Your weekend plans begin here, with more than a dozen FREE and cheap things to do including music and dance, street fairs, Oktoberfest celebrations, and the NY Film Festival at Lincoln Center. 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.
Ending This Weekend
Jewish High Holy Days – Shanah Tova to our Jewish followers. Yom Kippur, the most holy day of the Jewish calendar, begins at sundown on Friday, Sept. 29, ending ten days of prayer and introspection that began with Rosh Hashonah last week.
Taste of Iceland – FREE events celebrating the food and drink, film, literature and fashion of the island nation, through Sunday, Oct. 1. All events are in Brooklyn.
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
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 an autumn afternoon or evening
- Best NYC rooftop bars for an autumn afternoon or evening
New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center – 18 days of the best new films, talks with directors and actors, and more, in this annual combination of FREE and ticketed events at multiple theaters and spaces in Lincoln Center.
Chihuly at the NY Botanical Garden – This spectacular exhibit of nearly two dozen monumental glass sculptures is through Oct. 29, and crisp fall weather is an ideal time to enjoy the artworks. Saturday night is one of the final Chihuly Nights, when the sculptures are lit, and there’s live music and cocktails.
Friday in NYC
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
First Annual Harlem Brew Festival – Sip your way through 50 seasonal and limited craft brews, along with Lindy and hip hop dancing to live music, life chef demos, a beer panel, beer games, and more. This is a ticketed event, with tickets starting at $10. Buy tickets online since tey will not be sold at the door. A portion of proceeds supports the Harlem Business Alliance, and you have the option to add a donation to support hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. There are two sessions, 1pm to 4pm and 6pm to 9pm. This is an outdoor event, rain or shine, at 133rd St. and 12th Ave.
- Confirmed Breweries include: Black Frog Brewery (OH) Butternuts Beer & Ale (NY) Cheksea Brewery, CooperstownBrewery (NY) Davidson Brothers (NY) Harlem Brew (NYC), New Belgium Brewery, 1947 Brewery, Shmaltz Brewing(NY), Island to Island Brewery(NYC), Tsing Tao Brewery (China) Watch for updates as more sign on! Invited breweries include Captain Lawrence, Fire Island, Peak Brewing, Two Roads, Newburgh Brewery, Sweetwater, Boston Beer, Brooklyn Beer, Ballast.
Sixth Avenue Festival – Street Fair on Sixth Ave., between 8th and 14th Streets
Bleecker Street Festival – Street Fair on Bleecker St. between Sixth and Seventh Aves.
- FREE Saturday admission at top NYC museums every Saturday all year includes the Jewish Museum and the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum.
Saturday and Sunday
Denim Days Festival – Whether you’re a fashionista or a casual fan, this inaugural indigo event is more than just shopping. There are indigo-dyeing workshops, games, selfie stations and more. Brands include both established names and new denim designers as well as a vintage denim market, in Chelsea, 11am to 6pm on Saturday and to 5pm on Sunday.. Discount admission is $5.
- How to help victims of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean
Sunday in NYC
33rd Annual Medieval Festival – Knights in shiny armor joust on horseback, jesters make you laugh, magicians amaze you with tricks from Merlin not Las Vegas, and more at this family-friendly event. Uptown, at The Cloisters in Ft. Tryon Park, 11:30am to 6pm.
92nd St. Y StreetFest – This annual FREE event takes over Lexington Ave. with fun and games for the family, plus FREE, performances by: A Bronx Tale, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, Big Apple Circus, Cats, Kinky Boots, Miss Saigon, Once On This Island, School of Rock – The Musical, Chris Bergson Trio, Jamie Reynolds Trio, Sarah Tolar Band, The Matt Check Bluegrass Band, Kazu Kamagai, Te Ao Mana (Tahitian Dance), Larissa Velez-Jackson, Community Dance Project and Musical Theatre Development Lab. With guest hosts from The Play That Goes Wrong.
Salsa Sundays at Orchard Beach – FREE dancing to classic salsa, merengue and mambo to music spun by a top DJ. Each Sunday through October.
FREE Sunday admission at top NYC museums include Frick Museum and Morgan Library and Museum.
FREE Flatiron Walking Tour – Join professional guides on a 90-minute journey through this vibrant neighborhood, viewing some of the City’s most notable landmarks, including the New York Life Insurance Building, the MetLife Clock Tower, the Appellate Courthouse and the famous Flatiron Building. Every Sunday at 11am, rain or shine. No advance registration is required. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
Every weekend in NYC
Hallett Nature Sanctuary – This almost-secret hideaway spot in Central Park is now open for the season. The gates to this locked-off sanctuary will be open daily this year, from 10AM to 30 minutes before sunset, with the caveat that it is closed occasionally due to inclement conditions. Wear sturdy closed shoes for the uneven walkways, and bring a camera. No dogs, bikes or strollers permitted.
Smorgasburg in Manhattan – Smorg Square, at 76 Varick St. (at Canal St.) on the border of Soho, Tribeca, and Hudson Square, is back every Friday-Sunday 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.).
Long Island Flea, Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg are open for the season. Details here.
Pier 2 Roller Rink at Brooklyn Bridge Park – Rates are $3 to skate, $6 to rent; check the website for hours and special events, including lessons. This is a covered rink, so you get fresh air, but not raindrops.
Brooklyn Bridge Park’s bouncy Squibb Park Bridge has reopened after more than two years and $2.5 million to reduce bounce. The walkway is a handy shortcut between Brooklyn Heights and the park.
Luna Park at Coney Island – Celebrate the 90th anniversary of the iconic Cyclone roller coaster all season.
Brooklyn Bazaar Night Market offers an Asian-style night market, with international food, vendors, and entertainment.
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.
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