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
M. Ward + Margaret Glaspy
The “Him” to Zooey Deschanel’s “She” in the indie band She & Him as well as Portland, Oregon, singer-songwriter, M. Ward has made a long career out of being a 21st-century Roy Orbison, penning classy doo-wop–inspired folk and rock songs for the past 15 years. Tonight he is joined by Margaret Glaspy for back-to-back sets at Damrosch Park for the concert series Lincoln Center Out of Doors. Damrosch Park (at Lincoln Center), W 62nd St between Amsterdam and Columbus Aves (212-875-5000, lcoutofdoors.org). Fri 5 at 7:30pm; free
For this three-Saturday event, nearly seven miles of NYC turf is cleared of vehicles, creating a pedestrian paradise complete with food and entertainment. This year’s edition offers a rock-climbing wall, a 30-foot zip line and outdoor art installations, misting stations and hammocks for lounging. Various locations (nyc.gov/html/dot/summerstreets); Sat 6 7am–1pm; free.
Brooklyn Bridge Park Kayaking
We all know how small NYC apartments are, so there is little room for boating enthusiasts to stash their equipment at home. Luckily, Brooklyn Bridge Park has all of your kayaking needs covered, free of charge. Riders of all skill levels can borrow a kayak and glide along the calm waters of the East River. Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse, Pier 2, enter at Furman St and Old Fulton Sts (bbpboathouse.org). Sat 6 10am–3pm; free.
Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival
Travel to beautiful Hong Kong without ever leaving the city thanks to this annual event at Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, now in it’s 26th year. Around 180 teams gather at the lake to race on long boats while paddling to the beat of their boat’s drummer at this culture fest inspired by Chinese tradition. On land, you can join in on the fun with music and dance performances, martial arts demonstrations and food-court vendors selling Asian cuisine like steamed dumplings, pork-belly buns and frozen delights such as Sno Biz shaved ice. Meadow Lake in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park (hkdbf-ny.org). Sat 6, Sun 7 at 10:15am; free.
Queens Book Festival
Attention outer-borough bookworms! This brand new fest features “nonstop” panel discussions as well as author signings, readings and, obviously, booksellers! Citi Field, 123-01 Roosevelt Ave, Queens (917-745-3705, queensbookfestival.nyc). Sun 7 11am–6pm; free.