LIST: Budget-friendly activities in New York City

LIST: Budget-friendly activities in New York City

MANILA, Philippines — Talk about New York City, and high expenses come to mind. Staying in New York, even for a short visit, entails high and big stakes. Not anymore, said New York City Tourism + Conventions, which is the official destination marketing organization and convention and visitors bureau for the five boroughs of New York City.

Budget-friendly activities can now take place in New York City, as its tourism bureau spotlights a selection of free and affordable activities for visitors to enjoy throughout the summer. The organization has also just launched a new content hub on, offering a comprehensive guide to seasonal events, outdoor activities, cheap eats, tips for securing free and discounted event tickets, and more.

“Summer unofficially kicks off in New York City with the Memorial Day holiday,” said Fred Dixon, President and Chief Executive Officer of New York City Tourism + Conventions.

Memorial Day took place on May 27 this year, and the summer season in New York has just begun, running through the months of June, July and August.

“During the warmer months,” Dixon added, “NYC’s streets, parks and beaches come alive with free and affordable festivals, concerts, outdoor dining and more. There’s no better time to enjoy these offerings and experience the value of a visit to the five boroughs.” 

Suggested summer activities include:

Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks

Free film screenings, museum tours

Escape the heat and see world-class art at one of NYC’s many museums this summer. NYC Tourism offers a Free NYC Museums guide for a full list of cultural institutions that are either always free, free on specific days of the week, or free for select hours. 

Enjoy musical performances all summer long with SummerStage. Dozens of free and ticketed live music performances are taking place in parks across the boroughs, including Manhattan’s iconic Central Park.  

Summer for the City returns to Lincoln Center with more than 200 events, many of which are free or pay-as-you-wish. Programming includes musical story times for children, film screenings, stand-up comedy, workshops, performances and more. 

As part of its 20th anniversary celebration this year, Madison Square Park is offering an array of free public artworks by four artists. This summer’s exhibition is Seed by New Mexican artist Rose B. Simpson, on view through September 22. 

Catch free film screenings this summer at Paramount+ Movie Nights in Brooklyn, with weekly events across McCarren Park in Williamsburg, Prospect Park’s Long Meadow, Coney Island Beach and Fort Greene Park. Interested viewers are required to confirm their participation online.

Fourth of July, Pride parade

Throughout next month, NYC will celebrate Juneteenth, commemorating June 19, 1865, when the last enslaved people of African descent in the United States were freed. Learn more via Juneteenth at NYPL—a free series of events, books and resources including the outdoor Schomburg Center Literary Festival in Harlem on June 17. 

Celebrate New York City Pride in the birthplace of the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement, with events being held throughout all five boroughs and the NYC Pride March, one of the world’s largest Pride parades, taking place on June 30. Visitors can also check out the new Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center, opening June 28. 

This Independence Day, visitors can enjoy the free Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks, taking place over the Hudson River; with official viewing points to be announced soon. Alternatively, head for Coney Island for its iconic Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, boardwalk and amusements.  

Harlem Week celebrates 50 years this summer. From August 7 to 18, celebrate the neighborhood’s rich heritage with live music, performances, dining and more.

Harlem Week is celebrating 50 years this year in August. 

Self-guided walking tour, livestreamed sporting events

Enjoy a game of cricket. During next month’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, cricket fans can watch matches on the big screen at free outdoor viewing events on Lower Manhattan’s North Oculus Plaza. There are 10 game days with notable matchups, including Australia vs. England on June 8, India vs. Pakistan on June 9, and the Finals on June 29.

Some of the world’s greatest national soccer teams will compete this summer during the CONMEBOL Copa América and UEFA EURO tournaments. If you can’t get to a match in-person, locations throughout NYC will be playing them on the big screen. Consider Football Factory at Legends, Soccer Republic at Bar 43 and many other bars for viewing fun.

Open Streets is back with more than 130 car-free locations across the five boroughs, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy more public space. Details about this year’s Summer Streets program will be announced soon.

Explore NYC with PlaceChase, a self-guided walking tour and scavenger hunt all wrapped up into one mobile app. Additional walking tours can be found at

Upper West Side bazaar

Crowd favorite NYC Restaurant Week is back from July 22 to August 18, with hundreds of restaurants citywide offering prix-fixe menus. A full list of participating eateries will be available July 6.

Visit the Grand Bazaar. It is a weekly retail market on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, with stalls by local independent artists, craft-makers, vintage/antique dealers and more. Special events this summer include a Pride-themed Summer Brunch & Shop on June 30 and a NYC Summer Vintage Bazaar on July 14. 

Check out Industry City in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood. It is home to restaurants, breweries, distilleries and a Japanese food hall, with tours and events hosted throughout the summer months.

In 2023, NYC welcomed 62.2 million visitors, including 50.6 million domestic and 11.6 million international visitors. This year, visitation is expected to grow to 64.8 million, a 97% recovery of 2019 record levels.

Visit for all there is to see and do in New York City.  

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