Winter in New York City: Lots of Free Things to Do

Nothing slows down the Big Apple… even cold weather.  Better still, there’s lots to do that’s virtually free.  So book some of the great deals to be had on flights and hotels, and come visit.  Or, if you live here, get moving.  Put on your warm clothes and your most comfortable walking shoes, and hit the pavement.  The Big Apple awaits.

Here are some of my favorite winter freebies:

Ride the subways. Yes, seriously.  Underneath the city’s miles and miles of streets lie some of the city’s most interesting art installations courtesy of the MTA’s “Art en Route” program.   Watch this Web site for more specifics, but, in the meantime, chart your own art course with your MetroCard.

Ride the Staten Island ferry (and back) to see the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the southern tip of Manhattan from the water without spending a penny.

Wander Battery Park’s waterfront promenade and enjoy the open spaces and views of Ellis Island and New Jersey; the breeze and passing boats will make you forget you’re in the gritty city, though the view of the Statue of Liberty will remind you that you couldn’t be anywhere but New York.

Bundle up and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge for a spectacular view of the Financial District, Brooklyn, the seaport, and Manhattan.  Then, turn right around, and head back for a totally different view of the city.

Ride the tram to Roosevelt Island for spectacular aerial (and warmer) views of the city in two directions.   ($4 round-trip)

Ice skate free at the Bryant Park rink near the New York Public Library.

Join the crowds in Times Square and watch the world pass by. Buy a hot chocolate or coffee to keep warm, and sit at the chairs and tables on the pedestrian stretch of Broadway or on the stairs behind the TKTS booth at 47th Street.

Climb up to Manhattan’s newest outdoor park, the High Line, which overlooks the Hudson River, the Meatpacking District, and is built on former elevated train tracks.  Bring a blanket with you, and set a spell on the scattered chairs and stairs to absorb the city and river below.

Brace yourself against the chilly ocean breezes and stroll the Coney Island boardwalk for some old-school kitsch.  Then grab a Nathan’s hot dog, at the original stand, loaded with sauerkraut and mustard.

Check out the street performers around the city’s parks and the buskers in the subways: break-dancers in Union Square and by Central Park’s Bethesda Fountain, unicyclists in Washington Square, and Statue of Liberty clones in Battery Park.   Musicians and entertainers in the subway are better than you’d expect—to perform, they must first be vetted by committee.

Attend a storytelling hour at one of the city’s kid-friendly bookstores like Barnes & Noble, Borders or Books of Wonder.

Bookmark and Share

54 Responses to “Winter in New York City: Lots of Free Things to Do”

  1. Jill says:

    As a New Yorker, I’m always looking for free and lower cost things to do. I found a website called and have been referring to it alot lately. I got alot of ideas for discount theater tickets, walking tours, food etc. So, I am sharing it with you. If anyone else finds a good website for savings, please share it too. THank you.

  2. tukkah says:

    You have tested it and writing form your personal experience or you find some information online?

  3. All of my suggestions are personally tested by me. Did you have a question about any one in particular, Tukkah?

  4. neat good website yea nice work our review website will soon be adding reviews on websites and add them to our websites as the top best 10 blogs to visit we also do reviews on Product Reviews all types of reviews thanks

  5. skarface says:

    No matter what others say, I think it is still interesting and useful maybe necessary to improve some minor things

  6. Twyford Geo6 says:

    How long do you spend a day coming up with stuff like this?

  7. Howdy

    This is like my morning coffee, I mean your web blog, I’ve been an ignorant on so many topics but thanks to you I learned much. Umbeliveble how I believe something and then I discover that the reality is totally different. Your articles are great to say the least. I love, love, love your blog! I love the way you write your articles by the way, you’ve done an excellent job with your website!


  8. Hi all, we came here when i did an fast google search. Neat website you got here! Keep it up!

  9. Oahu Holiday says:

    Hey there, I just wanted you to know I have subscribed to your RSS feeds because of your fantastic site layout :D . But truely, I have found your webpage has the cleanest layout I’ve came across. It really makes your website easier to read. Well I’m only supposed to be looking at work related stuff now, I’m at best Oahu sights but I will be back later.

  10. Hello. Great job on, if I wasn’t so busy with my school work I read your full site. Thanks!

  11. Hi, I have been on your page several times now. I simply wanted to say hi and gives thanks for the information offered.

  12. I really love all the things you write about on your site , and all i want to say is to keep up the good work buddy!!!

  13. whatAcity says:

    I appreciate you post. I’m glad Google pointed me to it. I was able to get the information I was looking so badly for days now. Thanks again for your great post. Regards, Nenita Giovanini

  14. Jay Pastures says:

    Thanks for posting this, it’s just what I was googling. This is why I like blogs, you get a personal opinion from someone rather than a corporation trying to sell you on something, or an idea. I’ll be reading your blog more often!

