbathing or stargazing.
Kayak the Hudson River
The Downtown Boathouse at Pier 96 offers free 20-minute kayaking on the Hudson River on weekends in the summer, starting June 6th. Some brief kayak instructions and all safety equipment is included, even sunblock and bike locks!
Shakespeare in the Park
The Delacorte Theatre in Central Park is a true summer tradition, with over 5 million people having visited it for the free performances. Experience the magic of storytelling by attending one of the Shakespearean plays this summer. Free tickets for Shakespeare in the Park are distributed every day that there is a performance at 12noon via the Free Lines at the Delacorte. Word to the wise, lines for tickets can sometimes get long!
The Brooklyn Brewery in Northside Brooklyn makes very good beer. And what’s better than their beer? Free tours of the facility on the weekends! Ok, their beer might trump the tours. But, for no-charge you can grab a ticket to a tour, offered every half hour from 1 – 5pm on Saturdays and 1 – 4pm on Sundays. I just can’t promise that you’ll be able to walk away without having a fresh beer first.
Central Park Picnic
Central Park is a hub of activity in the summer time! From gondola rides, bike rentals and walking tours, there is plenty of sightseeing to do from the park. But a free option is to pack a picnic, lay out on the Great Lawn and enjoy this giant piece of greenery in the middle of the concrete jungle.
While eating in Chelsea Market isn’t free, it’s an experience in itself to walk around and window shop at all of the various storefronts and vendors. Vegan treats, wine tastings, fish market, restaurants, clothing stores… an hour walking and exploring Chelsea market is definitely well spent.
Most people think seeing the Statue of Liberty costs a pretty penny. If you want to take the ferry to Liberty Island and tour the monument, the price is $18 or more per person. Not too bad, but you can get an excellent view of Lady Liberty and the Manhattan skyline for free when you take the Staten Island Ferry! The ferry to Staten Island is no cost, so ride it back and forth all day long if you want to!
Comedy at the UCB Theater
The Upright Citizens Brigade in Chelsea offers the best live comedy for $10 or less. But on Monday nights, their weekly showcase titled ‘Whiplash’ is free! Just be sure to make your reservations in advance, because these shows sell out quickly.
And finally, the beautiful and iconic Brooklyn Bridge is absolutely free to walk across. You get spectacular views of Manhattan once on the BK side, and can enjoy a day lounging in the Brooklyn Bridge Park or exploring Dumbo’s trendiest cafes.