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: Guide to free things to do in NYC
Summer HD Festival
Want to show up to the Metropolitan Opera like Cher in Moonstruck, but lack the cash? Fear not! Grab a date and take in an epic onscreen opera performance at Lincoln Center’s plaza, where the Met presents recent adaptations of Otello, Il Trovatore, Lucia de Lammermoor and other heartbreaking tragedies. The festival kicks off on Friday 26 with a screening of 1985’s opulent, Oscar-winning campfest Amadeus. Lincoln Center, Josie Robertson Plaza, Columbus Ave at 64th St (212-362-6000, metopera.org). Fri 26–Mon 5 at various times.
Indonesian Street Festival
Celebrate Indonesian Independence Day with a joyous street gathering featuring crafts, performances and plenty of bites. For this year’s theme, Bali and Beyond, the fest packs more than 10 traditional dances, Angklung instrumental performances, fashion shows, and workshops on batik textiles and other Indonesian fabrics and designs. For the full experience, be sure to dish on nasi goreng rice, bakso soup and other street eats from more than a dozen vendors. E 68th St between Fifth and Madison Aves (212-879-0600, indonesianstreetfestival.com). Sat 27 at noon.
Bask in the beauty of the Manhattan-skyline view at this Williamsburg favorite, where this Saturday night party goes above and beyond. We know it will, since Sleepy & Boo will be Djing along with local table masters Matt Altma and Milk N’Cookies. With specials like oysters for a buck, vodka mixed drinks for $5 and a beer-and-shot combo for $8, consider this your go-to day-drinking spot. McCarren Hotel & Pool, 160 North 12th St (718-218-7500, mccarrenhotel.com). Sat 27 4pm–2am; free.
Charlie Parker Jazz Festival
Sixty years after the death of game-changing saxophonist Charlie Parker, a new generation of musicians and performers honor his legacy with contemporary interpretations of classic jazz and all-new music. Head to Tompkins Square Park or Marcus Garvey Park for this year’s lineup, which includes Jason Lindner’s 11-piece band, Breeding Ground, Jazz veteran Randy Weston and his African Rhythms Sextet, and 24-year-old showstopper Grace Kelly. Marcus Garvey Park; Fri 26 6:30–9pm, Sat 27 3–7pm · Tompkins Square Park; Sun 28 3–7pm · cityparksfoundation.org.
The 240th Commemoration of the Battle of Brooklyn
Green-Wood Cemetery hosts this immersive event at the site of the first major battle of the American Revolution. Meet soldiers on horseback, taste authentic battle fare like fire cake, and join a flag-waving parade to Battle Hill. 500 25th St, Brooklyn (718-210-3080, green-wood.com). Sun 28 10:30am–4pm; free.