New York is anything but cheap. However, there still are cheap things to do in New York that are also lots of fun. Check out our list!
Originally from Chicago, Upright Citizens Brigade is an improv comedy troupe started by Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh. They came to New York from in 1996 and quickly became noticed and rose to fame. UCB is now a 152-seat theatre, featuring hundreds of comedians, as well as a school where improv is taught. There are two New York City locations, in Chelsea and in the East Village, where shows are usually no more than $5 or $10. Definitely a great place to do New York on a budget.
Located off the Bedford Ave L stop is Brooklyn Brewery. Free tours are given on Saturdays and Sundays 12-8 pm, as well as free tastings, so bring that ID (and maybe a fake mustache–for seconds).
Need a day plan for the family? Head to Governor’s Island, open to the public May 23-September 27th, for biking, mini-golf, an interactive sculpture garden, fishing (catch and release; free for kids 16 and under), and tours of military sites. They even offer 90-minute walking trips around the island lead by a ranger. Catch the ferry from the Battery Maritime Building on South St. There are plenty of things to do, especially in the summer, check out the full events calendar here.
Greenwood Cemetery probably isn’t what you expect from a burial ground. It’s full of magnificent marble mausoleums, ponds inhabited by turtles and ducks (even on with giant koi fish), and 478 acres of walkable serenity; it’s easily one of the most beautiful places in Brooklyn. You can even take a historic-trolley tour, or be part of an interactive theatrical experience led by the Great American Casket Company. A full list of events here.
Situated in Long Island City along the East River is this historic sculpture garden open 10 am to sunset daily. Wander the 90 types of flora, and varying art installations, all free to the public. Wednesdays in July and August at 7 pm are outdoor cinema night, featuring internationally themed live performances and food vendors. So picnic and enjoy the sun setting on the NYC skyline from across the river. More on cinema night here.
Bronx Zoo: Free on Wednesdays.
New York Aquarium: Pay what you like on Fridays after 3 PM
Natural History Museum: Pay what you like.
Metropolitan Museum of Art: Pay what you like.
Don’t think for a second that you can’t enjoy New York without having a lot of money. These are just a handful of cheap things to do in New York. Look out for more cheap options in the future.