  15. The Site to look perfect. My site to stay in Blogger. 

  16. Hi, You have some really excellent articles on your blog. I also like the theme and the layout as well. excellent work!

  17. I Like this site your article is very nice , Thanks, very interesting article, keep up it coming :)

  18. Thanks for this article, I love bike riding and this was very helpful

  19. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the great work Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  20. ny credit repair…

    Kudos to the webmaster for running a fabulous site!…

  21. Thanks so much for your compliments! If you have any suggestions for topics, let me know.

  22. I work on this all the time. I approach the city like a tourist and that’s how I come up with ideas. What would I like to know about NYC?

  23. Kinet Kipmo says:

    I really enjoyed this post, especially the “examples in this post” portion which made it really easy for me to SEE what you were talking about without even having to leave the article. Thanks

  24. thanks lots, I am obliged to comment that your website is brilliant!

  25. Who wants papers when they have such a good site to read. I was really wondering on this matters so I went to Google, typed my question and voila, here I arrivied. Such a nice surprise to get to your website. Thank you for your time and for this good post. Thank you good search engine for bringing me here.


  26. Aurea Coelho says:

    found your site on today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later ..

  27. Wow man, that’s really helpful information, appreciated.

  28. dkny watches says:

    Good post, I can’t say that I agree with everything that was said, but very good information overall:)

  29. We really appreciate the feedback, thank you!

  30. Howdy there,Fantastic blog post dude! i am just Fed up with using RSS feeds and do you use twitter?so i can follow you there:D.
    PS:Do you considered putting video to this blog to keep the people more enjoyed?I think it works.Best wishes, Lesley Melgar

  31. I must say, I really enjoy your website. Maybe you could tell me how I could keeping up to date with it? I feel I should let you know I found this blog through Lycos.

  32. Loved the article. Thanks.

  33. I’d love to know what you’re offering this summer — anything free?

  34. Please sign up for the RSS feeds here and at and follow me on Twitter @merylpearlstein.

  35. Please follow me on twitter @merylpearlstein. Also take a look at

  36. Hi I found your blog on google and enjoyed reading it very much. I’ve bookmarked your site and will be back.

  37. Hi there, just doing some research for my DKNY site. Truly more information than you can imagine on the web. Wasn’t what I was looking for, but nice site. Have a great day.

  38. I’d have to check with you here. Which is not something I usually do! I really like reading a post that will make people think. Also, thanks for allowing me to speak my mind!

  39. [...] celebration started two days before. We gathered all of the children and grandchildren together and went ice skating in Central Park. Central Park has a large rink , called Wollman rink and it is less crowded than the rink at [...]

  40. [...] My favorite New York winter memory is ice skating in Wollman’s Rink in Central Park when it was an affordable place for families to take their children.  In the 1960’s, if you were able to be there before 8 AM on Sunday, admission was free and after 8 AM admission was ten cents.  Almost every Sunday during the winter when the skating rink was open my mother and I rode the bus to Fifth Avenue and walked through the park to the rink.  It was always so quiet – this was a time when all of the stores were closed on Sundays so the streets were deserted – the only people that you saw were also going to the park. Many times my mother didn’t want to spend the extra ten cents because she didn’t skate so she’d sit outside and watch me.  Many of my classmates lived very close to the park so there were always some people there that I knew but it was never crowded.  There was also a small cafeteria inside and they had the best cocoa! There was also a pond in Central Park alongside the path to get to the skating rink.  When it froze over there was a sign that skating was permitted but for most of us city kids it was too dangerous to consider. These days Wollman’s Rink is much higher priced but now there is a free rink at Bryant Park behind the Public Library which lets everyone experience ice skating in New York City – but that wonderful feeling of quiet and solitude isn’t there the way that it was. var addthis_language = 'en'; Tags: Bryant park, central park, ice skating, new york city, winter, wollman's rink Posted by Guest Blogger Print |  Email |  0 Comments [...]

  41. I think that Central Park is beautiful year round… so even in the winter it’s one of the most romantic places in the city.

  42. Personal Injury Tips says:

    Fine article. I just became aware of your website and planned to say that I have got really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Anyway I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

  43. I really appreciate this post. I’ve been looking everywhere for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You’ve made my day! Thanks again!

  44. Maxwell Polo says:

    I’ve been looking for information on this! Thanks!

  45. I like this web site so much, saved to my bookmarks.

  46. Hotels in Tbilisi says:

    I love this post!!

  47. Rosie Gongalez says:

    I was wondering if you ever considered changing the layout of your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

  48. admin says:

    What would you suggest?

  49. Ola Sabe says:

    Great stumble

Leave a Reply

Planning a trip to NYC?