There’s plenty to do free and cheap in NYC on this beautiful mid-May weekend, including several street fairs. Everything on the NYCOTC cheap weekend list is $20 or less. That makes us different from all the other “what to do” lists with expensive ideas, because we’re here to help you enjoy being a NYC cheapskate with no apologies.
Unless a price is noted, our NYC cheap weekend list is FREE. Let’s hope the weather cooperates for the outdoor events.
any time of year
Between Art and Fashion – Examine the forms, colors and shapes that influence our love of art and fashion, and the intersection between them, via pieces by top designers including Christian Dior, Issey Mayake and Hermes. FREE through Dec. 28 at the National Academy School on the Upper East Side. Museum website
Friday in NYC
Sobremesa Festival is a day-long event of Mexican food and ideas, encourage conversations about fields-to-table culture, fair-food movements and gastronomic explorations within Mexico and the United States. The seminars with top Mexican chefs, cooks, restaurant owners and managers and CUNY professors are FREE, and there’s both a market and a food hall of hand-made foods. 9am to 6pm today, but check the schedule to attend one or more a specific seminars. The event is at CUNY.
Grand Central Food Fair – 10am-6pm, 41st Street between Third Ave. and Lexington Ave.
Friday Freebies: FREE museum admission at top NYC museums. See the NYCOTC list.
Saturday in NYC
Super Sabado – This annual FREE fair is designed for families, with arts and crafts workshops, music performances and more, including museum tours. Noon to 5pm at El Museo Del Barrio, Fifth Ave. at 103rd St.
– This FREE, family event featuries 100+ hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) exhibits in the 50,000 square foot Harlem Armory. Exhibits are by NYC public school students (Pre K – Grade 12) and professionals, showcasing creative math and science projects. This is the 8th Super Saturday event. 11am to 3pm at the Harlem Armory, 1 West 142nd St.
Times Square Springfest – 10am-6pm, Broadway between 47th and 57th Street
BBC Fine Arts and Fine Crafts Fair – As its name implies, fine arts and fine crafts, better than the usual street fair schlock. 11am-4pm in the West Village, along Bedford, Barrow and Commerce Streets
Multicultural Festival – Music and dance performances and the chance to win a free airfare to any country in Africa. 11am -6pmSt. Nicholas Ave between 141st and 145th St
Essex Street Market Block Party – Celebrate the 76th birthday of the Essex Street market at this annual street fair, with vendors drawn from local restaurants including Pies ‘n’ Thighs, Grey Lady, Cafe Katja, The Fat Radish/The Leadbelly, and Ice & Vice with most dishes $5 or less, and market vendors including Saxelby Cheesemongers, Arancini Bros., Puelba, and Osaka Grub. Turnstile Tours is offering FREE Market tours on the half hour, so you can learn more about Essex Street Market’s past, present and future in the new space. Noon to 5pm at 120 Essex St between Rivington and Delancey
Hudson River Park Games – Crawl, scramble, scale and propel yourself to reach new physical heights through heart-pounding obstacles including Speed Traps, Police Barrier Hurdles, Jersey Barricades, a Monster Climbing Wall, even up and over a NYC School Bus. There’s last-minute on-site registration, or just watch the fun and games at Pier 26 at N. Moore. St. in Tribeca. #FearthePier
Hester Street Fair – Vendors fill the streets, just as they did in the gritty days of the early 20th century. But instead of wooden pushcarts, there is modern food, drink and crafts. Every Saturday, 11am to 6pm, on the corner of Hester and Essex Streets, through the end of October.
Jewish Museum – FREE admission on Saturdays. On exhibit now are more than 250 items of clothing and costume designs, sketches, photographs and video that tell the story of popular fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi, from his first collection in 1987 to today, from his “semi-couture” lines to his work for Target. Through Aug. 7. The Jewish Museum is at 1109 Fifth Ave.
- See the NYCOTC list of free days at top NYC museums.
Taste of Tribeca – This is the only thing on our weekend list that costs more than $20, but it supports public school programs including music and art, so you are eating and drinking for a good cause. Tickets are $45-$55 for six tastes of any dish prepared by local restaurants, as well as a choice of one beverage and two tastes from the Beer Tour. This event is rain or shine on May 21, 2016 from 11:30am until 3:00pm at Greenwich Street and Duane Street
Saturday and Sunday in NYC
ShredFest 2016 – Protect yourself from identity theft. Shred documents with valuable information like your Social Security number or bank account information at this FREE bulk shredding event. Sponsored by the NYC government, with locations in all five boroughs.
LIC Flea & Food – The popular outdoor weekend market is back for the season, open 11AM-6PM both days with favorite vendors returning and new vendors added. Grab a beer from the only All Queens Beer Garden and enjoy the Manhattan skyline. Located at 5-25 46th Avenue in Long Island City at the corner of 46th Avenue and 5th Street. LIC Flea & Foods website.
Smorgasburg – The popular food and crafts market in Brooklyn is back for the season, open 11am to 6pm both days. Note that Smogasburg has two locations:
Sunday in NYC
Amsterdam Avenue Festival – 11am-6pm on Amsterdam Ave., between 77th and 88th Streets
52nd Street Spring Fair – 10am-6pm, on 52nd Street between Sixth and Seventh Aves.
Greek Jewish Street Festival – Celebrate two cultures with much in common. Noon to 6PM at Kehila Kedosha Janina Synagogue, Broome between Allen and Eldridge Streets.
Passport to Taiwan – Celebrate the culture of Taiwan, with food, music and crafts. Noon to 5pm at Union Square North, 17th St and Broadway
- NYCOTC editor Evelyn Kanter visited Taiwan recently. Read about it on ecoXplorer.
Third Avenue Community Benefit Festival – 10am-6pm on Third Ave. between 66th and 86th Streets
Bark Fest New York City – This is the largest show in the country for pets and the people who love them. 2pm-8pm atPier 97, Hudson River Park, 55th St and West Side Hwy
Grand Army Market – The team behind Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg is launching a new weekly market at Grand Army Plaza starting Sunday, May 1. Situated at the northern tip of Prospect Park (at the landmark arch/rotary), Grand Army Plaza has long been home to the weekly Saturday Greenmarket and is within walking distance to Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, Park Slope and Prospect Lefferts Gardens. Every Sunday, 10am to 5pm, though October, with some of the most popular maker vendors from Brooklyn Flea, plus many new additions, and prepared- and packaged-food vendors.
Fulton Stall Outdoor Market – This popular outdoor food market is back for the season with live music and tastings of local craft food and drinks. This family-friendly seasonal market has become a community institution throughout the spring and summer, connecting New Yorkers with fresh and healthy produce from within a 250-mile radius of New York City. Experience the Seaport District’s art installation, featuring portraits of over 100 farmers and chefs living and working in the Hudson Valley. South Street Seaport district at the corner of Fulton and Water Streets and inside Fulton Stall Market at 207A Front St., 11 AM – 5 PM
If you know about a free or cheap NYC weekend event you’d like to share with NYC on the Cheap, email us at [email protected]
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.