Free In NYC: 20 Summer Events That Won't Cost A Thing

With seemingly endless ways to indulge your every desire at every turn (hello $295 oyster dinner at Per Se), NYC can often seem as excessive (and inaccessible) as an episode of Gossip Girl. But no need to cue the Robin Leech imitation—we're letting you have as much summer fun as you can handle, without the $$$.
Come June, many of the city's best date and event options come at the very affordable price of FREE. Yes, free! And, obviously, we've put together an extensive list to keep you and your wallet flush all summer long. A jaunt in the park, a block party, or a music festival? Check, check, check. Champagne wishes and caviar dreams? Check.
Check out for 20 reasons you're gonna have the best (and cheapest) summer ever.
MoMA free Friday nights
This is by far the longest stretch of time for a museum’s sponsored free night. Get there early and avoid the crowds! There’s a lot to see but plenty of time to see it. Take a break in the garden or catch a film downstairs. MoMA also has one of the best museum stores around!
Where: 11 West 53rd Street (between Fifth and Sixth avenues); 212-708-9400
When: Every Friday, 4 to 8 p.m.
Laughing Lotus Yoga on the High Line
BYOM: Bring your own yoga mat. As the sun begins to set, finish your day with a deep breath. Usually directly underneath the Standard, you’ll be shaded from the blistering sun (and tourists).
Where: High Line Park (enter at Tenth Avenue at West 14th Street); 212-414-2903
When: Every Saturday, 9 to 10 a.m. through August 31
Whitney Museum pay-what-you-wish Fridays
While not exactly “free,” your conscience (and wallet!) decides what to pay! This summer, the exhibitions revolve around light and space. The “Singular Visions” exhibit showcases ten pieces alone in separate rooms, allowing you to experience the artwork like no other. If you still have trouble “getting it,” there is a free tour every day, including Fridays.
Where: 945 Madison Avenue (at 75th street); 212-570-3600
When: Every Friday, 6 to 9 p.m.
Atlantic Avenue Extravaganza
What’s a summer in Brooklyn without a block party celebrating, well, the block? Atlantic Avenue has undergone a recent makeover and, whether you’re a resident or not, everyone wants an excuse to celebrate! Come out and experience the real New York: food, fun, and a chance to meet your neighbors.
Where: Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn (between the BQUE to 4th avenue); no phone
When: Saturday, June 16, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Shakespeare in the Park
With showings almost every evening, we suggest bringing a blanket and a picnic for an alternative date idea! Celebrating fifty years, this is a NYC classic! Getting free tickets can be a little complicated but trust, it’s worth it.
Where: Delacorte Theater in Central Park; 212-529-8750
When: Now until June 29, 8 p.m.
Met Summer Concert
We might actually think watching the Met Opera is even better in the great outdoors! As part of their summer recital series, some of the finest from the Met Opera will be singing in every borough. Namely, we’re looking forward to the show in Brooklyn, behind the dramatic backdrop of the Brooklyn Bridge!
Where: Brooklyn Bridge Park; 212-362-6000
When: Friday, July 27 at 7 p.m.
Photos: Courtesy of High Line Friends, Met Opera, and Chris Lee
The Laugh Track
With no drink minimum or cover charge, watch locals duke it out for your laughs! Where: The Flat, 308 Hooper Street (between 5th and 4th streets); 718-599-5152
When: Every other Thursday, 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Philharmonic in the Park
A classic New York summer event, don’t miss the one time of the year the NY Philharmonic plays for free! Don’t forget your blankets and maybe some binoculars.
Where: Great Lawn, Central Park; 212-875-5900
When: Friday, July 13 at 8 p.m.
New Museum
Head downtown and catch the latest at the New Museum! Thursday nights are usually packed so get there early. After a healthy dose of contemporary art, enjoy a giant chocolate chip cookie (or two) from Birdbath in the lobby, one of the best in the city!
Where: 235 Bowery (at Prince street); 212-219-1222
When: Every Thursday, 7 to 9 p.m.
