Enjoy NYC on the cheap by taking advantage of FREE or pay-as-you-wish admission at museums, zoos, gardens and cultural institutions. We are lucky there are dozens of deals on different days and hours during the week and on weekends
Here’s the list for Fridays.
Be sure to make your ticket reservation in advance, where required, since museums are still requiring social distancing – along with mask wearing.
As always, you can visit our Free and Cheap Events Calendar for more budget-friendly events and activities in the greatest city on the planet.
Also visit our list of
If you do not already have an IDNYC Card, get one. It’s FREE, and offers FREE admission at more than 30 NYC museums, zoos, gardens and cultural institutions, along with shopping and theater discounts.
You can also use it as a library card at all three NYC systems, NYPL (which serves Manhattan, Bronx and Staten Island), Brooklyn Library and Queens Library.
Sorry visitors – this is for NYC residents only.
Freebie Fridays at NYC Museums
This was the home of the fabulously wealthy J. Pierpont Morgan, who built a separate multi-story library full or rare editions next to his home on Madison Avenue. Fabulously wealthy enough to own two original Gutenberg Bibles from the 1400s, and more. He’s the man who reportedly said to somebody who asked how much his yacht cost, “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.”
Yes, there are wonderful rotating exhibits, concerts and other programs. But for me, the reasons to visit are always to see a Gutenberg Bible and other centuries-old books and manuscripts up close and wander around the rich man’s actual office and wonder what deals he made in this great room.
- Free admission on Fridays 2pm to 5pm
- Reservations are required.
- Tickets are available one week in advance. Time slots will not show when we are sold out.
- Morgan Library and Museum is 225 Madison Ave. at 38th St.
We love the New York Historical Society for its focus on women in history, especially in New York City and New York State, and its permanent exhibit of Tiffany lamps – many of which were designed and produced by women – and its “Meet the Presidents” exhibit, which includes a recreation of the Oval Office.
Opening in October 2021 – a special exhibit about Brooklyn native and legendary Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
- Pay what you wish, 6pm to 8pm
- Admission to the on-site DiMenna Children’s History Museum is included.
- Purchase timed-entry tickets in advance.
There’s good Karma here at this lovely museum featuring sculptures, incredible embroidered works, jewelry and other artwork from the Himalayas, India and elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
We also love the gift shop for its selection of handmade items made by Southeast Asians now living in New York City, including refugees from Tibet and Nepal.
- Free admission, 6pm to 10pm
- Rubin Mueum is 150 West 17th St, Chelsea,
As the name says, American artists are featured here, in both permanent and rotating exhibits.
This bright and airy museum opened in 2015, when it moved downtown from what is now the Frick Madison. In addition to large windows that illuminate the exhibits with natural light, there’s a wonderful roof deck with favulous views of Lower Manahttan.
The Whitney also is steps away from the High Line and the new Little Island park on the Hudson River.
- Tickets must be booked in advance
- Pay-what-you-wish, Friday, 7pm to 10pm.
- 99 Ganzevoort Street, Meapo/Chelsea, Manhattan
- 7 pm to 10pm
- Upper East Side
- September through June, 6pm to 9p
- Currently closed, re-opening September 2021.
Suggested Admission Every Day
These NYC museums have pay-what-you-wish admission every day. You could choose to pay nothing – but please don’t. Please pay something, even if it’s just one dollar.
Enjoy NYC on the cheap. Just don’t be cheap.
Pay-what-you-wish admission is available to residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, but timed-entry reservations must be booked in advance.
- Time slots are available 10am to 4pm through Sept. 30, 22021
Pay-what-you-wish for New York state residents as well as New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut students.
Now a branch of The Met, the same pay-what-you-wish admission rule applies.
Timed-entry reservations must be booked in advance.
Timed-entry tickets are required; NYC residents can enter for free or pay-what-you-wish.
Timed-entry tickets are recommended.
Timed-entry reservations are recommended.