The Best Places to Visit (and Things to See) in NYC for FREE

June 19, 2021 | Sarah Funky

New York is the most expensive city in the United States both for residents, as well as tourists. However, it still offers plenty of free attractions and sites for tourists to visit and see. These places, by the way, are no ordinary locations in New York City. They are world-famous, and millions of people from all across the globe come to NYC just to witness these mesmerizing sites. 

nyc 230 fifth rooftop
Photo/230 Fifth Rooftop Bar

Of all the places and sites in New York City that you can visit for free, here are some of the best ones that you must experience. 

Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge Park

The Brooklyn Bridge is an iconic landmark in NYC. When it was completed in 1883, the bridge had a central span of 1,595 feet, which at that time made it the world’s longest suspension bridge. Every day, this bridge sees local and foreign tourists flock on and around it to witness one of the finest construction projects this country has ever seen. Want to learn more about the Brooklyn Bridge and other NYC history? Then join my Secrets of New York tour.   

Besides the bridge, there is Brooklyn Bridge Park that you should also check out. It will not give you a vibe similar to that of Central Park, but it still holds a lot of merit to it. There are plenty of attractions within the park itself, like Jane’s Carousel, which is a merry-go-round from the 1920s that has since been restored to its former glory.

Central Park

NYC’s Central Park is a national historic landscape. Every year, the park sees millions of people roaming around on its grounds. Before the pandemic, the park grounds would hold concerts, theater productions, fairs, and a lot of other noteworthy events. Central Park is so big that you cannot explore the entirety of it in a single day.

Rock Staircase in Central Park.
Rock Staircase in Central Park. Photo by Laura Peruchi

You can enjoy a visit to Central Park any time of the year, as long as the weather in NY is somewhat sunny, and the temperature is not that high. Do check the weather forecast for NYC before you plan any sort of activity or visit the park. Avoid heavy rain or snowfall if you can. Otherwise, you might not be able to explore the whole park.

Flatiron Building

New York City has some stunning architecture for you to experience. Some are big, some are aesthetic. And some are downright odd – like the Flatiron building. 

This peculiar-looking structure stands 87 feet tall (22 stories) but is only 6.5 feet wide. Standing in front of it, you will feel as if the building was nothing but a straight line dividing a single lane of the road into two. It is this oddness of the Flatiron building that attracts so many people. The visit may not feel special to you, but it will surely give you a good idea as to how the odd and the practical often end up colliding in NY.

Tina Lee and Elona in the Flatiron District
Tina Lee and Elona in the Flatiron District

Empire State Building

It has been almost ten decades since the Empire State Building was erected in New York City. And to this day, this magnificent structure still manages to impress anyone who takes a glance at it. Even though it lost its status as the tallest building in the world, the Empire State Building still stands tall and proud at the center of this urban jungle.

nyc top of the rock
Photo by Jonathan Riley on Unsplash

The view from the top of the building is just as mesmerizing as the architectural beauty of the building itself. It feels somewhat soothing to just look at the NY skyline from the top floor of the Empire State Building. The top floor view, although not free, is still a small investment that you might want to make if you would like to have the full experience of that place.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC opened its doors to worshippers in the late 1800s. It has a Gothic Revival structure with a marble finish and is surrounded by tall skyscrapers all around it. This helps the cathedral to stand out even in a city like New York.

The main doors of the cathedral are made of bronze decorations that feature prominent historical figures of the Catholic world, which also include St. Patrick. These doors weigh just under 10,000 pounds. All in all, St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a structure that is bound to take your breath away.

So what do you think? Are these places not worthy of your visit? Why, of course, they are! You would not want to miss a trip to NYC for the world. And for an NYC experience that will not trouble your wallets, do not forget to check these places out.

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