The are so many FREE and frugal things to do this mid-October weekend in NYC, including a Diwali festival in Times Square and a film festival at AMNH. The NYCOTC free and cheap weekend guide is $20 or less. That makes us different from other lists with expensive ideas, because we’re here to help you enjoy NYC on the cheap with no apologies.
Unless a price is noted, our weekend list is FREE.
Unless otherwise noted, street fairs are 10AM to 6PM.
Let’s hope the weather cooperates for the outdoor events, including street fairs and parades.
any time of year
Already Underway in NYC
New York Film Festival – Through Sunday, see indie and international films, including documentaries, at this annual film festival at Lincoln Center.
Margaret Mead Film Festival – This is the 40th Anniversary of the film and live panel series celebrating the anthropologist, with close-up looks at life in different cultures including life in Saudi Arabia, Asian nomadic tribes and more. There are more than 30 films, plus panels and discussions with filmmakers Many of the films are premieres, many of the films are by women filmmakers. Margaret Mead would be pleased. Everything is at the American Museum of Natural History. Tickets are just $12, or get a three-day pass for $50.
Blood Manor – Our favorite haunted house returns for the Halloween season, where adults only can scare yourself silly. Get discount tickets now for your choice of dates.
Rockefeller Center Ice Skating Rink – This legendary rink is now open for the season today, the first real sign of winter. This is the rink’s 40th Anniversary, so expect special events throughout the ice skating season. Get there now, before Thanksgiving, when the Holiday tourist crowds take over Rockefeller Center
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Saturday in NYC
Times Square Expo – Theater memorabilia and more, on Broadway between 47th and 57th Streets.
Kids Fest – Fun and games for the family in Madison Square Park, with FREE entertainment, face painting and more, including food tastes from local restaurants. 11am to 3pm. Fifth Avenue and 24th St.
Marco Polo Italian and Chinese Festival – Celebrate the dual cultures of the Lower East Side, with international food, entertainment and crafts. 11am to 3pm at Grand Street between Mott and Mulberry Streets
Astoria Big Band – Carol Sudhalter leads this multi-piece orchestra in a Queens Council on the Arts-sponsored concert. FREE, at 2pm, at the Langston Hughes Library, 100-01 Northern Blvd., Corona, Queens.
– Commemorate those who have passed away at this annual all-day Day of the Dead celebration, that starts with a procession in Central Park and ends with music and dance performances, face painting, art workshops, and storytelling. FREE, at El Museo del Barrio, Fifth Ave. at 104th St.
Halloween Night Bazaar – There will be gifts, food, and alcohol at this artisan market in Ridgewood, Queens, with more than 40 independent and local artisan vendors. The German Gottscheer Hall is serving beer and specialty cocktails for this occasion. Admission is FREE. Food and drink is not. 5pm to 11pm at Gottscheer Hall, 657 Fairview Ave. Ridgewood.
– Asian-style night market, with international food, entertainment and artists, Saturday nights in October. At Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, 6pm to Midnight.
Saturday and Sunday in NYC
Halloween Harvest – Every weekend through Oct. 30th, enjoy “spooktacular fun” at Luna Park in Coney Island with face painting and trick-or-treating, spooky karaoke, a pumpkin patch and more.
LIC Flea & Food – The popular outdoor weekend market is focusing on the fall harvest, 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 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
Diwali in Times Square – Celebrate the Hindu Festival of Lights in Times Square, with FREE performances by Bollywood stars, Indian food and crafts, and more. 2pm to 9pm, On Broadway between 42nd and 48th Streets.
Family Day at Onassis Cultural Center – Learn about Superheroes, from the days of Ancient Greece to today, FREE, with dance performances, sing-alongs, and the chance to meet Olympic gold medalist Katerina Stefanidi, a modern superhero. 11am to 3pm. The Onassis Cultural Center is at Fifth Avenue and 51st Street, and admission is FREE all the time..
Washington Square Arch Fair – Washington Square North, between Fifth Avenue and University Place
25th Annual Broadway Fall Festival – Broadway between 86th Street and 96th Street
- Japan Block Fair – One block, 93rd to 94th, is devoted to Japanese food, entertainment and crafts. Last your way around Japan with $5 ramen bowls from more than a dozen ramen vendors.
– Live music, games, nature walks, tours, petting zoo, beer tent, and pumpkin patch at the Queens Botanical Garden, 11am to 5pm. $12/$10 for children. . Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main St., Flushing.
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. family-friendly outdoor food market features live music and tastings of local craft food and drinks 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.