Though the majority of parks are free to visit, most aren’t Manhattan’s famed Central Park. Originally designed in the 1860s to boost real-estate value uptown, it’s filled with beautiful sites such as Strawberry fields, the “Imagine” mosaic, statues, free events, and of course, people-watching.
The High Line
This park has the feel of a real-live attraction, complete with its own opening hours. Created from an abandoned elevated railroad track, this park, being 30-feet in the air, connects the Meatpacking District with Chelsea’s galleries. Catch amazing views of the Hudson River, tall city buildings, and the streets of pedestrians below.
Located mostly in the 20s Streets between 10th and 11th Avenues, New York’s top spot for gallery crawls is in the Chelsea district. You’ll find art galleries hosting group shows by up-and-comers, exhibitions from art-world celebrities, and a stretch of all life-forms of artwork. All galleries are free, and there’s no pressure to buy.
New York Public Library
Built in 1895, the elegant New York Public Library is the most famous in the city. Fronted by lions (not real lions — statues!) named Patience and Fortitude, this is an epic building to travel through. The reading room holds 500 patrons, supported by the library’s original Carre-and-Hastings lamps. Exhibits here include the Declaration of Independence, 431,000 historical maps, and texts both old and new. There are free tours at 11am and 2pm Monday to Saturday, and 2pm Sunday (the library is closed Sunday in the summer).
Staten Island Ferry
Want to take in sights from the seas? Hop aboard the Staten Island Ferry and catch gorgeous views of the Statue of Liberty, and the city skyline like you’ve never seen before. The ride is free and has held the distinction as the single greatest free attraction on the Eastern Seaboard. Do note, tours start at $12, but for commuters, it doesn’t cost a penny. Though it may get packed, especially during rush hour, the ferry has been carrying 19 million across the Harbor each year. Designed as transportation between Staten Island and Manhattan, most visitors hop back on to get back to New York.
Brooklyn Brewery Tours
If you’re into beer, the Brooklyn Brewery will not disappoint. Catch a tour of the creation process and taste all the delicious beers you want, from Brooklyn lager to Brooklyn ale, German-style Pilsners and IPAs. Seasonal beers are also available (in their appropriate seasons). Free tours of Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Brewery run on the hour from 1-5pm Saturday, and 1-4pm Sunday.