Your weekend plans begin here, with a couple of dozen FREE and cheap things to do this mid-October weekend, some family-friendly, others for adults only.
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.
So much to see and do and so little time.
And if it doesn’t, here are some rainy day activities in NYC, besides re-arranging your sock drawer.
Get a head start on your holiday shopping, including for yourself at this semi-secret sale. Discount prices on gold, silver and gemstone jewelry for women and men, plus watches. Sale is in Chelsea.
See a fabulous collection of baubles worn by the last Queen of France, plus items from her fabulously wealthy and powerful Bourbon-Parma family. The collection is on display, FREE, at Sotheby’s before an auction next month.
Meet your favorite TV stars, including Norman Reedus, Candice Bergen, Christine Baranski, David Tennant, Mark Cuban, Daymond John, Audra McDonald, Jane Pauley, Natasha Lyonne, John Goodman, Sara Gilbert, Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, at this annual festival celebrating great television, at the Paley Center for Media, named for Bill Paley, founder of CBS.
- Tickets start at $10.
- There’s also FREE gaming on many of the most popular games, on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox, and high-performance PCs, plus cutting-edge virtual reality titles on Oculus, to play without an admission fee or ticket any time the museum is open (closed Monday/Tuesday).
Halloween Events Already Underway
Halloween Harvest – Luna Park
Ahoy, me Hearties! It’s time to get aboard for the thrills, chills and Halloween frills during Luna Park’s fifth-annual pirate-themed Halloween Harvest in Coney Island. The park is humming with festive seasonal activities to celebrate autumn on weekends through October 28th. In addition to nonstop rides and candy, this year’s Halloween Harvest will also features spooktacular entertainment including its newest addition, Tillie’s Tractor— riders can hop on a tractor and race throughout the park to find their treasure. Other entertainment includes: face painting, pumpkin picking and decorating, caricatures, storytelling, pirate entertainment, Argghs & Crafts, pirate puppet show, magic shows and more.
- All activities are included in a Luna Park day pass.
New York City’s favorite haunted house is back with a host of fright-filled environments, including attractions The Crypt, Thunderdome, The Wake, Maggot Invasion, Hannibal’s Hell, Killer Clown Room and Mayhem!, in which beasts and demons will vie for your body — and your soul.
- Discount tickets start at $19, for dates through early November.
Museum Exhibits Worth Noting
Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow examines the meaning of citizenship for African Americans following the abolition of slavery, through Reconstruction and the rise of the Jim Crow era. By 1868, all persons born in the United States were citizens and equal before the law, but efforts to create an interracial democracy were contested from the start. A harsh backlash ensued, ushering in the “separate but equal” age of Jim Crow. Marking the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment and featuring art, artifacts, photographs and media, the exhibition highlights the central role played by African Americans in advocating for their rights and also examines the depth and breadth of opposition to black advancement. Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow is part of New-York Historical’s new initiative to dedicate rotating gallery space to covering topics of freedom, equality, and civil rights in America.
- New York Historical Society, Central Park West at 76th St., through early 2019.
Also at New York Historical Society is the Harry Potter History of Magic exhibit.
See both for the same ticket.
- The Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology), Seventh Ave. at 27th St., through early January 2019.
Things to do Friday
Family Night with Gustafer Yellowgold. Artist and musician Morgan Taylor takes us on a funny and touching multimedia journey of live music, colored-pencil animations and storytelling, FREE. Melt Bakery will be on site selling ice cream sandwiches, and Shake Shack will be open, too.
- 6pm to 7:30pm, rain or shine.
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.
Things to do Saturday
- To register as a contestant, please contact Debbie Quinones at [email protected]
Harvest Festival at Carl Schurz Park, 11am-1pm, Carl Schurz Park, East End Ave and 86th St
Fall Festival at Victory Field, 12pm-3pm, Victory Field in Forest Park, Woodhaven Boulevard and Myrtle Ave, Queens
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.
Things to do Sunday
Harvest Festival at Randall’s Island Park – Join the Randall’s Island Park Alliance for a FREE, family-friendly celebration of fall. 12pm-4pm, at Urban Farm & Fields 62/63• Live musical performances
• Pumpkin decorating
• Face painting
• Kite flying (bring your own or make on-site)
• Meet the chickens
• Crafts, games, and more!
World Trade Center Festival , Liberty St from Broadway to Trinity Pl
Queens Blvd Forest Hills Festival, Queens Blvd from 70th Road to Yellowstone Blvd30th Annual Upper Broadway Harvest Festival, West Side of Broadway between 96th St and 106th St
Lower East Side Pickle Day Orchard St between Delancey and E. Houston
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.
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.
Some More Things to See and Do
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.
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.
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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.