There’s so much to do free and cheap in NYC every summer weekend. 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.
Unless otherwise noted, street fairs are 10AM to 6PM.
Let’s hope the weather cooperates for the outdoor events.
any time of year
Through Wed., July 20th
Immersion into Italian Beauty – Take the subway or MetroNorth to Italy, for a FREE 360-degree virtual visit through Italy, including its landscapes, craftsmanship, culture and food and wines. In Vanderbilt Hall, Grand Central Terminal, 9am to 6pm daily.
Today in NYC
Summer of Hamilton Family Fridays – Special family-friendly events connected with Alexander Hamilton. FREE with museum admission, which is pay-as-you-wish on Fridays.
- Broadway for Orlando – more than 60 Broadway stars have recorded a special version of “What the World Needs Now is Love” with all proceeds going to support victims of the Orlando massacre. It could be the most effective $1.99 you ever spent.
Friday Freebies: FREE museum admission at top NYC museums.
Coney Island Friday Night Fireworks – On the Boardwalk at 10th St., at 9:30, every Friday night of the summer.
“Un Flic” (Films on the Green): Riverside Park, Pier I, Upper West Side, 8:30 p.m.
“The Peanuts Movie” (Hudson Riverflicks): Pier 46, Greenwich Village, 8:30 p.m.
“Ant-Man” (SummerSTARZ 2016): WNYC Transmitter Park, Greenpoint, 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
“Monster Inc.” (Movies Under the Stars): George U. Harvey Park Hockey Rink, Whitestone, 8:30 p.m.
“Selena” (Movies Under the Stars): J. Hood Wright Park, Washington Heights, 8:30 p.m.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (Movies Under the Stars): Bloomingdale Park, Prince’s Bay, 8:30 p.m.
“Inside Out” (Movies Under the Stars): Msgr. McGolrick Park, Friends Field, Greenpoint, 8:45 p.m.
Free fries on Fridays at McDonald’s through July 22nd.
Friday and Saturday in NYC
Stargazing at Lincoln Center – Members of the Amateur Astronomers Associationse up huge high-powered telescopes around the Plaza Fountain, for a close-up view of the moon and help finding planets and other celestial objects. Sunset to 11pm, through July.
Saturday in NYC
City of Water Day – This annual celebration of the water that surrounds NYC includes free boat tours, family activities and more, throughout the city, including on Governors Island.
Hudson RiveStage – Concert by emerging artists including Deer Tick, Anaïs Mitchell and Margo Price. 2PM at Pier 97. Bring your own seating, and if you don’t bring your own picnic, there’s frood from local vendors.
SummerStage: Taiwanese Waves – These three Taiwanese artists are performing for the first time in New York City, including Anpu, a singer who plays for sell-out crowds, Wonfu, a folk-rock band, and rock band Sunset Rollercoaster. Part of the schedule of more than 100 free SummerStage concerts and dance performances at Central Park, Rumsey Playfield, Central Park, 5PM to 10PM
West African Dance Performance – Mane Kadang dance company uses traditional West African instruments for an infectious performance of dancing and drumming. At Esplanade Plaza, at Vesey Street on the Hudson River, Battery Park City, 6:30PM
Stargazing at Inwood Hill Park – Members of the Amateur Astronomers Association bring their high-powered telescopes to share close-up views of the moon, planets and other celestial objects. At the main entrance to the park, Seaman Ave. and Isham St., Inwood. Dusk to 11:30PM
“Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens” (Free Movie Screening): The Crotona Park Amphitheater, Crotona Park, 7:30 p.m.
“Frozen” (Movies Under the Stars): Highbridge Recreation Center, Highbridge Park, Washington Heights, 8:30 p.m.
“Inside Out” (Movies Under the Stars): Cpl. Thompson Park, Port Richmond, 8:30 p.m.
“The Incredibles” (Movies Under the Stars): Kiviehan Park, Staten Island, 8:30 p.m.
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.
Queens Night Market – Local food vendors offer the diverse tastes of our most multi-cultural borough, plus crafts vendors, music and more, at this weekly night market copied from the poplar night markets of Asia, including Taiwan and Thailand.
Saturday and Sunday in NYC
LIC Flea & Food – The popular outdoor weekend market is open 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:
- Saturdays: Williamsburg, East River State Park, 90 Kent Ave. (at N. 7th)
- Sundays: Prospect Park, Breeze Hill (at Lincoln Rd.)
Sunday in NYC
Rubin Museum Block Party – Take the subway to the Himalayas for this annual event celebrating the culture of the Himalayas, with free music and dance performances and more.
“Mary Poppins” (Movies Under the Stars): Athena Square, Astoria, 8:30 p.m.
“Zootopia” (Movies Under the Stars): Kaiser Park Lawn, Coney Island, and also at Friends Field, Midwood, both at 8:45 p.m.
Family Performance Festival in Central Park – Enjoy Sunday in the park with the entire family with great eco-education and multicultural performances. Formerly known as A Clearing in the Forest, it’s FREE fun and learning through music, storytelling, Park adventures, puppetry, and more. A different group performs each Sunday starting today, through Labor Day Weekend. Noon to 1:30PM at the Great Hill, West Side of Central Park at 103rd St.
Visit Hallett Sanctuary in Central Park – This rustic spot near 59th and Fifth is open to the public occasionally. Lucky for us, there are extended summer hours through August 31 which include Sundays, 2PM to 5PM.
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
Vendy Plaza – The best food trucks in NYC are parked under the MetroNorth train tracks, at Park Ave. and 116th St., every Sunday through Labor Day weekend. There’s also a beer garden and crafts vendors.
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.