HomeBlogDestinationsNew York’s Best Free Attractions That Shouldn’t Be Missed

New York’s Best Free Attractions That Shouldn’t Be Missed

Have you always planned going to New York on a trip but change your mind thinking of the budget? Yes, surely New York is among the costliest towns in the world but does it mean that penny pinchers can never afford to visit this beautiful city? Definitely not! It might take you by surprise but New York is also one of those cities that offer many amazing attractions without having you to pay anything. You heard that right! Some of the strikingly impressive attractions here can be visited absolutely at free of cost. So that means you can stretch your budget easily and the best part is that you won’t have to spend hefty chunks of money on ridiculously expensive ticket fees. To make it easier for you below we have listed the top free attractions of New York that are worth seeing:

1. Times Square

Times Square

Times Square                                                                           Photo courtesy of Wikimedia

One of the most happening places in NY is Times Square. People from all over the world visit the place to see the spectacular electronic billboards and cinemas. Other crowd pullers include a huge Toys“R”Us and the Disney Store. The place is especially famous for its entertainment and among these the Broadway Show is quite an eye catching event. In fact, Times Square serves as MTV’s headquarters. Moreover, people also have the opportunity to enjoy the live show ‘Good Morning America’ which is aired from here. Apart from that, the Paramount Building has managed to remain a frequent visitor center. What’s more is that the growing traffic led to the making of pedestrian friendly square thus allowing people to move freely in car free plazas.


2. Central Park

Central Park

Central Park in Fall                                                                            Photo: Anh Dinh/Flickr


Widely spread over 843 acres, Central Park is situated at the heart of Manhattan. From lakes to fountains to theatres, the park boasts of several temptations that surely make people go heads over heels. Bring your kids to the zoo. You will have a great time watching snow leopards, polar bears, penguins and red pandas. Or if you wish you can also make your way to sports facilities like baseball fields, tennis courts and playgrounds. If you have a flair for art then make the most of “Metropolitan Museum of Art”. You will be glad that you did because the museum exhibits a huge artwork collection from all the continents of the world. Other attractions include Belvedere Castle, Strawberry Fields, Bethesda Terrace, Shakespeare garden and much more.


3. Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

The impressive Brooklyn Bridge is a popular landmark of New York and is well known as the largest suspension bridge in the world. Apart from connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn, the masonry towers of the bridge are a noticeable feature. The enormous gothic arches of these two towers stand tall at a height of no less than 276 ft and make for an awe inspiring sight. The good thing is that there is a pedestrian path that will help you to cross the river hassle free and will also give you the opportunity to view the bridge’s towers and Manhattan’s skyline.


4. Staten Island Ferry

Staten Island Ferry 

Staten Island Ferry                                                                                Photo: gigi_nyc/Flickr


The Staten Island Ferry is an important place of New York from where Staten Islanders are transported to and from the borough of Manhattan. It provides an opportunity to take a 25 minute ride that allows you to view New York Harbor. You also have the benefit of indulging in an enjoyable boat ride and that too at free of cost. You will also get to view Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty from the ferry’s deck and even Lower Manhattan’s bridges and skyscrapers. Overall, this water voyage is a pleasant short trip in itself.


5. Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Terminal 

Grand Central Terminal                                                                          Photo: Tobias/Flickr


Grand Central Terminal is a magnificent train station. The façade of the building is beautifully designed in a Beaux-Art style. The main concourse offers a marvelous view. The ceilings are painted with the designs of zodiac constellations. About a height of 75 ft., the concourse has arched windows that allow light to enter the room. The floor is made up of Tennessee marble and the walls from Caen Stone. The staircase that connects the concourse and the Vanderbilt Avenue entrance is made of Botticino marble. Its design has been taken from the large staircase in Opera Garnier, Paris.


6. Chinatown

Chinatown - NYC

Chinatown                                                             Photo courtesy of Wikimedia


New York also boasts of an ethnic neighborhood that was founded by the Chinese immigrants in the 1870s. The best way to explore the place is on foot. There are hundreds of Chinese restaurants here that will serve you with an unforgettable meal. Apart from that, Asian cuisines like Japanese, Thai, Malaysian and Vietnamese are also just as common. Other ethnic delights include the shops and historical landmarks. You can either have your way to the oldest church of NYC: “The Church of the Transfiguration” or visit the famous Mahayana Buddhist Temple and see the 16 ft high Golden Buddha. If nothing else, take a morning walk to Columbus Park. At the early hours the park is full of people enjoying tai chi exercises. On numerous occasions the park serves as a venue for many Chinese festivals.

7. Little Italy

Little Italy

Little Italy                                                                Photo: stefaniesays/Flickr


New York is definitely a hub of many ethnic cultures. Little Italy, as the name suggests, is a home to the Italian population of NY. As soon as you enter the area, you will notice the ornate buildings that reflect the architecture of 19th and 20th centuries. From stone works, occasional gargoyle to authentic Italian cuisine, the place does have a lot in store for tourists. Especially during mid-September, people from every part of the world come here to participate in the famed San Gennaro Festival that offers plenty of carnival games, mouth-watering food and Italian style entertainment.


