Discover 15 amazing free attractions in New York and have a great time while you’re there. The city has many places where you can visit and spend the day, without spending anything.

1. Walking through New York’s public parks

Ideal for taking a break from the madness and enjoying a bit of tranquillity, in New York’s public parks you’ll find people running, sunbathing, reading, walking their dogs and lots of squirrels hanging around. Here are some of the best ones to visit, completely free of charge:

Central Park: is an incredible park in the middle of Manhattan that is known the world over. It’s very large indeed and it takes hours to explore the whole park. The setting for great series and films, this park has many charming places. Get the map or download the app and set aside some time in your itinerary to wander around and see the sights.

Brooklyn Bridge Park: has an incredible view of the Manhattan skyline. It is located at the end of the Brooklyn Bridge, which is another walk that should be on your list of things to do in New York. One of the best ways to enjoy the place is to start by taking a leisurely walk or bike ride through Brooklyn Bridge Park and head back towards Manhattan via the Brooklyn Bridge, as the view from up there is beautiful.

Battery Park: is a great area for walking and exercising. It sits on the banks of the Hudson River and forms an incredible landscape. It’s at the southern tip of the island of Manhattan, where Castle Clinton is located and where you can buy tickets to visit the Statue of Liberty. A tip is to visit in the late afternoon and enjoy the sunset from the view of the bay.

High Line Park: is also a park, but a little different. It’s a beautiful, private and suspended garden. It is a linear urban park that sits on top of an old elevated train line that used to run through the middle of Manhattan. What’s striking is the contrast that the gardens and greenery of the High Line have with the city’s buildings and urban constructions. See more details about the High Line in New York.

Bryant Park: is in the center of Manhattan and is smaller than the others (eight hectares). It receives so many New York executives who work nearby that they have installed free Wi-Fi so that everyone can connect to the Internet. Another thing you’ll almost always find there is a food market, with trolleys of delicious typical American food, which is worth a meal.

There are always new attractions, performances, artists and exhibitions every month. A great time to visit Bryant Park is in winter, when they set up a large ice-skating rink that attracts many visitors and New Yorkers.

Washington Square Park: located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood, is one of the city’s busiest parks. There you’ll find playgrounds, gardens, dog parks, monuments, chess tables, picnic tables and the fountain, which, in the heat, is used as a kind of swimming pool by children.

In addition, as we said above, there are many street performers here and you can take advantage of the location to stop and watch the people move around and relax. The site is also historic and marks the beginning of Fifth Avenue.

2. Exploring Times Square in New York

Another amazing free attraction in New York is Times Square. It’s one of the best-known attractions in the world and is always the setting for films and television shows, so you’ve probably seen it several times. One tip is that Times Square is very crowded on public holidays or weekends, so go on a weekday when it’s a bit quieter. Don’t miss the Disney Store, M&M’s World and Broadway, for example.

There you’ll find the best restaurants, bars, stores and a multitude of cool sights to see. The tip for first-time visitors to Manhattan is to go to Times Square on the first night, as it really is an incredible place and will make you feel like you’re in New York. If you’re strolling around and feel hungry, we’ve got 10 great restaurants in Times Square for you to choose from.

Times Square in New York

3. Enter St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is considered the largest Catholic cathedral in the United States and welcomes approximately 5,000 worshippers every Sunday.

It’s important to note that when this cathedral was built in 1850 by Archbishop John Hughes, many thought it was far from the city center. Today, its location is privileged and this cathedral has become one of the most visited tourist attractions in New York City.

St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York

IMPORTANT: The most important tip to make the most of your time and see all the tourist attractions is to stay well located. So also see our article on where to stay in New York. With tips on the best area and good, cheap hotels.

4. Visit the Rockefeller Center in New York

Rockefeller Center is a complex of several buildings in Midtown, with many stores and restaurants that form a small open-air mall. Rockefeller Center is located between 48th Street and 51st Street and has become world famous for its incredible Christmas tree, which is set up every year starting in October and is the most visited in New York.

During the summer and spring, the flower gardens are a real eye-catcher. Another attraction at Rockefeller Center is the golden statue of Prometheus, Atlas and the G.E Building skyscraper, known as the Top Of The Rock, which has an incredible observatory at the top where you can see all of Manhattan.

Rockefeller Center in New York

5. Visit the New York Public Library

Known as the NPL, it has a collection of over 53 million books. The library has become one of the city’s tourist attractions and has appeared several times in films and series.

