Your weekend plans begin here, with more than a dozen FREE and cheap things to do this mid-October weekend including music and dance, street fairs and Oktoberfest celebrations. 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.
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
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 the final Chihuly Nights, when the sculptures are lit, and there’s live music and cocktails.
- Get a taste of Dale Chihuly’s art in Union Square Park, where his Rose Crystal Tower goes on display this weekend for a year. It’s a 31-foot-tall tower of sparkling crystals and steel, at the Southeast Triangle, Union Square East at 14th St.
New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center -The 55th annual New York Film Festival features more than two dozen films from around the globe, including award-winners at the recent Cannes Film Festival, through Sunday, Oct. 15.
HONK NYC – The 11th annual street band festival endsi Sunday, Oct. 15, with daily performances in Manhattan, Brooklyn Staten Island, and Jersey City, including a family-friendly parade on the Lower East Side. Most events are FREE, but some are ticketed, $10 to $12 online. See the full schedule here.
Friday through Sunday
Wake up, smell the coffee, and get discount tickets to The New York Coffee Festival 2017, celebrating our growing interest in specialty coffees. Sample brews, get tips from world-class baristas, nibble on street food, sip coffee-based cocktails, and more, all to the tune of live music.
- Discount tickets are $19 a day, or $50 for a three-day pass. Or, you could pay the walk-up prices of $24 and $75, but why would you do that.
Saturday and Sunday
NYC Open House Weekend – Go behind the scenes of more than 100 top buildings to meet the people who design, build and preserve the greatest city on the planet. Most opportunities are FREE, many require registration.
Second Birthday Celebration – FREE admission all weekend at the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum. Celebrate their birthday with face painting, arts and crafts projects, and more. 898 St. Nicholas Ave., Washington Heights.
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.
Let’s hope the weather cooperates for all the outdoor events. If not –
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
Jameson Love They Neighborhood Brewery Fest – Drink beer and whisky while you listen to live music and support the non-profit charity that plants trees and flowers in NYC parks, gardens and sidewalks in the bargain. All proceeds support the New York Restoration Project which plants trees and flowers in NYC parks and sidewlks. Tickets for the Oct. 14 event are $20 with the special NYCOTC discount code.
Times Square Expo – Street Fair on Broadway, 47th to 57th St.
Astor Festival – Street Fair on Astor St.between Lafayette St. and Braodeway
- FREE Saturday admission at top NYC museums every Saturday all year includes the Jewish Museum and the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum.
Sunday in NYC
Lower East Side Pickle Day – Buy a pickle on a stick or other pickle-themed food, take part in games and activities, and hear live music. Festival is on Orchard St., between Delancey and E. Houston, where once upon a time you could buy a pickle for a nickel from vendors selling them out of giant barrels. Noon to 5pm, Sun., Oct. 15.
FREE Sunday admission at top NYC museums including 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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