5 Free Ways to Explore NYC

Having fun in the Big Apple doesn’t have to mean putting a hole in your wallet. New York City is full of fun things to do that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Here’s a quick list of five NYC attractions that won’t cost you a dime:

1. Metropolitan Museum of Art

Located on 5th Avenue, the Met is one of New York’s most famous landmarks. Although there is technically a suggested donation for every adult visitor of the museum, you can always enter for free (if you can stomach a few disapproving looks from the people at the front door). Once past a mild scowl or two, you will be treated to one of the world’s most extensive and impressive art collections. With exhibits ranging from classical medieval art and ancient Egyptian artifacts to a modern rooftop sculpture garden, the Met covers almost every base imaginable and has pieces from nearly every major Western artist and sculptor.

Tip: Strategize; sometimes you can get overwhelmed by the shear number of choices available, so make a plan beforehand and enjoy!

2. City Hall

Located in Lower Manhattan’s Civic Center, New York City Hall is the oldest, in-use municipal building in the country. A designated national landmark, City Hall is historically significant and architecturally breathtaking. Design NYC offers free tours of the building every weekday that focus on the building’s structure and history. The neighborhood around City Hall also offers many options for free entertainment; the Brooklyn Bridge is a short walk away, as is the Tweed Courthouse (where you can take another free tour!).

3. Central Park

The go-to freebie of New York City, Central Park is perfect for all ages. Whether you’re an amorous young couple on a honeymoon, a family on vacation or a retiree taking the time to travel, Central Park has something for everyone. Lounge on the Great Lawn or walk the beautiful trails that weave through the park, test your mettle on the basketball courts or work on your swing at the numerous softball fields — there’s never a shortage of things to do in the park. Pack a picnic lunch and you’re set for a great day in the greatest city on Earth.

4. Late Show with David Letterman

Did you come to New York to see a celebrity? Luckily for you, New York City is the filming location for many popular talk shows — many of which give away tickets for free! To acquire tickets for Late Show with David Letterman, submit an online ticket request on the show’s website or visit the studio to submit an in-person request. Be prepared to show up early in order to redeem your tickets (you aren’t guaranteed a seat even if you submit a request), wear comfortable shoes and dress to brave the weather. Lots of people want to see David Letterman, so don’t be discouraged if you strike out the first time you try to get tickets. There are lots of shows filming in NYC, so if you miss out at one, simply try another!

5. Free Tours by Foot

When you think of touring NYC, you may envision a sunny ride on a classic double-decker bus. A ticket for that bus can cost you a pretty penny, but worry not: There is a way to see the city for free! Free Tours by Foot is (as its name suggests) a daily tour service that can show your around the city, free of cost. Their young and enthusiastic team of guides lead tours in many neighborhoods, including Greenwich Village, Midtown, Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn Heights, Soho, Chinatown and Little Italy. If you enjoy guided tours and are on a budget, these are the guys for you.

This is a guest post from Erica Moss. Erica is the social media outreach coordinator for the online Masters in Nursing program at Georgetown University, which has one of the nation’s leading family nurse practitioner programs concentrations. She also loves exploring NYC, photography and meeting new people in her free time.

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