Your weekend plans begin here, with a couple of dozen FREE and cheap things to do this first weekend of August, including FREE outdoor music and dance performances at Lincoln Center, NYC Restaurant Week, car-free Summer Streets and more.
There’s so much to see and do in NYC and never enough time to see and do it all.
All events are FREE and family-friendly, unless otherwise noted.
The NYC on the Cheap motto is get more NYC for less money.
Let’s hope the weather cooperates with outdoor events, but if it doesn’t, here are some rainy day activities in NYC, besides re-arranging your sock drawer.
Unless otherwise noted, street fairs are 10am to 6pm.
Know before you go:
Nearly 400 top NYC restaurants are serving 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 21 Club, Delmonico’s and the Russian Tea Room.
There are participating restaurants in all five boroughs, and you can search by location or type of food.
Of course, as always, beverages, taxes and tip are additional.
Additional information here, including tips and tactics for getting Restaurang Week reservations.
There are three weeks of FREE music and dance performances, film screenings, comedy shows and more at this annual event, through August 11.
Lincoln Center Out of Doors showcases NYC-based dancers, performers and musicians alongside top international artists, representing many of the immigrant cultures of NYC and the diversity of music and dance traditions in America.
- Friday – Liza with a “Z” and students from LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts performing
- Saturday – An afternoon of Hip-Hop and culture and an evening of comedy.
- Sunday – Desi Now performances.
See the full schedule here. Including times and locations on the Lincoln Center campus.
What to do in NYC on Friday
Take a break at the South Street Seaport to see the latest Lincoln vehicles, the Aviator and Corsair SUVs, both on display in cooling and soothing summery white.
There are FREE frozen snacks and fruit-infused water, and the chance to learn about what goes into the design of a luxury vehicle, meditation tips, and more.
Also check out the Nautilus outdoor art display sponsored by Lincoln and an art design partner. These are colorful interactive poles with sensors that emit a soothing sound when you tough them.
- FREE, Opens today, through Sept. 2, at Pier 17, Noon to 8pm daily.
Enjoy FREE concerts Fridays in August in Bryant Park.
- 6pm on the Stage, facing Sixth Avenue
What to do in NYC on Saturday
The popular car-free program returns for the first three Saturdays of August, closing seven miles of Manhattan streets to motorized traffic and turning the car free streets into one long street fair, with music and dance performances, playgrounds for the kids, free bike rentals, and a popular zipline.
No cars allowed, 7 AM to 1 PM on August 3, 10 and 17, from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Upper East Side, Lafayette Streets, Park Avenue and Park Avenue South will be for the exclusive use of bicyclists, joggers and walkers.
This is the 12th annual Summer Streets program, and pnce again, five “rest stops” along the route will offer different FREE activities and performances at each stop, including FREE rock-climbing walls, the popular FREE 165-foot zip line, FREE outdoor fitness classes and wheelchair basketball games, a dog park, FREE bike rental and bike repair and lots of FREE samples from food and drink vendors, including FREE water refill stations so you keep hydrated.
Get FREE screenings by SUNY and NYU eye doctors, foot doctors, cancer doctors and dentists, FREE blood tests for diabetes, and FREE exhibits by health and wellness experts including about nutrition, aging, Alzheimers, Down Syndrome and lupus.
This annual health and wellness expo is open to all ages, and the FREE screenings do not require medical insurance.
Attend this special FREE evening of live music at the Ford Amphitheater at the Coney Island Boardwalk saluting the music of the 70s, including The Stylistics, Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes and Sonny Bivins’ Manhattans.
It’s part of the summer-long NYC SummerStage performances in NYC parks and other locations in all five boroughs.
- 7pm to 10pm, Doors open at 6pm
- 3052 W. 21st St. Brooklyn
What to do Sunday in NYC
Learn to dance like a pro at these Salsa, Cha-Cha and Bachata lessons and group social dances led by master teachers from the Piel Canela Dance and Music School and featuring DJ Ray Colon.
- 6pm to 9:30pm at Hudson River Park, Pier I, at 70th St.
Take a Dip
NYC has FREE outdoor swimming pools in every borough. They are open daily 11am to 7pm through mid-September.
NOTE – NYC outdoor pools will stay open until 8pm this weekend, due to the heat wave in NYC
Need more things to do in NYC?
My new book is full of them. 100 Things to be exact.
100 Things to Do in New York City Before You Die is a great guide to discovering the quirky treasures of NYC, or re-discovering some of the most famous spots in the world.
Available online and in bookstores now.
NYC beaches are open for the season through Labor Day Weekend, with lifeguards, food kiosks and fun in the sun, sand and surf.
There are 14 miles of public beaches within the NYC boundaries.
Lifeguards are on duty 10am to 6pm daily, and for the third year in a row, free sunscreen is available at sunscreen stations similar to stations for hand sanitizer.
Here is our guide to the best beaches in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island you can get to by subway.