Although the Big Apple is known for being rather pricey, there are plenty of free things to do in New York City. Free doesn’t have to be a dirty word. Even if you’re a luxury traveler, you have no excuses! There are some really fun and engaging things to see and do that shouldn’t be missed even if you aren’t a budget traveler. I’ve put together a list of my favorites free things to do in NYC! You’ll have such a good time that you’ll forget you’re not even paying a dime with these free things to do in New York City.
New York City is full of world class museums with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, arguably, casting the largest shadow. But if you’ve ever walked along 5th Avenue, the eastern border of Central Park, you’ve likely passed the Frick Collection and maybe didn’t even know it.
From the street, the building looks pretty much like any other in the quiet neighborhood. Well maintained, it’s set back from the street a little, surrounded by a modest formal garden. But inside the building on the corner of 5th Avenue and 70th Street is a substantial art collection that includes works by Rembrandt, Renoir, Whistler among many others!
Perhaps the most prominent chef of Japanese cuisine in America, Iron Chef Morimoto is challenging himself in a new way. He has an impressive list of fine dining restaurants around the world. You can taste his Japanese fusion food in Philadelphia (where he opened his first restaurant in 2001) to Las Vegas. And while ramen, a Japanese staple, has been on his menus since the beginning, it’s never been the focus, that is, until now.
Last year, in Midtown Manhattan, Morimoto opened Momosan Ramen & Sake, his first restaurant dedicated to ramen. But at Momosan, Iron Chef Morimoto elevates ramen to a whole new level.
What is better than a hot cup of coffee or tea on a snowy winter’s day? How about sampling dozens of different coffees and teas? This past weekend my husband and I took the ferry to NYC and trekked to Brooklyn. The annual Coffee and Tea Festival was being held in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn. After attending the Philadelphia arm of the festival a year or two ago, I was looking forward to the NYC version.
If you’re not flying into New York City, the question is: how do you get there? I recently took a day trip to the Big Apple and that was the million dollar question question. Nobody in their right mind wants to battle the traffic and then search for parking. You have to have plenty of time, money and, most importantly: patience. That leaves a couple of public transit options: Amtrak train, park & ride train or park & ride ferry. Without a doubt, taking the NY Waterway ferry is my new favorite way to reach Manhattan!
“Have you heard of the Staten Island Ferry?” That’s what a guy we were talking to in Brooklyn asked. I’d heard of the ferry, of course, but I didn’t know anything about it. Turns out there’s a free ferry between Manhattan and Staten Island and it transports 60,000 passengers between the islands on weekdays. It takes about a half hour each way and the views can’t be beat. So the morning of our last day in NYC, before we left Manhattan, we hoofed it down to the tip of the island, cutting through TriBeCa and the Financial District — where people were lined up to take their photo next to Wall Street’s famous bull statue — on the way. If you’re looking for free things to do in NYC, then the Staten Island Ferry should be at the top of your list!
When we traveled to Manhattan last month we did have one goal that had to be accomplished. It could not be missed. Visiting Harney & Sons SoHo Shop & Tasting Room. I fell for Harney teas after having their Paris blend with my delicious French toast at Cantine Parisienne, which sadly now is closed. I quickly placed an order and haven’t been disappointed yet. When we visited the restaurant last month, I have to admit I was a bit disappointed that they didn’t have Harney & Sons‘ tea but some other French brand.
Some of my favorite memories with my husband while traveling have been at parks. What’s not to love about the fresh air, the open space and the wild life? Although we stayed downtown, we made a stop at Central Park to explore.
I’m not sure how it happened, but we ended up in New York City for a two night, three day vacation. Actually, that’s a lie. The short version is that I won a contest. Who can turn up complementary train tickets and a hotel room? So we called it a short work week, kissed the puppy goodbye and high-tailed it up to NYC’s TriBeCa neighborhood for a mini-vacation. I have no words for how needed the vacation was but there’s something about three days that hardly makes it seem real. Not that I’m complaining. I’ll certainly take what I can get.
It’s hard to believe it but we recently found ourselves on the island of Manhattan again recently. More on that later. But one of the best parts: the food! Since we had just been in NYC in May, we knew a few places that we wanted to visit again. For better or for worse, we’re the boring kind of people that find a restaurant we like and stick with it. Until they discourage us that is. On this trip we had some really good food but we also had some really disappointing food. Here’s a recap of our NYC restaurant eats.