New York Life, Travel

New York Favourites: Things To Do For Free

April 6, 2015
Favourite things to do for free in new york 20

Since I moved to New York, I have been getting lots of questions about my favourite places for food, drinks, and just things to do in general. So far I’ve been replying by email but I think it’ll be so much easier (and way more fun!) to share some of my New York favs over a series of posts. So I’m going to do just that!

I’ve been here for over 6 months now (did you see my recent NYC Truths post?), and I have been doing my best to get out, explore and to eat and drink my way around the city. If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat (usernames: lcscloset) you will know exactly what I am talking about!

Seeing as it’s Easter Monday today (and I’m off!), I’m going to spend the day doing some of my favourite things that don’t cost a penny. New York is expensive, so it’s always great to save some cash if you can at all. Here is a list of my favourite things to do for free in New York…


1. Grand Central

favourite things to do for free in new york grand central

Grand Central is without a doubt my happy place. No matter how I am feeling, once I step inside the main terminal I can’t help but be happy. I just love it! It helps that it’s ridiculous beautiful (especially around Christmas) and always bustling with people too.


You can take a tour of the terminal and apparently it is the best tour in New York! I also recently found out that there is a secret bar (The Campbell Apartment) that is at the top of my to do list.


You’ll find it on 42nd Street at Park Avenue, between Vanderbilt and Lexington Avenues.


2. Brooklyn Bridge

favourite things to do for free in new york brooklyn bridge

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge on a fab day (like today!) with clear blue skies is honestly one of the best things to do in New York. The best part is… it’s completely free! The views of the New York skyline are some of the best in the city and you can even see Lady Liberty herself too.

*Sundays on the bridge are crazy and super slow to walk, so biking could be a better option.


3. Dumbo 

favourite things to do for free in new york dumbo

I love Dumbo! It’s such a nice part of Brooklyn to go sit and relax at the weekend. I’m so excited that it’s warming up again, so I can make the trip more often.

*A little tip – Dumbo is on the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge, so you can kill two birds with one stone by walking/cycling the bridge and hanging out in Dumbo on the same day.


4. The Parks

favourite things to do for free in new york central park

In this concrete jungle I don’t get to see green grass too often, and when I do, it’s in the parks. There are a lot of parks around the city, but the bigger more centrally located ones are my favs.

Central Park – The most famous of them all. I do it love it. No matter what time of the year it is, it will always manage to take your breath away and leave you thinking, damn I actually do live here!
Of course it has lots of famous attractions like Strawberry Fields (the Imagine mosaic), the Bethesha Fountain (where Blair and Chuck got married for all you GG fans), the Boathouse, the Wollman Rink in winter and concerts on The Great Lawn in summer (I saw Bon Jovi here for free a few years ago!).
Bryant Park – Is located on 42nd between 5th and 6th Avenue, right in the heart of midtown. It changes with the seasons, which I love. In the winter you have the ice rink and winter market, and in spring and summer it’s all grass. They show outdoor movies here during the summer too and I can’t wait to check them out.
Madison Square Park – Probably has some of the best skyscraper views of all of the parks I’ve mentioned here. It has two of my favourite buildings on either side (The Flatiron Building and The Empire State) and is home to the original Shake Shack (a must try in NY). It’s between 5th and Madison Avenues and 23rd and 26th Streets.
Gramercy Park – I work on Gramercy Park so I pass this park everyday. It’s a gated park (the only private park in Manhattan)and my boss has a key! Now that it’s a bit warmer I’m really looking forward to having lunch breaks here. Maybe I’ll spot Julia Roberts… my sources tell me she has a park address too. 🙂
Washington Square Park – In Greenwich Village, this parks best known feature is probably the Washington Sq Park Arch! It definitely has a different feel to other parks, but in a good way. It’s a really chilled out place and you’ll usually see some inspirational quotes on the ground and a guy casually playing a grand piano near the fountain.
Battery Park – Has some amazing views of the One World Trade Tower and The Statue of Liberty. It’s located right on the water in downtown Manhattan, so it’s the perfect place to spend a nice summers evening.

new york favourites: gantry park

Outside Manhattan, there is also Gantry Park. It’s a waterfront boardwalk/strip in Long Island City in Queens and I honestly think this place has the best views of Manhattan from anywhere around the city. It’s so chilled out and relaxed here and it’s one of my all time fav spots in New York!!


