Free attractions and affordable things to do in New York

They call it the ““City that never sleeps”” and it truly does live up to this reputation with an endless number of activities, attractions and affordable things to do in New York. A trip to the Big apple is possibly a once in a lifetime trip for some people, but most certainly it’s a trip that everyone should take at some point in their lives, and despite what you might have heard, it is actually possible to visit New York on a budget, provided you avail of hotel discounts and spend some time planning an itinerary.

Truthfully, the best way to keep costs down on a trip to New York is to check out the free attractions in the city and the more affordable things to do, from a visit to the Freedom Tower at Ground Zero, to the dazzling lights of Times Square, the iconic Statue of Liberty and an afternoon in sunny Central Park – there are so many ways to spend your time without spending a great deal, and the following is a list to help you plan an affordable trip to New York.

Central Park & Times Square

When most people arrive in New York, they wish to be staying in a centrally located accommodation which is within easy walking distance of the main parts of the city. This is usually more expensive but if you use some of the best hotel discounts on Hotels Etc, you could easily find yourself in the middle of downtown for  a very minimal cost.

Central Park is a beautiful place to spend the day, especially in the Summer, and it can feel like a million miles from the city with all the green open spaces, cycle paths and lush surroundings. Visiting Central Park is obviously a free activity and likewise just a short walk from here, standing beneath the blinding lights of Times Square is a fascinating place to be and an unforgettable sight.

Tip: A visit to the zoo in Central park is relatively cheap at $16.20 for adults, and $11.70 for children.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is so big that you spend weeks inside the building and still not make your way around the entire 2 million pieces of art that are on display. It is also here, where you can witness the spectacular Temple of Dendur which is an ancient temple which was once on the banks of the River Nile in Egypt, before being transported to the US as a gift from the Egyptian government.

The best way to see the museum is by taking a guided tour with a curator, as often there are many parts and secrets of the museum which would otherwise go unnoticed.

Tickets for the Metropolitan Museum of Art are $25 for adults and $12 for students, while children under the age of 12 go free.

Concerts in Prospect Park

Every weekend there are big concerts at Prospect Park over the bridge in Brooklyn and amazingly, these are entirely free of charge. Despite there being no charge, it is not unusual for even the most popular acts to show up in the park with the Barenaked Ladies being a regular on stage.

These concerts are ideal for families and as with Central Park, there is so much space in Prospect that it makes for the perfect escape from the busy city without having to travel too far.

Grand Central Station

Just short of one million people hurry through the hallways of Grand Central Terminal in New York every day, and despite it sounding like a strange thing to do, visiting the station is a fascinating activity. There are free walking tours which take in a trip to the station but if you visit during the mid afternoon, it should be quiet enough to take a self guided tour and not get lost along the way.

The interior is beautiful with enormous stain glass windows reaching for the tall ceilings and mosaic tunnels leading their way between the different terminals which offer surprising delights on every turn.

There are some cheap eateries spread out around the station, and if you don’t want to miss out on any of the history, there is a self guided tour app you can download for just $5.

Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty

Many people travel to Ellis island to see the iconic statue without being aware of the great significant importance of the island itself. It is here, where you will find the enormous halls which were responsible for separating, detaining and processing the millions of immigrants who had traveled to the US many years ago in search of a new life. This brings a truly fascinating element to the journey and you are free to walk around the inside of the buildings.

However, that is not to take away from the awesome sight of the great Statue of Liberty which dominates the New York skyline and makes for the most awe inspiring sight to marvel upon, and capture through photography. Although you can take a trip to the top of the statue, it is just as nice to stay below and maybe have a picnic, while all the madness and chaos of Manhattan begins to disappear.

The cost of the Staten island ferry is $18 for adults and $9 for children.

The American Museum of Natural History

If the Metropolitan Museum of Art was big, then the Natural History Museum is completely off the charts. There are more than 30 million varieties of fossils, animals, plants, rocks and artifacts in the building which is spread out over 45 different exhibition halls.

When you think “there is something for everyone”, there has never been a place more true to those words. It is one of the most popular attractions in New York and widely known for having an incredible array of dinosaur replications. The hall of African animals is also a favorite while the Rose Center houses a very educational attraction in the Earth and Space exhibition.

Once more, this is another of the affordable attractions in New York which provides outstanding value given you will easily spend the entire day, engrossed on the inside of these walls.

Tickets for the American Museum of Natural History are $22 for adults and $12.50 for children.

There is no end in terms of things to do in New York and affordable attractions are everywhere so long as you spend time searching them out. The cost of your accommodation in New York is always going to be the biggest part of a budget for such a trip but as mentioned at the beginning of the article, Hotels Etc have the best hotel discounts which can provide anywhere between 50 – 80% off the regular price. Regardless of which free attractions you choose or the affordable things to in New York, on thing is for sure, the city provides great value for money.