Where did April go? Your NYC FREE and cheap weekend plans begin here, with more than a dozen things to do this final weekend of the month, including the Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival, street fairs and more.
The NYCOTC free and cheap 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.
- Unless otherwise noted, outdoor events are rain or shine, so let’s hope for shine.
- Unless otherwise noted, street fairs are 11am to 6pm.
The Butterfly Conservatory – Warm yourself in the beauty and color of thousands of butterflies, flittering and fluttering around you in this annual 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.
Another Hot Ticket
David Bowie Exhibit – This special exhibition of everybody’s favorite musician, actor and artist has been organized with unprecedented access to his personal archives, with one-of-a-kind material and music. At the Brooklyn Museum.
Shakespeare Sonnet Slam – Celebrate the birthday of The Bard at the 8th Annual Shakespeare Sonnet Slam in Central Park, in which both professional actors and talented amateurs take turns reading all 154 Shakespeare Sonnets.
- Starting at 1pm and usually lasts around 3 hours. Stay as long as you like.
Financial Planning Day at the NYPL – This is an annual all-day FREE event at the NYPL is designed to help us navigate the ever-changing world of financial planning and management, with expert speakers and the chance for individual consultations with professional counselors, on a wide-range of life issues, from college loans to retirement benefits. The New York Public Library’s Business Library, 188 Madison Avenue and 34th Street, 10am to 5pm.
- One-on-one appointments to address challenging personal situations such as credit card debt
- Medicare Representatives from government and non-profit organizations
- Library staff will offer tutorials for NYPL’s business databases including Bloomberg and Morningstar
Midtown Munichie Street Fair – Nibble your way along East 52nd St., betweeen Lexington and Third Aves.
11th Annual Street Games Festival – Stickball, double-dutch, shuffleboard, pogo sticks and yo-yos are just some of the old-fashioned games we used to play on the sidewalks and in the streets, too. The NYC Dept. of Parks and the Disney Company brings them back at this annual FREE event at Thomas Jefferson Park in Harlem. It’s for us “old folk” to remember, and to introduce the kids and the grandkids to a generation of outdoor fun.
- There are prizes, too, for participating in five or more games – pick up a FREE Games Passport at the Parks Dept. booth, and mark them off as you play. 11am to 3pm. 114th St. and Pleasant Ave.
19th Annual World Tai Chi, Qi Gong Day in Central Park – FREE demonstrations and classes with Tai Chi and Qi Gong masters, and more. 10am to Noon at the Central Park Bandshell.
Eighth Avenue-Chelsea Street Fair – Along Eighth Avenue, between 14th and 23rd Streets
Columbus Circle Springfest Street Fair – On Broadway, between 60th and 61st Streets
Saturday and Sunday
Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival – This annual festival celebrates all things Japanese, including the wondrous cherry blossoms blooming at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. There are music and dance performances, origami and flower arranging workshops, and more. And everything is family friendly.
NYC World’s Fare – This festival of food and drink features more than 100 international food and beer vendors, music by live bands, dance performances, cooking classes, even a world-champion Sumo wrestler.
- The discount $19 admission tickets we offered last week are gone, and it will cost you twice that much for admission now.
- Get tickets now for the 8th Annual NYC Vegetarian Food Festival on May 18/19, while there are still $18 discount tickets available.
Arbor Fest – Celebrate spring at the Queens Botanical Garden with lawn games, arts and crafts, a special petting zoo for the kids, face painting and more, including dozens of local vendors offering food and beverages for sale, including beer and wine for the grownups.
- Ticketed event, $8 for kids and $10 for grown-ups. 11am to 5pm.
Life-Saving CPR Class – Learn how to save a life from New York’s Finest. FDNY and EMS experts teach you how, in this FREE workshop class, part of the Seventh Day Adventist Healthfair, 2414-18 Church Av, Brooklyn, 11am to 3pm. Sign up to particpate.
Steinway Street Cultural Festival – Steinway St between 28th Ave and 34th Ave.,Astoria
Columbus Ave Fair – Columbus Ave between 66th and 72nd St.
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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