Free Things to Do in New York City (Like, Visit Museums)

Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greek and Roman Galleries, NYC

Explore the masterpieces of the Met…at a price you can afford. Photo: Jeff Dobbins

Looking for free things to do in New York City? We don’t blame you. Let’s face it: New York can be expensive. But meager funds needn’t keep you from enjoying New York’s museums, gardens, and other cultural treasures.

As any good local will tell you, there are plenty of free things to do in New York, you just have to know where and WHEN to look. most New York museums accept “suggested donations.” And many offer specific hours during which admission is completely free! So support these institutions with a donation you can afford, but no matter what you can afford, make sure you… go!

New York museums and sights with free hours

9/11 Memorial Museum: Free every Tuesday 5 pm to close, with the last admission two hours prior to closing. Tickets are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis at the Museum starting at 4 p.m. Website

Brooklyn Botanic Garden: Free all day every Tuesday, plus Saturdays from 10am to noon. Website

Tridents, September 11 Museum, NYC

Inside the 9/11 Memorial Museum, free on Tuesday evenings. Photo: Jeff Dobbins

Brooklyn Children’s Museum: Free before 11am on the 2nd weekend of each month, and on Wednesday from 2 to 5pm. Website

Bronx Zoo: Free very Wednesday. Website

Jewish Museum: Free every Saturday. Website

Museum of Chinese in America: Free every Thursday from 11am to 9pm. Website

Museum of Jewish Heritage: Free Wednesdays from 4pm to 8pm. Website

Museum of Modern Art: Free Fridays from 4pm to 8pm. Website

National Museum of the American Indian: Always free. Website

New Museum: Free Thursday evenings from 7pm to 9pm. Website

New York Botanical Garden: Free all day Wednesdays, and Saturdays from 10am to noon. Website

New York Hall of Science: Free Fridays from 2pm to 5pm and Sundays from 10am to 11am. Website

Rubin Museum of Art: Free Fridays from 6pm to 10pm. Free for seniors the first Monday of every month. Website

Staten Island Children’s Museum: Free for grandparents on Wednesdays from 5pm to 8pm. Website

Staten Island Zoo: Free on Wednesdays from 2pm to 4:45pm. Website

Wave Hill Cultural Center: Free on Saturdays and Tuesdays from 9am to noon. Website

Monet's "Water Lillies," MoMa

Monet’s “Water Lillies” at MoMa. Photo: Jeff Dobbins

New York museums with pay-what-you-want hours

The Frick Collection: Sundays from 11am to 1pm. Website

Guggenheim Museum: Saturdays from 5:45 to 7:45pm. Website

International Center of Photography: Every Friday from 5pm to 8pm. Website

Museum of Arts and Design: Thursdays from 6pm to 9pm. Website

New York Aquarium: Fridays after 3pm. Website

Noguchi Museum: First Friday of every month. Website

Whitney Museum: Fridays from 6 to 9pm. Website

Guggenheim Museum, NYC

Pay what you want to explore NYC’s Guggenheim Museum on Saturday evenings. Photo: Jeff Dobbins

New York museums where the donation is always suggested

Alice Austen House Museum  Website

American Museum of Natural History (permanent collection only) Website

Brooklyn Museum Website

Bronx Museum of the Arts Website

Metropolitan Museum of Art Website

El Museo del Barrio Website

Museum of Biblical Art Website

Museum of the City of New York Website

P.S. 1: Contemporary Arts Center Website

Queens Museum of Art Website

Sculpture Center Website

Studio Museum in Harlem Website

Staten Island Museum Website

American Museum of Natural History, NYC

American Museum of Natural History…yours for what you will. Photo: Jeff Dobbins

What’s your favorite NYC museum or gallery? Share your recommendations in the comments below.

 

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