There’s more than a dozen FREE and frugal things to do in NYC this 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. Outdoor movies generally start at 8PM or 8:30PM, so its best to click the links provided for exact times.
Let’s hope the weather cooperates for the outdoor events.
any time of year
Today in NYC
Battery Dance Festival – The final performance of a week of traditional and modern dance performances by troupes from around the world, including India, Turkey, Bulgaria and the USA.
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. Today is The Room Where it Happened: Hamilton Connections to the Morris Jumel Mansion.
- See the NYCOTC list of free days at top NYC museums.
- See the NYCOTC list of where to see Hamilton in NYC, including the Morris Jumel Mansion
Summer Fridays at Union Square Greenmarket – Last one of the summer tonight! Local restaurants offer prepared dishes, local brewers, ciders and wineries serve up beverages, joining the regular Friday Greenmarket line-up of local farm produce, cheeses and meats. 4PM to 9PM. Come thirsty, my friend. Come hungry, too.
Friday Freebies: FREE museum admission at top NYC museums.
Emerging Music Festival – Part of a summer-long series of FREE events in Bryant Park. Hear the R&B electronic duo Gemma, punk band Acid Dad, Afrobeat funk band EMEFE, and harpist and songwriter Mickaela Davis. 5PM to 10PM.
Friday Freebies: FREE outdoor movie screenings, including family favorites
- The Little Mermaid (Movies Under the Stars): Astoria Heights Playground (JHS 10), Astoria Heights Park, Astoria
Coney Island Friday Night Fireworks – On the Boardwalk at 10th St., at 9:30, every Friday night of the summer.
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Saturday in NYC
Summer Streets NYC – The third and final Saturday of at the annual August Summer Streets event, when a large chunk of Lower Manhattan is closed to vehicles in favor of cyclists and pedestrians. There are several rest stops with entertainment, goodie giveaways, water slices and crafts projects for the kids, and more.
Blues BBQ Festival – Great music and great food. What could be better. The music is FREE, the food is from the best BBQ restaurants in New York City.
FlyNYC – Go fly a kite. Bring your own, or make one in a kite-making class, enjoy music performances, and more, all FREE. It’s al at Pier I, Riverside Park South at 70th Street noon to 5PM. Here’s the music lineup:
- Noon – 1PM: Black Tie Brass is a horn-driven jazz/funk band from NYC. They combine the presence of a New Orleans Brass Band with the sound of a funk band to create a musically invigorating experience.
- 1:30 – 2:30PM: Utopia Pan Soul – committed to the preservation and promotion of Trinidad and Tobago’s indigenous art form—the steel pan.
- 2:30 – 3:20PM.: Saw Lady – bringing the rare art form of playing music on a carpenter’s saw
- 3:25 – 4PM: Rochelle Lisa – Celtic har
Free outdoor movie screenings
- Rooftop Shots: Closing Night Shorts (Rooftop Films): Industry City, Sunset Park
- The Incredibles (Movies Under the Stars): Joseph P. Addabbo Memorial Park, Tudor Park, Ozone Park
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
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
Battery Dance Festival – Daily traditional and modern dance performances by troupes from around the world, including India, Turkey, Bulgaria and the USA.
Jazz Festival – Enjoy the sounds of music outdoors on the lawn of Morris Jumel Mansion, 2PM to 6PM, FREE.
- 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.
60th Street Festival – Street fair on 60th Street, between Fifth and Madison Avenues
NYC Tourist Day Street Fair – Isn’t every day a NYC tourist day? On 50th Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues
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.