Your NYC FREE and cheap weekend plans begin here, with more than a dozen things to do this Mid-May weekend, including celebrating moms everywhere on Mother’s Day.
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 mid-May.
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.
Baylander Billion Oyster Project Presentation – Learn about the importance of shellfish to the NYC ecosystem, including the Hudson River, and the efforts of the Billion Oyster Project on the Baylander’s Jungle Deck. It’s the latest effort to restore our harbor. The FREE family-friendly event includes arts and crafts and more.,neighborhood fun at the Playdate. Part of the NYC Parks Summer on the Hudson series of events.
- At West Harlem Piers, 125th St. and the Hudson River, Noon to 2pm.
Saturday and Sunday
FAD Market Mother’s Day Pop-Up – This weekend, the crafts makes a special appearance at City Point in Downtown Brooklyn to celebrate Mother’s Day. Browse and shop more than 55 independent designer makers from Brooklyn and the rest of NYC, and beyond, offering unique handcrafted jewelry, art, apparel, bath and body care, tableware and home furnishings. Find gifts for mom or for yourself.
Highlights this weekend include home accessories by Gomez Design Studio, offering gorgeous handcrafted woodwork with a focus on environmental sustainability; contemporary jewelry from Marionwild, featuring precious metal creations inspired by nature and architecture; all-natural skincare bars from Even Keel, handcrafted in small batches with sun-infused herbs and natural clays; as well as luxury sandals from Uzi Isle, hand beaded in summer-perfect tropical shades.
- 11am to 6pm at City Point, Prince Street Corridor, 445 Albee Square W
Sunday, Mother’s Day
at restaurants and other businesses.
Japan Day – Celebrate all things Japanese at this FREE annual celebration in Central Park, including FREE music and dance performances, arts and crafts, and more. 9am to 4pm at the Bandshell.
SEE ALSO Best places to Japanese Cherry Blossoms in NYC, including in Central Park.
MCC 2nd Avenue Festival – Second Ave between 66th and 86th St, including a Pop-Up Food Event between 72nd St and 79th St.
Times Square Spring Expo Street Fair – Broadway from 47th to 57th St
Rockaway Beach Super Boardwalk Street Fair – Beach 86th Street and Shorefront Parkway in Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk, Queens
Hester Street Fair’s Dog Day – Hester St and Essex St
Bust Craftacular Spring Fair – Industry City Factory Floor, 274 36th St, Brooklyn, 11am to 7pm
Touch-a-Truck – Food truck festival, 18th St. between 6th and 7th Ave, Brooklyn, 11am to 5pm.
Broadway Festival Upper West Side – Broadway between 60th St and 65th St
Bryant Park Community Fair – 41st St between Sixth and Seventh Aves.
Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day Parade and Festival – 59th St between 4th Ave and 6th Ave, Brooklyn, 1pm to 4pm.
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.
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