Your weekend plans begin here, with a couple of dozen FREE and cheap things to do this first full weekend of September.
Free and cheap things to see and do include the annual Washington Square Art Show, discount tickets for Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, Shakespeare in the Park, an antique book fair, and the annual North River Tugboat Race.
So much to do and so little time. Remember that the NYC on the Cheap weekend list is $25 or less, and most things are FREE, so you can enjoy NYC more for less money.
Unless otherwise noted, street fairs are 10am to 6pm, rain or shine, so let’s hope for shine.
Already Underway in NYC
Broadway Week – The annual two-for-one tickets to top Broadway shows is Sept. 3-16. BOGO tickets for top shows, such as The Lion King, already are sold out.
Opening Friday in NYC
- The Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology), Seventh Ave. at 27th St., through early January 2019.
NYC Free and Cheap Events Friday and Saturday
Shakespeare in the Park – A “Gangs of New York”- styled Macbeth, set in the mid-1800s when early settlers fought for turf in the infamous Five Points area. This is a full FREE production of the famous Shakespeare play, produced by the Drilling Company, part of the Bryant Park Picnics series, with no dress code, no tickets, and no lines. More than 200 blankets are free to borrow and spread out and relax while enjoying the performance, and food and beverages available for purchase
- 7pm to 9pm on the Upper Terrace, Bryant Park.
NYC Free and Cheap Events on Saturday
Labor Day Parade – Celebrate the working and women, and the unions, which have contributed so much to the quality of life in NYC. Steps off from Fifth Ave and 44th St at 10am.
Manhattan Plaza Block Party – 43rd St between 9th and 10th Ave
Brooklyn’s Biggest Gospel Block Party – Featuring 6 Hours of Non -Stop Live Performances, Celebrity Gospel Artists, Dancers, Choirs, Brooklyn’s Got Talent, Community Activites, Authors, Spoken Word, Vendors, Activities for Children and Much Much More. 11m to 6pm at Myrtle Avenue bet Tompkins and Marcy Ave, Brooklyn
242nd Anniversary 1776 Peace Conference Celebration – Bagpipers, Colonial re-enactors, open hearth cooking and antique weaponry demonstratons an more. 11am-4pm at Conference House, 7455 Hylan Blvd, Staten Island. Admission is $5, $3 for Seniors and children 12 and under. 37th Avenue Festival – Street fair on 37th Ave between 83rd St and 89th St, Queens
Bleecker Street Festival – Bleecker St between 8th Ave and 7th Ave
Broadway Village Fair – Broadway between Waverly Place and 14th St
Fort Greene Jazz Festival – Four hours of music with multiple peformers. 3pm-7pm, Fort Greene Park, Washington Park between Dekalb Ave and Myrtle Ave
NYC Afrobeats Block Party – top Afrobeats, Dancehall & Hiphop DJs, fashion, plus Afro-Caribbean food vendors and a full bar stocked with trendy mixologists This is a ticketed event, with tickets ranging from $15 and $20 discounted to $30 onsite regular admission. 4pm to 10pm at Bronx Brewery, 856 East 136th St
Coney Island Beard and Moustache Competition – Annual end of summer event to find who has the best faciial hair. 8pm at Coney Island USA, 1208 Surf Ave, Coney Island. Brooklyn
Morningside Lights Lantern Procession – Illuminated procession of small public art. 8pm at Morningside Park, 116 Street & Morningside Avenue
NYC Free and Cheap Events Saturday and Sunday
Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit — this annual showcase of top local artists and artisans festival takes over the sidewalks on University Place, from East 12th Street to East Third Street, including around the perimeter of Washington Square Park. This is not ordinary street fair schlock. These are juried and vetted artists. Noon to 6 p.m., both days
- Warning – Website that opens automatically with LOUD music, so mute your device if you don’t want to scare the neighbors.
Gracie Square Art Show – Carl Schurz Park, East End Ave and 86th St
City Island Arts and Crafts Fair – Start your holiday shopping early. City Island Avenue, Bronx
OctFest Beer, Music and Food Festival – Get a head start on Octoberfest celebrations at this two-day festival featuring 20 artists, 90+ breweries from around the world, and exciting chef collaborations. In total, the event will host 90 breweries from 20 countries, pouring more than 250 varieties of award-winning craft beer. Not only that: A number of breweries, including Wicked Weed Brewing, DC Brau, Wedge Brewing Co., Four Peaks Brewing Co., Wild Beer Co., and Karbach Brewing Co., will be making their New York City debut at OctFest. Full list available at octfest.co.
- Each single-day ticket holder will receive 15 3oz samples from the festival breweries of their choice. Weekend ticket holders will receive 30, capped at 15 per day. Once depleted, ticket holders will be able to purchase additional samples for $1.50 per 3oz pour. Sampling hours are from 2pm-8pm. You must be 21+ to attend this event. This is an NYCOTC Splurge, since tickets are $75.
Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair – The country’s largest regional antiquarian book fair comes to Brooklyn each fall. The 5th edition of BABF will bring more than 100 top antiquarian book, print, photo, autograph and ephemera dealers from 20 states plus England, Italy and Canada as well as a full schedule of talks and exhibits. Whether you are looking for a book for under $50 to start a collection or a rare signed first edition, you’ll find it here. There’s also a FREE appraisal clinic (limit three items). Brooklyn Expo Center, 72 Noble St.
NYC Free and Cheap Events Sunday
26th Annual North River Tugboat Race and Competition – Before it was called the Hudson River, it was called the North River, and this annual event honors the history of the river as an important commercial “highway”. In addition to nose-to-nose pushing competition, there’s a race, and events for the kids include rope tossing. Free viewing is available on Pier 84 located at W. 44th Street & Hudson River Park starting at 11 a.m.
- Board a special spectator boat from Circle Line. Tickets are $25, $12 for kids age 3-12 and $20 for seniors
Summer on the Hudson: West Side County Fair – Enjoy a full day of county fair magic in Manhattan with live bands, sideshow performers, carnival rides and games, local food and merchandise vendors, cotton candy, Grow NYC Stop ‘N’ Swap, and the amazing Bindlestiff Family Cirkus duo performance, plus live music from Miller and the Other Sinners and Coyote & Crow, and square dance with City Stompers
- Bring clean, reusable, portable items such as clothing, housewares, games, books, and toys that you no longer need, and take home something new-to-you at Grow NYC’s Stop ‘N’ Swap. Please do NOT bring: furniture, large items, tube televisions, expired or open food, unsealed personal care products, medicine, dirty or ripped clothing, fabric scraps, incomplete toys and games, non-working electronics, magazines, or sharp objects.
- 1pm to 6pm at Pier I, 70th St. at Riverside Park South
Mets Jam Music Festival – One of the last big SummerStage events of the season, featuring a performance by Jack & Jack, appearances and photo ops with Mets legends including Doc Gooden and Ed Kranepool, a home run deby, batting cages and more. All FREE, Noon to 4pm
And if it doesn’t, here are some rainy day activities in NYC, besides re-arranging your sock drawer.
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 Sunday, Sept. 9. Lifeguards at NYC beaches are on duty through Sunday, Sept. 9.
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.
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.
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.
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.