7 Free NYC Activities

With its bustling city streets and museums seemingly on every corner, New York City tops many trip itineraries. Fine shops and restaurants dot Manhattan streets, calling to wallets from afar. While NYC is infamous for being an expensive travel destination, not all of NYC’s sites and sounds require digging deeply into the pocket. In fact, travel to NYC need not be an expensive endeavor if you diligently monitor travel agents for numerous holiday specials. Once you’re there, NYC has free activities to suit frugal travel budgets.

Staten Island Ferry

Traversing the waters between Manhattan and Staten Island, the Staten Island Ferry offers some of the most beautiful sights in NYC.  As the boat traverses the 25-mile stretch of water, travelers can appreciate the towering beauty of the Statue of Liberty and see a clean view of NYC’s famous skyline and New York Harbor.

Little Red Lighthouse

Memorialized in children’s literature, this unique piece of NYC maritime history is a must-see. The 40-foot tall lighthouse’s diminutive size belies its history of brightly shining into the night, signaling to boats of approaching danger. Visitors can climb to the observation deck and take a peek into the inner-workings of New York State’s last lighthouse.

National Museum of the American Indian

This museum provides a glimpse into the rich heritage of the American Indian and helps us all connect to the detailed history of America’s indigenous peoples.  Many tribes are represented in this multi-story building filled with exhibitions.  Take in a guided tour through the exhibitions to more readily appreciate our nation’s past.

Grand Central Terminal Walking Tour

Featured in many movies, Grand Central Terminal has long fascinated visitors. While you’re in NYC, be sure to take a walking tour of this NYC favorite.  Departing multiple times per day, the Grand Central Terminal walking tour focuses on the Terminal’s unique aspects such as the collection of Tiffany glass and the celestial ceiling staring down at visitors.

High Line

A new addition to the NYC parks system, the High Line is an elevated park structure that spans more than a mile. Green space takes to the sky in this innovative reclamation of former train tracks and paths.  Tourist adore this unique look at Manhattan, and walking along this path will be sure to delight!

Central Park

Probably the most famous city park in the world, Central Park remains a NYC favorite.  With towering skyscrapers as the backdrop, Central Park offers visitors something that they cannot see anywhere else in NYC–immense green space where you can jog, play ball or stroll along people-watching.

Television Show Taping

If you’ve planned your trip in advance, perhaps using holiday specials deals offered by some travel sites, then be sure to book a visit to your favorite television show taping.  Many shows tape in NYC, and most are free to the audience.  Feel the energy at a live broadcast of your favorite late night talk show, or glimpse morning show talent as they interact with the crowds outside the studio.

Photo by Linh H. Nguyen