Top 10 FREE Things to See in NYC
The transcript from my Travel Tuesdays YouTube Video
Welcome to Travel Tuesdays! This week we take you to New York City, the most populous city in the US, and one of the most expensive. New York City is filled with museums, art galleries, landmarks, delicious food, and people, lots of people. There are many attractions here to keep you busy, but we wanted to showcase some budget friendly options. So, without further adieu, we bring you our list of the top 10 free things to see in NYC, starting with…
#10 Bryant Park
Is a wonderful 4 acre green space where you can leave behind the hustle and bustle of the city, and just relax. Located in midtown, this park is a favourite lunch spot for the Manhattan professionals who work in this area, as well as couples, families, and tourists alike. It’s lush green lawn is surround by Manhattan skyscrapers, and buildings such as the New York Public Library. Didn’t bring a picnic? No worries, they’ve got you covered with the Bryant Park Grill and the Bryant Park Cafe. Hours of operation vary depending on the time of year and if the park is hosting an event, but you can typically access it daily from 7am to 10pm.
#9 The New York Public Library
Is a beautiful piece of architecture nestled next to Bryant Park. This is New York’s flagship branch and is also called the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. Located on Fifth avenue, close to many of New York’s main attractions, this is a must see for anyone visiting the city. The architecture on the outside is impressive, but it’s equally beautiful inside, with its historic Rose Main Reading Room, of which you can access with guided tour. There are 2 guided tours of the library, which are free, but you must sign up in advance. The hours of operation are from 10am to 6pm, Mon - Sat.
#8 Fifth Avenue
Since you’re already in the neighborhood visiting Bryant Park and the New York Public Library, you might as well take a stroll down fifth avenue for a little retail therapy or just some casual window shopping. Fifth avenue is home to high end shops such as Tiffany & Co., Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and of course SAKS Fifth Avenue. But since we like to be budget minded, we’re happy to report that they also offer up more reasonably priced shops such as H&M and GAP. Other attractions along Fifth Avenue include the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, The Met, and the Guggenheim.
#7 St Patrick’s Cathedral
Is also located on Fifth Avenue, and creates a stark contrast to the modern skyscrapers it’s nestled in between. The cathedral is a beautiful example of Neo Gothic architecture, was built between 1858 and 1879, and has served as a beacon of the Roman Catholic community in the city ever since. The Cathedral welcomes all visitors but hours can vary and depend on when services are being held. Don’t forget to visit the gift shop while you are there, and help support keeping the cathedral accessible to all.
#6 The High Line
Is located in Manhattan’s West Side and utilizes a 1 1/2 mile long abandoned rail track as a pedestrian walkway and urban park. It runs from Gansevoort Street to West 34th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues, and takes visitors through the meatpacking district, West Chelsea, and Hell’s kitchen. You’ll love getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city and immersing yourself in the gardens and art installations, as well as grabbing a bite to eat or coffee from one of the many vendors along the way. The High Line is open daily from 7am to 9pm and is divided into three sections, so you have multiple access points along the way.
#5 Grand Central Terminal
Is an icon in New York City and should be a must see on everyone’s list! Construction on the terminal began in 1903 with the doors opening in 1913, and since it has become one of the busiest transportations hubs in New York. Also housed within Grand Central are shops, restaurants, and entertainment, so spending a few hours here is quite easy. The terminal itself is open daily from 5:15am to 2am, but hours vary for individual shops & restaurants.
#4 Times Square
I located in midtown Manhattan and whether you love it or hate it, you have to stop by and take it all in at least once on your visit to the city. We find the best time to visit to be at night, when it lights up in neon and technicolor and the streets are buzzing with activity and excitement. It is suggested that a visit to times square is best made before or after taking in a broadway play. And though it’s famous for it’s New Year’s Eve ball drop party, we’d recommend you visit at a less hectic time.
#3 The Brooklyn Bridge
Spans the East River between Manhattan and Brooklyn and is one of New York City’s most iconic landmarks, aside from Lady Liberty herself. The bridge has 6 lanes of traffic as well as one pedestrian and bike walkway, and is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. The bridge is a must see and affords you wonderful views of the New York Skyline as well as Brooklyn. You can access the bridge 24 hours a day, but we suggest booking an NYC walking tour, most of which make stops at the bridge, to really learn about the area.
#2 The Statue of Liberty
Though technically not a free activity, it is located on Liberty Island and if you want to access the island and lady liberty, it will cost you a fee. But, views are free and so is the Staten Island Ferry, which cruises right by this iconic landmark. So we suggest you of hop on the ferry for some free views, photos, and memories. The ferry operates 24 hours a day 7 days a week and runs every 15 to 30 minutes depending on the time of day and year. The Statue of Liberty is New York’s most iconic landmark, and no trip to the city is complete without gazing upon her.
#1 Central Park
Is located in Manhattan just north of midtown, occupies 843 acres of green space, and welcomes over 40 million visitors each year. This park is truly the heart of New York and is an absolute must see. You can spend an entire day enjoying the park and its surrounding attractions, such as the Guggenheim, The Met, and the American Museum of Natural History. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes in this area, and plenty of nature to be enjoyed, so bring a blanket, grab some food, and enjoy a picnic on the lawn of America’s most popular urban park.
What are your favourite NYC attractions? Let me know in the comments! And, remember to check out the Travel Tuesdays YouTube Video to be fully immersed in the experience! Until next time, be loving, be kind, be better!