Here are a couple of dozen FREE and cheap things to do this first three-day holiday weekend of 2017. The NYCOTC free and cheap weekend guide always features $25 or less to enjoy NYC on the cheap with no apologies.
Unless a price is noted, our weekend list is FREE.
Best FREE things to do in NYC any time of year
Ending soon in NYC
Luminaries at Brookfield Place – Visitors are immersed in a canopy of glowing lanterns suspended within the Winter Garden, which changing color and intensity every few moments. 8am to 1pm daily through Sunday, Jan 29th. Take a 360° virtual tour of Luminaries.
Holiday train show at Grand Central Terminal – See a mini version of NYC and vintage model trains, FREE.
New York Jewish International Film Festival – As many as three screenings a day, through Jan. 24th, of documentaries, shorts and other films. This year features a special tribute to Gene Wilder, who we lost in 2016.
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Ten FREE things to do in NYC Parks this weekend, including birding hikes, indoor kayaking lessons in a city pool and more.
Friday the 13th in NYC
Special Shabbat Service Commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – The Rev. Calvin Butts II and the choir and congregation of Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem join Temple Emanu-El for a celebration and commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. FREE at 6pm at Temple Emanu-El, 1 East 65th St.
- On Sunday, Rabbi Joshua Davidson delivers the sermon at Abyssinian at 11:30 a.m. FREE, Both services will be streamed online.
Freebie Friday – Free admission to NYC museums including MOMA. No passes or coupons needed. Just go.
Freebie Friday – FREE Grand Central Neighborhood Tour. Every Friday at 12:30, docents from the Grand Central Partnership guide you through the history of the fabled Grand Central Terminal and some equally-fabled nearby landmarks including the Chrysler Building. There are no tickets, no reservations. Just meet at Sculpture court at 120 Park Avenue (southwest corner of East 42nd Street). Tour is 90 minutes.
Saturday and Sunday
5th Annual Black Comic Book Festival – Meet illustrators, buy, sell and trade, and attend seminars. FREE both days, at the Schomburg Center in Harlem. This festival has grown in popularity from one day to an entire weekend. This year s the first two-day festival.
Vinyl Weekend – The Brooklyn Flea *mini* Record Fair returns for the fourth year in a row to Skylight One Hanson in Fort Greene at the iconic Williamsburg Savings Bank, one of the most revered interiors in New York City. Browse from the collections of more than a dozen record stores and collectors while sipping locally produced beer, wine, and cider, plus the regular collection of vendors and foods. www.brooklynflea.com
Sunday, Jan. 15th
Wikipedia Day 16th Birthday Bash NYC is part celebration and part mini-conference, and it’s FREE. One of a number of Wikipedia Day worldwide, with presentations, breakout group discussions, lighting talks and snacks. Afterward, there’s a cash bar and a DJ. It’s all happening at the Ace Hotel in Midtown. Registration required to ensure space.
Soul to Soul – A joyful and moving concert exploring the parallel paths of Jews and African-Americans, two minority peoples finding America’s promise of freedom, overcoming segregation, prejudice, and economic hardship. This concert combines songs in Yiddish and in English, with those from the Civil Rights era. 2pm, at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan. General admission tickets are $20.
Film Screening: ‘Moonlight’ – This film has has received universal acclaim from critics for its portrayal of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami. A Q&A follows the screening. Admission is free for members and $5 for the public. 5:30pm at JCC Harlem, 318 W. 118th St.
Monday, Jan. 16, MLK Day
Activist New York – This family-friendly event at the Museum of the City of New York explores how New Yorkers have fought for freedom and equality over the past 350 years. And, after learning about the Civil Rights movement and activists such as Milton Galamison, Ella Baker, and Bayard Rustin, participants will create their own protest poster for an issue of particular importance to them. 11am to 2-m, FREE with museum admission. Registration is recommended to ensure space.
Sweet Honey in the Rock – Attend a performance of the Grammy Award-nominated all-woman group at JCC Manhattan, at 5pm. Tickets are $5.
Free admission to National Park Service sites – One of the half-dozen free admission days each year. In NYC, that includes Grant’s Tomb, Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace, Statue of Liberty, Federal Hall, and Hamilton Grange, the home of Alexander Hamilton.
Federal Hall National Monument – Learn from National Park Rangers how the media defined the Reconstruction Era and influenced the times after the Civil War. FREE at 11am and 2pm.
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.