Your free and cheap weekend plans begin here, with a couple of dozen things to do this weekend after the 4th of July, including lots of street fairs, free outdoor concerts, a free Silent Disco, free hot dogs in Brooklyn Bridge Park, and more.
Whew. We’re exhausted already, and the weekend hasn’t even begun yet.
NYC isn’t expensive when you know where to go and what to do, and we do. And we love to share.
The NYCOTC free & cheap weekend guide is $25 or less
Take bites out of the Big Apple without eating up your budget
- 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.
Where to Cool Off in the Water
Midsummer Night Swing – The annual three-week festival of live dance bands and the chance to dance outdoors under the stars in Lincoln Center is now underway, through July 14th, including a FREE dance lesson from top NYC partner dance studios. . This weekend, it’s tango (tonight – Thursday), classic swing (Friday), and Western honky tonk (Saturday). See you on the dance floor!
- Individual tickets are $17.
- Four-Dance Pass: $60. Savings: $8
French Restaurant Week – Eat. Drink. Be French. The 9th edition of French Restaurant Week again celebrates Bastille Week. Through July 15th, more than 20 participating restaurants are offering Prix Fixe meals at revolutionary prices of $17.89, $25 and $38.
- For our friends in the Windy City, French Restaurant Week in Chicago is July 9-22.
David Bowie Exhibit – This special exhibition of everybody’s favorite musician, actor and artist and trend-setter has been organized with unprecedented access to his personal archives, with one-of-a-kind material and music.
- At the Brooklyn Museum through July 15th.
- Get $20 discount tickets for your choice of dates.
Must See Museum Exhibits
Rockwell, Roosevelt and the Four Freedoms – You’ve seen these Norman Rockwell images all your life and know them well. But nothing compares with seeing them in person. This timely exhibit about freedom is at the New York Historical Society.
The exhibit commemorates the 75th anniversary of publication of the illustrations in 1943, to support the WWII war effort, and remain a timely explanation of why Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want and Freedom from Fear are universal and important to every one of us, every day.
Downton Abbey: The Exhibition – Note that this fabulous exhibit of Downton Abbey fashions and household furnishings has been extended through Labor Day Weekend. 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.
Free concerts in NYC Parks
SummerStage – The annual festival of FREE concerts in parks in all five NYC boroughs with performances just about every day through Labor Day 2018.
Top performers include R&B, Latin, hip hop and jazz, folk, and the annual Metropolitan Opera Recital series, plus dance performances, and a special orchestral performance of David Bowie’s Blackstar, and the annual SummerStage Kids and SummerStage Family day.
South Street eaport Museum – FREE Friday afternoon admissions begin this week, through the summer. Visit the historic museum with its exhibitions of how NYC became a world port, and tour the historic ships docket at the between 3pm and 7pm.
Saturday and Sunday
Hot Dog Bus – Get FREE hot dogs every weekend through August 25th from this vintage VW Microbus. You can’t miss it. It’s bright yellow and looks like a food truck bulging at the seams. It’s part food truck and part art project, from the Austrian artist Erwin Wurm and the Public Art Project, designed, literally to “encourage audiences to reconsider the relationship between capitalism and consumption” in today’s culture, according to the project’s press release. Not to mention the relationship between over-consumption and obesity, by feeding us free hot dogs.
- Noon to 6pm in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Saturdays at Pier 5, Sundays at Pier 1.
- Limit one per person, while supplies last
SEE ALSO: NYCOTC Editor Evelyn Kanter’s trip across North Africa in a VW Microbus
What to do in NYC on Saturday
- Pier I in Riverside Park South, West 70th St and Riverside Blvd., 5:30pm to 10:30pm
Hell’s Kitchen Community Summer Festival – Eighth Ave. between 42nd and 57th Streets
Arab Street Festival – Great Jones Street, 10am-4pm
What to do in NYC on Sunday
NYC Volkswagen Traffic Jam – The annual gathering of Beetles, Microbusses and more VW models at Governors Island. With views of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty behind a vibrant line-up of nearly 100 Beetles, buses, dune buggies, things and other original VW’s circa 1950s-1970s, this FREE car show is a one of a kind event for both the casual spectator and classic VW enthusiast.
- NYCOTC Editor Evelyn Kanter did a monumental road trip across North Africa in a VW Microbus. Read about it here.
Little Red Lighthouse Open House – Celebrate the last lighthouse in Manhattan with FREE family-friendly tours by the Urban Park Rangers, and more. An important part of NYC history, the Jeffrey’s Hook Lighthouse dates from 1880. It was moved to its current site under the George Washington Bridge in 1921, and was made famous in the still-popular children’s literary landmark “The Little Red Lighthouse.”
- 1pm to 4pm. Bring a picnic lunch and a camera for picture postcard views across the Hudson River
Bryant Park Area Fair – 41st St between Sixth Ave and Broadway
6th Ave Chelsea Festival – Sixth Ave. between 14th and 23rd Streets
Getting Around NYC – 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.