Don’t scoff, jaded New Yorker—there are a lot of free things to do in NYC today. We understand: When you live in one of the most expensive cities in America, it’s hard to imagine how anything in this town could be gratis. But guess what? Every event on this list is free, and actually awesome! That’s right, we found the best concerts, free art exhibitions, comedy shows, cultural celebrations and events happening in NYC parks, so you can have the time of your life without paying a dime. Whether you’re looking for free date ideas or something to do with visiting relatives, we got you.
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Best free things to do in NYC today
Bryant Park’s 17,000-square-foot outdoor rink is free and open late. Don’t get too excited—the admission may be gratis, but you have to shell out $20 to rent skates (or BYO). After your time on the ice, warm up at spacious rinkside restaurant Public Fare and do your holiday shopping at more than 125 shops.Read more
This retailer’s week-long run allows any impatient DIYers to grab creative handmade presents from more than 50 talented fashion, beauty and lifestyle crafters for everyone on your list or, hell, yourself. It pays to be an early bird at this one—the first 100 shoppers on Saturday and Sunday will go home with a free goody bag of products, coupons and surprises from the vendors and sponsors. We recommend hitting the fair on Thursday night between the hours of 6:30 and 9pm as well—there will be a Sip 'n' Shop event with Brooklyn Brewery, where you can enjoy cocktails and pose for selfies in the holiday photo booth.Read more
If there’s one alfresco shopping event worth braving the cold for, it’s this one. This European-style winter market boasts more than 150 local and national vendors hawking an impressive selection of handcrafted gifts, ranging from jewelry and accessories to leather goods and artwork. And with food vendors like Momofuku Milk Bar, Bar Suzette, Wafels & Dinges and No Chewing Allowed!, you could easily spend a whole day here.Read more
This annual holiday bazaar, run by the people behind the Union Square market, features handmade items from local artisans and snacks from vendors such as Mrs. Dorsey's Kitchen and Sigmund Pretzel Shop. Look for the market concierge to help you navigate your way through the approximately 100 booths.Read more
Enjoy nature, music, food and shopping for a full day at the Queens Botanical Garden’s holiday marketplace. Children can participate in a variety of activities from storytelling to interactive crafts and parents can impress the whole family with unique gifts come holiday season. All ages.Read more