The Top 10 FREE Things to Do Near Central Park, New York City

Amazing Things to Do in NYC for Tourists and First-Time Visitors

Manhattan New York City
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Things to Do Near Central Park, New York City

What is there not to do in New York City? It’s the busiest, coolest, maybe the most expensive and plain brilliant place to be in or visit. So many people have NYC in their bucket list and that’s because of different reasons for everyone; some want to come here because of the fashion scene while others simply want to eat from the hotdog vendors, some want to visit museums and art exhibit while some want to tour the whole city but whatever their motives are, NYC is simply fascinating to many.

Manhattan New York City
Manhattan New York City

But if there are people who are willing to indulge on their trip here, there are also others who just want to take it all in without really breaking the bank; If you’re on a tight budget but still want to experience Central Park Tours in NYC, here are a few suggestions you might want to try on your visit.

African Burial Ground

This cemetery is one of Manhattan’s most sensationalized stories up to date. The burial ground was unearthed in 1991 when the General Services Administration office building was being constructed. They discovered graves 24 feet below ground and it was confirmed that there were hundreds of other corpses in the area of black New Yorkers. According to the 1755 map, this is the “Negros Burial Ground”. This paved way for black New Yorkers to connect with their past.

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African Burial Ground National Monument
African Burial Ground National Monument

Today, the African Burial National Monument is surrounded by buildings but there is small visitor center that you can go to where they retell the African-American history in the city artfully.

Location:  290 Broadway between Duane & Elk Sts, Lower Manhattan.

Chelsea Galleries

You don’t have to buy anything when you visit but it’s free to revel because there are a lot of galleries here boasting different techniques, collaboration and different contemporary artists. Most of these art galleries are located between 10th and 11th Avenues and there really is no pressure to buy; you can even try their cheese and wine openings which are also free on Thursday evenings.

New York City Hall
New York City Hall By Aude – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5

New York City Hall

Don’t leave NYC without going to the city hall after all this is the heart of the city; it’s what makes NYC. The city hall is the “home to New York City government since 1812” and is “one of the nation’s oldest city hall”. If you’re into architecture, you will love the Corinthian columns and arched windows of this building and if you’re a history buff, you’d be happy to know that influential people like Abraham Lincoln and Albert Einstein has visited this. The office of the mayor is situated on one side while office of the city council is on the other.

If you plan to visit this, you must reserve in advance.

Location: City Hall Park, facing the Brooklyn Bridge, Lower Manhattan.

Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) Museum

Fashion Institute of Technology Museum
Fashion Institute of Technology Museum

If someone in your group or you exactly love/s fashion, don’t you dare miss going to FIT. They conduct weekly fashion week in their museum where they rotate imaginative exhibits by students and a fascinating collection of the first fashion gallery in the country where they choose from a whopping 50,000 pieces of garments from the 18th century to present.

Location: Seventh Ave & 27th St, Garment District, Midtown West.

Federal Reserve Bank of New York City

You need to make a reservation one week in advance if you want to go here but you will love their high-security vault where there are more than 10,000 gold reserves 80ft below ground. You can also go to their exhibits on counterfeit currency and coin collection of the American Numismatic Society.

Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Federal Reserve Bank of New York By Beyond My Ken – Own work, GFDL

Reserve at least a week ahead to visit the Federal Reserve Bank, most rewarding just to ogle the facility’s high-security vault – useful considering more than 10,000 tons of gold reserves reside here, 80ft below ground. There are also exhibits on counterfeit currency as well as a serious coin collection of the American Numismatic Society.

You can tour Monday-Friday excluding bank holidays as long as you have made reservations and you were approved.

Location: 33 Liberty St, Lower Manhattan.

Metropolitan Museum of Art  (The MET)

Metropolitan Museum of Art New York
Metropolitan Museum of Art New York

The MET is located on the eastern side of Central Park; entry is actually free but a lot of visitors pay a small donation. This is a huge structure which houses famous work of equally famous artists like Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Gogh, and Picasso. You can also see various collections from Greek, Roman, African, ancient Egyptian and Byzantine galleries; there is also a collection of modern American art. It’s a big museum so there are also musical instruments, costumes, antique weaponry, and body armor. They also have a roof garden which is open in the summer; it has a beautiful view of the city skyline and they host a single-artist sculpture exhibition.

Location: 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10028

New York Earth Room

The New York Earth Room is a completely different take on art by the artist Walter de Maria. It was mounted since 1977. This sculpture is a permanent fixture of 250 cubic yards of earth taking up 3,600 square feet of floor space and “22-inch depth of material”. This set-up has been cared for by Bill Dilworth for the past 23 years. They say its smell is reminiscent of a wet forest.

Location: 141 Wooster St, SoHo

New York Public Library

New York Public Library
New York Public Library

Book lovers unite! This is New York’s most famous library (also known as Stephen Schwarzman Building); it turned 100 yrs. old in 2011 and it stands in an impressive grand Beaux-Arts icon east of Times Square. In its two frontal sides are two marble lions named “Patience” and “Gratitude”. Their reading room can fit 500 people which is pretty massive for a library where they can read using the library’s original Carre-and-Hastings lamps so that makes quite the experience. They also conduct exhibits where you can see the original copy of the Declaration of Independence, 431,000 ancient maps and a Gutenburg Bible. Three tours can be had for free at 11am and 2pm from Monday to Saturday and 2pm every Sunday (except in summer).

Location: Fifth Ave at 42nd St, Midtown East, Queens.

Museum of Modern Art

Another astonishing art museum, the Museum of Modern Art or MoMA is home to nurturing and collecting modernist art. It is one of the largest, distinguished and powerful museums of modern art in the world.

Museum of Modern Art New York
Museum of Modern Art New York By Ingfbruno – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

They have an expansive collection of modern and contemporary art which includes architecture and design, drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, prints, illustrated books and artist’s books, films and electronic media from a range of artists.

Their library has about 300,000 books and exhibition catalogs, more than 1,000 periodical titles and more than 40,000 files of pamphlets, tickets, etc. of each artist and groups.

Entry is free from 4-8pm on a Friday.

Location:  11 W 53rd St, between Fifth & Sixth Aves, Midtown West.

National Museum of the American Indian (George Gustav Heye Center)

National Museum of the American Indian
National Museum of the American Indian

George Gustav Heye was a German national who traveled throughout North and South America and collected Native American artifacts. Over the course of 54 years, his collection was brought together. In 1916, he founded the Museum of American Indian and Heye Foundation; it opened to the public on Audubon Terrace in New York City in 1922.

The Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House is now the site of George Gustav Heye Center. This Museum is home to many native American old treasures and it’s absolutely free to visit.

Location: 1 Bowling Green, Lower Manhattan.

Check out our complete list of affordable hotels and resorts via Agoda or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.

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Also Read: See New York City in a Whole New Light
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