Your weekend plans begin here, with a couple of dozen FREE and cheap things to do this first weekend of Fall, including music and dance, street fairs, and the superstar Global Citizen Festival concert in Central Park. The NYCOTC weekend guide is always $20 or less so you can take bites out of the Big Apple without eating up your budget.
NYC isn’t 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.
Let’s hope the weather cooperates for all the outdoor events. If not –
Know before you go –
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.
NYC parking calendar – know when you have to move your car, or not.
Subscribe to our email newsletter and get NYC on the Cheap in your inbox at 8am each morning. That’s FREE, too, and you’ll start the day with what you need to know to be a NYC cheapskate.
Last Chance – Ending Sunday
91st Annual Feast of San Gennaro – Quite possibly the biggest and most popular annual NYC street fairs, taking over the streets of Little Italy through Sept. 24, with parades, food, entertainment, food, games, food, activities for the kids, and food.
20at20– Get $20 tickets for Off-Broadway shows for matinee and evening performances through this Sunday, Sept 24.
Photoville – The annual FREE photography festival returns to Brooklyn Bridge Park bigger and better than before, feauturng work by more than 500 visual artists, plus dozens of seminars and and workshops, outdoor projection shows and more. The installation is through this Sunday, Sept. 24, with more than 75 exhibitions housed in and around a collection of 50+ repurposed shipping containers, free photo workshops and more.
Snoopy and Belle in Fashion – The beloved Beagles are all dressed up by top designers at this FREE exhibit in the West Street entrance at Brookfield Place, 8am to 10pm daily, through Oct. 1.
Friday through Sunday
Maker Faire – If you or the kids are interested in science, technology or making things like your own robot, this is the place to be to tinker and learn. The 8th annual Maker Faire NYC is Sept. 23/24 at the New York Hall of Science in Queens, and it’s one of the biggest and best annual family events in NYC,sponsored by Disney, NASA, Google, Microsoft and other tech companies.
Oktoberfest events – Enjoy German beer, food and oompah bands this weekend at German restaurants, bierhaus and beer garden locations around town. See our list of what’s happening where.
- Best NYC outdoor beer gardens for a late summer afternoon and evening
- Best NYC rooftop bars for a summer afternoon and evening
Tribeca TV Festival – From the folks behind the Tribeca Film Festival, the TV version features previews of new season shows, such as Will & Grace, and interviews with stars and directors. This is a ticketed event, at Cinepolis Chelsea, 260 West 23rd St. Get tickets, see the daily schedule and trailers here.
Friday in NYC
Jose Conde Eclectric & Ola Fresca – Get a Latin dance lesson, followed by a concert music with Cuban rhythms that explores the crosscurrents of son, salsa, timba, funk, rock, afrobeat, Haitian compass, and more. Jose Conde Eclectric and his Cuban salsa band Ola Fresca take you on a dance-inspiring musical journey from Miami to New York to Havana and back. Tickets are $16, $10 for members and students. At Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd., at 7pm.
Charanga America – The David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center kicks off its FREE fall/winter series with a beloved Bronx legacy. Carrying on the spirit of the original founders, George and Margie Maysonet, the new formation, which includes their children, will keep the dance floor filled with singing flute-and-violin melodies and classic danzón rhythms. 7:30pm.
- How to help victims of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean
Bryant Park Square Dance – Dust off your cowboy boots and get ready to do-si-do at this popular FREE annual event, complete with live music, a mechanical bull, and more. There’s live music by Morgan O’Kane and Zeke Healey, followed by a set of square dancing, accompanied by live music and called by Dave Harvey of NYC Barn Dance, more live music with Pete and the Stray Dogs, and a second set of square dancing. There’s a FREE bag check, FREE cowboy hats while supplies last, and little cowboys and cowgirls can ride a bouncy-horse, everybody can enter a raffle for a chance to win two airline tickets to any city in the USA that Southwest Airlines serves. The Bryant Park Square Dance is 5pm to 10pm at the Fountain Terrace.
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
Global Citizen Festival Concert – The biggest FREE annual concert in Central Park, this year featuring Stevie Wonder, Green Day, The Lumineers, The Killers, and The Chainsmokers. Pharrell Williams, Big Sean, Andra Day, and Alessia Cara also perform. Hugh Jackman, Lupita Nyong’o, Aaron Paul and Demi Lovato co-host. Note there is no admission without a ticket, and you have until Friday to earn one by doing simple online tasks to prove you are a good global citizen supporting equality, the end of poverty and managing climate change.
- FREE Saturday admission at top NYC museums every Saturday all year includes the Jewish Museum and the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum.
- The Metropolitan Opera 2017/2018 season opens Monday. Watch the Opening Night performance FREE on giant screens in Times Square.
Fall Family Day: Rhythms of Latin America – Carnegie Hall celebrates families by offering FREE, and fun musical activities in its Resnick Education Wing several times a year. This weekend is one of them. Families have the opportunity to enjoy live performances, build handmade instruments, and sing and dance with professional musicians. Let energetic rhythms guide you on a journey through Latin American music, 2pm to 4pm.
- Bomba and Plena: Travel to Puerto Rico with Los Pleneros de la 21 by learning the rhythms and dances of bomba and plena.
- Capoeira: Experience capoeira—a form of martial arts that combines music, dance, and acrobatics—accompanied by traditional Brazilian instruments, and learn the Afro-Brazilian warrior stick dance maculelê.
- Block Party: Explore the music of Colombia, Cuba, and Venezuela with Folklore Urbano. Enjoy a performance while you learn salsa, joropo, and cumbia.
- Rhythm Quest: Spend one-on-one time with master percussionists who will introduce you to the signature rhythms and instruments of four Latin American genres.
- Instrument Making: Work with artists from Bash the Trash to build güiros (hollow instrument with rubbing stick) and bongos out of recycled materials, and join in on an interactive performance.
- Digital Laboratory: Take various rhythms and use different technological elements to experience Latin American music in new ways.
Saturday and Sunday
Brooklyn Americana Music Festival – Two days of FREE original and traditional country, folk, roots, blues, old time and bluegrass artists. 2pm to 8pm both days at Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 6 Lawns. Here’s the schedule:
Saturday, September 23
2:00 PM Stella Branstool
2:30 PM The Sparrow Sisters
3:00 PM The Wild Goats
4:00 PM The Brother Brothers
5:00 PM Truckstop Honeymoon
6:00 PM Ana Egge
7:00 PM The Defibulators
Sunday, September 24
2:00 PM Dylan Charles and Stephanie Layton
2:30 PM Junior Folk from Jalopy
3:00 PM The Aching Hearts
4:00 PM The Four O’clock Flowers
5:00 PM M Shanghai Stringband
6:00 PM The Chapin Sisters
7:00 PM Pete Lanctot and the Stray Dogs
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See next page for Sunday events, including street fairs