We’re not saying NYC is a budget destination, but if you’re planning a visit to the big apple, we’ve got plenty of ways to make your dollar go further in 2021. Here are 8 fun and free to enjoy experiences to have in New York City.
Enjoy a scenic stroll across East River via the legendary Brooklyn Bridge. Completed in 1883, this stunning suspension bridge was the first to use steel cables in place of iron. It was hailed as a triumph of 19th century engineering, and later became a National Historic Landmark. The iconic structure is an enduring city symbol and used by over 10,000 pedestrians and 100,000 cars each day. Cross from Brooklyn to Manhattan and you’ll earn fantastic views of the river and the soaring downtown Manhattan skyline.
Relax in the peaceful green acres of leafy Central Park, the city’s vastly popular 843 acre outdoor retreat. Sunbathe and picnic on the green lawn or by the lake, and visit the beautiful European inspired Conservatory Gardens. Beatles fans shouldn’t miss the Imagine Mosaic near the Dakota apartment building, once home to John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Check out the hieroglyphics on Cleopatra’s Needle. At 3,500 years of age, this towering Egyptian obelisk is the oldest architectural structure in New York City.
Neighbourhood walking tours
Free Tours by Foot offers free guided and self-guided walking tours around the city. Discover hidden nooks and crannies and explore the history of neighborhoods such as Chinatown, SoHo, and Little Italy. Whilst there’s no obligation to pay your guide, gratuities are definitely appreciated. You can opt for a nighttime walk, or a food tour around historic Greenwich Village (be sure to bring cash if you want to sample pizza, falafel and bagels).
For a neon fix, head to the midtown junction where 7th Avenue meets Broadway. You’ll be bombarded with a sea of illuminated billboards and flashing lights, which is particularly spectacular after dark. The thriving entertainment district is thronged with chain stores, restaurants, tourists, musicians and street performers. For the best view of the surroundings, climb the red steps by the theatre ticket booth in the centre of the square. Then grab a table and chair in one of the pedestrian zones, sit back and watch the world go by.
Staten Island Ferry
For super views of lower Manhattan, take to the water. The Staten Island Ferry runs every 30 minutes and is free to all passengers. Enjoy a 25 minute, five mile trip across New York Harbour to St George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island. In addition to Manhattan’s skyscrapers, you’ll get great views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. You can buy beer and snacks on board, and there are cafes and restaurants at the Staten Island terminal.
The High Line
You’ll enjoy unusual city views at this attractive elevated park, which has cleverly transformed a stretch of abandoned train track. Opened in 2009, the High Line runs for 1.5 miles above western Manhattan along a historic freight rail line, passing through New York’s Meatpacking district to West 34th Street. The attractive wooden walkways are bordered with verdant plant life and colourful wildflowers, and you’ll pass water features and viewing platforms. You’ll encounter food stalls, art installations, and pop-up bars as you wander.
Grand Central Terminal
Explore the lavish detail of Midtown’s cavernous and bustling Grand Central Terminal. This gorgeous beaux-arts building is a city landmark whose stunning features include the glass Tiffany clock that crowns the terminal’s 42 Street entrance. Admire the zodiac ceiling of the main concourse, which has 12 constellations painted in gold leaf, and the legendary four faced opal clock above the information booth, a long-established meeting point for New Yorkers. Don’t forget to test the renowned acoustics in the tiled ceramic arches known as the Whispering Gallery. There are numerous shops and eateries onsite.
Queens County Farm Museum
You may be surprised to discover a 47 acre working farm slap bang in the city’s Queens neighbourhood. Dating back to 1697 the site comprises crop fields, an orchard and herb garden, livestock and historic buildings. Visitors are free to wander around the site and meet some of the residents which include goats, sheep, cattle, alpacas, pigs and hens. The museum is open seven days a week and younger visitors can enjoy free tractor rides at weekends.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories