5 Free Things to do in New York
This post originally appeared on Flight Centre Canada
There’s plenty to see and do in New York City, but sometimes a vacation can quickly add up when you’re sightseeing and eating your way through a city. So we’ve put together a list of things to see and do that will be easier on your wallet, yet still give you a great Manhattan experience.
1. Stroll Through Central Park
New York isn’t your average city and this isn’t your average park. A perfect escape from the concrete jungle, Central Park is an 843 acre masterpiece of landscape bursting with life year round. The park’s Bethesda Fountain is an emblem of New York City, taking on a character of its own in countless films over the decades. If you’re there, be sure to look out for Strawberry Fields and the “Imagine” mosaic commemorating John Lennon. Whether you enjoy people-watching, immersing yourself in natural beauty, or just looking for a place to get some exercise, there is lots to see and experience in this public green space. Central Park has become the most famous and beloved urban park in the world and, after experiencing it for yourself, you’ll quickly understand why.
2. Walk the High Line
The High Line is a free public park built on a historic rail line, elevated above the streets of Manhattan’s west side, and is open daily from 7am to 10pm.
Aside from the interesting architecture you’ll see along the way, you’ll also find no shortage of art and colour as many artists have created murals and street art on rooftops and the sides of buildings along the route.
3. Visit Times Square
You’ll feel the pulse of Manhattan when you visit its heart; Times Square. This kinetic and colourful plaza is the ultimate pedestrian-friendly promenade, teeming with retail shops and restaurants. Although it’s a bit touristy, (it is after all one of the world’s most visited tourist attractions) the spectacular billboards are one of the distinct NYC sights you see in the movies, giving you a thrilling reminder that you're actually in the Big Apple.
4. Check out Broadway and Fulton Street
As you emerge from the Fulton Street subway, look up! You’ll marvel at two soaring sights; the spire of St. Paul’s and beyond that, the Freedom Tower, occupying the World Trade Center’s former stage. Closer towards the Freedom Tower, more recent respects are paid at memorial walls and plaques about 9/11. There is also a museum at Ground Zero, but an entrance fee applies.
5. Take the Staten Island Ferry
This five mile, 25-minute ride provides a majestic view of New York Harbour and a no-hassle, even romantic, boat ride, for free! Did we mention it also provides a fantastic view of the Statue of Liberty? As an enduring New York symbol, Lady Liberty is also a symbol of international relations, friendship and her nation's values, which we suppose is worth spending money to see. That said, we reckon it’s much more liberating on your wallet when you can see her for free. Rather than paying for a ferry tour to view the grand lady, hop on the free Staten Island Ferry at Battery Park and admire the Statue of Liberty at no cost. This ferry transports 20 million people a year with a service between St George on Staten Island and Whitehall Street in Lower Manhattan.