How to Enjoy Manhattan on a Budget

Free and Low-Cost Activities in Manhattan NYC

How to Enjoy Manhattan on a Budget

Where to Spend a Rainy Day: MOMA, Grand Central “Station”, Chrysler Building

New York is the city of dreams, and enjoying the city without spending a fortune (or nothing at all) is very much a reality.

Here are some of the best free things to do in Manhattan on a cold or rainy day.

Chrysler Building

Museum of Modern Art (MOMA): Free Fridays

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) offers one of the largest collections of modern and contemporary art, including paintings, sculpture, photography, prints, film, and electronic media. On Fridays, from 4 to 8 p.m., the MOMA offers free admission. Individuals interested in attending during these hours are asked to line up on West 53rd Street, between Fifth and Sixth Ave.

Grand Central Terminal

Often, and incorrectly, referred to as “Grand Central Station,” Grand Central Terminal, is one of New York City’s greatest architectural gems. While the millions that pass through the terminal each day may be in too much of a hurry to notice its rich details, one can easily spend the day staring up at the restored ceiling, discovering the “whisper gallery” outside of the Oyster Bar, exploring Grand Central Market, or simply people watching.

The Chrysler Building

Often overshadowed by the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building remains a true New York gem. The skyscraper was built between 1928 and 1930, has 77 stories, and is 1046 feet tall. It was once the tallest building in the world before the Empire State Building was built, and features stainless-steel eagle heads and Chrysler radiator caps, which makes it one of the largest art-deco projects ever created. While the Chrysler Building lacks an observation deck, the lobby of the Chrysler Building is worth a visit to see the ceiling mural. The lobby is open to the public Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Best Free Outdoor Things to Do in Manhattan

Central Park

A true oasis in the urban jungle, Central Park features 843 acres of gardens, open spaces, water, and pathways that are meant for exploring. Stretching from 59th Street to 125th Street, the park is a great place to picnic, bicycle, rollerblade, and even see classic theatre. The Central Park Conservancy’s free walking tours are a great way to get acquainted with Central Park. To arrange a walking tour, or for more information, visit

The Staten Island Ferry

While it may not be the most glamorous ride, the Staten Island Ferry’s free ride offers spectacular views of Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and downtown Manhattan. The ferry operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For a schedule or more information, visit

Times Square

Though often crowded and filled with “tourist traps,” Times Square remains one of Manhattan’s most popular spots. Its glowing lights, Broadway shows, and abundance of shops and restaurants attract over 26 million people from around the world each year. The newly reconstructed Duffy Square provides a great spot to stop and unwind, and buy a half-price ticket to same-day performances of a Broadway show.

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