It is located in Manhattan, close to places like Bryant Park and Grand Central subway station, as well as Library Way. The perfect place to enjoy a read or appreciate a good art exhibition, the library also often runs free courses and lectures, making it a great place to visit in New York City.

Visit the New York Public Library

6. Strolling through Brooklyn in New York

Take a day to stroll around one of New York’s most famous neighborhoods, Brooklyn. Start by crossing the Brooklyn Bridge on foot to get to know this other part of the Big Apple. There you’ll be close to the New York City Hall building, where you can only take pictures from the outside, and the famous D.U.M.B.O. building.

This bridge offers tourists a beautiful view of the city and there is also a very nice park to relax in on the banks of the Hudson River, the Brooklyn Brigde Park. You should know that Brooklyn is one of the coolest neighborhoods and is full of attractions to visit for free.

Brooklyn in New York

The Brooklyn Bridge itself is a very beautiful attraction to visit, both from the point of view of seeing it from afar (which forms an incredible backdrop and at night it is all lit up). And from the point of view from inside the bridge itself, where you can see the whole of New York City, the Brooklyn area, Manhattan and the river that cuts through both regions.

The view is just as beautiful from the top of the Empire State Building, which has a sensational observatory to see the whole of NYC. Regarding its length, the bridge is large and it takes about 30 minutes to walk, but the view is sensational and worth it to see New York from an incredible angle.

Tip: Save money with tickets and tours

The city’s main attractions are paid for. But even so, you can save a lot by buying ticket combos for various attractions in the city.

There are three main combos you can buy in New York: CityPASS, New York Pass and The SightSeeing Pass. Both have specific advantages over the others.

To buy it, simply visit this website. It’s the best website for selling all the tickets and tours in the city. With them, we were able to save a lot on all the tours.

They offer Broadway tickets, tours, museums and ticket combos such as the CityPASS and the New York Explorer Pass. Broadway shows are incredible and if you can, buy at least one!

7. Taking the Staten Island Ferry in New York

One of the best tips for a free trip in the Big Apple is to take the Staten Island Ferry in New York, which runs between Manhattan and Staten Island. There you’ll spend 25 minutes on a totally free crossing, where you’ll be able to see the Statue of Liberty, one of the world’s most famous sights.

You’ll also be able to see some of New York’s tallest skyscrapers, which form an incredible backdrop and a great view for taking photos from a different angle. The Staten Island Ferry runs 24 hours a day and is widely used by locals, especially to get from one area to another, as some of New York’s neighborhoods are separated by the sea.

 Staten Island Ferry in New York

8. Taking pictures on The Vessel in New York

The great interactive work The Vessel is a building that forms part of the Hudson Yards and is a true work of art, with an exotic design that refers to Asian city complexes. Inside The Vessel you’ll find 154 flights of stairs, which are spiral and interconnected, as well as 80 platforms and around 2,500 steps.

The top of this building is 45 meters high, which isn’t much when compared to the great skyscrapers of New York, but it is impressive for its freedom. In this totally open observation deck, visitors can feel the wind on their faces and the structure without bars or nets.

The Vessel in New York

9. Visit Wall Street, the Bronze Bull and the Oculus in New York

Another tourist attraction in Manhattan is the famous Wall Street. It is the most important financial street in the world, home to the World Trade Center and the New York Stock Exchange. In addition to the Stock Exchange, Wall Street is home to some incredible sights. This is where you’ll find Trinity Church, where many people took shelter when the twin towers were attacked.

Other interesting spots in the area are the September 11 Memorial and Stone Street, known as New York’s first street. Another point we can’t miss is the famous 3-ton bronze Bull. This statue has a funny tradition that if you hold the bull’s privates, you’ll have great fortune. We don’t know if it’s true, but since you’ll be there, it doesn’t hurt to try.

Finally, the Oculus station, opposite the World Trade Center, has become one of the new spots for taking unusual photos in New York. Because of its interior hall, with a ceiling that reflects daylight in a triangular shape, you’ll get one of the most beautiful photos of your trip!

10. Visit the museums (on free days) in New York

Some museums in New York are completely free. Others offer free admission on specific days of the week. Check out which ones they are and which days to visit them:

Free museums daily: African Burial Ground Memorial Site; American Folk Art Museum; BRIC House; The Bronx Museum of the Arts; Federal Hall National Memorial; Hamilton Grange; The Harbor Defense Museum; The Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology); and National Museum of the American Indian.