5. Soho and The West Village

favourite things to do for free in new york the west village signs

Strolling around Soho and The West Village is the best. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I LOVE The West Village. Keep your eyes peeled when you’re in these areas (and New York in general) because you never know who you’ll see.
*Sex and the City fans… Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment is in the West Village at 66 Perry St.


6. The Highline 

favourite things to do for free in new york the highline 3

The Highline is a real gem! It’s an elevated park in Manhattan that’s build on a disused rail line. It runs from Ganesvoort Street Street in the Meatpacking District (the Meatpacking is a really cool spot too) to 34th St. It has some seriously amazing views!


7. Fifth Avenue

favourite things to do for free in new york fifth avenue

Nothing feels more like New York to me than strolling along Fifth Avenue. Walking between 50th and 59th streets are my favourite. It’s so New York! The only downside is that it can be very busy, and for someone like me who likes to walk faster than zero miles an hour that can be a little frustrating. I still love it though!

*Window shopping on Madison also gives that real New York feel and without the same crazy amount of people.


8. Wandering around

favourite things to do for free in new york flatiron building

I always say it, but wandering around really is the best way to see this city. Whether it’s strolling around the West Village or window shopping on Madison Avenue, you never know what gem you might stumple upon or what celeb you might see. A few weeks ago I was strolling around near the Flatiron Building (one of my favourite spots in Manhattan) and before I knew it I was in the flower district – a really pretty area I’d never been before. It was full of, you guessed it, flowers.


9. The Staten Island Ferry

new york favourites: gantry park 14

If you want to see the Statue of Liberty, but aren’t planning on actually going on to Liberty Island, save your money and take the ferry to Staten Island. I’ve experience the ferry that stops at both Liberty Island and Ellis Island, the water taxi that takes you out to the statue and around Manhattan and the Staten Island ferry.

If you just want to see the statue, don’t get the water taxi. It’s a complete waste of money!! Just hop on the ferry to Staten Island and come right back again. You’ll still get the same amazing views of Lady Liberty and Downtown Manhattan and you’ll save some $$$ for all the other things you can do in New York.

*One final tip – Save your hair from the wind and stay at the back of the boat both ways.

Do you guys have any other free activities you’d add to the list? Let me know.
Lorna x
Instagram / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Snapchat – lcscloset

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  • Reply Siobhan April 7, 2015 at 12:32 am

    Ah great post! Makes me wish a trip to NYC was on the cards!
    Siobhan xx

    • Reply LC'sCloset April 9, 2015 at 6:31 pm

      Thanks Siobhan… Well if you do spontaneously book a sneaky trip definitely let me know 🙂 xx

  • Reply Meggan April 8, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    I’ve never really been attracted to New York City but, I must say this post has kind of made me swayed me a bit! Your pictures are absolutely beautiful! xx


    • Reply LC'sCloset April 9, 2015 at 6:30 pm

      Thanks so much Meggan. That’s so lovely to hear. New York really is amazing but you have to leave the real tourist Midtown area to really see the best parts. 🙂 xx

  • Reply Michael May 15, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    The Highline was one of my favorites! Would highly recommend it to anyone going to NYC. (*reminder for me to do a blog post on it with all the photos!)

    • Reply Lorna June 22, 2015 at 9:38 pm

      The Highline is fab no matter what time of the year! The views are just fab!!

      Let me know when you have that post done 🙂

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    Really very good
    Thank you so so much
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