When you live in the most expensive city in America, it can be hard to stick to a budget. Luckily, we've got you covered. Whether you're looking for a concert, art exhibit, comedy show or even a date idea, there are plenty of places to good time without paying a dime. Here are the best free parties, cultural events and things to do between now and next Wednesday.
RECOMMENDED: Free things to do in NYC guide
Dead Darlings: October Surprise Edition
Comedians, writers and perfomers unleash the gnarliest skeletons in their closets at this storytelling showcase that asks artists to revive personal pieces of work that have never seen the light of day. Join Difficult People’s Cole Escola, Beasts of the Southern Wild cowriter Lucy Alibar, SiriusXM’s Julie James, New York Times photographer Gretchen Robinette and host Amanda Duarte for personal tales of shame, secrets and scandal. Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Sq South (212-995-0844, judson.org). Wed 12 8–11pm.
Karaoke Killed the Cat
Union Hall celebrates its 10th anniversary with a host of free hootenannies all week long. On Thursday 13, join its wild karaoke-dance party, where you won’t hear any eye-roll–inducing covers of Frank Sinatra, Oasis or Taylor Swift. This party encourages insecurity-free fun set to good party jams, so prepare to lose your voice belting out Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey classics and losing your mind doing Robyn choreography on the dance floor. Union Hall, 702 Union St, Brooklyn (718-638-4400, unionhallny.com). Thu 13 at 9:30pm.
Culture and Arts Festival
The Morris-Jumel mansion, the still-standing revolutionary war headquarters and site of Hamilton-era drama, hosts this day of readings, performances and art from some of the city’s most notable talent. After trying bites and browsing crafts from Washington Heights and Inwood vendors, take a tour of the mansion, meet Spring Awakening’s Alex Boniello, get down to folk jams from Kim Vogels, and catch readings from fantasy and paranormal writers. Morris-Jumel Mansion, Roger Morris Park, 65 Jumel Terr (212-923-8008, morrisjumel.org). Sat 15 11am–6pm.
Super Sábado: Día de los Muertos
Head to El Museo del Barrio for this Mexican celebration of the dead. Check out the museum’s exhibitions, including “Antonio Lopez: Future Funk Fashion” and a Día de los Muertos altar by Cetiliztli Nauhcampa. Learn how to create your own offering, and witness performances by the Mazarte Dance Company. At 11am, artists and participants gather for a joyous procession through Central Park. El Museo del Barrio, 1230 Fifth Ave (212-831-7272, elmuseo.org). Sat 15 11am–5pm.
The Prose Bowl
Ready to share your writing with someone other than your roommate? Bring some flash fiction—up to 1,000 words—to this writer’s arena, where you get less than five minutes to share your work with a panel of local comedians and writers. You’ll get a critique, and the final two writers will face off in a tweet-length lightning round. The night’s winner receives a free drink, obscure prizes like a Big Lebowski puzzle, and eternal glory among the city’s literati. Pete’s Candy Store, 709 Lorimer St, Brooklyn (718-302-3770, petescandystore.com). Tue 18 at 6:30pm.