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Best free things to do in NYC today from art shows to concerts
Photograph: Shutterstock/Marco Prati

The best free things to do in NYC today

And yes, the best free things to do in NYC today—think concerts and comedy shows—are actually worth your time

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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.

Do you want more great stories about things to do, where to eat, what to watch, and where to party? Obviously you do, follow Time Out New York on Facebook for the good stuff.

RECOMMENDED: See all free things to do in NYC

Best free things to do in NYC today

  • Things to do
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  • Hell's Kitchen
Photoville is back in its 10th year and the second to bring photography to every borough ofNew York City. The free, outdoor, pet-friendly photography exhibition is heading to NYC Parks — Brooklyn Bridge Park, Astoria Park, Barretto Point Park, Chelsea Park, Jackie Robinson Park, East River Promenade, St. Nicholas Park, Travers Park, Van Cortlandt Park, the South Beach Promenade — as well as Brookfield Place, the Alice Austen House (Staten Island), the Lower East Side at the Abrons Arts Center and Times Square.  You won't want to miss this year's Photoville because it is packed with 75 exhibits outside and free online programming for photo lovers between September 18 and December 1, including panel discussions, interactive workshops, one-on-one safety clinics,  professional development opportunities with Diversify Photo and Leica Camera, Photo Wings and the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. New this year is "Community Day: Photo Festival Opening" on September 18, where there will be a visual storytelling event with a family activity area by Stoop Stories, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, and Aperture; the Penumbra TinType Sessions; pop-up music and danceperformances by the Haiti Cultural Exchange; exhibition tours by featured artists; photopuzzles on the lawn; a professional development educator lab; photo workshops with LeicaCamera and Adobe; a Smorgasburg pop-up; and an evening screening of 10 Under 10enlisting the New York Times, National Geographic, Pulitzer Center
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  • Markets and fairs
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  • Boerum Hill
FAD Market returns this weekend to The Invisible Dog Art Center with New York City’s up-and-coming brands, designers, and small businesses — offering a curated selection of handcrafted jewelry, apparel, stationery, skincare, tableware, home goods, and artisanal food. Highlights include Hyer Goods, upcycled, luxury leather goods with a minimal environmental impact; beautiful hand-thrown ceramics, all made in New York, by artist Geesun Lee of Mud to Life; adorable cat-themed prints, artfully made stickers and quirky apparel by The Lucky Neko; picture-perfect desserts made by hand, with some of the most interesting flavors we’ve ever tried by Cozi Treats; and fun gel nail strips by Dear Me Collection. Every season, FAD—which stands for Fashion, Art and Design—takes over a different Brooklyn venue with a horde of independent vendors and creators. Admission is free and dogs are welcome!  
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Romy & Michele's Saturday Afternoon Tea Dance
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  • East Village
DJ Bright Light Bright Light’s joyous tribute to the still-untouchable heroines of Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion delivers a consistent stream of Mariah Carey, Scissor Sisters, Bette Midler and TLC to a merry band of adorable acolytes. Share your favorites on the DJ booth via Post-it and revel in the fact that you look totally cutting edge.
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