For anyone moving to the big city, New York can be intimidating. The subway system takes a while to master and memorize. The crowds are hard to get used to. The city’s notoriously expensive. Not only that, but it literally never sleeps — expect to be doing something just about every night. If you’re lost, check out this list of fun (and affordable) things to do in New York City:
For a trip through time, take a ferry to Ellis Island and see the Statue of Liberty up close and personal. As someone new to New York, it’s a must-see. While there, you can also bet admission into the Staten Island Museum, the facilities which processed hundreds of thousands of immigrants coming from Europe in the early 1900s. It’s important to book your trip in advance to avoid having to go through third-parties on the street who hike up ticket prices. The National Park Service has information on the different ticket tiers, but a special note is that children four and under get free admission. If you want to bring your family in tow, try this first!
If you’re looking for a weekend day trip, get your grub on at Smorgasburg. The New York Times calls Smorgasburg “the Woodstock of eating.” The market launched in 2011 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and has since expanded to a weekend event that attracts up to 30,000 people. It’s a great place to try new food and learn about new restaurants. Smorgasburg happens every Saturday in Williamsburg and Sunday in Prospect Park 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Moma PS1 Warm Up
Ready to add a little NYC culture to your life? Try going to one of the MoMA PS1 Warm Up concert series. It’s celebrating its 20th season this year, and it features the best live and electronic artists from around the globe. Warm up takes place every weekend through September, and tickets are $18 on the day of the show for students with a valid ID.
If you need to get some green in your life, take some time to visit the New York Botanical Garden. Make sure to plan some time for the visit, as the garden is the largest in any city in the U.S. There’s a lot to explore, making it a great date spot too. This summer is featuring sculptures by artist Dale Chihuly. Called “CHIHULY,” the installation is the artist’s first major garden exhibition in 10 years. His work is easy to spot, with vibrant colors and unique shapes. Another must-see exhibit is the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden — if you go during the summer, 650 types of roses will be in bloom.
Stop by the High Line park and gaze at the stars. Built atop a decommissioned railway, the 1.45-mile park features outdoor art installations, stellar views of Manhattan’s skyline, and the chance to stand above the honking and exhaust of the crowded streets. Every Tuesday, the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York brings high-tech telescopes so everyone has a chance to look at the night sky. The event is free, and the association invites stargazers to stay afterward for dinner and dessert. It’s a great way to spend some time outdoors and see a cityscape lit by stars. Definitely worth a try during the summer months.
While we’re on the summer topic, cool off and head to Coney Island. The theme park at the island dates back to the late 1800s, but the rides have since been updated. It’s worth stopping by Luna Park to ride the historic Cyclone Roller Coaster and The Mighty Thunderbolt. There are plenty of other activities on Coney Island, including the New York Aquarium and the boardwalk. If you go, you have to try a Nathan’s Famous Hotdog. It was created by the hosts of the annual Hot Dog Eating Contest every Fourth of July, so it’s kind of a big deal.
If you’re looking to get competitive, why not do a little rock climbing? Get some exercise with a nice view of the city at Dumbo Boulders. The climbing area is the largest outdoor bouldering facility in the U.S. The entire facility can fit about 250 climbers. The climbing area comes with a view of the East River and the Brooklyn Bridge. Be sure to let staff know if you are a first time climber so they can ensure you’re safe and show you the ropes. A day pass for the bouldering walls is $9 and includes rental shoes.
Vans House Parties
Check out one of the Vans House Parties at a footwear warehouse in Brooklyn. The parties are massive and well-known throughout the city. The shows are free for anyone to join — all you have to do is RSVP.