5 Free Things To Do In New York.

New York City, New York, is one of the most expensive cities in the world and it can cost a lot to visit, but travel doesn’t have to be as expensive as you think, and even some of the most expensive destinations in the world have some amazing free sites and activities to keep even the tightest of budgets happy. Check out these 5 free things to see and do in New York.

New York is one of the premier weekend break cities in the world and a perfect flight hub for any backpacker heading out to explore the states, Canada or even central or south America, but it isn’t cheap. Tickets to see the main attractions, the infamous NYC taxis, food, it all adds up, but backpackers can still see the best of this amazing city on a budget, they just have to know where to go.

Visit The Generaal Ulysses S. Grant National Memorial.

Also known as Grant’s tomb, this impressive granite structure is modelled after Mausolus’ tomb (yes, that is where the word came from) in Halicarnassus and is the largest mausoleum in the U.S. It holds the remains of the civil war general and his wife, and is an interesting alternative to the usual NYC sights.

Explore Governers Island.

Its not free to get the ferry over any more, so you will have to shell out a few dollars for that, but you can spend a full day exploring the multitude of free sights, such as Nolan Park, the Admirals house and numerous picturesque jogging spots and picnic areas for free.

Reflect At The National American Indian Museum.

Often missed as tourists flock to the nearby Battery Park and the Statue Of Liberty, this amazing yet underrated museum concentrates on the largely forgotten culture of the native American, and is housed in an impressive former customs house from the turn of the 20th Century.  

Soak In The History At The New York Public Library.

I am honestly astounded that this historical building isn’t on more tourist trails, but again that may just be for the best as you get to enjoy this New York icon without too many tourist crowds. It is well worth saving half a day just to wander round and soak in the history and culture that this library exudes, but it has free daily tours twice a day Monday to Saturday and once on a Sunday.

Take A Ride On The Staten Island Ferry.

This is perhaps one of the most famous, popular and long held free attractions in New York, if not the whole of the US, but it is still worth mentioning on any list! Why pay for a ferry tour when you can simply hop onto this free commuter ferry between Staten Island and Manhattan and get some great picture postcard views of both the Statue of Liberty and the iconic NYC skyline?

New York city doesn’t have to be an ultra expensive destination, so wether you have a long layover, a few days or a week, it is worth exploring some of the lesser known sides of the city without it costing you a cent!

Did you enjoy this article? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below or on my Facebook or Twitter pages and please feel free to share it with any or all of the social media buttons. If you want to get more great backpacking tips, advice and inspiration, please subscribe to updates via email in the box to your right.

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Michael Huxley is a published author, professional adventurer and founder of the travel website, Bemused Backpacker. He has spent the last twenty years travelling to over 100 countries on almost every continent, slowly building Bemused Backpacker into a successful business after leaving a former career in emergency nursing and travel medicine, and continues to travel the world on numerous adventures every year.

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2 comments on “5 Free Things To Do In New York.
  1. kariannedisalvo says:

    My favourite place in New York was the High Line. When we visited, it wasn’t too crowded so felt like a lovely escape from the crowds. Such a lovely walk, with some great views.

    Also, we adored Brooklyn. We thought Prospect Park was lovely, and so much quieter than Central Park. And we spent a number of evenings walking along the promenade in Brooklyn Bridge Park, waiting for the sun to go down and the skyline to light up.

    I wasnt particularly excited about going to New York, but was surprised to find how much I loved it. There is so many free things to do. We were there for four days, and only really spent money on accommodation and food. A great city.

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Hi, I'm Michael! I'm a former nurse turned published author and world travelling professional adventurer! I have spent over twenty years travelling over 100 countries and I want to inspire you to do the same! Want to know more about me? Just click here!

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