Free in NYC


by staff, 07/18/2012

« »
  • print

There's always something exciting to do and see around the five boroughs that doesn't cost a dime. See our weekly picks below, and visit our calendar  and special offers section for more free events.

July 18–24
Wednesday, July 18
Sunset Festival at South Beach
Every Wednesday in July and August, revelers flock to Staten Island's South Beach boardwalk to take in the sunset, peruse local wares and check out family-friendly activities. Starting at 6pm, make your way down the boards (near Sand Lane, off Father Capodanno Boulevard) to see what creations area jewelry makers and sculptors have on display. Face painters, clowns, magicians and more will also be on hand to make sure younger guests are entertained until the moon comes up.

Thursday, July 19
Let's Go Kayaking
Jamaica Bay's canoe-and-kayak-launch sites provide adventurous visitors with a place to paddle around for free all summer long. On July 19, head to Canarsie Pier for the perfect way to cool down on a warm evening. Ranger-led outings, beginning at 5pm, mean you don't need to know your way around a kayak to participate—you'll walk away with a great workout and basic knowledge of the water sport. To discover even more places to take in Jamaica Bay's sites from the water, visit

Friday, July 20
Free Movie Screenings
When the weather warms up, all of New York City transforms into a cinemagoer's paradise. Avoid overpacked theaters and their inevitably hefty price tags by taking in a film in the open air. On July 20, choose from a bevvy of alfresco screenings: Star Trek on the Intrepid (7:30pm), The Muppets at Bellevue South Park (8pm), Tangled at South Point Park (.pdf) (8pm) [PDF] and Superman at Pier 46 (8:30pm).

Saturday, July 21
New Museum Block Party
It's time again for the New Museum's annual free festival in Sara D. Roosevelt Park. Stop by from noon to 5pm for interactive art, activities and performances, plus free admission to the museum on the day of the event. During this year's celebration, guests get the chance to create and take home a handmade book with images from the museum's digital archive. After taking in the outdoor festivities, venture inside for on-site programming like family-friendly tours of Ghosts in the Machine, an exhibition about the shifting relationship among humans, machines and art, featuring works by J.G. Ballard, Hans Haacke, Jeff Koons and more.

Sunday, July 22
Hudson River Park Wild!
New York City's wildlife isn't confined to its zoos. Follow a naturalist on a hike ranging from one-and-a-half to two miles long along the edge of the Hudson River. Environmentalists of all ages will discover the plants and flowers that call the Hudson River Park home and might even catch a glimpse of some of the 85 bird species that fly around the area. Bring a camera to snap photos of gardens, butterflies, dragonflies and more. Meet at Pier 40 (at Houston Street) at 9am.

Monday, July 23
The Pop-Up Pool at Pier 2
Cooling off at a City pool just got a whole lot more picturesque. The latest addition to Brooklyn Bridge Park is a 60-person-capacity pop-up pool at Pier 2, just steps from the Brooklyn Heights waterfront. Splash away the afternoon in the industrial space, complete with a beach, deck, food and drink concessions and picnic tables. The pool is open seven days a week and swim times are broken down into 45-minute increments; the first session begins at 10am and the final session ends at 5:45pm. Wristbands are required for pool entry; distribution begins at 10am for the first session and a half hour prior to the start of the remaining sessions. If the City's other swim spots are any indication, you'll want to get there early to claim your space in the water.

Tuesday, July 24 
Sony Plaza Public Arcade: NYC Summer Arts Institute Performance
Catch a free performance from the budding stars of the NYC Summer Arts Institute before they make it big. Drop by between noon and 1pm from July 24 to 26 to hear the musical stylings of these talented kids, selected to train with industry professionals and partner with cultural organizations focusing on dance, theater, instrumental music, vocal music, film, photography and visual arts. While you're there, explore the always-free Sony Wonder Technology Lab, where video games, musical software and interactive digital displays give kids a hand-on introduction to the world of tech.

related venues/(5)

  1. 1
    South Beach
    Father Capodanno Blvd
    Staten Island – South Beach/Midland Beach
    NY 10306
  2. 2
    Canarsie Pier
    Rockaway and Belt Pkwys
    NY 11236
  3. 3
    Sara D. Roosevelt Park
    Chrystie St
    Manhattan – multiple locations
  1. 4
    Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 2
    Brooklyn Heights Promenade (at Fuhrman and Pineapple Sts.)
    Brooklyn – Brooklyn Heights
    NY 11201
  2. 5
    Sony Wonder Technology Lab (now closed)
    550 Madison Ave.
    Manhattan – Midtown East
    NY 10022

check-in date

check-out date