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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


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

  • Dance
  • price 0 of 4
  • Upper West Side
Five of New York City's leading dance companies—Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, Ballet Hispánico, Dance Theatre of Harlem and New York City Ballet—perform together in the second annual edition of the BAAND Festival, sharing an outdoor stage at Lincoln Center in a run that consists of five free shows. Each lineup is slightly different, but they all include a performance of Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's One for All, a world-premiere commission that features dancers from all five troupes. Admission is free and mostly first-come-first-served, but a limited number of advance reservations are available; the window for making them starts at noon on Monday, August 8. Find out more about advance reservations here. In addition to the evening performances in Damrosch Park, the companies offer educational afternoon workshops throughout the festival, by general admission on a first-come-first-served basis. New York City Ballet: Allegro Brillante | Photograph: Courtesy ​Erin Baiano​ Here is a full list of the works that are scheduled for  each night of the BAAND Festival:Tuesday, August 9:One for All by Annabelle Lopez OchoaAlvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Cry by Alvin AileyBallet Hispánico: Con Brazos Abiertos by Michelle ManzanalesDance Theatre of Harlem: When Love by Helen PickettAmerican Ballet Theatre: Children's Songs Dance by Jessica LangNew York City Ballet: Red Angels by Ulysses Dove Wednesday, August 10:One for All by Annabelle Lopez OchoaBallet Hispáni
  • Theater
  • Musicals
  • price 0 of 4
  • Hell's Kitchen
Theater for the New City takes its 46th annual Street Theater Company show on the road, bringing agitprop to outdoor locations throughout the five boroughs. Crystal Field and Peter Dizoza's family-friendly (but corporation-hostile!) satirical musical, directed by Field, celebrates beleaguered educators trying to make a difference at a time when no one seems especially keen to learn anything at all. The cast of 22 is buttressed by giant puppets and moving scenery. Visit TNC's website to find out where the show will be playing when.
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