Current deals and discounts include FREE museum admission and concerts, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, $10 Broadway theater tickets for students and more, that help make New York City the greatest city on the planet year-round, not just in March and April.
Nearly everything here is FREE, and nothing is more than $20 per person unless it is a free program with museum admission, supports a charity, or otherwise is a noteworthy special event. Some free events require registration to manage space.
Pick one, some or all and enjoy the best of New York City FREE or cheap.
This best things to do in NYC on the cheap guide is updated at the beginning and middle of each month, with at least six weeks of events to help you plan how to enjoy the greatest city on the planet.
Who is a real New Yorker? It depends on who you ask.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter was interviewed recently by
Until March 3 at the Paley Museum
Beyond the Big Game is for those who can’t get enough of the Super Bowl.
This exhibit features more than 150 photos of iconic Super Bowl moments, screenings of some of the greatest Super Bowl plays and past Super Bowl games featuring those won by the New York Giants and Jets, Super Bowl Halftime Shows, as well as the historical and exciting showcase of memorable Super Bowl commercials.
There’s also a chance to see the the storied Vince Lombardi Trophy and all 57 team rings from each championship-winning team and other artifacts including game balls and uniforms from past Super Bowl games on loan from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Paley guests can continue the Super Bowl experience at our PaleyGX gaming facility, playing EA Madden NFL 24 and more on various consoles.
- The Paley Museum is at 25 W. 52 St. Also known as the Paley Center for Media, it was founded by CBS founder William S. (Bill) Paley.
Until March 3 – Frick Madison Closing Permanently
This is your last chance until the end of the year to view highlights from the Frick’s permanent collection, many shown for the first time outside of the museum’s historic home.
Masterpieces on display include works by Fragonard, Holbein, Rembrandt, Turner, Vermeer, and Whistler, as well as significant sculptures, Chinese porcelain, Oriental carpets, bronzes, and other decorative arts objects.
After three years at its temporary space called Frick Madison at 945 Madison Ave. while Henry Clay Frick’s Fifth Avenue mansion underwent a massive renovation, the artwork returns “home” to East 70th Street and reopens before the end of 2024. It will take that long for curators and designers to re-install the precious items.
I really enjoyed seeing the luscious historic collection in the stark, modernist setting of Marcel Breuer’s iconic building, formerly home of the Whitney Museum of American Art, before it moved downtown to new digs in Chelsea. The “brutalist” architecture made the romantic, ethereal artworks feel so much more romantic and ethereal.
The building has been purchased by Sotheby’s, to become an exhibit area for auctions and offices.
Until March 10 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Women Dressing Women
This popular exhibit from the Met’s Costume Institute celebrates the pioneering women designers who dress women of all shapes and sizes.
Women Dressing Women features 80 garments by 70 makers, from the early 1900s to today, from couture gowns by well-known designers as Donna Karan to political garments by Katharine Hamnett to plus-size outfits by Ester Manas. Some are shown publicly for the first time.
My favorite was a lovely white ballgown decorated rose-colored flowers by Anne Lowe, who also designed the wedding dress Jacqueline Bouvier wore to her 1953 marriage to a young politician named John J. Kennedy Jr.
Go early in the day, because it gets crowded.
ICYMI – News Worth Noting
Shakespeare in the Park moves to multiple parks this summer.
Shakespeare on the move: The Delacorte Theater in Central Park is being renovated, so the Public Theater, which presents the iconic FREE performances, plans to send a smaller production of “The Comedy of Errors” to several parks and plazas around the city between Memorial Day and the end of June.
That will be followed by outdoor screenings of a filmed production of “Much Ado About Nothing” in July, August and early September
Bow Bridge in Central Park has re-opened after repairs that included replacing its wood decking.
- Designed by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould, the cast iron bridge’s name comes from its signature bow shape.
- A popular spot for photographs, the bridge was constructed by the Bronx-based iron foundry Janes, Kirtland & Co., which also built the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building.
