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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
  • Talks and lectures
  • price 0 of 4
  • Boerum Hill
BAM will host its celebration in the Howard Gilman Opera House (Peter Jay Sharp Building, 30 Lafayette Ave) with local and national civic leaders, a keynote speech by Dr. Imani Perry, musical performances by Nona Hendryx with Craig Harris & Tailgaters Tales and Sing Harlem, and a special dance video tribute by dancer Kyle Marshall. For those who cannot attend, it can be watched via livestream at 10:30am. There is also a virtual BAMkids workshop, "Heroes of Color HQ," which will celebrate underrepresented historical figures (accessible throughout the day at BAM.org); a screening of Stanley Nelson’s groundbreaking documentary Attica at BAM Rose Cinemas at 1pm; and a community performance of Reggie Wilson’s POWER at the Harvey Theater at 3pm. BAM’s celebration of Dr. King will also include a digital billboard-based group exhibition—“Salvation: A State of Being”—featuring work by seven Black visual artists that draws inspiration from the late trailblazing Black feminist, social critic, and author bell hooks (January 14—21).
  • Music
  • Cabaret and standards
  • price 0 of 4
  • East Village
He’s worked with Liza Minnelli, Kylie Minogue and just about every downtown act in NYC. Now composer, pianist and performer Lance Horne hosts his own wild night of singing, drinking and dancing, strip-teasing and bad behavior at the East Village nightlife hub Club Cumming. Expect advanced show-tune geekery and appearances by Broadway stars looking to get down by the piano. Plan to sleep in on Tuesday.
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