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
A Party Perfect Holiday at Joli Beauty Bar
Holiday party season is about to be in full swing, so now’s the time to focus on how to make a statement. To get you prepped, this East Village beauty bar is offering hair and makeup tutorials to get you inspired. Better yet, there will be gratis wine and lite bites to fuel your crash-course in all things glam. And this is also an opportunity to clean out your closet! Bring a gently-worn item to donate to Dress for Success and you’ll receive 10 percent off a beauty package. 44 E 1st Street (jolibeautybar.com). Wed 30 6–9pm; R.S.V.P. email@example.com.
Bank of America Winter Village Tree Lighting Ceremony
Expect to see a theatrical ice-skating show, starring Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje from the No. 1 world-ranked ice-dancing team in Canada as well as Javier Fernández (two-time reigning World Champion and four-time European Champion) and Kimmie Meissner (former Olympian). The legendary Johnny Weir will also hit the ice as he is the Winter Village Skating Ambassador this year. As for the tunes, jazz group Lapis Luna will have a show-stopping performance, and you’ll definitely want to stop by to see this year’s exciting celebrity host for the evening. And, as always, make sure to get there early to peruse more than 125 holiday shops and grab yummy treats from all the food vendors before the festivities kick off at 6pm. Bryant Park, 40th St to 42nd St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (wintervillage.org). Fri 2 at 6pm.
Altered States Special Tour
At this night of inspired psychedelia, the Rubin Museum of Art invites you to consider how mind-enhancing substances can affect spiritual practices and ritual art, and vice versa. Tour the incredible art installation “Sacred Spaces”, which re-creates the experience of meditating in the highest monasteries in the Himalayas, and other immersive ritual exhibitions. Then join author Daniel Pinchbeck for a screening of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s trippy masterpiece, The Holy Mountain.150 W 17th St (212-620-5000, rubinmuseum.org). Fri 2 8:45–11:45pm.
Party Like It’s 1999: All I Want for Christmas Is Mariah Edition
Before Ariana Grande released Christmas & Chill and the girl from Love Actually immortalized “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” Mariah Carey was claiming her throne as the queen of the season. Celebrate the diva’s 1994 album, Merry Christmas,at this rager, along with the catchiest pop, hip-hop and R&B songs of the ’90s as spun by DJ Steve. Better warm up your vocal cords if you want to keep up with Mimi. The Bell House, 149 7th St, Brooklyn (718-643-6510, thebellhouseny.com). Sat 3 at 10pm.
Bulletin Holiday Market
This recently opened alfresco bazaar was cool for the summer, but now that it’s actually cold outside, it’s moving indoors for a fully decorated holiday bonanza. Before you hunt for handcrafted goodies from a variety of local designers, get toasty with spiked hot cocoa. And once you’ve nabbed unique items for the whole fam, celebrate by taking a whirl on the dance floor and grooving to a DJ brought to you by party organizers Supply New York. 55 Wythe Ave (bulletin.co). Sat 3, Sun 4 at 1pm.