My introduction to the infamous big apple came from a handful of extremely touristy visits to Manhattan (complete with trips to the MET, Museum of Natural History, Ellis Island, Empire State Building, and Broadway shows) that put a NY size dent in my wallet. Don’t get me wrong, NYC is full of wonderfully EXPENSIVE tourist traps, and I love them all. Unfortunately, not all of us can afford those popular destinations, which got me thinking about what I fell in love with about the city as a New York resident for 2 years. So having checked off the tourist stops, I feel pretty confident in this list of FREE “must do” New York City activities.

1.Walk down the High Line

The High Line runs from Gansevoort St to 34th St in between 10th and 12th Avenue for a total of 1.45 miles of high-rise sustainable walkways. This beacon of innovation is an elevated “boardwalk” that was converted from old train tracks that ran through the city. It flaunts luscious gardens, unique statues, impressive views, vibrant street art, performances, and even shops and a cafe. It’s the kind of thing you do because it’s free, but by the end you’ll be so pleased, it’s something you wouldn’t mind paying for.

2. Ride the Staten Island Ferry


The ferry runs 24/7 from Manhattan to Staten Island and best of all it is FREE! You pass right by the Statue of Liberty and you can get some great shots of the city as you drift away. Try to snag a spot on the deck for the best views of the statue!

3. Submerge yourself in Times Square

Planting yourself in Times Square is always a great way to get lost in the hustle and bustle of the city, between the chaotic lights, people in costumes, and plethora of tourists, there is never a dull moment. It is certainly a surefire way to remind yourself how small you are, and how many people there are in this world. I suggest finding a corner or a table, put on some headphones and soak it all in, rather than trying to fight your way through the crowds.

 4. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge


The Brooklyn Bridge is a great 20-minute walk with impressive views of the city and the Statue of Liberty! It is a wonderful and different experience during the daytime and after sunset. Both experiences will leave you feeling satisfied.


5. Picnic in Central Park


As we have all seen in many movies and TV shows, Central Park is a happening place. There is a plethora of activities to engage in and adventures to be had in the 1.3 square mile oasis in the middle of the congested city. Whether you go for a stroll, get comfy on a bench, or plop down a blanket and picnic while you observe the hundreds of different types of people that gather in this world renowned park, it is well worth a visit. I recommend stopping into the Whole Foods at Columbus Circle (SW corner of the park) and grabbing some to-go food from their delicious buffet style hot bar where you can mix and match different entrees.

6. Walk the boardwalk at Coney Island


Take the D, F, N, or Q line to the very end and hop off at Coney Island. The boardwalk is a nice place to chill out, escape from the city, and enjoy the sight of the ocean with the carnival rides alive behind you. If sitting on the beach doesn’t do it for you, then you can always check out the rides, but beware…they are bumpy.

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About Author

Anna is an optimist with pessimistic tendencies who enjoys making a short story long, listening to soundtracks from musicals, and watching anything in the post-apocalyptic sci-fi genre. These days you can catch her learning about off-grid living and gardening the hard way, wandering with her partner and dogs through forest roads in a camper, or hiking to waterfalls or glacial lakes. You can also find her on YouTube at Anna and Ryan.

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