See you in September at one or more of these events, including $20 tickets for Off-Broadway shows, the biggest FREE concert of the year in Central Park, the San Gennaro Festival of food and fun, the Medieval Festival, parades and more.
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Best Free & Cheap Theater & Film Events
$20 Off-Broadway Theater Tickets. The annual 20 at 20 promotion returns, when you can get $20 tickets 20 minutes before showtime, for more than 20 top Off-Broadway shows. 20at20 2018 is Sept. 4-23.
Jerome Robbins and New York – This FREE exhibit at the NYPL branch in Lincoln Center explores the relationship the famous dancer and choreographer had with New York, and his influence on Broadway and Hollywood, including West Side Story. Opens Sept 26th, through March 2019.
Tribeca TV Festival – The same mix of previews and talks with top actors and directors as the Tribeca Film Festival. Sept 20-23.
Viva Broadway – The Broadway League will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with FREE outdoor performances from current and recent Broadway stars as well as special guest appearances. Viva Broadway celebration is 5pm September 25 in Duffy Square, West 46th Street at Broadway/ Viva Broadway is an audience development partnership with the Hispanic community to help bridge the world of Broadway with Latino audiences around the country.
Best Free & Cheap Concerts
Global Citizen Festival –Get FREE tickets to NYC’s biggest annual outdoor concert, with a blockbuster line-up including Janet Jackson, The Weeknd, Shawn Mendes, Cardi B, Janelle Monae, special guest John Legend, and Hugh Jackman returns as host for the fifth year.
Global Citizen Festival 2018 is Saturday, Sept.29, in Central Park. The annual event blends great music with positive social activism. As in past years, in order to get your FREE tickets, you have to earn them by completing easy and educational actions
- In addition to the concert, there’s also a week of Global Citizen events, some FREE, others ticketed.
The Kings and I – FREE concert by Deborah Thomas, soprano, with Michael Pilafian, pianist of the songs of Rodgers & Hammerstein, in collaboration with the exhibition 75 Years of Rodgers & Hammerstein. 2:30pm Saturday, Sept. 22nd at the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts. There are no reservations; seating is first come-first served.
- NOTE – The Rodgers & Hammerstein exhibition closes Sept. 25th to make way for the new Jerome Robbins exhibit (above)
- Photo of Yul Brynner and Gertrude Lawrence from the original Broadway production of The King and I courtesy NYPL
Downtown Brooklyn Arts Festival – A weekend of FREE music, art and dance events in Downtown Brooklyn, Sept 21-23.
Best Free & Cheap Family Events
Smithsonian Museum Day – Get FREE admission to 1,500 museums nationwide, including more than a dozen in NYC, on Saturday, Sept 22nd. Download FREE tickets now for FREE admission to the museum of your choice.
NYPL Fall Open House: Everything You Need to Succeed in School – The Library has everything you and your family need to succeed throughout the year—all for FREE. From millions of books to programs, computer access, online resources, and more, find it all at the Library. Find an open house near you.
- Link to NYPL Open House events in Manhattan
- Link to NYPL Open House events in Bronx
- Link to NYPL Open House events in Staten Island
National Public Lands Day – Get FREE admission to all sites operates by the National Park Service on Saturday, Sept. 22nd. That includes such national parks as Yosemite and Yellowstone, and here in NYC, Gateway National Seashore, Statue of Liberty, Grant’s Tomb and Hamilton Grange.
Kids Fest: Stages in the Square, the FREE family-friendly festival in Madison Square Park is Saturday, Sept 15. It’s an all-day event with a diverse lineup of performing arts programming for kids to age 12 and the grownups who love them. It will feature a variety of performances including music, dance, theater, puppetry, magic, and storytelling across four stages throughout the park.
I, Robot – Unleash your inner scientist at the annual Maker Faire, sponsored by Disney, NASA, Google, Microsoft and other tech companies. The 9th annual Maker Faire NYC is the weekend of Sept. 22/23 at the New York Hall of Science in Queens, and it’s one of the biggest and best annual family events in NYC.
Little Red Lighthouse Festival – Celebrate the last remaining lighthouse in Manhattan at this annual event, which includes lighthouse tours with the Urban Park Rangers, family fun and games, and readings of the timeless children’s book that made the little red lighthouse under the great, grey George Washington Bridge famous around the world. Noon to 4pm on Saturday, Sept. 29th.
34th Annual Medieval Festival – Shine up your armor, get ready for a joust, m’ lords and m’ ladies, at this annual FREE festival of the good old days at The Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park. Sunday Sept. 30th. Here’s the 2017 schedule of events, pretty much unchanged for 2018.
Best Free & Cheap Food Events & Festivals
San Gennaro Festival – The annual ten-day street fair in Little Italy celebrates the patron saint of Naples with music, carnival games and food. Lots and lots of food. Here’s what we wrote about the festival last year, and things won’t change much in 2018, except for the Grand Marshall and the dates. Through Sept. 23.
Turn up the Heat at Chile Pepper Festival – This is a popular annual event at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Tickets are $25, and $20 for Seniors and Students. Buy online and skip the line. Saturday, Sept. 29, 11am to 6pm.
- Live Music – Enjoy six world-class musical acts, including the Grammy-winning Lost Bayou Ramblers and global talents Nation Beat, Dahka Band featuring Kheswa, Coreyah, Doctor Nativo, and Mariachi Tapatio. Watch the fiery feats of Robbins & Ringold as they light up the stage with fire breathing and sword swallowing.
- Spicy Tastings – Sample hot sauces and other offerings from culinary artisans, including chile-tinged chocolates, unusual and delicious icy treats, hot honey, and pickles.
- And More – Learn about cultivating and cooking with peppers at Chile Chat, take home a pepper plant at Hot Chiles for Cool Kids, peruse books from Community Bookstore, take a selfie in front of chile-inspired murals by NYC muralists.
Atlantic Antic – The oldest and largest street festival in Brooklyn returns for its 44th year on Sunday, Sept. 24th, with blocks and blocks of food, art, music and shopping along Atlantic Avenue. Spanning four neighborhoods – Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill and Downtown Brooklyn – it stretches from Hicks Street to Fourth Avenue. This year’s theme is The Pulse of Brooklyn.
Madison Square Eats returned on Sept. 8, daily through Friday, October 5th, in the plaza space closest to 23rd St. Open daily 11am to 9pm. Vendor line-up includes two NYCOTC favorites – Burger & Lobster and Pat la Frida’s Frida’s Favorites.
Taste of Iceland – Four days of FREE films, concerts and exhibitions Sept. 27-30, plus ticketed dining and drinking events in several Brooklyn locations. RSVP recommended for each event, although that does not guarantee admission. Events like the cocktail class require you be 21+, with an ID to prove it. See the full schedule here.
Best Other Free & Cheap Things to Do in September
Stargazing – Head to the High Line each Tuesday evening for a romantic walk along the park and a chance to take a closer look at the stars. Peer through high-powered telescopes provided FREE by the knowledgeable members of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York to see rare celestial sights and learn what’s happening on Jupiter and Mars. Every Tuesday through October 30, weather permitting.
Bird Watching – More than 120 species have been spotted in Bryant Park. Some are permanent residents, others are visitors taking a break on their annual flyover south for the winter. Take a FREE guided tour with a birding expert, twice a week, through mid-October.
Let us Know
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