There’s so much to do free and cheap in NYC every summer weekend. Everything on the NYCOTC cheap weekend list is $20 or less. That makes us different from all the other “what to do” lists with expensive ideas, because we’re here to help you enjoy being a NYC cheapskate with no apologies.
Unless a price is noted, our NYC cheap weekend list is FREE.
Unless otherwise noted, street fairs are 10AM to 6PM.
Let’s hope the weather cooperates for the outdoor events.
any time of year
Today in NYC
Summer of Hamilton Family Fridays – Special family-friendly events connected with Alexander Hamilton. FREE with museum admission, which is pay-as-you-wish on Fridays.
Friday Freebies: FREE museum admission at top NYC museums.
Friday Freebies: FREE outdoor movie screenings, including family favorites
Coney Island Friday Night Fireworks – On the Boardwalk at 10th St., at 9:30, every Friday night of the summer.
Saturday in NYC
Lincoln Center Out of Doors – Lou Reed Tribute Day, an all-day festival of music celebrating the life of the great NYC musician who passed away recently. This tribute is co-produced by his widow, avant-garde artist Laurie Anderson.
Waterfight NYC – What perfect timing to get wet in this heatwave. 2pm to 5pm in Central Park Sheep Meadow. Be there or stay dry. Warning: no water balloons permitted, only squirt guns.
Lower West Side Block Party – Noon to 5pm on Washington Street between Rector and Carlisle Streets. In addition to arts and and crafts and games for kids:
- Musicians performing ethnic music and tunes from 1pm- 4pm, including an accordion player and guitarist.
- Calligraphers offering both Arabic and Chinese calligraphy demonstrations and takeaways for kids and adults.
- Historic Preservation Tours offered at intervals to learn of the past immigrant experience on the Lower West Side.
- Raffles: prizes include nights at The Marriott New York-Downtown, the W Hotel and the Holiday Inn-Financial District.
- Local Restaurants will all offer free samples of assorted hors d’oeuvres and appetizers from their various menus: Schilling, St George’s Tavern, George’s Diner and Sam Sahadi’s.
Waverly Place-Washington Square Fair – On Waverly Place between Fifth Ave. and University Place
HealthFest with Kevin Hart – Free fitness bootcamp, yoga classes, massage, kids’ area, and more. 9:30am-2pm at Nelson A Rockefeller Park, Murray St and River Terrace. Sign-ups required for some activities.
Festival of the Americas – On Sixth Avenue between 42nd and 56th Streets
Free outdoor movie screenings:
- “Cinderella (2015)” (Movies Under the Stars): Clove Lakes Park Parkhouse, Staten Island
- “Monsters University” (Movies Under the Stars): Kiviehan Park, Staten Island
- “Jurassic World” (Movies Under the Stars): Haffen Park, Baychester
- “Grease” (Movies Under the Stars): Joseph P. Addabbo Memorial Park, Tudor Park, Ozone Park
- “In Pursuit of Silence” (Rooftop Films): Brookfield Place, Waterfront Plaza, 230 Vesey Street
- “Minions” (Movies Under the Stars): Tiger Playground, Bushwick
- “Zootopia” (Movies Under the Stars): Sunset Park, Sunset Park
Jewish Museum – FREE admission on Saturdays. On exhibit now are more than 250 items of clothing and costume designs, sketches, photographs and video that tell the story of popular fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi, from his first collection in 1987 to today, from his “semi-couture” lines to his work for Target. Through Aug. 7. The Jewish Museum is at 1109 Fifth Ave.
- See the NYCOTC list of free days at top NYC museums.
Queens Night Market – Local food vendors offer the diverse tastes of our most multi-cultural borough, plus crafts vendors, music and more, at this weekly night market copied from the poplar night markets of Asia, including Taiwan and Thailand.
Saturday and Sunday in NYC
LIC Flea & Food – The popular outdoor weekend market is open for the season, open 11AM-6PM both days with favorite vendors returning and new vendors added. Grab a beer from the only All Queens Beer Garden and enjoy the Manhattan skyline. Located at 5-25 46th Avenue in Long Island City at the corner of 46th Avenue and 5th Street. LIC Flea & Foods website.
Smorgasburg – The popular food and crafts market in Brooklyn is back for the season, open 11am to 6pm both days. Note that Smogasburg has two locations:
- Saturdays: Williamsburg, East River State Park, 90 Kent Ave. (at N. 7th)
- Sundays: Prospect Park, Breeze Hill (at Lincoln Rd.)
Sunday in NYC
A Great Day in Harlem – This all-day event kicks off Harlem Week 2016 with a full day of concerts, fashion shows and more.
Family Performance Festival in Central Park – Enjoy Sunday in the park with the entire family with great eco-education and multicultural performances. Formerly known as A Clearing in the Forest, it’s FREE fun and learning through music, storytelling, Park adventures, puppetry, and more. A different group performs each Sunday starting today, through Labor Day Weekend. Noon to 1:30PM at the Great Hill, West Side of Central Park at 103rd St.
Visit Hallett Sanctuary in Central Park – This rustic spot near 59th and Fifth is open to the public occasionally. Lucky for us, there are extended summer hours through August 31 which include Sundays, 2PM to 5PM.
Free outdoor movie screenings:
- “The Good Dinosaur” (FMCP Movie Night): Albert H. Mauro Playground, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Corona
- “The Goonies” (Outdoor Movie Night): Touchdown of the 103rd Street Footbridge, Randall’s Island Park
- “Jaws II” (Habana Outpost Events): Habana Outpost 757 Fulton Street, Fort Greene
- “The Girls in the Band” (Arts, Culture & Fun): Greenbelt Recreation Center, Blood Root Valley
- “The Good Dinosaur” (Movies Under the Stars): Albert H. Mauro Playground, Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Grand Army Market – The team behind Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg is launching a new weekly market at Grand Army Plaza starting Sunday, May 1. Situated at the northern tip of Prospect Park (at the landmark arch/rotary), Grand Army Plaza has long been home to the weekly Saturday Greenmarket and is within walking distance to Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, Park Slope and Prospect Lefferts Gardens. Every Sunday, 10am to 5pm, though October, with some of the most popular maker vendors from Brooklyn Flea, plus many new additions, and prepared- and packaged-food vendors.
Fulton Stall Outdoor Market – This popular outdoor food market is back for the season with live music and tastings of local craft food and drinks. This family-friendly seasonal market has become a community institution throughout the spring and summer, connecting New Yorkers with fresh and healthy produce from within a 250-mile radius of New York City. Experience the Seaport District’s art installation, featuring portraits of over 100 farmers and chefs living and working in the Hudson Valley. South Street Seaport district at the corner of Fulton and Water Streets and inside Fulton Stall Market at 207A Front St., 11 AM – 5 PM
Vendy Plaza – The best food trucks in NYC are parked under the MetroNorth train tracks, at Park Ave. and 116th St., every Sunday through Labor Day weekend. There’s also a beer garden and crafts vendors.
If you know about a free or cheap NYC weekend event you’d like to share with NYC on the Cheap, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.