8. Fifth Avenue

Fifth Avenue

Fifth Avenue                                                                   Photo: zeldman/flickr


It is best known as a shopping street having stores like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, Versace and shops of every kind. Women would love to browse through each and every store. Then there is a large toy store at FAO Schwartz that is sure to catch any kid’s eye. Apart from shopping, there are other also interesting things that you can do here. You can visit the “Museum Mile” where you can make your way through numerous museums like the National Academy Museum, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Guggenheim Museum and the like. Other attractions include The Plaza Restaurant, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and The Empire State Building etc.

9. Columbia University

Columbia University

Columbia University                                             Photo courtesy of Wikimedia


New York’s oldest university exhibits many architectural masterpieces. The centerpiece of the University campus is the Low Memorial Library which features Roman Classical Style. Students gather here in numbers to socialize and they do not miss a point to indulge in sunbathing during warmer days. St. Paul’s Chapel is another building or perhaps the first building that was built on the campus. Burned brick, marble trim and limestone have been used for its construction while the roof is tiled with a cupola at the top. Jerome L. Green Hall, Butler Library, Sherman Fairchild Center, Alfred Lerner Hall are among other wonderful buildings that are worth seeing.

10. Columbus Circle

Columbus Circle

Columbus Circle                                                    Photo courtesy of Wikimedia


Columbus Circle is a traffic circle situated in Manhattan and at the center of which lies the Christopher Columbus Monument. Dedicated to Columbus, the monument is an eye candy. Built with marble, the statue of Columbus stands 70 ft above the ground on a column. The column is made of granite and features bronze ship prows each representing the three famous ships of Columbus: Santa Maria, Pinta and Nina. At the base lies a winged boy’s statue and below him is a bronze relief showing Columbus along with his men setting their foot on a new land. The monument is surrounded by Time Warner Center, Museum of Arts and Design and Maine monument.


11. Coney Island

Coney Island

Coney Island                                                              Photo: drpavloff/flickr


One of the frequently visited places in NY is Coney Island that has in store several praiseworthy sources of entertainment right from amusement parks and wooden boardwalk to pizza stands and kitschy hotdog. May 2010 saw the opening of Luna Park which is a personal favorite among not only the kids but also the adults. With 19 rides to offer, the park ensures an enthralling experience for its visitors. You can go on a three-mile Boardwalk or dip near the Atlantic or walk to the Surf Avenue to snack on hotdogs. Whatever you do, you will simply have an amazing time.


12. New York Public Library

NY Public Library

NY Public Library                                                                 Photo: oyf/flickr


This palatial-looking library is a remarkable landmark of NY. Established in 1895, the building is a Beaux-Arts structure and built from white Dorset marble. The front façade has a grand entrance having a staircase that leads to three arches. These are bordered by Corinthian columns that provide a support to frieze. The frieze displays six huge statues representing history, drama, poetry, religion, romance and philosophy. The interior is grand. The reading room is decorated with many chandeliers. Moreover, the automated system allows you to get the requested book almost instantly. Overall, for book lovers this place has everything from books, magazines, manuscripts, sound-recordings etc.


13. United Nations

UN Flags

UN Members Flags                                           Photo courtesy of Wikimedia


The United Nations headquarters in New York is one of those complexes that boasts of international style. The complex consists of four buildings: The Dag Hammarskjold Library, the Conference Building, the building of general Assembly and the Secretariat building. Out of these, UN Secretariat is the largest. The Secretariat was also among the first skyscrapers of the city that were designed in International style. Adjacent to the complex is a public park which exhibits artwork that has been donated by several countries. On the whole, The UN complex is an excellent example of praiseworthy international architecture.



14. St. Patrick’s Cathedral

St. Patricks Cathedral

St. Patrick's Cathedral                                       Photo courtesy of Wikimedia           


Being the nation’s largest catholic churches, St. Patrick’s Cathedral is counted amongst the top attractions of New York. The cathedral is made up of marble with its main façade having three porches. The best feature however, is the central porch that has been decorated with sculptures of NY’s religious figures. The Cathedral also features the tomb of St. Elisabeth Ann Seton, Lady Chapel, a huge pieta, beautiful large rose window. The Church has gone through several renovation projects in the past and at present serves as one of the best sightseeing places.



15. Wall Street

Wall Street

Wall Street                                                                   Photo: mknott/flickr


Counted among the famous streets of not only New York but the whole world, the Wall Street boasts of many notable buildings such as The New York Stock Exchange Building, The Federal Hall, 40 Wall Street etc. Well known for having many financial institutions, the Wall Street has a significant role to play in world’s financial market. Especially people come to see the NYSE building that has been designed in neoclassical style and the “Charging Bull Statue” that was created taking into inspiration the stock market crash of 1987.

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