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free wifi

Free Wi-Fi in Manhattan

Your essential guide to the best places in the city to get online without spending a cent—from cafes to cultural institutions and stores

By Jeremy Winograd, edited by Sophie Harris
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RECOMMENDED: Free Wi-Fi in NYC

Workspaces

The Poets House annual showcase
Photograph: Cameron Blaylock

Poets House

Attractions Libraries, archives and foundations Battery Park City

A destination for poetry geeks, this sleek, modern library boasts over 60,000 volumes and also has ample has desk and chair space for all your online browsing needs. 

Wix Lounge
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Killerfemme

Wix Lounge

Things to do Literary events Flatiron

A no-membership-required co-working space in Chelsea that’s a great destination for freelancers and more—not just for the free wifi, but for the free coffee as well.

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IBM Plaza
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Friscocali

IBM Plaza

Surf the web in a massive glass urban tower while still surrounded by trees and friendly birds flapping around at this public seating space in the lobby of the former IBM building. Open 8 am to 10 pm. 590 Madison Ave at E 57th St.

Rendering of the Rink at Brookfield Place at the World Financial Center
Photograph: Courtesy Liberty View Ice Rink and Brookfield Office Properties

World Financial Center Winter Garden

Theater Battery Park City

The Winter Garden is a grand glass atrium, complete with palm trees, in the middle of a retail center near the World Trade Center that was restored after the ceiling was blown out on 9/11.

Museums and cultural institutions

The Tenement Museum

Museums History Lower East Side

Get online and soak up some NYC history at this LES museum—a historically accurate restoration of the cramped, trying existence of the residents of NYC’s 19th and 20th century (which may have been at least slightly improved had free Wi-Fi existed back then).

Museum of the City of New York

Museums History East Harlem

This Fifth Ave spot houses a wealth of photographs, manuscripts, and photographs that trace the history of our city. A visit to the museum is a more fun way to learn about New York than just Googling it, but thanks to the Wi-Fi, you can do both simultaneously.

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2012.05.07 JBF Awards
Photograph: Courtesy of List Stein for Kent Miller Studios

Lincoln Center

Attractions Upper West Side

There’s Wi-Fi connectivity across Lincoln Center’s entire campus, but your best bet for high speeds (and available power outlets) is in the well-lit lobby of Alice Tully Hall, where the At65 Café is located.

Parks

Battery Park

Attractions Parks and gardens Financial District

Getting work done online in the Financial District is probably a lot more relaxing when you’re doing it in idyllic Battery Park instead of in one of the surrounding steel and glass towers.

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Brooklyn Bridge Park

Attractions Parks and gardens Brooklyn Heights

It’s hard to beat the views of Manhattan anywhere this side of the East River, but it’s easy to get online for free, so long as you’re near Pier 1, Pier 6, or DUMBO, the three areas of the park where Wi-Fi is available.

Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Stefano Brivio

Rucker Park

The wireless access at this legendary streetball landmark comes in handy when you need to run a search to figure which of the guys playing pickup on the court is secretly in the NBA—hey, it’s happened before. W 155th St and 8th Ave.

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Central Park Zoo

Attractions Zoo and aquariums Central Park

The area around the zoo is one of three Wi-Fi hotspots in Central Park—the other two are Tavern on the Green and Mineral Springs—but it’s the only one where you can get online for free while watching sea lions eat their lunch.

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Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Tanenhaus

Pier 15

Things to do Event spaces

Avast! If you’re looking for somewhere to surf the web by the seaside in Manhattan for free while surrounded by gigantic sailboats, well, the South Street Seaport is basically your only option. But it’s a good one.

Hotels

Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Chris Breeze

Waldorf Astoria New York

Hotels Boutique hotels Midtown East

The Wi-Fi is free and accessible to all in the ornate lobby of this famous destination hotel, but don’t dare check in—it costs as much as $18.95 per day in guest rooms.

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The Jane Hotel

Bars Lounges Downtown

Formerly a transient hotel and an Off-Broadway theater, 113 Jane Street is now a stylish Bohemian hotel where you can get online on plush couches by light of a decorative disco ball.

Restaurants and cafes

“I am a bit of a techie at heart, so I love going to the Apple store (locations throughout the city; visit apple.com) and browsing the new computer toys and accessories. I also love new items for my home [from the Brooklyn Flea or ABC Carpet & Home], whet
Photograph: Inc.

5th Ave, Chelsea, and SoHo Apple stores

Shopping Electronics Midtown East

Can’t afford a new MacBook on which to do your daily web browsing? Don’t sweat it—you can use the display devices at all three Manhattan Apple Stores to get online for free.

Barnes & Noble

Shopping Noho

All NYC Barnes & Noble locations offer free Wi-Fi access, and most have café areas where you can sit, snack, plug in, and get online.

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Whole Foods Market Tribeca

Shopping Grocery stores Financial District

We weren’t able to verify if the free Wi-Fi at the TriBeCa Whole Foods location is organic, locally sourced, or gluten free, so you’ll just have to access it from the store’s spacious café area and find out.

Misc.

Cosi

This nationwide flatbread sandwich chain has a dozen NYC locations, all of them with free Wi-Fi access.

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multitasking5
Photograph: Aubrey Therkelsen

Coffee Foundry

The coffee at this West Village brewer has earned raves, but leave some space on the long bar next to your mug for your laptop.

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Kahve

Restaurants Coffee shops Hell's Kitchen

Get online for free at this tiny, homey Turkish coffee joint, as long as you can find room enough to squeeze in front one of the few tables,.

Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Moe Vivas

Culture Espresso Bar

Restaurants Coffee shops Midtown West

You can browse the web beneath a glittering chandelier at this high quality indie coffee shop in Starbucks-saturated midtown.

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Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Richard Due

Gregory's Coffee

Restaurants Coffee shops Flatiron

Another midtown/downtown chain into which you can always stumble when you’ve got a thirst for more than just coffee— namely shiny steel décor, tasty pastries, and free internet.

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Cake Shop

Restaurants Coffee shops Lower East Side

You’d think a record store with a small café/bakery in it and an indie rock venue in the basement would be draw enough, but Cake Shop threw in free Wi-Fi to top it all off.

Café One

Get online at this old school, neighborhood friendly casual lunch spot just north of the City College campus.

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