Whether you're visiting New York City on a budget or spending big bucks on Broadway shows, designer clothes, and dining at expensive restaurants, there may come a moment when your wallet is empty and all you have is time on your hands -- that's where this article comes to the rescue! Check out these ways to enjoy New York City without spending a dime:
Free NYC Boat Rides:
Staten Island Ferry:
Rumored to be "the cheapest date around" a ride on the Staten Island Ferry will cost you nothing for the hour long round trip from Battery Park (South Ferry Subway station) to the borough of Staten Island. During the trip you can experience some of the same fabulous views that the pricier trips offer, including the skyscrapers and bridges of lower Manhattan, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Check out the weekday or weekend schedules for the ferry and plan your free cruise.
A couple of things to note: 1) you will have to get off the boat in Staten Island and get back on, even if you just want to ride back and forth and 2) the sightseeing cruises get much closer to the Statue of Liberty (& include time for a photo-op with the Statue of Liberty behind you) but since this is a commuter ferry, the Staten Island Ferry doesn't get as close or stop for photos.
Free NYC Museums:
National Museum of the American Indian:
The sixteenth museum in the Smithsonian Institution, the national museum works in collaboration with Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere to preserve, study, and exhibit the lives, history and art of Native Americans. The museum is housed in the historic Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House and museum admission is free daily. The museum is located in lower Manhattan on Bowling Green, just a short walk from the Staten Island Ferry. Directions by public transportation and a map are available on the MNAI site.
Learn about German life and culture at the library and gallery of the Goethe Institut. Exhibits, lectures and performances are changed regularly. The museum is located on Spring Street and is open Monday through Friday. Admission to the exhibits and lectures is free. The library is closed Mondays and costs $10 ($5 for students) for year long access.
The Forbes Magazine Galleries:
Located at 5th Avenue and 12th Street, the Forbes Magazine Galleries feature Faberge Easter eggs, toys, presidential manuscripts and fine art. Entrance to the galleries is free. Hours are 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Call 212-206-5548 for more information. The works at the gallery serve as inspiration for The Forbes Collection.
New York Public Library:
Entrance to exhibits at the four major Manhattan branches as well as borough branches is free. The various branches of the library are located throughout the city -- check out the current exhibit schedule and descriptions to find out what most interests you! Exhibits are as diverse as the libraries themselves -- from Science, Industry and Business to Performing Arts and the Humanities.
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum:
The only U.S. museum dedicated to contemporary and historic design is open free to the public on Saturdays from 6-9 p.m. Located on museum mile at 91st Street and 5th Avenue, the museum is open daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. In addition to the permanent collection, there are changing exhibitions.
See our complete list of Free and Pay-What-You-Wish Days at NYC Museums