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 have a good time without paying a dime. Here are the best free parties, cultural events and things to do between now and next Wednesday.
RECOMMENDED: See the full guide to free things to do in NYC
Met Opera Summer Recital Series
If you haven’t been to the opera, you owe yourself the experience of seeing some of the world’s finest belt it out onstage. Check out some of the Met’s most powerful vocalists, soprano Angel Blue and tenor Ben Bliss, as they perform at Central Park’s SummerStage on Wednesday 22 at 8pm and at Brooklyn Bridge Park on Friday 24 at 7pm. Various locations (212-362-6000, metopera.org). Various dates and times.
Movies Under the Stars: Chocolat
Sometimes hot summer garbage and train delays make you forget that you live in one of the world’s most romantic cities. Luckily, the Movies Under the Stars series offers up love stories to inspire warm, tingly feelings. Watch Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp fall in love and change the culture of a closeted 1950s French Village in this romance. Show up early with a blanket, and don’t forget to bring sweets. De Witt Clinton Park, 52nd to 54th Sts between Eleventh and Twelfth Aves (212-639-9675, nycgovparks.org). Thu 23 8:30–10:30pm.
Swedish Midsummer Festival
For 20 years, Battery Park has hosted one of the world’s largest Scandinavian summer solstice celebrations outside of Sweden, with more than 3,000 guests showing up to dance around the midsummer pole. If roaring rounds of folk dancing and pro fiddling wipe you out, grab a spiced herring crêpe from Crepes du Nord or malt balls from Fika, and chill out on the grass. For the perfect keepsake, you can even make your own ceremonial flower wreath. Robert F. Wagner Park, 20 Battery Pl (212-888-3000, swedenabroad.com). Fri 24 5–8pm.
Ladies of the Bronx: Women of Hip-Hop
The New York Restoration Project is teaming up with the Bronx music collective Circa ’95 to celebrate the neighborhood’s burgeoning community of powerful female vocalists, rappers and performers. Dance under the park’s casita to English and Spanish sets from a wide range of artists, including folk reggae duo Brooks Thomas, dreamy Latina singer Amanda Maxine and Circa ’95’s Patty Dukes and Reph. Mildred T. Rhodebeck Garden, 927 Faile St, Bronx (212-333-2552, nyrp.org). Sat 25 6:30–8pm.
Gotham Writers Workshop: Screenwriting
If your Twitter screeds about Batman v Superman plot holes and My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 continuity issues aren’t making you feel any less frustrated, then why not try your hand at penning a script? Gotham offers a wide range of courses throughout the year-—including poetry, fiction and video-game writing—and this preview session gives you the chance to see how you like the workshop environment before you commit. BookCourt, 163 Court St, Brooklyn (212-974-8377, writingclasses.com). Sun 26 2–3pm.