River to River Festival
In an effort to bring more liveliness to the financial district, the River to River Festival is hosting a number of events from art gallery exhibitions to food expos! The downtown area, since 9/11, has been quite a somber part of town. Revive this part of the city and click through for all the details.
Where: Various locations downtown; no phone
When: June 17 through July 15
Sexy Sundays at Babeland
Sure, you “just happened to be there” during these info sessions. We won’t tell. Each month features a different theme so click through for more details.
Where: 94 Rivington Street (between Ludlow and Orchard streets); 212-375-1701
When: Second Sunday of every month, 12:30 p.m.
Dance Manhattan
After dance classes are adjourned, the studio hosts a post-class soiree open to the public! Dance with professionals, semi-professionals and amateurs as they show off their new Salsa and ballroom dance moves!
Where: 39 West 19th Street (between Fifth and Sixth avenues); 212-807-0802
When: Public post-class soiree, weeknights at 9 p.m.
Photo: Courtesy of Sacks Co, The Flat BK, and NY Philharmonic
Stargazing on the High Line
Geek out with the other starry-eyed New Yorkers, if not for the cosmos, but for the hotties all along the High Line Park. Meeting every Tuesday at dusk, look for the group of people staring at the sky!
Where: Various locations at the High Line Park; no phone
When: Every Tuesday, dusk to 9 p.m.
Washington Square Music Festival
Every week, the park features a different style of music—from classical to tribal. You might just want to stick around and people watch, perhaps grabbing an ice cream cone nearby!
Where: Washington Square Park; no phone
When: Thursday, June 21 at 5 p.m.; Every Sunday in July beginning July 8 at 8 p.m.
Brooklyn Museum
The Brooklyn Museum turns into a lively space full of art enthusiasts and Manhattan transplants alike! Open until late, enjoy cocktails as you carouse through the exhibitions. We couldn’t think of a better way to experience art than with a cocktail in hand.
Where: 200 Eastern Parkway (at Washington), Brooklyn; 718-638-5000
When: Every first Saturday of the month, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Instagram NYC Exhibit
Feel like you’re an all-star instagrammer? Check out the first ever Instagram exhibition and think again, maybe? Let’s face it, posting anything on Instagram, with a filter, makes anything look amazing. See what the power of an app and a good eye for photography really does!
Where: W New York, 1567 Broadway (at 47th street); 212-930-7400
When: Daily
Craft Night in DUMBO hosted monthly by Etsy
Ever wonder how Etsy aficionados get so crafty? Learn from the locals at this monthly craft night! Supplies are included so just bring yourself and maybe a notebook to take notes. Be sure to reserve your spot!
Where: Archway, DUMBO (Under the Manhattan Bridge, between Front St. and Plymouth St.); no phone
When: Tuesday, June 26, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
When’s the last time you got on the water? Right. Try Bargemusic’s floating concert hall, a 45-minute session every Saturday afternoon. Move around the boat and catch panoramic views of lower Manhattan while you relax to chamber music.
Where: Fulton Ferry Landing (at Furman and Old Fulton streets); 718-624-2083
When: Every Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
French Films in the Park
Hosted by the French Embassy, watch (or re-watch) French classics on the green. Oui, oui! While we’re not condoning drinking in public, a glass of red wine, in the tradition of France, couldn’t hurt!
Where: Various parks around Manhattan
When: Fridays at 8:30 p.m.­
Free posters at the Chanel exhibit
Quick! Grab your free Chanel poster at this SOHO gallery. The traveling exhibition features Karl Lagerfeld's "Little Black Jacket," an ode to the classic couture and precision of Chanel's black jacket that made the label famous! You can pick your favorite poster, all of a different style icon sporting the LBJ.
Where: 18 Wooster Street (between Grand and Canal streets); no phone
When: Now until June 15
Photo: Courtesy of Justin Van Soest, Washington Square Music Festival and High Line Friends

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