The are so many FREE and frugal things to do this Columbus Day Weekend in NYC. The NYCOTC free and cheap weekend guide is $20 or less. That makes us different from other “what to do” 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 Oct. 16th, see indie and international films, including documentaries, at this annual film festival at Lincoln Center.
4th annual Ocktober Film Festival – Though Sunday, a lineup of 35 selected Features, Shorts, Documentaries, Web Series and Young Adult films. Ticketed event, at Symphony Space on the Upper West Side.
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.
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Saturday in NYC
Rockefeller Center Ice Skating Rink – This legendary rink opens 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, or at least before Thanksgiving, when the Holiday tourist crowds take over Rockefeller Center.
Lexington Avenue Fair – On Lexington Avenue, between 42nd and 57th Streets
24th Annual Upper Broadway Fall Festival – On Broadway, between 110th and 116th Streets
– 11am-4pm – A. Philip Randolph Square, St. Nicholas Ave between 116th and 117th Streets
Saturday and Sunday in NYC
27th Annual Autumn Crafts Festival – Nearly 300 artisans are displaying handcrafted artworks, clothing, jewelry, home fashions and more. This is a juried show, with quality offerings, not the schlock you see at street fairs. At Lincoln Center, 64th St. at Columbus Ave. 11am to 8:30pm Saturday and 10am to 6pm Sunday.
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
52nd Annual Hispanic Parade – Celebrate the cultures of Spanish-speaking countries in the Caribbean and Central and South America. More than 4,000 people from more than 20 countries are expected to march in this parade. Grand Marshal is former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, who has been in headlines lately related to the Clinton-Trump presidential campaign. She was chosen long before the headlines. There’s also a large contingent from Spain, which is celebrating the 400th anniversary of the death of Miguel de Cervantes, who wrote Don Quixote, about following your impossible dream (a line from the best known song in the Broadway show Man of La Mancha, based on the book) The parade starts at Noon, on Fifth Ave., from 44th 60 68th Streets.
- One of the best museums in NYC is the Hispanic Society of America, in Washington Heights. It’s on our list of best FREE places to visit in NYC.
Sixth Avenue Festival – Sixth Avenue, between Houston St and Waverly Place
World Trade Center Block Party – Liberty Street between Broadway and Trinity Place
Jefferson Market Garden Children’s Harvest Festival – 11am-2pm – Greenwich Avenue between Sixth Ave and W. 10th Street
– Fifth Avenue between 44th and 70th Streets
Columbus Day Festival – On Broadway between Liberty and Battery Place
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
Columbus Day, Monday in NYC
Indigenous Peoples Celebration – This is a celebration of Native Americans, who did not demand extreme vetting of the immigrants who arrived on these shores beginning in the 1600s. Includes Indigenous People from North and South Amierica, and from the Caribbean in between. Song, dance, story-telling, crafts and more. FREE event on Wards Field, Randalls Island, beginning with a sunrise ceremony at 7am, through 4pm. Bring your own lawn chairs.
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.