16-25 of 30 Free Things to Do in Manhattan

16-25: Find diamonds, shoeshines and Central Park landmarks.

Alice in Wonderland Sculpture in Central Park
Heather Cross

Ogle more diamonds than either Marilyn or Madonna could handle on Diamond Jewelry Way. For added fun, take a friend of the opposite sex, and count how many people ask if you are looking for something "extra special".

Wander into a church on a Tuesday afternoon and see if you can catch organ or choir practice.

Spend some time catching up on your travel log in the Rose Room at the New York Public Library...

or just get your giggles in as you imagine Bill Murray and Dan Ackroyd running down the front steps.

Eavesdrop on conversations at Bryant Park or make friends with a shoeshine man.

Look up.

Visit Cleopatra's needle or Alice in Wonderland at Central Park.

Essential Details

  • Diamond Jewelry Way
    47th Street between 6th and 7th
    Look for the giant fake diamonds on top of the street signs.
  • St. Patrick's Cathedral
    Fifth Avenue and 51st Street, across from Rockefeller Center
    Check out the statue of Atlas across the street before entering this gorgeous Gothic cathedral
  • St. Bart's
    Park Avenue and 50th Street
    Frequently on Tuesday afternoons you can catch organ practice at this stunning Byzantine church.
  • Little Church Around the Corner
    29th Street between Fifth and Madison
    Officially known as the Church of the Transfiguration, the Little Church Around the Corner has long been a favorite of New York's acting community.
  • New York Public Library
    Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street
    The two lions named Patience and Fortitude guard the entrance of this imposing monument to literacy. The Rose Reading Room and the front steps were both featured in the opening scenes of Ghostbusters.
  • Bryant Park
    Sixth Avenue between 41st and 42nd Streets
    Behind New York Public Library
    Once rundown and filled with drug dealers, this beautiful 15-acre plot is filled with sunbathers and business people on sunny afternoons.
  • Shoeshine man
    Corner of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue
  • New York Skyscrapers
    They're some of the best in the world. Take some time to look around.
  • Cleopatra's needle
    In Central Park, behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art
    82nd Street and Fifth Ave.
    Given as a gift from Egypt.
  • Alice in Wonderland
    In Central Park, north of Conservatory pond
    75th Street and Fifth Ave
    Pure Innocent Goodness. Definitely bring the kids.

More > Ideas 1-8: A Feast For The Senses on Fifth Avenue and Times Square; Ideas 9-15: Nudity, Skaters, Books and Sculptures; Ideas 26-30: Kayaking, Concerts and An Abandoned Railway