Your free and cheap weekend plans begin here, with a couple of dozen things to do this middle of August weekend.
Events include the final Summer Streets car-free Saturday of 2018, the wrap-up of the Battery Dance Festival, an.
Whew, we’re exhausted already and the weekend hasn’t even started. yet.
And if it doesn’t, here are some rainy day activities in NYC, besides re-arranging your sock drawer.
NYC Free & Cheap Today through Saturday
Battery Dance Festival – One week of FREE dance performances by more than 30 dance troupes from more than a dozen countries, including India and Macedonia.
- Friday In Robert F. Wagner Park at Battery Park, Saturday’s indoor finale at the Pace University Schimmel Center requires registration to ensure admission
NYC Free & Cheap Friday and Saturday
The fourth Emerging Music Festival features rising New York-based bands performing on one of the biggest stages of their young careers, Bryant Park, to play indie rock, soul, R&B, singer-songwriter, and more. Each evening’s FREE entertainment is 5pm to 10pm, and you can come and go as you like. Blankets are available to borrow at the Bryant Park Shop + Info tent. Food curated by Hester Street Fair, as well as beer and wine, is available for purchase.
- Friday: EZTV, Underground System, Palmas, Ohmme, and Evolfo
- Saturday: Madison McFerrin, Plastic Picnic, Jerron ‘Blind Boy’ Paxton & Terry Waldo Rumhouse Jass Band, Native Sun, and Katie Von Schleicher
NYC Free & Cheap Friday
Fulton Mall/Metro Tech Street Fair – Willoughby Street between Jay and Pearl St
South Street eaport Museum – Enjoy FREE Friday afternoon admissions 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.
Friday Night Fireworks – And you thought fireworks are just for the Fourth of July. Hah! Once again, light up your Friday nights all summer with a FREE fireworks show at Coney Island, every Friday (weather permitting) until August 31.
- 9pm at Between West 10th Street and West 15th Street.
NYC Free & Cheap Saturday
Summer Streets – The final of three car-free Saturdays in August closes a chunk of downtown and midtown to vehicles, turning Park Avenue and Park Ave. South into a pedestrian and bicycle-only playground, with multiple stops for family fun.
- Click here to see what’s available at each rest stop.
Third Annual NYC Math Festival – Add a little math to your summer with FREE hands-on math exhibits, entertaining mathematical games, intriguing puzzles and brainteasers for kids of all ages, plus group constructions of giant geometric sculptures (like the one shown here) , and the largest bagel-juggling demonstration of the summer. you’ve ever seen! Plus, take home a little bit of MoMath: we’ll be setting up an outpost of Additions, the shop at MoMath, for all your summer gift needs.
- 10am to 4pm at Fosun Plaza, 28 Liberty St.
Saturday Street Fairs
- West 13th Street Festival – West 13th St between 7th Ave and Greenwich Ave
- The Great Irish Festival Street Fair – Sixth Ave between 42nd and 56th St
The 19th annual Hudson River Park Blues BBQ Festival returns to Hudson River Park’s Pier 97 for a day of FREE music and the best local BBQ and brews for purchase. Join local pit powerhouses Brother Jimmy’s, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Mighty Quinn’s and Pig Beach as they fire up their smokers while you take in live blues and roots performances. Grab dessert at Ben & Jerry’s or Melt Bakery, sip on beer from Sixpoint and sample a taste of Glenfiddich while you enjoy NYC before the summer ends with a blues and BBQ explosion.
- The Blues BBQ Festival is 2pm to 9pm, rain or shine, so let’s hope for shine.
NYC Free & Cheap Sunday
India Day Parade – The world largest India Day Parade, this year celebrating India’s 72nd Independence Day, plus dance performances, music and more, marching down Madison Ave. from 32nd St. to 25th St., beginning at noon.
Sunday Street Fairs
- Greenpoint Ave “Sunnyside” Festival – Greenpoint Ave between 48th St and 42nd St, Queens
- Broadway Street Festival – Broadway Between 14th Street and Waverly Place
- Amsterdam Avenue Festival -Amsterdam Ave between 79th St and 86th St
- A.D.A’s Madison Avenue Street Fair – Madison Ave between 42nd and 56th St
Closing on Labor Day
Downton Abbey: The Exhibition – The Crawleys will see you now, through Sept. 3, when they pack up and leave town
Actual Downton Abbey fashions and household furnishings sprawl over three floors in Midtown. 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.
Where to Cool Off in NYC
It’s hot out there. So here are the best places to cool off.
NOTE – Public NYC pools are open through Labor Day. Lifeguards at NYC beaches are on duty through Labor Day.
NYC isn’t expensive when you know where to go and what to do, and we do. And we love to share.
- 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.
- Street fairs are 11am to 6pm, unless otherwise noted.
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.
You now get FREE admission to more than 30 NYC museums and cultural institutions with the new CulturePass. It’s a new perk to use with your library card from the NYPL, Brooklyn Museum or Queens Museum systems.
Saturday and Sunday Free & Cheap
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
- NOTE – The Squibb Bridge is closed until further notice for safety checks
SEE ALSO: NYCOTC Editor Evelyn Kanter’s trip across North Africa in a VW Microbus
Sunday Free & Cheap
Summergarden at MOMA – FREE outdoor classical music and jazz concerts in the Sculpture Garden featuring the talented musicians of NYC’s The Juilliard School and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Titled New Music for New York, each Sunday evening in July. Seating is first-come first-served, and museum admission is not required. The Sculpture Garden may close if attendance reaches maximum capacity. Entrance to Summergarden is through the Sculpture Garden gate on West 54 Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues.
- The Sculpture Garden opens at 7pm. Concerts begin at 8pm and are 60-90 minutes long, and you may stay in the Sculpture Garden until it closes at 10pm. In the event of rain, concerts will be held in The Agnes Gund Garden Lobby, and the Museum’s 54 Street entrance will open at 7:30 p.m.
- The exhibition galleries are closed during Summergarden. The Garden Bar, on the northeast end of the Sculpture Garden, features a selection of homemade snacks, draft beer, wine, and nonalcoholic beverages. In the event of rain, the Garden Bar is closed.
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.
Where to eat at LaGuardia Airport – Top NYC restaurants and cafes are replacing fast food joints.
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.
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.