The Big Apple can be an expensive time during the holidays, so here are six free activities that won’t cost you a dime!
Free. It’s a refreshing word — especially in an expensive place like New York City.
Although a Knicks-Nets game at Madison Square Garden may be $190 or a seat at Book of Mormon could clear out your entire savings account, there are a good amount of free activities all year long.
We found six fun activities for you and your friends this winter. From beer tastings to ice skating, to walking tours and penguin feedings, the city that never sleeps always has something on tap. And this time, please leave your wallets at home — this one’s on the Big Apple.
Ice Skating at Citi Pond (Bryant Park)
The first and only free ice rink in NYC, Citi Pond is a magical place to skate during the holidays. Bring a date to the Bryant Park haven and glide along the ice while surrounded by skyscrapers and the glittering lights of the big city. The Pond can also host birthday celebrations and office parties. General admission is free, but your crew can also rent skates for $14.
Brooklyn Brewery Tours
Beer. Free. Need we say more?
The Brooklyn Brewery offers free tours on Saturday and Sunday. Reservations are neither required nor accepted — so don’t even try to make one. The tour features perennial favorites and seasonal beers including Brooklyn Brown and Winter Ale, respectively. Founded in 1988, the New York City brewery claims to “export more beer than any other craft brewery.” Free visits are available from 1-5 p.m. on Saturdays and 1-4 p.m. on Sundays. Make sure to check the times online before you go.
Lions and tigers and bears for free, oh my!
That’s right — on Wednesdays, one of the world’s greatest zoos does not charge general admission. Animal lovers can check out the lions, polar bears, alligators and anacondas without paying a dime. You can stop in for a penguin feeding, check out the Baboon Reserve and take a walk along the African Plains all in the same afternoon.
New York Botanical Garden
Done hanging out with your fellow mammals? Walk across the street and into 250-acres of beautiful plants, historic buildings and yes, free entrance fees. All day Wednesday and every Saturday from 10 a.m.- 12 p.m., the New York Botanical Garden offers complimentary admission to the general public. The site features 50 different gardens and plant collections, rolling hills, magnificent trees and award-winning exhibitions. Currently, the NYBG is showing off sculptures from the famous architect Manolo Valdes and will host a Tropical Paradise collection beginning in early January. Be sure to checkout their website before you go.
The High Line
Created from an abandoned railroad track, the High Line is a beautiful stretch of elevated walkway that connects the Meatpacking District with the Javits Center. The line runs from Gansevoort Street to 30th between 9th and 11th avenues and includes spectacular views of the Hudson River. Along the pathway, visitors can also find unique art installations, plant life, holiday decorations and can even catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. People watching is also a must during this free, do-it-yourself tour of downtown Manhattan.
The center of New York City. The park known around the world for its appearance in movies, literature and song lyrics. Central Park should also be famous for its long list of free activities. Here are a few: The Charles A. Discovery Center offers complimentary hands-on exhibits year-round. Groups can bike, run or simply walk along the 843 acres of trails and pathways. Helpful guides are available all day to answer questions or point out interesting facts and figures. Strawberry Fields, Belvedere Castle and the historic carousel are also pretty cool.
Your (free) holiday adventure to the Big Apple won’t be complete without visiting the famous department store holiday windows. Check out this map to make sure you hit up all of the biggest department stores, and don’t forget to wear warm clothes and comfortable shoes so you’ll be cozy on this outside adventure! While you’re walking around, make sure to check out the most memorable free holiday experience in town, the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center! And if you’re willing to spend a few dollars, grab a hot chocolate and spend quality time watching skaters glide and spin on the ice rink at Rockefeller Center. You have to pay to join them, but you don’t have to pay to enjoy the holiday spirit! Happy Holidays!
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