It is free in New York

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions
The Staten Island Ferry

The Staten Island Ferry

It isn’t often that a tourist authority highlights the free attractions in a destination but New York has done just that.

Let’s start with something that everyone has heard of – the Staten Island Ferry. This is completely free but don’t look on it as just an opportunity to visit the island and have a look around. Although the ferry leaves from the bottom of Manhattan it provides some great views of the city as you leave, you’ll pass the Statue of Liberty and the journey gives a perspective of just how big the waterways are leading into the port. It would be a surprising day if you didn’t see at least a couple of huge cargo vessels heading into the port.

New York City’s cultural offerings include a variety of low-cost options as well, with many museums providing free admission. The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens, and Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden in Staten Island are just some of the cultural institutions that offer free admission year-round. Alternatively, museums open their doors for free during specific days or times—these include the 9/11 Memorial & Museum (free from 5-8pm on Tuesdays); New York Botanical Garden (free on Wednesdays); Museum of Modern Art (free from 4-8pm on Fridays); and the newly-renovated Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum (pay-what-you-wish on Saturdays, 6–9pm). For a complete list, visit

There are guided tours that are free but most people tip the guides after the walk is completed. Options include Big Apple Greeter, whose volunteers conduct “welcome visits” in more than 20 languages. Several local non-profit organisations also conduct free neighbourhood tours, including Central Park Conservancy, Grand Central Partnership, the Village Alliance and the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy. For more free tours, visit

and the Statue of Liberty taken from the ferry

and the Statue of Liberty taken from the ferry

Like here, many TV and radio shows have an audience and those are free to attend. But you probably need to book at least the more popular in advance to be assured of getting a seat. The morning news’ shows often have an outdoor segment and the presenters will come outside and sometimes interview the crowds.

Often overlooked are the parks. Most people know of Central Park but here are plenty of others. Walking is as good a way as any to find them but Manhattan is quite long  and the other boroughs can be hilly so the subway system at $2.75 each way might be the preferred option for many.



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