Labor Day so soon? Save money before the holiday weekend. Enjoy NYC on the cheap with one or more of these FREE and frugal events, including outdoor film screenings, lectures, opera and more, then see our special round-up of FREE and cheap Labor Day Weekend events on Friday.
Outdoor movies generally begin at dusk (8PM or 8:30PM), and doors generally open at 7PM or 7:30PM, but check the links for specific times, and get there early for a good seat, and bring water to keep hydrated in this terrible heat.
As of this week, we’re also adding $10 or less events, because the busy summer schedule of free outdoor events is ending, and also because there are are some great events for $10 or less you would miss if we don’t tell you about them.
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Best of Central Park
Hallett Sanctuary in Central Park – These ares the last few days for the extended summer schedule to enjoy this rustic, bucolic hideaway steps from the Central Park Pond. After August 31, Hallet returns to its regular schedule of one day a week, instead of three, to protect the fragile nature of the sanctuary. Pedestrians only (no bikes or strollers) can explore this best of New York secret spot.
- Through August 31
Monday & Friday: 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Wednesday: 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Sunday: 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
- Monday, August 29
Met Opera HD Festival – Ten days of FREE opera performances outdoors on a giant screen in Lincoln Center Plaza continues. Tonight it’s Verdi’s powerful version of Shakespeare’s Othello.
Free outdoor movies
- Guardians of the Galaxy (Movies Under the Stars): Buddy Monument, Park Lane South and Myrtle Avenue, Forest Park
- Aladdin (Movies Under the Stars): Kaiser Park at the playground at Marlborough and Caton, Coney Island
- Tuesday, August 30
Met Opera HD Festival – Ten days of FREE opera performances outdoors on a giant screen in Lincoln Center Plaza continues. Tonight it’s Donizetti’s lighthearted The Daughter of the Regiment.
City of Sedition: NYC during the Civil War – A FREE illustrated lecture by NYC journalist and cultural commentator John Strausbaugh, informing us about the conflicted role NYC played in the war. 6:30PM, at the Mid-Manhattan Library, Fifth Ave. and 40th Street, across from the main branch with the lions out front.
Gloria Steinem documentary about sexual assault in the US military – In this episode of the acclaimed new VICELAND series WOMAN, executive producer and host Gloria Steinem and an all-female team of journalists investigate the troubling prevalence of sexual assault in the U.S. military. Stay after the FREE screening for a live talk-back with Ms. Steinem, executive producer Ariel Wengroff, and Loree Sutton, MD, Brigadier General, U.S. Army (Ret.) – Commissioner, NYC Department of Veterans’ Services. 7:30PM at the David Rubinstein Atrium at Lincoln Center. Get there early to ensure seating.
- Note that this program will be streamed live. Cameras will be present. Watch here
Marvel Trivia Night – Join Lorraine Cink and John Sasakkis, authors of the book “Marvel” Absolutely Everything You Need to Know” at the Strand Book Store, for an evening of questions and answers about superhero origin stories. Starts at 7PM, but for popular events like this, fans usually start lining up an hour ahead. The Strand is at Broadway and 12th Street.
Stargazing at the High Line – Every Tuesday until October 25th, take a closer look at the stars, FREE. Peer through high-powered telescopes provided by the knowledgeable members of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York to see rare celestial sights. At the Diller-von Furstenberg Sundeck, on the High Line at West 14th Street
Free outdoor movies
- Lords of Dogtown (Movies Under the Stars): Owl’s Head Park, Bay Ridge
- He Got Game (R) (Movies Under the Stars): Brower Park, Prospect Place and Kingston Avenue, Crown Heights.
- Aliens (Red Hook Flicks): Valentino Park and Pier, Red Hook
- Guardians of the Galaxy (Movies Under the Stars): Detective Russel Timoshenko Soccer Field, Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk and Beach, Staten Island
- Wednesday, August 31
Met Opera HD Festival – Ten days of FREE opera performances outdoors on a giant screen in Lincoln Center Plaza continues. Tonight, it’s Lucia di Lammermoor, with that incedible mad scene.
Chicago The Musical Celebrates 20 Years on Broadway – See Broadway cast stars perform the music from the longest-running American musical on Broadway at this special FREE SummerStage performance in Central Park celebrating the award-winning hit show. The winner of six Tony Awars®, two Olivier Awards, a Grammy® and thousands of standing ovations, CHICAGO is an electrifying tale of greed, murder and show biz that’s been seen by over 30 million people worldwide. Filled with hit songs such as “All That Jazz” and “Razzle Dazzle” and featuring sizzling dancing in the style of the late, great Bob Fosse.
- Current cast members performing on this special night include Bianca Marroquín as Roxie Hart, Lana Gordon as Velma Kelly, Jason Danieley as Billy Flynn, Raymond Bokhour as Amos Hart, Roz Ryan as Mama Morton, R. Lowe as Mary Sunshine and David Bushman, Kelcy Griffin, Donald Jones, Jr., James Lane, Melissa Rae Mahon, Barrett Martin, Sharon Moore, Brian O’Brien, Denny Paschall, Angel Reda, Jason Patrick Sands, Solange Sandy, Michael Scirrotto, Brian Spitulnik, Tonya Wathen, Chryssie Whitehead, with very special surprise guests including a performance from Chicago’s original Billy Flynn, Tony Award-winner, James Naughton.
- Note that there is limited seating available, and it’s first come, first served basis. Chairs are not allowed, so bring a blanket. Please click here for a full list of venue rules ahead of the show.
- Starts at 7PM, but be there by 6PM to be sure you can get in.
Free outdoor movies
- wining Aladdin (Movies Under the Stars): The Caton School, 18 Marlborough Road, Prospect Park South
- Ant Man (Movies Under the Stars): Lincoln Terrace Park Entrance, Union Street and Rochester Avenue, Crown Heights
- Creed (Movies Under the Stars): Bayswater Playground, Bayswater Park, Wave Crest
- Calle 54 (Movies Under the Stars): Harlem Art Park, Harlem
- Hotel Transylvania 2 (Movies Under the Stars): Franz Sigel Park, Grand Concourse
- Thursday, Sept. 1st
Met Opera HD Festival – Ten days of FREE opera performances outdoors on a giant screen in Lincoln Center Plaza continues. Tonight, it’s La Cenerentola.
Fracking and the Battle for the Future of Energy and the Environment – a FREE program with the executive director of eco-group Food & Water Watch, tracing the rise of the fracking industry and the growing movement against it. 6:30PM, at the Mid-Manhattan Library, Fifth Ave. and 40th Street, across from the main branch with the lions out front.
- Friday, Sept 2nd
Friday Freebies – See our list NYC museums with FREE Friday admission.
Met Opera HD Festival – Ten days of FREE opera performances outdoors on a giant screen in Lincoln Center Plaza continues. Tonight, it’s opera’s most popular double bill, Cavalleria Rusticate and Pagliacci.
Good Morning America free summer concerts in Central Park.
Today Show free summer concerts in Rockefeller Plaza.
Know about an event you’d like to see included on NYC on the Cheap? email us at [email protected]
We’ll have information about free and cheap events in NYC on our regular Friday morning posting.