Happy Friday the 13th! Your weekend plans begin here, with more than a dozen FREE and cheap things to do this mid-April weekend, including an Earth Day festival, parades and the start of the street fair season.
The NYCOTC weekend guide is $25 or less so you can take bites out of the Big Apple without eating up your budget, plus a few occasional splurges worth the money. And everything is family-friendly.
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, but we usually remind you anyway, to be sure you know.
Unless otherwise noted, street fairs are 11am to 6pm.
Saturday and Sunday
Big Apple ComicCon – Whether you’re a fan of classic or modern comics, this annual gathering has something for everybody, including meet-and-greet with comic authors, collectors, movie ticket giveaways and more, including celebrity appearances, such as Star Trek’s Wilson Cruz and C. J. Ramone of the Ramones rock group.
- General admission is $25, at the Hotel Pennsylvania in Midtown.
19th Havana Film Festival – More than 25 films celebrating Latin American culture, including Latino culture in the USA, including films from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Spain and the United States. HFFNY upholds the reputation for which it is known: enriching and expanding the vision of Latino culture in the United States.
- Screenings are at multiple venues including Midtown and at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens. See the schedule here.
The Virtue in Vice – The Seven Deadly Sins – pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth – are on display in these objects chosen from Cooper Hewitt’s collection. Through mid-April. Save $2 on tickets purchased online.
The perennially popular Orchid Show is back for its 16th season at The New York Botanical Garden with thousands of colorful orchid blooms, plus large-scale installations floral artist Daniel Ost. The specially commissioned works pay homage to his training in ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging. In ikebana, artists value the ideas of wabi-sabi, a philosophy that finds beauty in imperfection, asymmetry, and impermanence.
- There also are special Orchid Evenings on weekends, with music and performances that make the orchids even more magical. At the New York Botanical Garden, through April 22.
The Butterfly Conservatory – Warm yourself in the beauty and color of thousands of butterflies, flittering around you in this annual winter treat at the American Museum of Natural History. FREE with museum admission, through mid-May.
Extended Through Labor Day
Downton Abbey: The Exhibition – Note that this fabulous exhibit of Downton Abbey fashions and household furnishings has been extended through Labor Day Weekend. Get $25 discount tickets for your chance to drool over three floors of luscious costumes, sumptuous family rooms, the kitchen and servants quarters below stairs, plus see unseen footage from the popular series. In Midtown.
Broadway Street Fair Festival – One of the first of the season. Broadway, between Eighth and 14th Streets
Holi Phagwah Parade and Holi Hai – Celebrate the colorful Hindu festival of Holi Hai with this parade and street fair, with floats, music and dance, and more. Liberty Ave and 133rd St to Smokey Oval Park at 125th St, Richmond Hill, Queens, beginning at noon.
Earth Day New York 2018 in Union Square – The organizers claim this is the most high-traffic Earth Day event in the country, with dozens of exhibitors, including environmental non-profits, green businesses, kids’ activities, and live performances, and many thousands of visitors. Learn how to reduce your carbon footprint, lower your utility bills and more. With 70+ organizations represented, there is something for everyone.
- FREE. Rain or shine, Noon to 7pm.
UWS Celebrate Israel – Celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, with a day of music and dance performances, a kosher food expo, learn Israeli folk dancing, puppet shows and crafts for the kids, and more. One of the music performances is by Trio Shalva, a genre-bending group of three Israeli jazz musicians, who create a powerful blend of Hebrew/Israeli folk traditions, Mediterranean sounds, contemporary jazz and Israeli pop songs into a unique sound. They perform at 2:30pm.
- On 94th Street, between Broadway and West End Ave. FREE, 11am to 6pm
27th Annual West Side Spring Festival – East Side Broadway between 96th and 106th St
Persian Day Parade – Celebrate the timeless culture of Persia with colorful floats, music, dance and food. On Madison Ave, between 26th and 38th Streets, 11am to 4pm.
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.
2018 NYC parking calendar – Know when you have to move your car, or not.
Get NYC on the Cheap in your inbox at 8am each morning.
It’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 outdoor events. If not –
Every 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.
Every Saturday in NYC
FREE Saturday admission at top NYC museums every Saturday all year includes the Jewish Museum and the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum.
FREE guided tour of the High Line. Hear the story behind NYC’s trend-setting park in the sky on a special winter walking tour! Join us for a free 45-minute long tour led by High Line Docents, knowledgeable volunteer guides who offer you an insider’s perspective on the park’s history, design, and landscape. Saturdays through April 7. Meet at the Gansevort Steps at Noon.
Every Sunday in NYC
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.
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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