We are so lucky that New York City is filled with FREE and cheap things to do every month, including during February.
Whether you are a resident or a visitor, save money with these events to put on your calendar.
Already underway is the the annual Broadway Week two-for-one ticket deal for top shows, Restaurant Week meal deals at nearly 400 participating restaurants, the annual FREE WinterJam in Central Park, FREE concerts, and FREE events celebrating Black History Month.
Some FREE events require registration to ensure space, so do that now for guaranteed admission and avoid standing in the cold for standby admission.
You always get more NYC for less money with NYC on the Cheap, because we are the only NYC website specializing in FREE and $25 or less.
Already Underway in NYC
Broadway Week is really three weeks, Jan. 21 to Feb. 9, when tickets to top shows are two-for-one.
Participating shows include:
The Book of Mormon, which is participating for the first time.
The Lion King
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
To Kill a Mockingbird
West Side Story
Broadway Week 2-for-one tickets are twice a year – in Jan./Feb. and Aug./Sept.
Reminder to get FREE tickets now for
Overlapping with Broadway Week two-for-one tickets, Restaurant Week is when nearly 400 top NYC restaurants serve specially priced three-course meals $26 at lunch and $42 at dinner, the same price as last year.
This is your chance to splurge on a gourmet meal in such top-rated locally owned restaurants as the Russian Tea Room and Nougatine at Jean-Georges.
There are participating restaurants in all five boroughs, and you can search by location or type of food.
NYC Restaurant Week is currently in its 28th year.
It began nearly 30 years ago as a way to drum up business in the dead days after Christmas, after NYC tourists went home and NYC residents stayed home, and the idea has expanded to hundreds of cities around the globe, from Albuquerque to Zagreb.
See Also – Restaurant Week deals in Lower Manhattan
Gong Xi Fa Choy! Welcome the Year of the Rat.
Celebrate the Lunar New Year in NYC at one or more of these FREE and cheap family-friendly events.
You don’t have to be Chinese to enjoy the festivities including parades, concerts, dance performances, crafts and food.
Wearing traditional red and gold is encouraged, for good luck.
Most events were Jan. 25, the first day of the new year, and Jan 26, but there are several on the calendar for this first weekend of Febraury, and beyond.
Saturday, Feb. 1st in NYC
Venues, events and activities include:
- Lake Placid Snow Field
- I SKI NY Learn to Ski (limited*)
- Live Ice Carving
- Ice Sculpture Garden
- Ice Bowling
- Flag Football
- Puppet Making
- Heated New York Public Library Reading Room
- Bobsled Photo Op
- Snowcat Photo Op
Winter Jam is in Rumsey Playfield, Central Park, 11am to 3pm.
- Enter at 72nd St.
- Waiting lines for the activities are subject to close early.
- Dress warmly.
Feb. 3, 4, 5
FREE Cookie Giveaway
Eleni’s cookie bakery is giving away more than 4,000 free boxes Classic Chocolate Crisp Cookies for three days starting Monday, February 3rd.
The all-natural, nut-free cookies are ten per box, more than enough to share. Giftees also receive the chance to win a year of free cookies.
Look for Cookie Fairies dressed in festive head-to-toe pink, wings and all, at Eleni food trucks in these locations –
Monday, February 3rd
- Hudson Yards – West 35th St & 11th Avenue
- Hells Kitchen – 57th between 7th & 8th Avenue
- Chelsea – West 18th St, between 6th & 7th Avenue
- Upper East Side – 57th & 3rd Avenue
Tuesday, February 4th
- NoHo – 8th St & Broadway
- Clinton Hill – Ashland Pl & Lafayette St
Wednesday, February 5th
- Union Square – 16th St & Broadway
- Flatiron – 23rd St & 5th Avenue
- Upper East Side – 85th St & 5th Avenue
This is a FREE discussion with top historians exploring how George Washington viewed the presidency, what he might think of U.S. politics today, and what lessons he can offer for the challenges ahead.
Historian Alexis Coe examines America’s first president in a freshly humanizing light. Her new book, You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington, documents the Revolutionary War hero’s reluctant acceptance of the presidency and his heartbreak over fierce partisanship and infighting in the cabinet.
- Alexis Coe, historian; host of No Man’s Land; author of You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington;
- Julian Zelizer, Professor of History and Public Affairs, Princeton University; CNN Political Analyst
Historian Alexis Coe examines America’s first president in a freshly humanizing light. Her new book, You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington, documents the Revolutionary War hero’s
- 6pm Tuesday, Feb 11 at Vanderbilt Hall, Greenberg Lounge, NYU School of Law, 40 Washington Square South
- FREE, but registration is recommended to manage space.
- Register here
Also Feb. 11
This February and March, join historians, writers, filmmakers, and alumni at the Center for Jewish History for a series of discussions and films about City College, its rich Jewish history, and its transformative role in the lives of so many.
This month, the discussion is about the great CCNY (at it was then known) basketball scandal that was front page news for months in the early 1950s.
At a school better known for intellectual achievement than athletic prowess, the 1949-1950 City College Beavers were the unlikeliest of champions. An unheralded group of Jewish and African-American city kids, the Beavers stunned the basketball world by becoming the only team in history to win both the NIT and NCAA tournaments in the same season.
But the next year, the starting five were arrested, charged with point shaving, and engulfed in a scandal that would affect the rest of their lives.
Join bestselling author Matthew Goodman discusses his critically acclaimed new book, The City Game: Triumph, Scandal, and a Legendary Basketball Team, with Clyde Haberman, CCNY 1966. They are joined by former City College basketball co-captain, Ron Nadell, CCNY ’51 and former sports editor of The Campus, Mort Sheinman CCNY ’54.
