Just a reminder – during Covid times be sure to contact your destination before heading out. Who knows what reopening phase we are in and whether they’re open or closed.
After you’ve seen the iconic skyscrapers, attended a Broadway show, and visited Lady Liberty, maybe you would like to try one of my fave activities:
MY FAVE FREE (or almost FREE) ACTIVITIES
1. still the best deal in town, ride the free staten island ferry at twilight for a magical view of the lady in the harbor, the bridges twinkling with lights, and the iconic nycity skyline.
2. visit the smithsonian’s national museum of the american indian, free any day (in the beautifully restored u.s. customs house), or visit the museum of arts & design in it’s new home on columbus circle on thursday’s from 6-9pm and pay what you wish.
3. stop by whole foods in the time warner ctr @ columbus circle and pick up fixin’s for a picnic in the park. try nearby central park, overlooking the pond (walk 2 blocks E on central park south). for a real treat, head north on the A train to ft. tryon park in far northern manhattan, for a marvelous setting overlooking the hudson palisades.
4. stroll through brooklyn heights, maybe nycity’s most scenic neighborhood, then walk the heights’ promenade for a spectacular view of manhattan’s east side skyline.
5. walk across the brooklyn bridge towards the bright lights of manhattan, after enjoying some of the best coal fired pizza in nycity at Juliana’s in brooklyn heights, under the bridge. when their lines are too long, try Luke’s Lobster nearby, for one of the best lobster rolls this side of a Maine lobster pound.
6. browse the trendy, free art galleries in chelsea, often with museum quality shows, then sip fine wine in a neighborhood wine bar, like Ovest (27th st, B 10th/11th ave).
7. after dinner, head to one of the many clubs in greenwich village for some no cover jazz or other music. my faves include: caffe vivaldi – small and intimate, with an eclectic mix of music (alas, no more); 55 bar – a classic basement jazz haunt (some late performances with modest cover charges); arthur’s – an old timer with miss sweet georgia brown on thursday and friday. always check online to see who is playing.
8. visit da’ bronx on wednesday for free grounds access all day to the beautiful botanical gardens or go next door to the world famous bronx zoo and pay what you wish.
9. purchase farm fresh goods at union square park, the granddaddy of all greenmarkets, where in peak season you can choose from 140 regional farmers, fishermen, and bakers; then find a park bench and enjoy your urban picnic (mon, wed, fri, & sat).
10. get way off the tourist track. explore the lovely sugar hill section of west harlem. be surprised by the landmarked gothic buildings on the N. campus of city college. stroll thru blocks of historic brownstones, esp. hamilton terrace. finish with a visit to Alexander Hamilton’s country home on his harlem estate, now a park service national monument.
PS. summertime shakespeare in the park (central park) is “free,” but try the lotteries- the lines for day of performance tickets are humongous. I love MoMA, but dealing with the crowds at Target’s free friday nights is no way to experience art.
Free Entry or Pay-What-You-Wish (thanks to nyc-arts.org)
Many of the city’s premier attractions, museums, and galleries offer free entry or pay-what-you-wish options, be it for a select day of the month or evening hours every week. Those seeking a bargain can use the no-cost or low-cost admittance to take a chance on the unknown or to return to a favorite art work, exhibit or gallery again and again.
Please be sure to contact the museum or venue to confirm the hours and admission policy on the day you plan to visit.
ALWAYS FREE (or pay what you wish):
American Folk Art Museum
American Museum of Natural History (pay what you wish)
Bronx Museum (pay what you wish)
Brooklyn Academy of Music’s BAMcafé live events
Brooklyn Museum (pay what you wish)
The Cloisters (pay what you wish)
El Museo del Barrio (pay what you wish)
International Print Center
Metropolitan Museum of Art (pay what you wish)
Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology
Museum of American Illustration
Museum of Biblical Art (pay what you wish)
National Museum of the American Indian—Smithsonian Institution
New York City Police Museum (pay what you wish)
P.S.1 MoMA (pay what you wish)
Queens Museum of Art (pay what you wish)
SculptureCenter (pay what you wish)
Socrates Sculpture Park
Storefront for Art & Architecture
Studio Museum in Harlem (pay what you wish)
MONTHLY FREE HOURS:
Bronx Museum (First Friday, 6-10 pm)
Brooklyn Museum (First Saturday, 5-11 pm)
El Museo del Barrio (Third Saturday, 11 am-8 pm)
Neue Gallerie (First Friday, 6-8 pm)
Noguchi Museum (First Friday, pay what you wish)
WEEKLY FREE DAYS or HOURS:
Yeshiva University Museum
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
China Institute 6-8 pm
Wave Hill 9 am-noon
Bronx Zoo (pay what you wish)
Museum of Jewish Heritage 4-8 pm
New York Botanical Garden
China Institute 6-8 pm
Museum of Arts and Design 6-9 pm (pay what you wish)
Museum of Chinese in America
New Museum of Contemporary Art 7-9 pm
Trinity Church: Concerts at One 1-2 pm (September through May)
International Center for Photography 5-8 pm (pay what you wish)
Japan Society 6-9 pm
Morgan Library & Museum 7-9 pm
Museum of Modern Art 4-8 pm
Neue Galerie 6-8 pm
New-York Historical Society 6-8 pm (pay what you wish)
New York Aquarium 3 pm-closing (pay what you wish)
Rubin Museum of Art 7-10 pm
Whitney Museum of American Art 6-9 pm
Brooklyn Botanic Garden 10 am-noon
New York Botanical Garden 10 am-noon
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum 5:45-7:45 pm (pay what you wish)
Wave Hill 9 am-noon
Frick Collection 11 am-1 pm (pay what you wish)
Studio Museum in Harlem
Lincoln Center Discount Tickets (hopefully, post Covid)
The David Rubenstein Atrium on Broadway between 62nd and 63rd Streets is open until 10PM daily and ready for visitors 365 days a year. This is now your destination for day-of discount tickets to Broadway shows and sometimes to Lincoln Center’s resident organizations.
Day-of Discount Tickets – Enjoy Broadway and Lincoln Center for less.
Tickets to Broadway shows are available most days and when available, tickets to today’s Lincoln Center performances are available at a deep discount from the Zucker Box Office in the David Rubenstein Atrium. Stop by and see what’s on offer today (discounts vary by performance). Box Office Hours:
Tuesday–Friday 2:00 pm–7:45 pm
Saturday 12:00 pm–2:00 pm, 3:00 pm–7:45 pm
The box office is closed Sunday–Monday.
Visit also for free wireless, for a bite to eat (food service from Chef Tom Colicchio’s ‘wichcraft café), to find out what’s happening at Lincoln Center, or to just sit back and enjoy the vertical gardens.