5 Free Things to Do On Your NYC Vacation

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Visiting The Big Apple is the experience of a lifetime.  It’s a city full of life, and no shortage of things to do.  Unfortunately, many of those things you want to do are expensive.  If you’re looking to supplement your trip without busting your budget, or you just want to take a dirt cheap vacation in a crazy expensive city, check out these five attractions that won’t cost you a penny.

1. Catch a Parade

Summers in NYC are full of parades.  In June alone, you can catch the Queens Pride Parade (June 7,) the Brooklyn Pride Parade (June 13,) the National Puerto Rican Day Parade (June 14,) or the Mermaid Parade (June 20.)  These events are free to watch, and can help you learn more about the culture of the neighborhoods you are visiting.  Some even come with a festival attached!

2. Visit the New York Aquarium

Yes, you can actually visit the aquarium for free!  Located in Brooklyn, the New York Aquarium has all of their animals on display 365 days a year.  But if you go on Fridays from 4:00-5:00, your admission is 100% F-R-E-E.  While taking public transport is your best bet money wise, there is parking available to the tune of $13 if you are crazy enough to drive you car on vacation in the city that never sleeps.

3. The Bronx Zoo

You could kill an entire day at Bronx Park.  There are playgrounds, baseball diamonds, tennis and basketball courts, a botanical garden, and, of course, The Bronx Zoo.  It’s New York City’s largest zoo, and if you visit anytime on Wednesday, admission is free.  There is a request for donations, but nothing mandatory to enter.  Added bonus?  This is one zoo that doesn’t gouge you on food choices.  While you have the option to buy once inside, there are also areas set up for those who opt to bring their own lunch.  Brown bag it, and make this the most money-savvy outing ever.

4. Get Your Art On

While you’re in the Bronx, you may want to take time to check out some contemporary art.  The Bronx Museum of the Arts has opted for a free admission policy in accordance with their mission to make art accessible to everyone, regardless of their economic status or background.  Their permanent collection and exhibitions focus on the urban experience.

5. Get a Different Perspective

Want to see the city in a way most people don’t? The Manhattan Community Boathouse allows you to do just that, and they allow you to do it for free.  With two docks on the Hudson River, one in Hudson River Park and the other in Riverside Park, they have made it their mission to give the public free access to parts of NYC’s waterways.  They provide you with free kayaks and instruction, allowing you to see the city from a different perspective.

Where to Stay

Now that you have an affordable NYC vacation planned out in your head, you just have to find a place to stay while you’re there.  If you’re trying to save money on accommodations, check out deals on Hotel Riu Plaza New York Times Square.  While you’ll be right in the heart of some major culture (think Broadway and Carnegie Hall,) you’ll also have quick access to public transport to get you everywhere else you need to go.