From activities to please lovers of the outdoors to events for the artsy, there is no lack of free fun to be found in New York City this summer. Need some ideas as you plan your weekend? We rounded up some of our favorite freebies in the Big Apple this summer.
Kayaking Classes at Downtown Boathouse
Hit the water and head downtown for free Kayaking classes on the Hudson. Changing rooms are available so all you need to bring is a bathing suit or t-shirt and shorts. They provide the kayaks on a first come first serve basis. The Downtown Boathouse will be open all summer and close in October.
Shakespeare in the Park
Celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, Shakespeare in the Park takes place at the Delacorte Theater near 81st street. People line up in the wee hours of the morning to get their free tickets, which are distributed at 1 p.m. (Two per person, on the day of the show). Meryl Streep, Christopher Walken, Martin Sheen, Julia Stiles, and Anne Hathaway have all appeared on this stage. This year’s productions include As You Like It ending at the end of June, while Into the Woods will then begin July 23 and end August 25.
Stargazing on the High Line
Between West 12th and West 14th Streets every Tuesday at twilight until May 29th you can take in the stars using high powered telescopes on the High Line. Members of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York are there to talk to about the sites you see. This event moves depending on the view that evening.
Shape Up NYC
Who isn’t looking to drop a few pounds for the swimsuit season? Shape Up NYC offers free fitness classes for adults and kids at dozens of locations across all five boroughs every week. There are all types of classes offered including zumba, yoga, aerobics, and kickboxing. To sign-up for classes visit their website to find out where classes are in your area.
Central Park Bagel Bark
Coffee and canines – what’s not to love? Bagel Bark, presented by Central Park Paws, is a monthly treat for dog owners. From 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., the event offers free coffee, bagels, and pastries are offered to dog owners who visit the dog park. Check out their website for the next events.
HBO Byrant Park Summer Film Festival
Until August, bring a blanket or a lawn chair to enjoy a movie night outdoors. Various films will be presented this summer at Bryant park, stay tuned for a list of this summer’s movies. Curious about the types of movies played? Check out movies screened in previous years on their website.
Drink up! On Saturdays and Sundays the Brooklyn Brewery offers free tours for the public. There’s no need to make a reservation to learn how your favorite brews are made. Make sure you wear closed-toe shoes so you’re toes are protected from any hot liquids that might splash.
Macaulay Culkin’s iPod
Every month this Bleecker Street haunt hosts a dance party with a playlist by none other than Macaulay Culkin. Each month there is also a different surprise to end the night, like snacks or star appearances. The event takes place in the Gallery at 10 p.m. Stay tuned to their website for the next date.
Ride the Staten Island Ferry
Sure, the Staten Island Ferry’s primary purpose is to transport residents to and from the Island of Manhattan. Think outside the box here: The boat ride is a free, 5 mile (or 25 minute) ride around offering views of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Kind of romantic, no?
American Folk Art Museum
Admission and tours are free at the American Folk Art Museum. Check out the summer exhibition “Jubilation, Rumination: Life, Real and Imagined.” The museum also features Free Music Fridays with performances from folk, indie-pop, and other performers. This summer, the museum has satellite exhibit at the South Street Seaport: “Compass: Folk Art in Four Directions,” which gives visitors a hands-on experience and a glimpse into what the early days of the seaport were like.
Target Free Fridays at MoMA
Get into one of New York’s most recognizable museums for free Friday nights from 4 p.m.-8 p.m. This free pass allows you into all exhibitions, films, and galleries. It might get crowded, but you get to view amazing works of art.
Catch the ferry, departing from the Battery Maritime Building, to Governor’s Island and spend the day relaxing at the park. Check out our guide to Governor’s Island for a look at the exhibits, restaurants and sights available at this city gem.
For three consecutive Saturdays, August 6,13, and 20th, entire streets will be shut down to vehicle traffic and pedestrians will be able to roam free. Ride your bike, roller skate, run, or take a stroll. There are also many activities along the route that you can join. Stay tuned on their website for a list of all the activities. Summer Streets takes place from 7:00 am to 1:00 pm. The route extends from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park along Park Ave.
Close out the summer with a great free concert in the center of Times Square featuring star-studded musical numbers from your favorite shows on Broadway. “Broadway on Broadway” takes place in early September and will celebrate it 20th anniversary this year – so you can look forward to something special this year including sneak previews of new shows.