Beauty, fun, adventure, and serenity – embrace all when you are in New York City, and that too without any cost. Contrasting, it may sound, but practically it’s not. Here is a curated list of free things to do in NYC.
1. Get close to Niagara Falls
Watching the spectacular beauty of Niagara Falls is a dream come true experience for everyone. It’s a group of three waterfalls, namely, Horseshoe Falls (largest), American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls. Other popular falls include Decew and Upper Decew Falls, Louth Falls, Balls, and Lower Balls Falls. Add them all to your free things to do in NYC. The combined falls have the highest flow rate of any waterfall in North America. An estimated 168,000 m3 (5.9 million cu ft) of water goes over the crest of the falls every minute during peak tourist hours. Niagara Falls attracts not just tourists but also the movie and TV directors and producers.
2. Hit the Beach (Long Island)
Usher in a host of natural experiences without any entry fee. The Long Island region is home to some of the world-famous beaches including Jones Beach State Park, Coopers Beach, and Main Beach. Jones Beach State Park has 2,400 acres of maritime environment and 6.5 miles of white sand beach along the Atlantic Ocean. Enjoy swimming on the wave of the Atlantic Ocean, taking a stroll on its shore, fishing, and playing miniature golf, basketball, paddle tennis, and beyond.
Coopers Beach in Southampton is noted for offering a royalty feel. Relax on the clean gorgeous beaches. Shop or window-shop at the various boutiques and experience the best farm-to-table food at its glamorous restaurants. Check the nearby options including Boardwalk Cafe, and Dine-in the Gatsby on the Ocean Restaurant.
3. Head to Canalside Buffalo – the marvel of civil engineering
After watching the great Niagara Falls, exploring the Canalside of downtown Buffalo is the next big thing. The place owes its beauty to the Erie Canal that runs east-west connecting the Hudson River (near Albany) with Lake Erie, the fourth largest lake out of the five Great Lakes in North America. This 363-mile (584 km) canal was the second-longest in the world (after the Grand Canal in China) when completed in 1825, and is now a prominent tourist attraction. Add it to your list of free things to do in NYC.
Every year, Canalside hosts over a thousand events, from children’s games to outdoor yoga, concerts, movie nights, and more. The place is dotted with restaurants, food trucks, and game tables. Rent a kayak or water bike. Take in views of the city from the water and bask in the summer vibes.
4. Reach East Hampton Farmers Market
Explore and buy local fresh produces, bask in the sun on the sprawling sands, enjoy fireworks, festivals, fairs, a parade, tour historical sites, and community BBQs. The farmers’ market is organized by the East Hampton Chamber of Commerce, which is a private, non-profit organization. It focuses on promoting economic development in the Town of East Hampton. It attracts producers, traders, and consumers. The town has a rural, and yet vacation-like atmosphere, making it stand out as the perfect little “get-away.”
5. Go to New York State Fairgrounds
The New York State Fairgrounds brings you a host of entertainment options and gives you an opportunity to explore innovative ideas from agriculture, education, and technology. This is a 13-day-long extravaganza. Whether you are there with your family or beloved, you will enjoy the trip to NYC. From carnival games and amusement rides to dime stores, themed events, trade shows, pleasure gardens, water parks, and food booths cluster – it has all under one roof. This is recognized as New York’s largest annual event and an end-of-summer tradition held usually in August and September.
6. Visit an Old School Ice Cream Parlor (Finger Lakes)
If you love ice cream, this is the place to be. According to foodies, downtown Ithaca is the birthplace of the first ice cream sundae and that miracle happened in 1892. In fact, a plaque on State Street commemorates the site where the treat was said to have been invented at Platt & Colt’s Pharmacy. The said outlet may not exist today, but it doesn’t mean the lip-smacking taste is far from you. Step into Purity Ice Cream to have your favorite scoop. The setup featuring a giant red and white striped canopy with classic chrome ceiling fans and black and white tile floor is likely to make you nostalgic.
7. Ride the Staten Island Ferry
Take this 25-minute water ride and explore all the top attractions including the Statue of Liberty located between Lower Manhattan and Staten Island. The ferry, operated by the New York City Department of Transportation, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with boats leaving every 15 to 20 minutes during peak hours and every 30 minutes at other times. This is the busiest ferry route in the United States and the world’s busiest passenger-only ferry system.
8. Grab the scenic beauty of Hudson River Gorge (Adirondacks)
Watching the arts and engineering of the Hudson River is one of the cool things to do in NYC and that too at no cost. The 24,477-acre Hudson Gorge Wilderness is part of the Adirondack Forest Preserve. The place has low mountains and valleys between. The rugged beauty of the steep cliffs on either side of the Hudson River is a beauty to cherish. Also, there are 200+ foot high OK Slip Falls and the unique Blue Ledges on the south side of the Hudson River. Experience day rafting and swimming adhering to the safety norms of the Adirondack Forest Preserve.
9. Explore Lake Placid
Lake Placid is a favorite escape for visitors and citizens alike. If you are a sports enthusiast, you can easily relate the place to an Olympic event. From world-class skiing in winter and paddling in summer to incredible fall foliage, the place has something for travelers throughout the year. Lake Placid presents a picturesque landscape. In winter, capture the snow-covered rooftops and holiday decorations with your camera. Do not miss adding Whiteface Mountain to your places to visit in NYC. Welcoming scents waft from restaurants and shops mesmerize shoppers. Shop for unique gifts, and clothes, and enjoy free weekly concerts at the little park mid-way down Main Street.
10. Revisit History – Cold Spring
What was once an artillery center during the American Civil War has turned into an idyllic village that welcomes visitors with a smile. It’s nestled in between the Hudson River and Hudson Highlands State Park. The place is dotted with historic landmarks, local restaurants, and Main Street boutiques, art galleries where Hudson Highlands hikers as well as culture lovers find satisfaction. To collect more information on things to do in NYC, visit an NYC Welcome Center nearby. The state has 11 centers.
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