Free or Cheap: Fun Things To Do In NYC This Summer

This isn’t Shakespeare in the Park.  Mostly because darn, those tickets are actually hard to get.  Who would have thought?  People actually go to the park at 6 AM for those tickets.  A few months ago I would have paid someone to sit in my Shakespeare lecture for me, and these people are waking up early for him?  I guess I’m more a fan of my bed than the Bard.  Heh.

Whether you’re trying to plan a cost effective day trip or a New Yorker trying to work a few cost effective activities into your agenda, you should check out a few of these free or cheap things to do in the city this summer!


Kayak on the Hudson, Free.  Did you know you can rent a kayak at the Downtown Boathouse for free?  You just need to sign a waiver, wear a life jacket, and be able to swim.  Children are welcome, but must be accompanied by a guardian.  The Hudson River has an icky reputation, but they’ve done so much to clean it up in the last few years.  This is a cool Saturday afternoon activity, especially before or after a walk along Hudson River Park.  Find more info here.


Concerts at Central Park, Free to Inexpensive.  If you live in the Tri-State area and have never been a concert at the Central Park Summerstage, you’re missing out.  They have some great artists, and a lot of the shows are free.  Some of the bigger shows cost money, but even those are usually below $40.  The last time I went was this past fall.  I wasn’t even familiar with the artist who was performing, I just remember eating pizza and drinking wine out of a 16 ounce plastic cup.  My kind of party.  It’s such a relaxed and intimate atmosphere.  You can look at this summer’s line up here!

tRIBECA Saturday Greenmarket nyc

Waterfight NYC, Free.  This is real!  Someone actually organized a water fight on the Great Lawn of Central Park on July 25th.  I’d choose this over a festival or bar crawl any day.  You can check out the Facebook event page here.


Central Park Conservancy Film Festival, Free.  Remember the scene from the movie The Wedding Planner, where J.Lo and Matthew McConaughey eat brown M&Ms and fall in love while watching a film at a park?  This is your chance to channel your inner J.Lo.  The festival runs from August 25- 29th with a different film every night.  Order take-out or make sandwiches at home and this could be your most inexpensive and most unique date of the summer.  Click here for more info.

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Fourth of July Fireworks, Free.  I’ll be honest, I hate stuff like this.  But if you don’t mind crowds of sweaty people and lots of children, this isn’t a bad way to spend your fourth of July.  Bring some food and plan to camp out along the East River, either on the Lower East Side or near the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.  I did this one year as a teenager and it was a surprisingly nice alternative to the beach/bbq thing.

All The Best,


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