Brooklyn Public Library locations are no longer be open on Sundays, due to NYC budget cuts in response to the billions being spent to support more than 100,000 recent asylum seekers and other migrants
These NYPL branches also are now closed on Sundays for the same reason:
- The main branch on Fifth Ave., officially known as the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
- Also in Manhattan – Jefferson Market, Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL) m Washington Heights
- Bronx – Bronx Library Center, Grand Concourse, Parkchester
- Staten Island – Todt Hill–Westerleigh
Viselka, the iconic Ukranian restaurant on the Lower East Side, has opened an outpost in the downstairs Dining Concourse at Grand Central Terminal.
Broadway Bridges $10 Theater Tickets for Students
The Broadway League also sponsors a program for NYC public high school students to attend a Broadway show for just $10.
As with Kid’s Night on Broadway, the goal of Broadway Bridges is to make Broadway more accessible to young people.
A teacher or administrator at the High School must also be registered as a chaperone with the Broadway League.
Twenty shows are partnering with the Broadway League and the United Federation of Teachers to make the $10 tickets possible. They are
- & Juliet,
- A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical,
- Back to the Future: The Musical,
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,
- How to Dance in Ohio,
- Kimberly Akimbo,
- Merrily We Roll Along,
- Moulin Rouge! The Musical,
- Sweeney Todd,
- The Lion King,
- The Outsiders,
- Water for Elephants and
Find out more about Broadway Bridges $10 tickets at https://www.broadwaybridges.org/
New York City Ballet $5 Tickets
Saturday, March 2 – The New York City Ballet continues their 75th Anniversary Season, and their tradition of Family Saturdays.
This “Ballet by the Numbers” performance for ages 5 and up presents three playful sailors in Fancy Free and six waltzing ballerinas of The Concert.
- 11am to Noon at the Koch Theater at Lincoln Center
- Tickets are $5 with code GOVFAM24at the link or by calling 212-496-0600.
BE NYC’s Shop Black NYC Directory
Black History Month may be over for 2024, but not Black-owned businesses, which are celebrated year-round in NYC.
BE NYC, launched by the NYC Department of Small Business Services in 2019, is a first-of-its-kind model in a major American city to help address the racial wealth gap by empowering Black entrepreneurs.
Through strategic public-private partnerships and innovative programs, BE NYC provides pathways to achieve systemic change by providing equitable access to financing, strengthening professional networks and advice, scaling Black businesses for long-term success, and preparing Black entrepreneurs for opportunities in high-growth industries.
For more information, visit nyc.gov/benyc
Now Open – Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden
Through April 21 – It’s a sure sign of spring when the fabulous Orchid Show return to the fabulous NY Botanical garden.
There is no more fragrant display of beauty in the Bronx than the New York Botanical Garden’s Orchid Show, and this year’s theme, “Florals in Fashion,” is perhaps its most glamorous iteration yet, and fits with New York City being the fashion capital of the world (Sorry Paris and Milan)
NYBG tapped contemporary designers Hillary Taymour, Olivia Cheng, and Kristen Alpaugh to create pieces inspired by the vibrant blooms, and it’s also inviting guests to “walk the runway” and show off their own orchid-like looks.
- Tickets are $35 for adults, $31 for students, and $15 for kids, for the entire garden, including the orchids.
This is your chance to enjoy the iconic 42nd Street library for a night of dancing, performances, and behind-the-scenes access to the collections
This special evening celebrates the new exhibition, The Awe of the Arctic: A Visual History, which surveys how the Arctic has been depicted, defined, and imagined over the past 500 years.
- Friday, Mar. 15, 7pm to 10 pm at the Main Branch of the NYPL, Fifth Ave.
- Library After House is for 21+ only.
- FREE but registration is required to ensure entry. Walk-ins based on space available.
Monday, 3/18, 7–8 pm, in-person and livestreamed, NY Public Library, Celeste Bartos Forum (476 5th Ave.):
The Lie Detectives at the NYPL
Sasha Issenberg’s new book reveals how political campaigns are navigating one of today’s most pressing challenges: how to win in a world awash in lies, including AI.
Issenberg speaks with Maggie Haberman, the New York Times’ senior political correspondent, about how political campaigns can fight back against disinformation.
Register at the link or watch the livestream on YouTube if you’d rather not register.
