Your weekend plans begin here, with a couple of dozen FREE and cheap things to do this weekend before Halloween, 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, especially for all the Halloween events.
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.
Ending this Weekend
This is your last chance to see this landmark exhibition of O’Keeffe’s paintings created in the Hawaiian Islands while on commission in 1939, many on view in NYC for the first time since 1940. The paintings are interspersed with the real flowers and landscapes that inspired them, in the marvelous glass house Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. This is also the final weekend for Aloha Nights, when the garden is open after hours with entertainment.
- Closing Sunday
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. 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. Closing Sunday.
Head to the Queens County Farm Museum for a three-acre interactive corn maze, the largest within NYC. The adventure begins with a “Stalk Talk” to prepare you for the challenge of finding clues, solving puzzles, and making your way out of the maze. Saturdays and Sundays, 11am to 4:30pm, through October 27.
- Tickets are $10 / adult; $5 / child (ages 4-11); children 3 and under are FREE.
- Final Day Saturday
Opening this weekend
No, you didn’t sleep through Halloween and Thanksgiving. The annual Bryant Park Winter Village opens Saturday for the season, with FREE ice skating and more than 170 vendor kiosks for holiday shopping. Also this year is a a rink-side bar and food hall with a dozen food vendors.
The Winter Village opens at noon on Saturday, and to celebrate, Bryant Park and village sponsor Bank of America are treating the first 100 entrants to a free skate rental, a pair of red gloves courtesy and a cup of hot chocolate.
- The shops are open through Jan. 2. The ice skating rink is open through mid-March or later.
- Also now open for the season is ice skating at Rockefeller Center.
Halloween Events through next week
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.
Must-See Museum Exhibits
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 in NYC
Get FREE financial advice from top NYC and NY State officials, including consumer protection, unemployment, housing and Medicare, certified accountants and more at the annual Financial Planning Day program at the NY Public Library branch known as SIBL. This annual FREE event gives us all the opportunity to meet with credentialed, professional counselors for one-on-one consultations.
FREE Halloween events for kids on Friday
Asphalt Screams – 555 East 90th St between York Ave. and East End, 4pm to 6pm
FDNY Fire Museum Children’s Halloween Hunt – New York City Fire Museum, 278 Spring St off Hudson St, 6pm to 8pm
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 in NYC
Halloween Pumpkin Flotilla in Central Park
Enjoy pumpkin carving, Halloween crafts, spooky stories, a costume parade, and most of all the Conservancy’s signature Pumpkin Flotilla, which sets sail across the Harlem Meer at twilight in this popular annual FREE event.
- Click here for a full schedule of events and Pumpkin Flotilla Guidelines.
- Location: Charles A. Dana Discovery Center (inside the Park at 110th Street between Fifth and Lenox Avenues).
- Sunday, 4pm to 7pm
Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead – National Museum of the American Indian, 1 Bowling Green, Noon-5pm, FREE
Halloween Harvest Festival – Socrates Sculpture Garden, 32-01 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City, Queens, Noon-4pm, FREE
Hester Street Fair’s Halloween Party – Corner of Hester and Essex Streets, 11am-6pm
Halloween Haunted Walk + Fair at Prospect Park – Noon-3pm, Prospect Park
Halloween Bash at Brookfield Place – Noon-3:30pm, FREE
Lexington Avenue Fall Festival – Lexington Ave. between 42nd and 57th Streets
Children’s Halloween Parade at Industry City – 850 3rd Ave and 274 36th St, Brooklyn, 10am-4pm
Children’s Halloween Parade on Roosevelt Island Main Street, Roosevelt Island
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 in NYC
Trick or Treat at Grand Central Terminal – Vanderbilt Hall, FREE
Court Street Fair – Joralemon St to Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn
Eighth Avenue Fall Fair – 8th Ave between 42nd to 52nd St
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.
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.