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News / Life / Travel

Save money in NYC this summer

By Donald Wood, TravelPulse
Published: July 8, 2023, 6:40am

For travelers considering a trip to New York City this summer, there is plenty to do in the city that never sleeps. They’ll also be in good company: The city is on track to welcome 63.3 million visitors in 2023.

New York City Tourism + Conventions, the official destination marketing organization and convention and visitors bureau for the five boroughs of New York City, is spotlighting a selection of free and affordable experiences for visitors to enjoy this summer.

“New York City offers something for everyone, no matter your interests, the length of your trip or your budget — there is more to see and do here than in virtually any other city in the world,” said Fred Dixon, President and CEO of New York City Tourism + Conventions. “During the summer months, NYC is buzzing with street festivals, outdoor dining and cultural offerings, in addition to beautiful parks, beaches and green space. We invite visitors to take advantage of the value of a summer visit to NYC and enjoy the many fantastic free and affordable activities on offer across all five boroughs.”

What follows are some upcoming free or low-cost activities:

Annual events

  • SummerStreets returns on select Saturdays this summer, offering miles of open streets to play, walk and bike. The program comes to Queens and Staten Island on July 29; Manhattan on Aug. 5, 12 and 19; and Brooklyn and the Bronx on Aug. 26.
  • From Aug. 10-20, the 48th annual Harlem Week will highlight the neighborhood’s rich cultural heritage, with celebrations including live music, dance performances, dining offerings, shopping and more.
  • Take the subway (just $2.75 one way) to Brooklyn for the West Indian American Day Carnival, which kicks off August 31. Festivities culminate in the parade on Sept. 4.

Celebrate hip-hop’s beginnings

  • Hip-Hop started in New York City 50 years ago, on Aug. 11, 1973. Celebrations include free concerts such as “Birth of a Culture,” Grandmaster Flash and Friends in the Bronx’s Crotona Park on Aug. 4, and BRIC Hip-Hop 50th Anniversary Weekend on Aug. 11-12.
  • Beatstro, the hip-hop inspired Mott Haven restaurant, offers a menu blending Southern comfort and Puerto Rican cuisine. Visit for happy hour from 4-8 p.m. or a Beats n’ Brunch on weekends.
  • Join expert dance instructors for free Dance in Times Square Ailey Extension classes, including a Hip-Hop 50th Anniversary Celebration on Aug. 10.

Restaurant Week returns

  • NYC Restaurant Week is back! The biannual dining program returns this summer from July 24–Aug. 20 with hundreds of restaurants across the five boroughs offering prix-fixe menus for lunch and dinner. A full list of participating eateries will be available July 6 at nyctourism.com/restaurantweek.

Go island, beach hopping

  • Surrounded by water, the city is a collection of islands. All five boroughs are connected by the NYC Ferry, which costs $4 one way.
  • Brooklyn’s beachfront Coney Island neighborhood is perhaps best known for its boardwalk, with its Cyclone and Thunderbolt roller coasters, the Wonder Wheel, other amusement rides and games, and Nathan’s Famous hot dogs.
  • Orchard Beach in the Bronx, once known as “The Riviera of New York City,” sits on the Long Island Sound and offers view of City Island — the borough’s fishing village.
  • Pay a visit to Manhattan’s new public park, Little Island, which offers free access to waterfront views, interactive art, performances and events.
  • Another summer favorite is Governors Island, a car-free island with walking and biking paths, a hammock grove and food trucks. Governors Island Arts’ free events and workshops take place on the third Saturday of each month, from May through October.
  • In Queens, the Rockaways are home to NYC’s only surfing beaches. Enjoy the sand and surf and be sure to grab lunch at Tacoway Beach.
  • Hop on the free Staten Island Ferry from Lower Manhattan and soak in views of the Statue of Liberty before visiting South Beach and Midland Beach. These waterfront neighborhoods offer beaches, a 2.5-mile boardwalk and a fishing pier.

Outdoor entertainment

  • Outdoor performances are a summer staple in NYC. Central Park’s beloved Shakespeare in the Park will feature performances of Hamlet, on view for free at the Delacorte Theater through Aug. 6.
  • Enjoy free concerts in parks across all five boroughs with Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage, with performances spanning a wide variety of musical genres.
  • BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! is celebrating its 45th season at the Lena Horne Bandshell in Prospect Park. Still to come in this year’s lineup are free shows by NxWorries, made up of Kelela (July 8); Marcia Griffiths (July 15); The Wallflowers (July 27); Jorge Drexler (Aug. 3); The Head and the Heart (Aug. 24); and more.
  • Catch a free movie, with outdoor screenings by Film at Lincoln Center now on view through September 1; Flicks on the Beach in Coney Island starting July 10 with a lineup including films for the whole family to enjoy; and Movies With A View on Thursdays from July 6–Aug. 24 in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Public art

  • NYC is one of the world’s great culture capitals, from museums and galleries to the extraordinary public art programming found citywide.
  • The Public Art Fund brings free, contemporary art exhibitions to the public, with works currently on view in NYC parks, on bus shelters and in transit hubs including LaGuardia.

Visit nyctourism.com for more see and do in New York City.