Your NYC FREE and cheap weekend plans begin here, with more than a dozen things to do this Memorial Day Weekend including Fleet Week NYC events, parades, street fairs and more.
The NYCOTC free and cheap weekend guide is $25 or less so you can take bites out of the Big Apple without eating up your budget, plus a few occasional splurges worth the money. And everything is family-friendly.
NYC isn’t expensive when you know where to go and what to do, and we do.
- 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.
- Unless otherwise noted, street fairs are 11am to 6pm.
The Butterfly Conservatory – Warm yourself in the beauty and color of thousands of butterflies, flittering and fluttering around you in this annual treat at the American Museum of Natural History. FREE with museum admission, through Monday.
Rockwell, Roosevelt and the Four Freedoms – You’ve seen these Norman Rockwell images all your life and know them well. But nothing compares with seeing them in person. This timely exhibit about freedom opens today, Friday, May 25, at the New York Historical Society. The exhibit commemorates the 75th anniversary of publication of the illustrations in 1943, to support the WWII war effort, and remain a timely explanation of why Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want and Freedom from Fear are universal and important to us all, every day.
Fleet Week NYC
The fleet is in! Tour US Navy and US Coast Guard ships FREE, see demonstrations of the latest military hardware, enjoy concerts by military bands, interact with uniformed military, and more, at this annual celebration of the Sea Services.
Saturday, May 26
Marine Day in Prospect Park – Enjoy a full day of activities with US Marines from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, including high-intensity workouts, interactive vehicle, robot displays, exhibits of Marine helicopters and more, 9:30am to 4:30 pm, at Bartel-Pritchard Square, the area along the Park’s West Drive and the Long Meadow Ballfields. FREE
9 am – 12 pm
Workout with Marines: Join the Marines as we perform high-intensity calisthenics, military-style push ups and other exercises. Workouts will start at the top of every hour.
9 am – 4:30 pm
Interactive Displays + Demonstrations: Enjoy a display of U.S. Marine vehicles and robots, martial arts, military working dog demonstrations, interactive exhibits and more.
11 am – 4:30 pm
Aviation Display: Watch as Marine aircraft, including the world’s only production aircraft to take off and land like a helicopter and fly like plane, the MV-22 Osprey, comes to Prospect Park. TheOsprey will be joined by the AH-1 Cobra, CH-53 Super Stallion and UH-1 Huey helicopters. After these aircraft land, visitors can walk inside of all aircraft, take pictures and interact with the pilots and crew.
3:30 pm – 4:30 pm
USMC Battle Color Detachment Performance: Enjoy a performance including the world-famous Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon and Drum and Bugle Corps.
Extended Through Labor Day
Downton Abbey: The Exhibition – Note that this fabulous exhibit of Downton Abbey fashions and household furnishings has been extended through Labor Day Weekend. Get $25 discount tickets for your chance to drool over three floors of luscious costumes, sumptuous family rooms, the kitchen and servants quarters below stairs, plus see unseen footage from the popular series. In Midtown.
- See our posting on Royal Wedding events in NYC for special events featuring experts on royal wedding dress, etiquette and table manners.
Another Hot Ticket
David Bowie Exhibit – This special exhibition of everybody’s favorite musician, actor and artist has been organized with unprecedented access to his personal archives, with one-of-a-kind material and music. At the Brooklyn Museum.
Memorial Day Weekend Street Fairs
Saturday, May 26
West Fourth St. Festival – On West 4th St. between Sixth Ave. and MacDougal St.
Midtown West Spring Street Fair – On Eighth Ave. between 42nd and 50th Streets
Woodside Festival – On Woodside Ave, between 63rd St. and Roosevelt Ave., Woodside, Queens
Puerto Rican Day Parade & Cultural Festival – 152nd St. and Jackson Ave., Bronx.
Sunday, May 27
Lexington Ave. Spring Festival – On Lexington Ave., between 42nd and 57th Streets
31st Annual Livable West Side Festival – West Side of Broadway, 72nd to 86th Streets.
Passport to Taiwan – Celebrate all things Taiwanese, including music, dance, food and crafts. Union Square North and 17th St.
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.
Get NYC on the Cheap in your inbox at 8am each morning.
It’s FREE, too, and you’ll start the day with what you need to know to be a NYC cheapskate.
Let’s hope the weather cooperates for outdoor events. If not –
Every Friday in NYC
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.
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.
FREE guided tour of the High Line. Hear the story behind NYC’s trend-setting park in the sky on a special winter walking tour! Join us for a free 45-minute long tour led by High Line Docents, knowledgeable volunteer guides who offer you an insider’s perspective on the park’s history, design, and landscape. Saturdays through April 7. Meet at the Gansevort Steps at Noon.
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.
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.
If you’re not doing this already, subscribe to NYC on the Cheap’s daily emails (just one a day).
Follow us and like us on Facebook and on Twitter @nyccheap.