Your weekend plans begin here, with a couple of dozen FREE and cheap things to do this final weekend before Labor Day.
This weekend it’s all about music, including the start of the FREE Met Opera Summer HD Festival, the FREE Charlie Parker Jazz Festival and the FREE Blues BBQ Festival.
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:
- 5:00 pm – Check In – Soul Train Line Break the Record
- 5:45 pm – Welcome & Rules to Break the Record
- 5:55 pm – Participants Line up
- 6:00 to 7:00pm Soul Train Line Commences
- 8:00 pm – Amazing Grace Screening
Save money on Broadway shows during Broadway Week 2019, with half-price tickets to top musicals and dramas.
This is your annual pppportunity to get BOGO tickets to nearly two dozen shows, including Aladdin, The Lion King, Frozen, Tootsie and Beautiful: The Carol King Musical
Tickets are now on sale for performances Sept. 3-16, and the most popular shows to sell out fast.
If you don’t live in NYC or aren’t visiting soon, there are Comp Train freebies to shows and events nationwide, including nearby Philadelphia and Boston, plus Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Denver, Chicago and more cities. Just pick your city from the drop-down list.
Comp Train tickets are available through Friday, Aug. 23, for shows and events through Halloween, even beyond.
See ten nights of FREE Metropolitan Opera performances on a giant screen in Lincoln Center Plaza, starting Friday.
This 11th anniversary Met Opera Summer HD Festival features ten performances from the Met’s Live in HD series of cinema and TV transmissions, including such favorites as Aida and Carmen.
As always, the series begins with the screening of a film with a connection to opera.
This year, it’s Funny Face, starring screen legends Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn, with opera-quality songs by George and Ira Gershwin.
See starting times and the daily schedule here.
All that jazz! This annual event honors legendary music pioneer with a ten days of FREE concerts, films about jazz and more, in NYC parks and other locations including the National Jazz Museum in Harlem.
Concerts include both contemporaries of Charlie Parker and young jazz musicians from the USA, Africa and the Caribbean continuing the art form he helped make so popular around the world.
As always, the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival is part of the annual SummerStage series of FREE concerts and dance performances throughout NYC parks.
More information here.
Closing on Labor Day
- At the Museum of the City of New York, Fifth Ave. at 103rd St., through Sept. 2.
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.
What to do in NYC on Friday
Enjoy FREE concerts Fridays in August in Bryant Park.
- 6pm on the Stage, facing Sixth Avenue
What to do Saturday in NYC
What could be better than food and music with a river breeze? The music is FREE, the food is available for purchase from some of the city’s best pit masters.
Celebrate 20 years of blues and roots music in Hudson River park with a line-up of musicians from a cross the USA.
- 2pm – Kevin Burt
- 3:15 – The world famous Harlem Gospel Chior
- 5:30pm – AJ Ghent
- 6pm – Ruthie Foster
- 7:30pm – Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe
2pm to 9pm, Pier 97, Hudson River Park. Rain or shine, so let’s hope for shine.
One of the most famous jazz musicians lived in Queens, where his home is a museum and music continues to be celebrated.
The Louis Armstrong House Museum and Jazzmobile are hosting this FREE block party and concert featuring Jay Rodriguez.
The House Museum will be open at 12 pm for tours that will begin every 30 minutes, including during the time of the concert. The last tour will start at 4:30pm.
- The Louis Armstrong House Museum is at 34-56 107th Street, Corona, Queens.
- Directions and visiting information here.
The best gamers from around the world are competing in this World Tour event. You can watch them FREE on Saturday. There are two competitions:
FIA GT Championship // Nations Cup is a championship where countries and territories will compete for victory. The country (or territory) of a competitor will be automatically assigned based on the information registered on the PSN Online ID used to sign in to the game. There are no restrictions on the country of origin of the cars that will be driven.
FIA GT Championship // Manufacturer Series is a championship where competitors race as a representative for their favorite make against all other participating manufacturers. One of the sponsors is Michelin, which told NYCOTC about this event.
- The championships are 2pm to 4pm at Sony PlayStation Theater, 1515 Broadway. The finals also are being live-streamed.
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.