Seeing the bulk of New York City's biggest attractions can mean spending a hefty chunk of a trip's budget on tickets. Empire State Building? $27. The Met? $25.
Governors Island is a 172-acre island in the heart of New York Harbor. Yards away from lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, it's easily accessible by ferry and open to the public during the summer.
No, we’re not talking about the penny-pinching spring break trip to the Caribbean. New Yorkers can take a day trip over to Governors Island, a 172-acre island in the heart of New York Harbor. The five-minute ferry ride from Lower Manhattan is free and offers spectacular views of New York Harbor. On Governors Island, there is something for everyone, whether it’s enjoying a free concert or kayaking along the Hudson River. The visit is ideal for anyone who wants to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the big city, while enjoying beautiful lawns and fun activities that are well within a student budget.
Open May 23rd-September 27th, this lil isle off the tip of Manhattan is one of the best places in the city to not feel like you’re in the city. Walk, bike (your own or a rented), learn up on its Revolutionary War history, lounge in Hammock Grove (a grove… of hammocks), and eat at the seriously stocked food court.
Price: $0 if you take the Manhattan ferry at 10am, 11am, or 11:30am on Saturdays and Sundays, or the 11am or 11:30am from Brooklyn’s Pier 6. Otherwise it’s a $2 round-trip ferry fare.
8Go to the Library
One of the most beautiful landmarks that this city has to offer is the main branch of the New York Public Library, located on 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue. Formally known as the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, this library offers visitors the chance to explore extraordinary historical collections, providing free and equal access to its resources and facilities. It houses more than 15 million items, including priceless medieval manuscripts, ancient Japanese scrolls, contemporary novels and poetry, as well as baseball cards, dime novels and comic books. The library itself is a museum, with ongoing exhibitions that allow you to delve into the landmark’s magnificent past and learn about historical events in an institution that represents the heart of history itself.
Remember the Dewey Decimal System? The New York Public Library, New York's most famous library (aka the Stephen A Schwarzman Building), which turned 100 in 2011, is situated in a grand Beaux-Arts icon east of Times Square. It's fronted by marble lions named ‘Patience' and ‘Fortitude,' and is just a jaw-dropper to walk through, particularly the reading room fit for 500 patrons reading with the aid of the library's original Carre-and-Hastings lamps. There's exhibits too, including a copy of the original Declaration of Independence, a Gutenburg Bible, plus 431,000 old maps. There are free tours at 11am and 2pm Monday to Saturday, 2pm Sunday (closed Sunday in summer). Fifth Ave at 42nd St, Midtown East.
7Brewery Tours, Brooklyn Style
A perfect example of the revitalized borough, the Brooklyn Brewery is a great place to plan a weekend trip where you can sample some of the brewed flavorful beers that enrich the life, tradition and culture of the communities they serve. The brewery, which was founded in 1988, is nestled in the heart of Williamsburg, minutes away from the Bedford Avenue station off the L subway line. The brewery is free and open to the public every Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m. – 8 p.m. for tours and tastings. Remember to bring your ID because only 21-and-up are allowed in.
The Brooklyn Brewery has grown to be one of the city's best known. Small group tours Monday through Thursday require $12 tickets, but weekend tours are free. They start on the half-hour from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays.
6Ride the Staten Island Ferry
One of the most popular tourist in New York Want to see the Statue of Liberty?
Ferry tours there start at $12. But the Staten Island Ferry for commuters, cutting across the New York Harbor, is absolutely free and has long held the distinction as the single greatest free attraction on the Eastern Seaboard.
The Staten Island Ferry has been a municipal service since 1905, and currently carries over 21 million passengers annually on the 5.2-mile (8.4 km) run. While trips take 25 minutes, service usually runs every 30 minutes most hours of the day and night, with more frequent service during peak times.
The ferry is free of charge, though riders must disembark at each terminal and reenter through the terminal building for a round trip
Around since 1905, the ferry carries 19 million across the harbor each year. Technically for transport in between Staten Island and Manhattan, most visitors simply hop back on to get back to New York. It never gets old. East end of Battery Park, Lower Manhattan.
Ask New Yorkers the cheapest way to see the Statue of Liberty and they are likely to point you to the Whitehall Terminal at the tip of Manhattan. The free ride on the Staten Island Ferry takes passengers right by the statue on a 25-minute trip.
The scenic boat ride views are free, but the beer’ll cost ya. So will the pizza.
5Visit Central Park
It doesn't take brilliant travel minds to tell you that a park is free to visit – most parks are. But most parks aren't Central Park, Manhattan's famed claim to thinking ahead (even if it was designed in the 1860s to boost real-estate value uptown). It's filled with free events, statues, people-watching and sites like Strawberry Fields, an ‘Imagine' mosaic near the Dakota, where John Lennon was killed in 1980. Another site is ‘the Pond,' at the southeastern corner, where Holden Caulfield kept turning to in ‘The Catcher in the Rye,' wondering where those ducks go when it's cold.
4Visit a Free Museum
These New York City museums are either always free, free on specific days of the week or free for select hours. Find one near you, and take advantage of their generosity.
Note that this takes into account general admission only; certain events and special exhibitions may still require a fee.
African Burial Ground Memorial Site
The Bronx Museum of the Arts
Federal Hall National Memorial
The Federal Reserve Bank
The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology
General Grant National Memorial
The Harbor Defense Museum
The Hispanic Society of America
Irish Hunger Memorial
Leslie–Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art
National Museum of the American Indian
The New York Public Library Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
New York Transit Museum Annex & Store, Grand Central Terminal
Queens County Farm Museum
Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden (grounds and botanical garden only)
Socrates Sculpture Park
Soldiers and Sailors Monument
Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace
3Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art
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“If you buy tickets at a museum ticket counter, the amount you pay is up to you. Please be as generous as you can. Suggested admission is $25 for adults, $17 for seniors, $12 for students, and free for children under 12.”
If you still feel guilty about not paying the full price, consider that the museum receives annual grants from the city without paying taxes or rent, has a $2.5 billion investment portfolio, and uses admissions to cover only 11 percent of its operating costs. Six in ten Met tourists don't pay the full $25,
One of the most famous museums in the world, the Met has a suggested ticket price of $25, but many people do not realize they can pay what they want. Pick a price that seems fair and affordable.
2Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
Locals and tourists alike walk, jog, run, and bike this New York icon. The Brooklyn Bridge is best on a warm day, but pedestrians make the 1.1-mile trip throughout the year.
1Join the audience at a TV show.
With so many television shows taping in New York, you can rest assured that there's always a need for a live audience to laugh and applaud. From early morning to late night, you can attend your favorite shows without spending a cent. Here's how.
NBC Studios offers free tickets to several shows, including “America's Got Talent,” “The Voice,” and late-night shows with Seth Meyers and Jimmy Fallon. Tickets must be reserved, but some of the most popular shows also have standby tickets the day they're shot.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore
The Late Show With Stephen Colbert
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
Late Night With Seth Meyers
The Dr. Oz Show
Rachel Ray Show
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