3 Free Things to Do in NYC

“Sometimes to walk in shaded parts of Manhattan is to be inserted into a Magritte: the street is night while the sky is day.” ―Joseph O’Neill, Netherland

When I visit New York City I often feel like I’ve entered a Surrealist painting, where the absurd has somehow become ordinary. While the diversity of people, languages, and food can be inspiring, the busy-ness of it all can easily overwhelm me and I quickly retreat to the country where I feel far more at home.

But I go a few times a year because there are some things you just can’t see or experience anywhere else. On a recent trip, besides the free head cold I always seem to get from the Big Apple, I discovered the following three free things to do in NYC.

Add your “free NYC” suggestions in the comments below.

1. Tour the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library

The beautiful Stephan A. Schwarzman building, a research library situated in Bryant Park, not far from Grand Central Station, offers free tours daily. On my recent visit two of its biggest draws, the Rose Main Reading Room and the Gottesman Exhibition Hall, were closed for repairs, but it was still worth the visit.

2. Brooklyn Botanic Garden Free on Weekdays in Winter

When the cold, gray winter seems to be dragging on a bit too long, I find my way to the tropics without getting on a plane. Usually I visit the New York Botanic Garden, but this time I took a walk through the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which is free on weekdays in winter.

3. Free Friday Nights at the Museum of Modern Art

From 4:00–8:00 p.m. every Friday, you can visit MOMA for free—if you can handle the crowds, which are extensive.

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