Your weekend plans begin here, with a couple of dozen FREE and cheap things to do this mid-August weekend of August, including movies, music and dance, the India Day parade, last weekend of car-free Summer Streets and more. NYCOTC weekend guide is always $20 or less so you can take bites out of the Big Apple without eating up your budget.
New York City doesn’t have to be expensive when you know where to go and what to do, and we do.
Unless a price is noted, our weekend list is FREE, and we usually remind you anyway, to be sure you know. Unless otherwise noted, street fairs are 10am to 6pm.
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Usually we start with Friday events, but this week we’re adding Thursday – for the music and dance events we love.
Live at the Archway – Head to the archway on the Brooklyn side of the Manhattan Bridge on Thursday evenings through the end of September for 17 weeks of FREE family-friendly music concerts, dance performances, social dance classes and more.
Sugar Hill Swing Dance – Dance to a live band at the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum, 898 St. Nicholas Ave., 6pm to 8pm. Presented by the The Harlem Swing Dance Society.
NYC Restaurant Week 2017 – Splurge on a fixed-price three-course meal at one of 400 top NYC restaurants participating in this annual program. Get lunch for $29 and dinner for $42. NYC Restaurant Week is through August 18th.
Battery Dance Festival – FREE performances by dancers and troupes from more than a dozen nations, outdoors in Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park and indoors at Schimmel Center at Pace University, both in Lower Manhattan, through Saturday, Aug. 19.
Get on the fence at this annual photo exhibit at Brooklyn Bridge Park, back for its sixth year, through September 10th. THE FENCE is a large-scale traveling photography exhibition reaching over 4 million visitors annually through open-air exhibitions in seven cities across the United States. Since its inception, THE FENCE has attracted exceptional work by talented photographers from around the world, providing them with a truly public platform and unexpected career opportunities. This year’s installation will explore the themes of Home, Streets, People, Creatures, Nature, Play, and Food. THE FENCE is at Empire Fulton Ferry and along the Greenway. The exhibit is FREE, as are the cool breezes from the East River and the picture postcard view of the Manhattan skyline.
SummerStage FREE concerts in parks in all five boroughs all summer
Movies Under the Stars – FREE outdoor movies nearly every night of the week all summer in all five boroughs.
Best NYC Atlantic Ocean beaches you can get to by subway. NYC has 14 miles of Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound beaches, with lifeguards on duty daily 10am to 6pm through Labor Day. Remember to bring your sunscreen.
NYC FREE outdoor pools are a great way to beat the heat. Here’s where to cool off in all five boroughs:
- Best outdoor pools in Manhattan.
- Best outdoor pools in Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Staten Island
- Where to find sprinklers and spray showers in NYC parks
Best NYC outdoor beer gardens for a summer afternoon and evening
FREE apps on subway track work and schedulng delays – know what trains are bypassing what stations so you aren’t late for one of these free and cheap weekend events.
NYC official street closures website – know what streets are closed when for street fairs, parades, political protests and more.
Friday in NYC
Films on the Green – This year marks the 10th anniversary of this FREE annual outdoor French film festival produced by the French Embassy, FACE Foundation and NYC Parks. Films are in French with English subtitles, curated by Wes Anderson, Jim Jarmusch, James Ivory, Saul Williams, Isabella Rossellini, Wanda Sykes, Laurie Anderson, Matthew Weiner, Matías Piñeiro, and Amy Hargreaves. Every Friday through Sept. 7th.
Freebie Friday – FREE admission to NYC museums including MOMA. No passes or coupons needed. Just go.
Get FREE admission to more than a dozen NYC museums with the IDNYC card. Enrollment is also FREE.
Freebie Friday: Family Fridays at MoMath – Solve puzzles, family-style, and learn how math affects everything, from music to space flight. 6:30pm, FREE The National Museum of Mathematics is at 11 E. 26th St.
Freebie Friday – Grand Central Neighborhood Tour. FREE 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 in NYC
Summer Streets – Enjoy car-free streets from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Upper East Side. Rest stops along the way include a giant water park, entertainment and more. This is the third and final of three car-free Saturdays each August.
Blues and BBQ – This annual festival in Hudson River Park features a day of FREE blues music plus BBQ to purchase from the best ribs joints in NYC. The party starts at 2pm.
Smorgasburg returns to Manhattan – Smorg Square, at 76 Varick St. (at Canal St.) on the border of Soho, Tribeca, and Hudson Square. The new location will be open every Friday-Sunday (except this weekend) through Christmas, with a rotating lineup of food vendors curated from the Brooklyn markets, with 20+ vendors every Friday-Sunday and seating for 120. Plus, 60 world-class vintage, furniture, and handmade vendors at Brooklyn Flea’s new year-round indoor location directly across the street, at 100 Avenue of the Americas (at Watts St.).
The Great Irish Festival – Street fair on Sixth Avenue betwen 42nd and 56th Streets
West 13th Street Festival – Street fair on 13th St. between Greenwich and Seventh Aves.
Tango in the Park – Since Mid 1990s, Argentine Tango afficianados have been gathering to dance, and be watched dancing, in Central Park. There are no lessons, although you can pick up a tip or two from a friendly participant. Every Saturday through the last Saturday in September, 6pm to 9:30pm, at the Shakespeare Statue, at the south end of The Mall. It’s rain or shine – in case of rain, the dancing moves nearby to “The Dairy” (Visitor Center)
FREE Saturday admission at top NYC museums includes the Jewish Museum and the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum.
Saturday and Sunday in NYC
Emerging Music Festival – Hear the best in indie rock as this festival returns to Bryant Park for its third year with a new two-day format with twice the music. Ten on-the-rise NYC bands perform on one of the biggest stages of their young careers. Between sets attendees can play giant lawn games, learn to juggle, and purchase food and beverages from local vendors.
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See next page for Sunday events, including street fairs