Free museums on certain days of the week: 9/11 Memorial & Museum – free on Tuesdays, starting at 5 p.m.; MoMA – free every Friday, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.; New York Aquarium: pay what you want on Wednesdays, from 3 p.m.; Museum of Arts & Design (MAD) – pay what you want on Thursdays, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Whitney Museum of American Art – pay what you want on Fridays, from 7 p.m. to 9.30 p.m.; and Metropolitan Museum of Art – free on Fridays, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

11. Visit Grand Central Station in New York

Do you want to see historic landmarks and buildings in New York? Then visit New York’s Grand Central Station, the city’s most famous train station and one of the best known in the world. This attraction is open for visitors every day and you can take photos there at your leisure, which, by the way, are beautiful.

This place has undergone several renovations since 1913 and is now a train station with more than 40 platforms, from where trains leave every hour taking New Yorkers and visitors to other regions. As well as being a huge terminal, the station has many cultural and historical attractions, stores and restaurants. It is the most famous train station in the city and one of the best known in the world.

Every Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. there is a free 90-minute tour which tells the story of the station for those interested.

Grand Central Station in New York

12. Stroll around Coney Island in New York

Once in NY, don’t miss Coney Island, home to Luna Park, an amusement park on a beach pier that has been mentioned hundreds of times by artists in songs. The park was founded at the beginning of the 20th century and is in the Brooklyn section of New York – and although it’s old, it’s super cool and has attractions for all ages.

One of them is the Cyclone roller coaster, which is 90 years old and was once the setting for a Beyonce music video. There’s also the Wonder Wheel, 45 meters high, and many other attractions not to be missed.

Luna Park at Coney Island in New York

13. Walking around Chelsea Market in New York

Chelsea Market is housed in a building with more than 120 years of history. The market itself only occupies the second floor of the building, as the other levels are home to offices, TV production companies, stores and more. It’s a mix of 140 stores, bars, restaurants and cafés, facing each other down long corridors.

There you’ll find Japanese, Italian, American, Korean, vegan, Israeli, French, Mexican, German and so on. There are also stores selling fruit, works of art, clothes, flowers, wine, sweets, spices, books and much more.

Chelsea Market in New York

14. Be enchanted by the SoHo district in New York

You may have heard of this neighborhood, which is one of the coolest and most popular places for New Yorkers and tourists. SoHo is short for “South of Houston”. It is a neighborhood located between Hudson Square, Nolita, Little Italy and Tribeca, in the south of Manhattan.

It is considered a picturesque neighborhood, totally different from the rest of New York, with a mostly young crowd, as well as being an ideal environment for those who enjoy fashion and nightlife. You can appreciate New York’s old architecture, visit boutiques, have a delicious coffee in traditional cafés, shop in famous boutiques and see street art.

SoHo district in New York

15. Visit the Bronx Zoo in New York

The Bronx Zoo is a very interesting zoo for those traveling with children or interested in animal life. With more than 4,000 animals of 500 different species, which are raised in environments built to exactly replicate their natural habitat, the Bronx Zoo has a very cool animal preservation program and often hosts the birth of animals that reproduce there.

The zoo is very well organized and clean, which makes the setting even more beautiful and a very pleasant place to walk around and spend the day seeing the animals. Although it’s not a free visit, there is usually free admission on Wednesdays.

Bronx Zoo in New York

Save money on your trip to New York:

Saving money: do you want to plan your trip while making the most of your budget? Be sure to read our article on how to travel to New York cheap, with all the tips to save the most, while still enjoying it!

Tickets: find out where to buy your tickets in the cheapest and safest way – for Broadway, tours, museums and ticket combos. You can save up to 42%!

Mobile chip: We always use this chip. It’s electronic (eSIM), you install it instantly and you can use your cell phone’s internet anywhere in the world.

Hotels: our article on where to stay in New York. You will find out the best area, the hotels that we have stayed there and how to save a lot on the hotel.

Travel insurance: medical care in another country is very expensive and it is extremely important to take out travel insurance for any trip abroad. This is the website we always take out our insurance on. Reliable and at a good price.

Car: if you are thinking about renting one this is the best website. It compares the price at all rental companies and finds unbeatable prices. You can save up to 30%!

Transfer: do you need one, from the airport to the hotel? Find out here how to book and for the lowest price!

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