It’s no secret that New York City is an expensive place to visit. Between hotel stays that rival a mortgage payment, cab rides that come near to your airfare, and admission fees to monuments that almost equal the cost of a ticket to Disneyland, it can be very easy to drop a pretty penny. Luckily, not everything in New York has a cost associated with it, and tourists can take advantage of many of the city’s best attractions for free.
- Explore Central Park – By far, the biggest piece of real estate on the island of Manhattan is Central Park. Covering over 1.3 square miles, the park is one of NYC’s top tourist attractions for a reason. Lay out in the spacious green Sheep Meadow; watch the boats go by at The Lake; get lost in the rolling hills of The Ramble; or enjoy the views of the skyline while you walk around the reservoir. Access to the park is always free, and it’s open from dawn till dusk.
- See a TV show taping – Several TV shows, including The Late Show with David Letterman, Live! With Kelly and Michael, and Saturday Night Live all film in front of live studio audiences, and tickets are always free. Visit the website for the show you’re interested in and look up their ticket policy. Some require you to request tickets in advance; others have a ticket lottery; and some have a same-day standby line.
- Experience Times Square – There’s a reason that Times Square has a reputation for being the “crossroads of the world.” Literally millions of people pass through this area each day. While lined with theaters and other attractions that have admission fees associated with them, there’s no charge to just hang out in Times Square and soak up the atmosphere. Do a little window shopping, try to get onto one of the giant screens, and simply remind yourself that you’ve made it there.
- Ride the Staten Island Ferry – First-timers and repeat tourists alike love seeing the Statue of Liberty. A proud symbol of America, Lady Liberty looms in the middle of the Hudson. While it can be fun to take one of the boats out to visit the statue up close, it can also be expensive. Luckily for those looking to save money, the Staten Island Ferry sails right by the Statue of Liberty several times per hour and is absolutely free. Just hop aboard and make your journey past this icon before turning around and sailing back to Manhattan.
- Cross the Brooklyn Bridge – Another great way to see the New York City skyline without having to lay out the money to go to the top of the Empire State Building is by walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. The boardwalk that spans the bridge features paths for both walkers and bicyclists and can be accessed from either side of the bridge. If you’re staying in Manhattan, take the subway across to Brooklyn and then walk back across to your home borough.