Second to few, New York City is one of the most expensive cities in the United States and always ranks as one of the most expensive worldwide. That price tag doesn’t stop the influx of people flocking to the city’s cultural mecca each year.
NYC is iconic for Broadway, fashion, architecture, and culture and offers residents and tourists alike one of the most unique and captivating experiences. But do those experiences always have to break the bank? In fact, there are so many free and low-cost events to keep the whole family busy this summer you will only be reminded of the cost when your rent is due.
I have put together a list of activities and events to check out this summer in NYC that will be both fun and frugal (not an oxymoron, I promise!)
1. Museums Are Calling
NYC has one of the best collections of museums ranging from art to many specific moments in history like the Museum of Jewish Heritage and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. But heading to one of these coveted sites at peak time can cost you anywhere from $20-$30 in admission costs per person. In order to keep costs low, consider going to these attractions when they offer free or pay-what-you-want admission.
- The Museum of Modern Art. This museum focuses on the art of our time and seeks to make contemporary art accessible to everyone. Visitors can see the museum for free on Fridays from 4 p.m to 8 p.m.
- The Met. Hailed as one of the greatest museums in the country, the MET offers visitors exhibitions and art that spans 5,000 years. For all NYC residents, the policy is pay-what-you-wish.
- The Guggenheim Museum. Frank Loyd Wright’s building offers visitors a unique experience of modern and contemporary art. The museum offers a pay-what-you-want rate Saturdays from 5 p.m to 8 p.m.
- The Whitney Museum of American Art. This museum focuses on American artists from both the 20th and 21st centuries. Fridays from 7 p.m to 10 p.m visitors can pay what they want for admission.
- Brooklyn Museum. Full of fun, eclectic, and hands-on opportunities, this museum seeks to blend many types of art together. This museum offers guests free admission on the first Saturday of each month.
- 9/11 Memorial Museum. The moving and powerful museum offers guests free admission Tuesdays from 5 p.m until closing.
- Museum of Jewish Heritage. Committed to educating the public about Jewish life, the museum seeks to give visitors a look into life before, during, and after the Holocaust. The museum is open while they are preparing for their next exhibition, Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away while offering complimentary entrance until May 8, 2019. After that tickets start at $16 per person.
2. Head To The Library
With stunning views and books as far as you can see, the main branch of the NYC library is not one to be missed. If you have a reader in your family or someone who appreciates beautiful architecture and timeless history, you will have a great time here. There are a famous pair of stone lions and a rare copy of the Gutenberg bible along with countless other paintings and mureals lining their walls.
3. Stop In Galleries
Gallery openings are a mainstay in the NYC lifestyle. With so many new galleries popping up in the Chelsea area it could be a fun date night to see some new art, drink free wine, and snack on some good eats.
4. Lounge At The Park
New York City would not be complete without its wonderful array of parks including the famous Central Park and Washington Square Park. Pack a lunch, bring a board game and a kite, and don’t forget a blanket and you will be all set for a fun picnic afternoon in the park.
5. Smell a Rose In the Brooklyn Garden
This is a lovely garden full of flowers, vegetation, water features, and bridges to complete the serene scenic views. Admission is free every Friday in the summer before noon, so this would be a great activity for you morning people out there. Pack your yoga mat and do sunrise yoga in the garden, or simply go to take in the views.
6. Day Trip To The Bronx Zoo
Just because you are in the city, doesn’t mean that you don’t have to stay inside. The Bronx Zoo is a great way to check out wildlife and is free to visitors on Wednesdays.
7. Concerts and Movies
Movies in the park are one of my favorite summer activities. I love getting a blanket, popcorn, and bug spray and watching a movie with my family. It is a great way to have a budget-friendly family activity as these movies are free to the public.
Summer is also the season for free outdoor concerts. Most of these happen in central park and the line ups change so be sure to check out some new and popular artists!
8. Can’t Forget Theater
You didn’t think I was going to leave out the theater, did you? Shakespeare In The Park is an incredible opportunity to experience a live version of the Bard’s famous plays. This season the troupe is putting on Much Ado About Nothing and Coriolanus. There are free tickets available for each performance by waiting in line at select points throughout each of the 5 boroughs and in Central Park.
If it’s Broadway that you’re after, you can enter your name in a lottery to win discounted or free tickets to certain shows and you can even check out Box office specials.
9. Walk Around
Get in your steps and crush your Fitbit challenges on walking tours throughout the city. Besides being excellent for your health, walking tours are a great way to get acquainted with the area and learn interesting historical facts.
10. Celebrate at Local Festivals
In a city like New York, there will be no shortage of festivals celebrating history, heritage, ethnicity, and more. In July 2019 alone there are so many festivals including:
- Poetry festival, July 27-28, 2019
- Afro-Latino festival, July 12-12, 2019
- French Street Fare, Bastille Day July 2019
- Jamacian festival, July 21, 2019
- LGBT Arts Festival, July 8-21, 2019
No matter what you and your family enjoy, there is something special that you can all do together this summer. One of the best things about living in NYC is the amount of culture and history at every corner.
Have an excellent and budget-friendly summer everyone!