Festivals and events in New York: Cheap NYC activities

Looking for a cool thing to do that won’t break the bank? Discover the best affordable events in New York.

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Copyright Caroline Voagen Nelson, Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nels

Huzzah! Find hundreds of great events in New York in our ever-updated list of inexpensive things to do. We’ve compiled concerts, parties, festivals, comedy and theater shows, tastings and more that won’t be a strain on your wallet.


RECOMMENDED: Full list of cheap things to do in NYC


Chelsea Market

  • Price band: 2/4

The former home of the National Biscuit Company is a hot spot for foodies-in-training; favorite vendors include Jacques Torres, People's Pops and Ronnybrook Dairy.

  1. 75 Ninth Ave, at 16th St
More info

Full Bunny Contact

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

If bonnets and pastels aren’t your thing, take an alternate approach to Easter with this bizarre four-day carnival by the creator of Nightmare Haunted House. Games like “Chicken Scratch” (where you must beat a giant chicken at tic-tac-toe) and “The Keister Bunny” (which involves pulling candy from an Easter bunny’s backside) lead up to

  1. Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural Center 107 Suffolk St, between Delancey and Rivington Sts
  2. Fri Apr 18 - Sun Apr 20
More info

BLDG 92

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

RECOMMENDED: 50 best New York attractions Located in a former military residence on the grounds of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, this small museum chronicles the mighty history of the former shipbuilding center—which, at its peak during World War II, employed close to 70,000 people. Permanent exhibits examine the yard’s origins and significance

  1. 63 Flushing Ave, at Carlton Ave
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The Delancey

  • Price band: 1/4

The rooftop is what keeps crowds coming back to this LES rock club—it’s got potted palms, a fishpond and a margarita machine. When the airy party ends at midnight, head to the ground level for deejayed music or into the basement to catch a live show. Tuesdays from 7 to 10pm, hot dogs and burgers are served for five bucks per plate—so no need

  1. 168 Delancey St, at Clinton St
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Coney Island Circus Sideshow

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

One of the last of its kind, this ten-act extravaganza of human oddities aims to satisfy nostalgic and progressive temperaments alike. Now in its 110th season, the iconic spectacle adds a footnote to the controversial freak-show conversation by celebrating the talents of those “born different.” The anamolously capapble lineup includes

  1. Sideshows by the Seashore 1208 Surf Ave, at 12th St, 11224
  2. Sat Apr 19 - Sun Sep 28
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Babeland

  • Price band: 1/4

At this friendly sex-toy boutique—run by women and skewed toward women—browsers are encouraged to handle all manner of buzzing, wriggling and bendable playthings, including the famed Rabbit Pearl vibrator. The shop also stocks a huge variety of condoms and hosts frank sex-ed classes on a variety of subjects. Browse and sign up for classes at

  1. 43 Mercer St, between Broome and Grand Sts
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Brooklyn Botanic Garden

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

RECOMMENDED: 50 best New York attractions Those searching for a little peace and quiet would do well to spend a few hours at this verdant oasis. The garden—which abuts two other neighborhood gems: the Brooklyn Museum and Prospect Park—was founded in 1910 and features thousands of types of flora, laid out over 52 acres. Each spring, crowds

  1. 990 Washington Ave, at President St
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Lord & Taylor

  • Price band: 2/4

Oft-overlooked for its more glamorous department store counterparts, Lord & Taylor offers an ever reliable selection of classic brands like Ralph Lauren—minus surging crowds. The men's department is particularly strong, and they offer loads of basics, like lingerie.

  1. 424 Fifth Ave, between 38th and 39th Sts
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Artists & Fleas

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

A rotating selection of around 30 vendors, including local craftspeople and artists, sets up shop in a warehouse every weekend. The browsable mix includes everything from original T-shirts and handmade jewelry to Lauren C. Pratt’s reconditioned vintage Boyfriendbags, decorated with song lyrics and poetry.

  1. 70 North 7th St, between Kent and Wythe Aves
More info

Beekman Beer Garden Beach Club

  • Price band: 2/4

Sun-deprived city slickers can pretend they're boozing oceanside at this waterfront bar. The former Water Taxi Beach location has kept the 300 pounds of sand left by its former occupant, but the rejiggered drinkery now features a menu from Buddakan alum Jason Mayer. Settle into a communal wood table with a wurst, burger or lobster roll, or hit up

  1. north side of Pier 17, Beekman St, at South St
  2. Average main course: $7. AmEx, Disc, MC, V
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