- Monday, March 18, 7–8 pm, in-person and livestreamed, NY Public Library, Celeste Bartos Forum (476 5th Ave.):
Bryant Park Winter Village Ice Skating
Its 17,000-square-foot ice-skating rink is always the highlight, but the Winter Village with its European-style kiosks and holiday spirit is a close second. Nearly 200 new and returning kiosks offer handmade gifts and other holiday items, many of them made by artisans here in New York City.
Rockefeller Center Ice Skating
The Rink at Rockefeller Center is open daily, 9am to 11pm, through March.
Tickets start at $21 per person, but vary by day, time of day and age. Peak season – for high prices and long lines – are between Thanksgiving Week and Jan 1, when you are skating below the world-famous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. Skate rentals are available for $11.
Buy tickets in advance online to save time and ensure admission. Tickets are on sale here.
Rockefeller Center Ice Skating History
- The Rink was originally to be a temporary attraction in 1936 to draw visitors to Rockefeller Center’s outdoor plaza.
- It became so popular that by 1939, The Rink became a permanent fixture.
- Since then, it has become one of NYC’s most famous landmarks and one of the most visited and photographed sites, hosting more than a quarter of a million skaters annually.
Ice Skating in Brooklyn Bridge Park
Ending Soon – Through March 1 – ‘Glide at Brooklyn Bridge Park’ brings ice skating to Brooklyn Bridge Park for the first time, with FREE skating for NYC residents two times a week.
The rink will be located at Emily Warren Roebling Plaza near Pier 1, under the Brooklyn Bridge
50 minute sessions start at $9 for NYC resident adults and kids, with thousands of free tickets available throughout the season. Proof of New York City residency is required for free sessions every Saturday from 9 am to 11 am and Tuesdays from 4 to 6 pm. Get your tickets here.
The new ice rink also features a cafe with food from DUMBO’s Time Out Market, restrooms, skate rental and complimentary lockers.
FREE Ice Skating Shows in Central Park, Bryant Park
The Ice Theatre of New York is a troupe of ice dancers who perform both FREE and ticketed events on rinks around town.
If you love the combination of romantic dancing and gliding on ice – both solo and couples – you’ll love these ice dancing shows.
FREE performances through March 21024:
- January 4, 2024 at 6:15pm – Wollman Rink in Central Park
- January 9, 2024 at 12:45PM – The Rink at Bryant Park
- February 1, 2024 at 6:15pm – Wollman Rink in Central Park
- February 6, 2024 at 12:45PM – The Rink at Bryant Park
- March 7, 2024 at 6:15pm – Wollman Rink in Central Park
Montreal-based contemporary ice dance company Le Patin Libre returns for three performances in February.
If you’ve seen Le Patin Libre before you know you’re in for a treat. These world-renowned skaters are known for their disruptive fusion of athleticism, virtuosity, and total creative freedom.
Attendance is FREE if you stand up to watch. Sitting down will cost you for tickets.
- Performances are at 8:30pm on Feb 15, Feb 20 and Feb 21.
Saturday, March 16 – As the saying goes, everybody is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day – certainly the million-plus spectators who line the Fifth Avenue parade route and some 150,000 marchers, including the NYPD bagpipers, dozens of other marching bands, dancers, and more..
It’s the oldest and largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the world – the first one was in 1762, organized by homesick Irish troops serving in the Colonial Army.
The parade begins at 44th Street and marches north up Fifth Avenue—past St. Patrick’s Cathedral at 50th Street— to 79th Street.
The parade starts at 11am and ends around 4:30. Take public transportation, since driving or parking anywhere near the parade will be short of impossible.
Find more information at www.nycstpatricksparade.org including how to apply for VIP grandstand seating.
Free Tours of Hart Island
The late night shows taped in NYC are one of the most popular tickets in town. Here’s how to get FREE tickets to be in the audience.
First Weekend of the Month Museum Deals
Free Admission to Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Friday, Mar. 1
UNIQLO NYC Nights are the first Friday of each month, 4–8 pm.
New York City residents get free admission courtesy of UNIQLO, but everyone can enjoy an evening out in our galleries with paid admission.
