The are so many FREE and frugal things to do this first weekend after the important and exhausting presidential election. The NYCOTC free and cheap weekend guide is $20 or less, not like 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.
The street fair season is winding down, replaced by holiday markets. Unless otherwise noted, street fairs are 10AM to 6PM.
Let’s hope the weather cooperates for the outdoor events, including street fairs and parades.
Best FREE things to do in NYC any time of year
Already Underway in NYC
Rockefeller Center Ice Skating Rink – This legendary rink is open for the season, 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. Also open is the Bryant Park Ice Skating Rink.
Holiday crafts markets – Some are already open, others are opening soon. See the entire holiday craft market schedule here.
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Today in NYC
Veterans Day Ceremony at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, Pier 86, 46th St and 12th Ave, at 3:30pm
Saturday and Sunday in NYC
1st Annual New York Jazz Film Festival – The first film festival dedicated exclusively to jazz-centric cinema. Join us at one of our nine sessions to experience great films in various categories, mixed with live jazz as we celebrate the uniquely American musical tradition of jazz in historic Harlem. FREE. Presented by American Youth Symphony and SYR & Associates at Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building Art Gallery
Smorgasburg and Winter Flea – The popular food and crafts market in Brooklyn moves indoors for the winter, returning to Skylight One Hanson with 75 Brooklyn Flea vendors selling vintage, antiques, clothing, and handmade items, alongside 25 Smorgasburg food vendors. It’s a shopping and eating and drinking experience (there are two bars) and part museum-style field trip to the stunning landmark interior that was once home to the Williamsburg Savings Bank. New vendors include JACK + G jewelry, LaRosh handcrafted hats, children’s clothing from Wovenplay and Quick Brown Fox Letterpress. Food vendors include Bird’s Eye Vietnamese, a new street-food concept by longtime vendor Dennis Ngo of Lonestar Empire (dry pho), and the return of Ramen Shack by Keizo Shimamoto. Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 6pm. $1 entry, kids 16 and under FREE.
Sunday in NYC
Generation to Generation Festival – Party like it’s 1886, the year the Eldridge Street Synagogue was founded, at the Museum at Eldridge Street, 12 Eldridge St between Canal and Division St, noon to 4pm. Travel back in time to 1886 when the cornerstone for the Eldridge Street Synagogue was laid. Music, art, food demos, and fun historical activities celebrate the building’s 130th anniversary and bring to life the transformative Jewish immigrant experience. This event is Pay What You Wish, and dressing in period garb is encouraged.
- Take a 19th-century citizenship test
- Learn to make old-fashioned American pie
- Take photos at a “vintage” photo booth
- Hear performances of cantorial music and early 20th century tunes
- Enjoy enactments of dramatic moments from the synagogue’s early history with the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene
- Take a genealogy workshop & hear about a unique family history project from quiltmaker Pamela Phillips Olson
- Design your own time capsule with Reboot
- Do some old-fashioned “homework”
- Explore the museum’s historic sanctuary and permanent exhibition
240th Commemoration of the Battle of Fort Washington – Celebrate this key event in the Revolutionary War with 18th Century music, crafts, games and demonstrations including blacksmithing, and re-enactors in period dress. FREE on the Cafe Lawn of Fort Tryon Park in Washington Heights/Inwood (where NYCOTC editor Evelyn Kanter grew up).
Olympic Pride, American Prejudice – A timely and inspiring film that tells the story of 18 African Americans who went to Germany to participate in the 1936 Olympics, defying Jim Crow laws here and Nazi prejudice and Adolph Hitler there. FREE, at 2pm at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park. Registration is recommended to ensure space.
Central Park Community Holiday Block Party – 60th Street from 5th to Madison Avenue
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.