New York City (NYC) can be a very expensive place. Your money will gradually disappear on food, hotel costs, activities, shopping, the list goes on. Museums generally cost around $25 per person and if you want to go up the Empire State Building or One World Observatory you can basically double that. I was pleasantly surprised that there were some amazing things to do in NYC that required absolutely no financial outlay! Between them these ten ideas will excite you, inspire you, relax you, make you smile and make you sad. Each one will provide you with their own taste of what NYC is all about.
Walk the Brooklyn Bridge – I recommend walking from the Brooklyn side towards Manhattan. You will then be walking towards the famous NYC skyline and will have some great views of the city. You will also be able to spot the Statue of Liberty in the distance as you walk over the bridge. Keep in mind that the bridge is open to walkers and cyclists and so make sure you stay in the walking lane as the cyclists like to go really fast over the bridge. It’s easy to walk in zig zags when the views are this good!
Visit the 9/11 Memorial – This was one of my top priorities when I was planning my trip to NYC and I will openly admit that I got quite emotional at both the memorial and neighbouring museum. I was 14 years old on 11th September 2001 and I still remember exactly where I was when this tragedy took place. I found the memorial to be a perfect tribute to those that lost their lives and will always remember my visit there and the emotions I experienced. Please understand that I am by no means implying that the memorial site should be seen as a tourist attraction by writing about it here but what happened there is a huge part of America’s modern history and I went because I wanted to pay my respects to those that died and those that rescued. If you do visit, please remember where you are and be respectful.
Experience Times Square at night – The bright lights of the big city! Times Square gets very busy, especially at night time, but it really is the best time to go. Walking around Times Square will take a good 30 minutes because of all the people but it is such an iconic place and also close to some very good restaurants. Bonus!
Take a stroll through Central Park – Everyone knows about Central Park but make sure you experience it for yourself. The size of it really blew me away and with all the trees, lakes and grass it is easy to forget you are in the heart of a major city. Do some exploring and you will find monuments, street performers, fountains and gardens. It’s a great place to relax away from the hustle and bustle.
St Patrick’s Cathedral – I have never been to a city where next door to the Armani shop they have a beautiful huge cathedral, until now. Located on the world famous 5th Avenue, St Patrick’s Cathedral is a must see! Why not step inside and appreciate the interior as well as the external beauty.
Take Selfies infront of famous sights – Places such as City Hall, Radio City, Madison Square Garden and the NBC Studios are all really easy to find an offer a great opportunity for a picture. Why not make a few additions to your selfie collection? If you are into that kind of thing of course.
See the Friends apartment block – Located in West Village the apartment block that was used for the exterior shot in the TV show ‘Friends’ is there for all to see. Of course you can’t go in or anything but it’s worth going for the photo opportunity and as a chance to see the village where it is set which feels a world away from the rest of Manhattan.
Sit and relax in Bryant Park – I had never heard of Bryant Park until I visited NYC but it’s a place where you can sit and relax and see the Empire State Building peaking over at you. Surrounded by skyscrapers it is actually a very welcoming and well laid out green space. They even have outdoor theatre being performed here on some nights which you can watch for free. Why pay Broadway prices?!
Visit Wall Street – You have seen it on films and in the news, why not see it in real life? Whether you want to see the New York Stock Exchange or the bronze statue of George Washington marking the site where he was inaugurated as President, it is great to see one of the most well-known streets in the world.
Browse the designer shops – If you excited by fashion then this will appeal to you. 5th Avenue is home to shops from just about every famous fashion house in the world. If you do want to spend some money then why not head to Macy’s department store (yes it’s the same one from Miracle on 34th Street) and take a look at what they have to offer. Brands such as Calvin Klein and Levi’s are a lot cheaper in the USA than they are in Europe so there are savings to be made.
So there you have it, ten things to do in NYC that will cost you absolutely nothing. I personally did all ten and can tell you I don’t feel like any of them were a waste of my time. Of course you can spend money at some of these places, you can buy clothes in Macy’s or you can buy a drink at Bryant Park but you don’t have to. Yes there are things to do in NYC that will cost you $25-50 each that are really quite amazing (One World Observatory, Natural History Museum, 9/11 Museum) but this list proves that NYC isn’t all about opening your wallet or purse and that great experiences are there to be had for free.
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