See new art in the galleries, enjoy music by DJs from The Lot Radio, grab a drink at the pop-up bar, get creative with drop-in drawing sessions, see a film in the theaters, and enjoy the spring weather in the lovely outdoor sculpture garden.
Free First Fridays at Neue Galerie, Friday, Fri., Mar. 1
First Fridays at Neue Galerie offer free admission and extra hours to closing, the first Friday of the month.
Visitors are admitted free at 5 p.m. and the galleries remain open until 8 p.m. No registration is required, and admission is first-come, first-served.
Special exhibition “Max Beckmann: The Formative Years, 1915-1925” is now on view, and the Book Store and Design Shop stay open late, too.
Free First Fridays at Poster House, Friday, Fri., Mar. 1
Poster House is the first museum in the United States dedicated to the global history of posters. First Fridays free admission is all day, 10am to 9pm
The two main exhibitions currently on display for the fall season are Art Deco: Commercializing the Avant-Garde and We Tried to Warn You! Environmental Crisis Posters, 1970-2020. Both exhibits will be open through February 25, 2024.
Every First Friday is different, with tours, workshops, performances, and activities, to further engage visitors with the exhibitions.
- Poster House is at 119 West 23 St. in Chelsea. tel. 617-447-7453
Free Fridays & Sundays at The Whitney Museum of American Art
The Meatpacking District art museum has dropped its “pay-what-you-wish” system on Fridays from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and on the second Sunday of every month, when admission will be free for all visitors.
Second Sundays offers free all-day admission to visitors and special programming for families. On the second Sunday of every month, guests can enjoy all-ages arts & crafts activities, tours, classes, and other special events connected to exhibitions on view at the Whitney or significant community events like Earth Day or Pride Month.
The inaugural installment on Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend celebrates Black artists whose work is featured in the Whitney’s collections and current exhibitions, like “Henry Taylor: B Side.”
Other programs on view during the launch of both Free Fridays and Second Sundays include “Fragments of a Faith Forgotten: The Art of Harry Smith, Inheritance, Ruth Asawa Through Line,” and “Natalie Ball: bilwi naats Ga’niipci.” Also on view will be the museum’s permanent collection exhibitions, featuring artists such as Edward Hopper, Kara Walker, Georgia O’Keeffe, Kevin Beasley, Faith Ringgold, Lee Krasner, Jasper Johns, Alexander Calder, Jacob Lawrence, Carrie Mae Weems, Andrea Carlson, and Clarissa Tossin.
The Whitney hopes free admission will make the museum more enticing to potential visitors and open the doors to a wider audience.
Tickets during the free admission periods must be reserved in advance.
There is FREE admission every Saturday.
Israeli artist Zoya Cherkassky’s “7 October 2023,” a collection of 12 graphic, gut-wrenching drawings depicting the horrors of Hamas’ terrorist attack on Israel, is currently on view at the Jewish Museum.
It’s the first time these works are displayed in public. “It’s cultural activism; it’s art activism,” James Snyder, the museum’s new director, tells our Julia Gergely. “It’s not about the complex politics of what’s going on. It’s about artists producing work in response to trauma and tragedy happening in the world.”
- The Jewish Museum is at 1109 Fifth Ave. at 92nd St.
Free Tours of Hart Island
Hart Island is now open to the public. Since 1869, more than 1 million New Yorkers have been laid to rest on the island.
NYC Parks is now offering visits twice per month so New Yorkers can learn about its important history and see the beauty of the island and enjoy picture postcard views of the city.
You can put your name in the lottery for a free walking tour here.
- Tours are Tuesdays, 10am to 1pm
This NYC Best Things to Do Calendar is updated at the beginning and middle of each month.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter is a journalist with 20+ years of experience as a newspaper and magazine writer, radio & TV news producer & reporter – all focusing on travel, automotive, the environment and your rights as a consumer.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter also is the author or editor of numerous NYC guidebooks and apps.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter currently serves as President of the International Motor Press Assn. (IMPA), a former Board Member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and a current member of the North American Travel Journalists Assn. (NATJA).
Contact me at email@example.com.
Copyright (C) Evelyn Kanter