The best things in life are free, they say, but travel tends to be expensive. New York, with all its attractions, temptations, fine dining and world class shopping, can quickly deplete your hard earned vacation budget. However, even more than a tourist city, NYC is home to over 8 million residents of all economic levels. Many of these savvy citizens know the many sights and activities that can be enjoyed free for the taking in their home town. These free things to do will not only give your wallet a rest, they will also provide a welcome change of pace in the middle of your busy trip.
Visit Central Park
Central Park is known as the “lawn of New York,” and local residents tend to treat the enormous 840 acre expanse as their back yard. Spend an hour or a day relaxing in the pastoral atmosphere to be found in the center of one of the world’s biggest cities. Whether you enjoy an outdoor activity such as jogging on the park paths or boating on the reservoir, or simply sit on the grass and watch the world go by, your time in Central Park will provide a pleasant contrast to your schedule of sightseeing and shopping.
Ride the Staten Island Ferry
Catch a free harbor cruise that will let you see the Manhattan skyline the way countless new arrivals spied it for the very first time – from the water. Wave to the Statue of Liberty as she stands guard over New York Harbor. You can take the Staten Island Ferry 24 hours a day, any day of the week, from Whitehall Street in Lower Manhattan to St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island. The trip is about 25 minutes each way. Besides the stunning views, on a hot summer day there is the added fringe benefit of the cool sea spray.
Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge
Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is a pleasant way to get to Brooklyn from Manhattan, or just to enjoy a pleasant stroll. It’s about half an hour moving at a leisurely pace on this historic suspension bridge and admiring the striking view along the way. Once you arrive in Brooklyn, you can ramble some more along the Promenade, the most beautiful expanse in the borough, or perhaps sit and enjoy a picnic lunch.
Admire the New York Public Library
The New York Public Library is located just east of Times Square in an impressive Beaux-Arts building, which celebrated its 100th birthday in 2011. From the famed marble lions which guard the entrance to the 500 capacity reading room, the library is an elegant example of architecture. Take the opportunity to leaf through classic books or the latest bestsellers. Special displays include a Gutenberg Bible, historical maps and a copy of the Declaration of Independence.
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