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  • The Traveling Chismosa

7 Free Things To Do in New York City

Updated: Feb 13, 2021

If you know me, you know how obsessed I am with New York City and I try to visit multiple times a year, I'm basically a resident. Over the years I've gathered a lot of information on what activities you can do for free or on the cheap and I've rounded them up just for you. If you plan on heading to New York soon, let me know and I'd be happy to give you more information.

Flatiron Building in New York City. Madison Square Park.
  • Hudson Yards

Considered one of the newest neighborhoods in Manhattan, Hudson Yards is home to over 100 shops and restaurants and also includes residences. My favorite thing about Hudson Yards is The Vessel, the famous tower to the sky that also doubles as a museum. Great for Instagram pics! If you're hungry I would definitely recommend eating at Mercado Little Spain by Chef Jose Andres.

Hudson Yards in New York City. The Vessel Museum.
  • Central Park

Whenever I take a trip to New York I have to make a stop at Central Park to either have a picnic or just take a morning stroll with my coffee. I love this green oasis in the middle of a bustling city, you can get lost in this park and forget you're in Manhattan. There are always locals walking their dogs or getting in their workout, it makes me feel like I'm part of the energy.

Central Park in New York City. Girl eating pizza in Central Park.
  • The Highline & Chelsea Market

Okay, I can never get enough of the Chelsea Market! Think of it as kind of an upscale food hall but it also has shops. I love to pop in grab a dessert and coffee and take a walk on The Highline which connects to the market just outside. The Highline is an elevated park that was created on what used to be the Central Railroad. On some parts of the park you get amazing views of the city and that's where I like to sit and just take in the moment.

  • Staten Island Ferry

This might sound odd, but if I lived in New York a dream date for me would be to taking the Staten Island Ferry. First of all, it's a free ferry that takes you from Manhattan to Staten Island but the views you get of the Statue of Liberty are unbeatable and you can avoid crowds. Don't be fooled there are plenty of things to do in Staten Island. I remember eating at one of the best pizza places there and you can't beat the views of the city!

  • Brooklyn Bridge

If there is one touristy thing you do while in New York, it should be walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. I remember the first time I did this the rush I felt with all of the bicyclists rushing past me, runners doing their daily exercise, the traffic beneath us. It all just hits you in a good way. It doesn't matter if you go from Manhattan to Brooklyn or vice the versa, just do it! And then eat the biggest pizza you can find because you'll be hungry after.

View from Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York City.
  • Columbia University

One of the most beautiful university campuses I've seen, Columbia University is located in the Morningside Heights neighborhood. Other than paying the subway fare to get there it doesn't cost a dime to roam around the campus for a bit. The surrounding neighborhood is also super cute and has a bunch of restaurants.

Girl walking down steps of Columbia University in New York City.
  • The Oculus & 9/11 Memorial

A trip to New York is never complete without paying your respects at the 9/11 Memorial. Seeing those two fountains where the towers used to be hits you hard, be prepared for an emotional day. Across the street sits the Oculus, an incredible structure that serves as a train station and houses a variety of shops as well. It's hard not to notice it and is even more impressive inside with it being completely white inside. Some say it looks like a dove in flight.


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