NYC on a Budget: 21 Parks & Museums You Can Visit for Free

NYC on a Budget: 21 Parks & Museums You Can Visit for Free

You can pay what you wish to visit the Guggenheim Museum on Saturday afternoon. (heipei / Flickr)

New York is one of the greatest cities to visit, especially if you’re interested in art and entertainment. However, being among the most exciting cities in the world makes many NYC activities quite expensive. Since bus travel is one of the best ways to save money while traveling to New York, we thought that you might also enjoy a guide to free things to do while you’re visiting. It’s tough to keep track of all the free museum days and open parks in the city, so we’ve put together this guide to help you find a free park and museum for each day of your trip!

Some of the establishments listed below do not offer free admission in favor of pay-what-you-wish options. However, having the chance to pay just $2 to visit some of the most famous museums in the world is such a bargain that we consider it free.

Free Admission Every Day

Bronx Museum
1040 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY 10456
Admission is always free. The museum is closed on Mondays & Tuesdays.

Forbes Magazine Gallery
60 Fifth Avenue (at 12th Street), New York, NY 10011
Admission is always free. The gallery is closed on Mondays. Thursdays are reserved for guided group tours and require advanced reservations.

Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology
227 W 27th Street, New York, NY 10001
Admission is always free. The museum is closed on Sundays, Mondays & legals holidays.

National Museum of the American Indian
1 Bowling Green, New York, NY 10004
Admission is always free. The museum is closed on December 25.

Head over to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden at any point during the day on Tuesday or on Saturday morning to enter for free! (Steve Soblick / Flickr)

Free Admission on Tuesday

Brooklyn Botanic Garden
990 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225
Admission is free all day on Tuesdays, as well as Saturdays from 10 am to 12 pm.
Children under 12 & school groups: always free
Seniors: always free on Fridays

Staten Island Museum
75 Stuyvesant Place, Staten Island, NY 10301
Admission is free on Tuesdays  from 12 pm to 2 pm. Admission is free to all military personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Free Admission on Wednesday

Bronx Zoo
2300 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10460
Wednesday admission is by pay-what-you-wish donation.
Children 2 and under: always free

New York Botanical Garden
2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10458
Admission is free to everyone all day on Wednesdays, as well as Saturdays from 9 am to 10 am.
Children under 2: always free

You can pay what you wish to enter the world-famous Bronx Zoo on Wednesdays. (Joe Schulz / Flickr)

Free Admission on Thursday

Children’s Museum of the Arts
103 Charlton Street, New York, NY 10014
Thursdays from 4 pm to 6 pm: pay as you wish.
Children under 1: always free
Seniors (65+): pay as you wish

The Jewish Museum
1109 Fifth Avenue (at E 92nd Street), New York, NY 10128
Thursdays from 5 pm to 8 pm: pay what you wish
Admission is free all day on Saturdays.
Children 18 and under: always free

Museum of Arts and Design
2 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019
Thursdays from 6 pm to 9 pm: pay what you wish.
Children 18 and under: always free (this does not include groups)

Free Admission on Friday

Asia Society Museum
725 Park Avenue (at 70th Street), New York, NY 10021
Starting on Labor Day, admission will be free on Fridays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

International Center of Photography Museum
250 Bowery, New York, NY 10012
Thursdays from 6 pm to 9 pm: pay what you wish (suggested minimum: $2)
Children 14 and under: always free

The Morgan Library & Museum
225 Madison Avenue (at 36th Street), New York, NY 10016
Admission is free on Fridays from 7 pm to 9 pm
Children 12 and under: always free

Museum of Modern Art
11 W 53 Street, New York, NY 10019
Admission is free on Fridays from 4 pm to 8 pm
Children 16 and under: always free (this policy does not apply to children in groups)

Museum of the Moving Image
36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria, NY 11106
Admission is free on Fridays from 4 pm to 8 pm
Children 3 and under: always free

New York Historical Society
170 Central Park West (btwn 76th & 77th Street), New York, NY 10024
Fridays from 6 pm to 8 pm: pay as you wish
Children 4 and under: always free

Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort Street, New York, NY 10014
Fridays from 7 pm to 10 pm:  pay what you wish
Visitors 18 and under: always free

Visit the Brooklyn Museum on the first Saturday of every month (except for September) in the afternoon for free admission. (mifl68 / Flickr)

Free Admission on Saturday

Brooklyn Botanic Garden
990 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225
Admission is free on Saturdays from 10 am to 12 pm, as well as all day on Tuesdays
Children under 12 & school groups: always free
Seniors: always free on Fridays

Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY
Admission is free on the first Saturday of each month (except September) from 5 pm to 11 pm
Visitors 19 and under: always free
Visitors 62 and over: always free

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
1071 5th Avenue (at E 89th Street), New York, NY 10128
Saturdays from 5:15 pm to 7:45 pm: pay what you wish
Children under 12: always free

The Jewish Museum
1109 Fifth Avenue (at E 92nd Street), New York, NY 10128
Admission is free all day on Saturdays
Thursdays from 5 pm to 8 pm: pay what you wish

New York Botanical Garden
2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10458
Admission is free on Saturdays from 9 am to 10 am, as well as all day on Thursdays.
Children under 2: always free

Free Admission on Sunday

The Frick Collection
1 E 70th Street, New York, NY 10021
Sundays from 11 am to 1 pm: pay what you wish

If you’re looking for other smart ways to save while visiting New York, check out our piece on 5 easy ways to enjoy NYC without going broke.

Now that you have all the information you need to travel to New York on a budget, it’s time to book your bus or train ticket to NYC. At Wanderu, we make that not only easy but also really affordable!

Having lived in some of the greatest cities in the world, Staffo has always had a soft spot for travel and adventures. Instead of hitting the usual tourist attractions, though, Staffo prefers to make friends with local people and check out fun places and activities that are not in the travel books.