The best free concerts in NYC

You don’t have to shell out a ton of cash—or any at all—to see a great show in NYC!

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New York is the greatest place in the world for live-music lovers, and musicians agree; they’ve written many a tune about it, in fact. (For proof, just check out our 100 best NYC songs.) Seeing a great concert doesn’t have to mean reaching into your wallet, and with all that cash you save, you should treat yourself to a drink and a beautiful view at one of the best rooftop bars in NYC. Be sure to check out our full concert schedule for live music in New York City.


RECOMMENDED: See all free things to do in NYC


Ratking + Show Me the Body + Yung Gutted + '86

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Buzzy Harlem hip-hop trio Ratking, which released its debut album, So It Goes, earlier this year, matches wonky rhymes with spacey, jolting beats.

  1. Brooklyn Night Bazaar 165 Banker St, at Norman Ave, 11222
  2. Fri Dec 19
More info

Lemuria + Slothrust + Aspiga + The Young Leaves + Prince

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Buffalo outfit Lemuria offsets twee guy-girl vocal interplay with surprisingly tight, muscular guitar pop. Also on the bill is punky Brooklyn trio Slothrust, in which three jazz musicians celebrate loudness with furiously danceable tracks.

  1. Brooklyn Night Bazaar 165 Banker St, at Norman Ave, 11222
  2. Sat Dec 20
More info

New Year's Eve at Times Square

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Broadway between 40th and 53rd Sts. Since 1907, a sparkly sphere has been lowered in Times Square, and even though the rest of the country has adopted the tradition, New York can still lay claim to it. Arrive by 3pm (earlier if the weather is nice)

  1. Times Square Broadway, between 42nd and 47th Sts
  2. Wed Dec 31 - Thu Jan 1
More info

Future Islands + Operators

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Last March, Future Islands ascended from best-kept-secret status to near-viral ubiquitousness with a stunning Letterman performance of new single "Seasons." Fortunately, the eccentric Baltimore synth-pop crew—whose athletic, disarmingly emotive

  1. Terminal 5 610 W 56th St, at Eleventh Ave
  2. Thu Jan 8 - Fri Jan 9
More info
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