Ticket Info: $15 general; $12 CJH/Partner members, seniors, students at thecitygame.bpt.me
Black History Month
There are dozens of events throughout NYC in February.
Kick off #BlackHistoryMonth @ApolloTheater’s FREE #ApolloOpenHouse on Saturday FEB 1! The historic theater will open its doors for a day of film screenings, performances, and special presentations in celebration of its rich legacy, presenting an advance screening of Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool + offering free activities for the kids!! Get all the details here: bit.ly/ApolloOpenHouse20
Attend this FREE afternoon of music, performance art and an advance screening of the documentary American Masters—Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool followed by a panel moderated by NJTV News Correspondent/Anchor and WBGO-FM host, Michael Hill with the documentary’s director, Stanley Nelson along with legendary producer James Mtume, rising jazz superstars Keyon Harrold and Angeleisha “Trumptess” Rogers, drummer and Miles Davis’ nephew Vince Wilburn. Following the panel discussion, Apollo Open House 2020: Celebration of Cool will conclude with an inspired performance by the Keyon Harrold Quintet.
Billy “Mr. Apollo” Mitchell
MetroFocus’ Jenna Flanagan
NJTV News’/WBGO-FM’s Michael Hill
DJ: Keanna Faircloth – Host of WBGO’s Afternoon Jazz
Stanley Nelson – Director of American Masters – Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool
Keyon Harrold – Jazz trumpeter and producer
Angeleisha “Trumptess” Rogers – Jazz trumpeter
Vince Wilburn – Drummer, producer and Miles Davis’ nephew
James Mtume – Producer, musician and longtime Miles Davis collaborator
Keanna Faircloth – Host of WBGO’s Afternoon Jazz
Casey Benjamin – Apollo Music Café alum
- FREE, Sat. Feb 1, 1pm to 6pm
- Request a FREE ticket.
See the full schedule of Black History Month events in NYC Parks here.
FREE film screening
Harriet – This powerful biopic centers on Harriet Tubman as she conquers epilepsy, slavery, misogyny, and racism to liberate hundreds of enslaved people, serve in the Union Army and become an icon for freedom everywhere.
Directed by Kasi Lemmons (Talk to Me), this award-winning film features Janelle Monáe (Hidden Figures); Broadway stars Clark Peters, Leslie Odom, Jr. and Cynthia Erivo in the title role.
- Friday, Feb. 14 at the Brownsville Recreation Center in Brooklyn
- Direct link to additional information
Brooklyn and the Underground Railroad
The Underground Railroad was a network of sanctuaries for enslaved women and men escaping slavery in the South to seek freedom in the North.
Join the Urban Park Rangers for a walk through Brooklyn Bridge Park highlighting the borough’s link to freedom.
Please note: Registration is required to attend. Participants are selected by lottery.
- To register, please visit the Urban Park Ranger registration page.
- Registration opens on Wednesday, February 12.
- 11am to 12:30pm, Sat., Feb. 22
- The University Eye Center is at 33 West 44th St., between Fifth and Sixth Aves.
- For questions, contact 212-938-4001
This new show at the Hayden Planetarium is the first to use a new planetarium projection system that is the most advanced in the world.
While humans have to yet to walk on another world beyond the Moon, Worlds Beyond Earth celebrates the extraordinary Age of Exploration carried out by our closest proxies, robotic explorers, over the past 50 years.
Featuring immersive visualizations of distant worlds, groundbreaking space missions, and breathtaking scenes depicting the evolution of our solar system, the show is part of the 150th anniversary celebration year of events at the American Museum of Natural History.
This is the first space show that will “land” audience members on other worlds in our solar neighborhood, reconstructing actual events at specific locations. That includes-
- a landing on the gray, cratered surface of the Moon, which viewers will reach by following an Apollo launch out of Cape Canaveral,
- the subsequent landing of the Lunar Module “Falcon,” carrying the first Lunar Roving Vehicle;
- and the liquid methane lakes of Saturn’s moon Titan, an almost Earthlike but extremely cold world 1.4 billion kilometers away, illuminated by ESA’s Huygens probe, launched from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft.
Worlds Beyond Earth, narrated by Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o, takes viewers on an exhilarating journey that reveals the surprisingly dynamic nature of the worlds that orbit our Sun and the unique conditions that make life on our planet possible.
Simply, the show is out of this world!
- Hayden Planetarium is at AMNH, Central Park West between 77th and 81st Streets.
- Get tickets online and save time.
To Feb. 2
Thunderbird American Indian Dancers
These Native American dancers, musicians and storytellers return to the Lower East Side for their annual concert, with weekend performances.
The group is made up of members of various tribes who live right here in New York City, who share their dance and song traditions.
The performances include traditional music, dance and storytelling of the Iroquois, Pueblo, Alaskan and Great Plains Native American peoples, by the Thunderbirds, who are dressed in the authentic clothing styles of their peoples.
The performances are Jan. 31 to Feb. 2.
Matinee performances on Saturdays and Sundays are specially tailored for children, and everybody is invited onstage after the performance to join the dancing.
I’ve enjoyed the Thunderbirds several times. My personal favorite is the Hoop Dance by one of the Thunderbird members, pictured here.
Tickets are just $15, and children are just $1 with a paying adult.
- Theater for a New City is 155 First Ave., between 9th and 10th Streets
- Additional information and purchase tickets online here.
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Evelyn Kanter also is the author of several NYC and Hudson Valley guidebooks, including my latest, 100 Things to Do in NYC Before You Die.