Free Family Fun in New York City

Heading to the Big Apple is a big adventure. It doesn’t matter if you are coming from near or far. What does matter is that you’ve got a great list of places that you want to visit? There are plenty of free and low priced activities, that is why NYC is such a phenomenal place to visit. You can nestle hours and hours of free family fun in between seeing Broadway shows like Sara Bareilles’ Waitress. In the post we are going to take a look at a LOT of free things to do in NYC, after all, this wouldn’t be a frugal blog if you’re looking to splash the cash.

Free Family Fun in New York City from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom
Photo by freddie marriage on Unsplash

Central Park

Yes, there are parks all over the world, but there is only one Central Park. Almost all parks are free, but this one should be at the top of the list. Of course, to keep the cost of a day out here even lower, you should bring your own picnic rather than purchase food from any of the vendors in the vicinity. Why is it great? Well, it is filled with statues, amazing free events, and has a few little areas. Strawberry Fields, a mosaic dedicated to John Lennon called ‘Imagine, a site called The Pond – which might feel familiar to readers of ‘The Catcher in the Rye.


Galleries galore are to be found in Chelsea. There are so many it wouldn’t be a great use of time to list them all here. Check a guide to get that planned out properly. All of the galleries are free to enter, and if you’re smart, you’ll time the visit with the cheese-and-wine evenings (usually on a Thursday). There is no pressure to buy any art, you can go to purely enjoy.

Grand Central Partnership Walking Tours

You might be tempted to take a walk around by yourself, but you’re going to be missing out on some serious local knowledge. There are two historian lead tours, lasting 90 minutes. Arrive at 12.30pm on a Friday to take the trip. 120 Park Ave, at 42nd St, Midtown East. You’ll be checking out places like the ‘Whispering Gallery’ and the Chrysler Building.

National Museum of the American Indian

Just off the Bowling Green and Battery Park is this little gem. The National Museum of the American Indian is home to one of the country’s most glorious collections of Native American art. With over a million items, it’s an extensive collection that is steeped in history. It would be easy to assume that it is purely a historical collection. However, the focus is on culture, which is what makes this place so amazing. Many tourists completely overlook this and therefore miss out.

Socrates Sculpture Park

Filled with gorgeous art installations, the Socrates Sculpture Park (on the East River), overlooking Roosevelt Island and the Upper East Side is quite something. On a Wednesday evening in the summer there are movie showings. Check out what’s on in advance and time your visit to fit in one of the famed light shows. Broadway at Vernon Blvd, Astoria, Queens

American Museum of Natural History

It would be akin to a crime for you to visit NYC and skip what is hailed as one of the must-see places in New York. A top tip here would be that in the last hour of opening, which is between 4.45 and 5.45pm, you can visit for free. While you can, of course, attend earlier on in the day, you are encouraged to pay a suggested price. If you are frugal enough, you can suggest you pay nothing.

New York Public Library

The New York Public Library is NYC’s most famous library. It is situated most prominently in the Beaux- Arts icon east of Time Square (Time Square also being free to walk around, and after all would it be a trip to NYC without taking some photos here?). The two lions named Patience and Fortitude, carved from marble are worth seeing too. The reading room, which boasts room for 500 people to read, while the light is provided by the original lamps. If you are looking to combine some fantastic reading locations with some exhibits, then you are in luck. The New York Public Library have exhibits like the Declaration of Independence, or perhaps you’d be interested in one of the 431,000 old maps? Take advantage of the free tours at 11 am and 2 pm Monday to Saturday or a 2 pm on a Sunday. Bear in mind that the library is not open on a Sunday in the summer.

Green-Wood Cemetery

While this one might seem a little disrespectful to some people, it is the nation’s most visited tourist attraction, after Niagara Falls. The Green-Wood Cemetery was founded in 1838 and is the final resting place for over 6 hundred thousand people. To put it another way, that is around 530 miles of bodies if they were placed head to toe. It is peaceful, green and incredibly leafy. If that wasn’t enough, keep an eye out for the green parakeets. They usually hang around the entrance. The parakeets have lived in the Green-Wood Cemetery since the 1980s – fun fact!

Movies in the Park

This one is something that has to be experienced at least once in your life. The calming evenings of New York lend themselves to lounging in the park watching some movies. They are held at parks across the city, so take your pick. Bryant Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and McCarren Park are all on the list.

Free Family Fun in New York City from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom
Photo by Edgar Chaparro on Unsplash


No list of amazing and free things would be complete without the Museum of Modern Art. As you would guess, this place gets jam-packed when it is open, with both tourists and locals. The best time to visit for those free hours is on a Friday between the hours o 4 and 8 pm.


New York Botanical Garden

This one is free on a Wednesday, and between 9-10am on a Saturday. Opening in 1891, boasts an impressive 50 acres of old-growth forest.

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