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
The Brooklyn Cat Painting Takedown
Cats! Paintings! What’s not to love? Grab a beer from Lagunitas and watch 25 Brooklyn painters illustrate stunning visions of felines, then buy your favorite in an auction supporting Bushwick Street Cats and BARC Shelter. If you can’t adopt a kitty of your own, at least console yourself with a work of art. Better than Jam Store and Studio, 20 Grattan St (212-295-0894, thetakedowns.com). 8–10pm; free.
Get your life while belting out Madonna’s “Like a Prayer,” Hall & Oates’s “You Make My Dreams Come True” and Jay Z’s “99 Problems” with the encouragement of DJs Lord Easy and Sir Jarlsberg. This karaoke dance party promises a night of sweaty singing and dancing for revelers on and off the stage. Good luck, and don’t fuck it up. Union Hall, 702 Union St, Brooklyn (718-638-4400, unionhallny.com). Fri 9 at midnight.
What the Dickens? Seventh Annual A Christmas Carol Marathon
Housing Works welcomes musicians, writers and performers to invoke Ebenezer Scrooge and his ghosts. Before the performers dig into Dickens, the New York City Master Chorale stops by for some ace caroling. Then the reading begins, with writers like Emma Straub and Elissa Schappell giving their take on the infamous miser. All store items are 10 percent off, so bring your holiday list. Bah, humbug! Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, 126 Crosby St (212-334-3324, housingworks.org). Sat 10 noon–4:30pm.
The Geminids Meteor Shower
Every December, hundreds of meteors rain down from the Gemini constellation, and if the weather is right—and you’re willing to stay up late—you can catch their glorious fall. At this event, park rangers educate you on the astrological significance of the Geminids, along with other constellational events, and give you binoculars and periscopes to see the shower. Bring coffee and a blanket. Who says you can’t stargaze in the city? Salt Marsh Nature Center, 3302 Ave U, Brooklyn (718-421-2021, nycgovparks.org). Sun 11 7–8:30pm.
Merry Tuba Christmas at Rockefeller Center
Now in its 43rd year, this massive musical gathering invites hundreds of tuba players to perform classic Christmas carols and crowd-pleasing songs on the ice. If you’re not a pro at circular breathing, join in on the fun by singing along to the deep horns. Though the event has spread to more than 200 cities worldwide, there’s nothing like seeing it at its home: 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Can we hope for a tuba-fied take on John Williams’s Star Wars score? 48 St to 51st St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-332-6868, rockefellercenter.com). Sun 11 at 3:30pm.