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The Best NYC Activities For The Unbeatable Price Of Free

Give your wallet a break with these fun (and free!) New York City outings.

Between designer boutiques, craft cocktails, and pricey museum visits, a trip to NYC can be a little rough on the savvy traveler’s budget. But contrary to what Gossip Girl may have you believe, it’s entirely possible to enjoy the city without sacrificing your credit score. Here are some of the best places to explore in the city at the absolute best price: free.

1. Central Park

With 843 acres of breathtaking verdure, Central Park is one of the most exciting destinations in the city. The most visited park in the US, Central Park offers wide open green spaces, flower-filled gardens, a zoo, ice skating, food and drink, boating, birdwatching — and of course, people-watching!

Even some of the events held within the park are free: every summer, for instance, the Public Theater holds its annual Shakespeare in the Park performances at Central Park’s Delacorte Theater, presenting top-notch, inventive productions of Shakespeare plays for free.

Central Park is located in central Manhattan.

2. Chelsea Galleries

While the paintings and sculptures these swanky galleries sell comes with a hefty price tag, viewing the art is totally free! Start with Metro Pictures on West 24th Street for a view of innovative work by Trevor Paglen. Then head to James Cohan, showcasing Lee Mullican’s vibrant paintings. End your day at the buzzy Gagosian Gallery, which has two locations in the neighborhood and is known for showcasing famous contemporary artists.

Metro Pictures, James Cohan, and Gagosian Gallery are located in Chelsea.

3. The High Line

Located on a former elevated train track, the High Line is a linear green space and walking trail that runs along the west side of Manhattan. Entry is free, and visitors can enjoy lush greenery, bubbling fountains, and stellar views of the Hudson River. The space also includes a variety of art, from on-site installations to murals and unique architecture you can gaze at from afar. Additionally, the High Line offers evening programming like stargazing, film screenings, performances, and more.

The High Line is located in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District.

4. The Metropolitan Museum

From lavish, historically furnished rooms to special exhibitions, the Met has it all. Most museums in the city offer free entry one day or night a week, but typically charge an entry fee the rest of the time. Not so with the Met. The museum does have a suggested donation of $25 for adults and $12 for students, which we recommend paying if you have the means, but regardless of financial status, the Met is open to all.

The Met is located at 1000 Fifth Avenue.

5. New York Public Library

Having fun isn’t hard when you have a library card! The New York Public Library (NYPL) boasts a whopping 92 locations across the city, but the most notable one is the main branch on Fifth Avenue near Bryant Park. At the Mid-Manhattan branch, in addition to a massive selection of books to read, there is also a vast collection of archival images. The NYPL also has a robust programming department, offering lectures, author talks, exhibitions, panel discussions, and even after-hours parties on a regular basis.

The New York Public Library is located at 746 Fifth Avenue.

To make your trip to New York even more affordable, take advantage of Affinia’s special offer: Get four nights for the price of three, or three nights for the price of two. That’s one extra night, at no cost to you.

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