Your weekend plans begin here, with more than a dozen FREE and cheap things to do this weekend before Thanksgiving. The NYCOTC weekend guide is $20 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, and we usually remind you anyway, to be sure you know. Unless otherwise noted, street fairs are 10am to 6pm.
Now Open in NYC
The Butterfly Conservatory – Warm yourself in the beauty and color of thousands of butterflies, flittering around you in this annual winter treat at the American Museum of Natural History. FREE with admission.
Holiday Bazaar at Bryant Park – The shops are selling Thanksgiving merchandise and Christmas items.
Holiday Express: Toys and Trains – Watch vintage trains zip around the lobby of the New York Historical Society, threading their way around equally vintage toys and games. The popular annual display is open through Feb. 25th.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Seriously, you can now have a full breakfast at the iconic Fifth Avenue store, at the new Blue Box Cafe, decorated in the same shade as the famous Tiffany blue gift boxes, on the newly-renovated fourth floor. At $29, it’s just over our $20 benchmark, but every once in a while you have to splurge, and the splurge is even bigger if you opt for lunch ($39) or afternoon tea ($49). And shame on you if you don’t know Tiffany’s is at the corner of 57th and Fifth.
Christmas Spectacular with the Radio City Rockettes – The annual holiday extravaganza opens today. Get $49 discount tickets for your choice of dates, instead of the regular $75 price.
Friday and Saturday in NYC
Race slot cars to raise money for programs for NYC public schools, at a special installation at the Oculus. Ford Motor Company’s Drive 4UR School fundraising program is celebrating 10 years of contributing to educational enrichment initiatives across the United States by bringing an interactive slot car display to the Oculus at Westfield World Trade Center. For each visitor who registers to compete in the slot car activity, Ford will contribute $10 to New York City public schools, with a goal of reaching $10,000 by the end of the two-day event. Since launching in 2007, Drive 4UR School, in partnership with more than 2,700 U.S. Ford dealers, has raised more than $30 million to support programs at 3,000-plus schools. The slot car racing for charity is at the Fordhub City of Tomorrow exhibit.
Saturday in NYC
Celebrate Native American Heritage Month at these FREE family-friendly events in NYC parks, museums and elsewhere:
Van Cortlandt Park Nature Center – Learn how Native Americans used native waterways and plants to survive. 1pm to 2:30pm, Bronx.
Native American Heritage Celebration – A fun-filled Pow-Wow featuring music, dance, and art and crafts by the world re-known Red Hawk Indian Arts Council, 1pm to 4pm at the Sunset Park Recreation Center, Brooklyn
The Thunderbird American Indian Dancers hold their annual November auction of handmade Native American jewelry, leather goods, baskets, rattles, clothing, blankets and other beautiful items. Auction items can be views 6pm to 7pm, and the auction follows until 9pm. All proceeds go to the Thunderbird American Indian Scholarship Fund, which has awarded more than over 500 grants for the college education of Native Americans. Payment can be made by cash or check (with proper id); credit/debit payment cannot be accepted. The auction is at The Carriage House, 225 East 67th St., between 2nd and 3rd Aves.
Also celebrate Native American Heritage Month at the National Museum of the American Indian in Lower Manhattan, where admission is FREE every day. On exhibit now, through January 6, 2019, is Transformer: Native Art in Light and Sound presenting the work of ten artists who use light, digital projection, and experimental media to reflect on their place in and between traditional and dominant cultures. Through innovative sound art, digital media, and installation, the exhibition demonstrates the continuity of Indigenous cultures and creativity in the digital age. The artists use nontraditional media and colorful and dynamic forms to draw viewers into a world of indigenous experience, insight, and invention that is at once ancient and adapted to the moment.
Featured artists include Jordan Bennett (Mi’kmaq), Raven Chacon (Diné), Jon Corbett (Métis), Marcella Ernest (Ojibwe), Stephen Foster (Haida), Nicholas Galanin (Tlingit), Julie Nagam (Anishnawbe/Métis), Marianne Nicolson (Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw), Keli Mashburn (Osage), and Kevin McKenzie (Cree/Métis). The project is curated by Kathleen Ash-Milby (Diné), National Museum of the American Indian, and David Garneau (Métis), University of Regina; an illustrated booklet accompanies the exhibition.
Saturday and Sunday in NYC
31st Annual Goddard Riverside Book Fair – Stock up on brand-new bestsellers for grown-ups and kids at 50% off. Proceeds support our anti-homelessness and anti-poverty efforts. Browse through bins of mystery, fiction, memoirs, cookbooks, current events and history, children’s and young adult, plus gifts and more. 10am to 5pm both days, FREE admission, 593 Columbus Ave. at 88th St.
Sunday in NYC
Superman- See the original, and still the best comic book movie, starring Christopher Reeve as the man of steel, plus Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, and Margot Kidder. Tickets are just $9 for this screening, 11am only, at the Film Forum, 209 W. Houston St. in Tribeca.
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.
NYC parking calendar – know when you have to move your car, or not.
Subscribe to our email newsletter and get NYC on the Cheap in your inbox at 8am each morning. That’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.
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.
Every Weekend in NYC
Smorgasburg in Manhattan – Smorg Square, at 76 Varick St. (at Canal St.) on the border of Soho, Tribeca, and Hudson Square, is back every Friday-Sunday through Christmas, with a rotating lineup of food vendors curated from the Brooklyn markets, with 20+ vendors every Friday-Sunday and seating for 120. Plus, 60 world-class vintage, furniture, and handmade vendors at Brooklyn Flea’s new year-round indoor location directly across the street, at 100 Avenue of the Americas (at Watts St.).
Long Island Flea, Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg are open for the season. Details here.
Pier 2 Roller Rink at Brooklyn Bridge Park – Rates are $3 to skate, $6 to rent; check the website for hours and special events, including lessons. This is a covered rink, so you get fresh air, but not raindrops.Heights and the park.
Brooklyn Bazaar Night Market offers an Asian-style night market, with international food, vendors, and entertainment.
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.
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