Here are more than a dozen FREE and cheap things to do this last weekend before Xmas and Hanukkah. The NYCOTC free and cheap weekend guide is always $20 or less, to enjoy NYC for less, with no apologies
Unless a price is noted, our weekend list is FREE.
Let’s start with best NYC sledding hills, because of the snow in the forecast.
Best FREE things to do in NYC any time of year
Already Underway in NYC
Holiday crafts markets – See the entire holiday craft market schedule here.
Best holiday trees in NYC – The lights are bright and twinkling beyond Rockefeller Center and Bryant Park. See our list of holiday trees.
Holiday train show at Grand Central Terminal – See a mini version of NYC and vintage model trains, FREE.
Where to see Santa in every borough of NYC – He’s making a list and checking it twice, all over NYC.
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Friday in NYC
Friday Freebies – Free admission to NYC museums
The Future of Automobility – See three fabulous concept cars that were well ahead of their time, including the 1956 GM Firebird II (shown here), with autonomous driving features guided by maps and a communication system displayed through television screens on the dashboard. The vehicles are on display in the lobby of 732 Park Avenue, at the corner of 57th Street. where condos can cost $65 million. But you’ll have to drool from the sidewalk, since there’s no admission to the supertall building for non-residents or their guests.
Saturday in NYC
Bethlehem on Broadway – FREE holiday show featuring 100+ live actors and animals telling the story of the birth of Christ, plus puppet shows and a holiday crafts market.
Wrappy Hour at the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott – Bring your holiday gifts to The Bar in the lobby for FREE borough-themed gift wrapping by the hotel’s resident “wrapper”. Okay, it’s not exactly free – it’s with with the purchase of a limited edition Brooklyn Republic Vodka. But in addition to the wrapping, you get a coupon to save up to $500 at the new Century 21 outpost a few blocks away. 4pm – 7pm.
High Line Winter Tour: From Freight to Flowers – Hear the story behind NYC’s trend-setting elevated park in the sky on a special FREE winter walking tour led by knowledgeable volunteer guides who share you an insider’s perspective on the park’s history, design, and landscape. Tours are 45 minutes. Meet at 12:45pm at the top of the stairs of the Gansevoort St. entrance. Tours are subject to cancellation due to weather. Check www.thehighline.org or follow @highlinenyc on Twitter for updates prior to arriving at the park. If you miss this weekend, the next winter walking tour is on Jan. 7th.
Sunday in NYC
Ride vintage subway trains from the 1930s – This is the final weekend this year to ride what used to be called the Nostalgia Train is now called Shopper Special, between Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Chanukah Festival – You don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy this family-friendly event with crafts workshops including menorah building, making edible dreidels, and more. Performances are by Wondergy – Cool Science Show, The Shababa Sparks, 92Y’s Israeli Folk Dance troop featuring “ A Gift of Light”. All activities are in both in Hebrew and English co-led by the Israeli Scouts-Tzofim and will include, menorah building, edible dreidels, holiday card making, At the 92nd St. Y, starting at 11am. Ticketed event. Tickets are $12 and $18, with no service charge
Hanukkah Family Festival – Kids can design menorahs and dreidls and create holiday cards at drop-in crafts workshops, Popular kid rocker Shira Kline performs a musical re-enactment of the Hanukkah story, full of heroes, drama, and miracles, including such tunes as “Chanukah Bamba,” “This Little Light of Mine,” plus a performance of the story of Hanukkay by storyteller and illustrator Jeff Hopkins, using live drawing, animation, and narration with sound and movement. Noon to 4pm at the Jewish Museum, Fifth Ave. at 92nd St. Free with museum admission.
Latkepalooza – Play dreidel, decorate menorahs, nosh on latkes and jelly donuts, sing along to favorite Hanukkah songs, and watch an original play based on the PJ Library story, Eric A. Kimmel’s ,’The Golem’s Latkes.’Get ready for the Festival of Lights with food, music, and hands-on activities. 10am to 1pm, for families with children ages 3 to 10. At the Museum of Jewish Heritage, just west of Battery Park. Tickets re $10 and include museum admission.
‘Twas The Night Before Christmas – Attend a FREE reading of the famous poem by Clement Clark Moore, then join a lantern procession to lay a wreath at his grave. It’s all happening in Washington Heights. The reading is at The Church of the Intersession at 155th St. and Broadway, and Moore’s grave is a few blocks away, at the Trinity Cemetery and Mausoleum. For more information, call (212) 602-0800 or visit www.trinitywallstreet.org. Starting at 4pm.
Sea Shanty Sessions – Ahoy, mate!. Led by the Folk Music Society of New York, this FREE family-friendly sing-along is a great opportunity to experience authentic, time-honored maritime songs in an appropriately historic setting. That historic setting is the Snug Harbor Cultural Center on Staten Island. If you can’t make it this weekend, we hold a session on the third Sunday of every month. At the Noble Maritime Collection (Building D), 2pm to 5pm.
Smorgasburg and Winter Flea – The popular food and crafts market in Brooklyn is back indoors for the winter, at 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. Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 6pm. $1 entry, kids 16 and under FREE.
- Special extended holiday hours to 8pm. Closing at 3pm Christmas Eve, closed Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Opens again the first weekend in January 2017.
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.