As always, there’s plenty to do in NYC free and cheap on weekends, and this three-day Labor Day weekend offers parades, art fairs and a tugboat race on the Hudson. Plus, everything on this NYC on the Cheap list is FREE, unless you buy stuff. Unless otherwise noted, street fairs are 10am to 5pm.
Let’s hope the weather cooperates with all the outdoor events.
any time of year
Today through Monday in NYC –
Washington Square Art Exhibit – this annual art fair offers top-notch paintings and mixed-media, sculpture, jewelry and more from professional artists. Not your usual street fair schlock. Also next weekend. See this recent NYCOTC psoting for all the details.
Met Opera Summer HD Festival – See telecasts of your favorite operas on a giant screen in Lincoln Center. See this recent NYCOTC posting for the opera schedule.
Saturday in NYC
Brazilian Day in New York – It’s Mardi Gras in Manhattan on Saturday at the 31st annual edition of Brazilian Day, celebrating Brazilian Independence Day with one of the largest street festivals and parades in town, with top Brazilian performers including singer/songwriter Paula Fernandes, romantic hit star Fábio Junior and the internationally acclaimed percussion group Olodum and the singer Durval Lelys performing Axé favorites. The parade is on Sixth Avenue, from 43rd St. to Central Park, and the street fair is on the street known as Little Brazil, West 46th St. between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Event website Warning: this website opens instantly with Brazilian music, so be careful not to wake the children or your boss.
Saturday and Sunday in NYC
Governors Island Unicycle Festival – This annual event attracts world-class performers and circus pros plus recreational riders for friendly competitions including unicycle basketball and hockey, plus exhibitions and help getting your balance. Noon to 5pm on Colonels Row. There’s also a weekend art show on Governors Island. govisland.com.
Sunday in NYC
West Side County Fair – This is an old-fashioned county fair in the “county” of the Upper West Side, with a mini Ferris wheel, bounce houses, a reptile show, carnival games, stilt walkers, aerialists, a magician, bands and local food vendors. This is the 13th annual West Side County Fair. 1pm to 6pm on Pier i, Riverside Park South at 68th St.
- There’s also a permanent carousel here, one of many in NYC. Here’s the full list of best carousels in all 5 boros.
23rd Annual Great North River Tugboat Race & Competition – More than a dozen tugboats race along the Hudson and a nose-to-nose pushing contest. Tugboat crews also compete in a line-throwing competition, and in a nod to Popeye, everyone’s favorite sailor man, there’s also a spinach-eating contest and tattoo competition. It’s all along Pier 84, 1oam to 2pm. Event website. in Manhattan.
Coney Island Reggae on the Boardwalk – Dance to the music. 3pm-7pm on the Boardwalk at 21st St, Brooklyn. Event website
Harlem Meer Performance Festival – The soulful sounds of the Dee Dee LeVant Gospel Ensemble, at 4pm, at the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center at 110th Street.
Monday in NYC
West Indian Day Parade – It’s Carnival in Brooklyn as colorfully costumed dancers and bands strut their way down Eastern Parkway, celebrating the music and culture of the West Indies. It’s one of the largest parades in NYC, attracting as many as two million onlookers. On Eastern Parkway at Utica Avenue, to Grand Army Plaza at the northwest corner of Prospect Park, starting at 11am. Event website. wiadcacarnival.org.
Martha Stewart’s Appetizers: 200 Recipes for Dips, Spreads, Snacks, Small Plates, and Other Delicious Hors d’Oeuvres, Plus 30 Cocktails, 7pm at Barnes and Noble, Union Square, 22 E. 17th St.
NYC weekend flea markets and food fairs:
Vendy Plaza: Dozens of food trucks are at the famous El Marqueta area at 125th St. and Park Avenue every Sunday through Nov. 1st. Details here.
Fulton Stall Market at the South Street Seaport: A new farmer’s market and more. The more includes FREE Saturday morning cartoons for the kids and cooking demonstrations for the grownups. Details here.
Also, check the list of best free things to do in NYC any day of the week, including weekends.
Enjoy your free and cheap NYC weekend.