5 Great Free / Inexpensive Hangouts in NYC

New York is notoriously expensive, but there are still great cheap and free things to do here. This is just a short list, but in a couple months I’ve already found a couple of amazing places that I go regularly without burning a hole through my wallet, and I hope you check them out too.

1. Fort Tryon Park

Cliffs, gardens, expansive views of the Hudson River, a medieval-style abbey—and it’s all in Manhattan! Well, it’s at the tip-top of Manhattan, but trust me, it’s worth the trip. I’m lucky enough to live very close to Fort Tryon Park, and it’s the perfect getaway from the city while still being in the city.

2. Breukelen Happy Hour

This Williamsburg spot is really more of a beer store than a bar, so whenever I’ve gone it’s been pretty calm. More’s the pity, though—they always have excellent, frequently rotating beers on tap, and if you can catch the happy hour it’s $3 per pint. Not too shabby. Their selection of bottles is enormous. Many of these are more expensive imports, but they have just about everything if there’s something in particular you must have—including my beloved Schneider Weisse.


Architecture along the High Line.

3. The High Line

This is obvious, but it’s so cool it can’t go without being mentioned. The High Line, for those not in the know, is an elevated train line-turned-modern-park on the West Side, and it’s a lovely place for a walk. Also, in the summer, it’s one of the best places in the city to get a cool breeze.

4. El Malecon

This place is amazing. It’s a Dominican place in Washington Heights, by which I mean the Dominican place in Washington Heights. Their now-famous chicken deserves all the love it gets—tender and juicy with caramelized crispy skin, with a bright lime-cilantro sauce. Okay, now I’m just hungry. But their prices are unbeatable, the food is delicious, and if you live within 15 blocks of their 175th Street location, they deliver.

5. Poets House

This little building on River Terrace overlooking the Hudson is one of my favorite places in the city. It’s a free poetry library, with space to read and study. They also host a lot of free events with the biggest names in poetry.

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