Rain or Shine, We Out There: 8 Best Free Year-Round Attractions in NYC

They say the best things in life are free, and in New York City that may very well be true.

There are plenty of places in the city that are free to explore and enjoy all year round.

Whether you're looking for your new spring picnic spot, or trying to find the best place to go ice skating in the coldest months of winter, there's always something for every person in NYC.

While the possibilities of free attractions in this city are seemingly endless, we narrowed them down to eight of our year-round favorites.

1. Central Park


You may think that you've managed to take in all of Central Park during your many visits - but let's be real, there are probably parts of Central Park that you've still yet to explore.

There's plenty of new places to discover in Central Park, and it's all free of charge. You can climb on some rocks and enjoy the view of the river, or even bring a picnic and relax in the sun.

2. Coney Island Boardwalk

Coney Island is the place to be to get a bit of that boardwalk fun without necessarily leaving the city. Coney Island is packed with iconic rides and sites that'll take you hours to take in.


Once you're done exploring this NYC favorite, take a load off and relax on the beach. Or, take the time to explore some of the street art exhibits that are up this summer.

3. The High Line

If you haven't been to the High Line yet, you're seriously missing out. The High Line is the perfect way to get your 10,000 Fitbit steps in, or just go for a walk to appreciate nature. 

There are plenty of exhibits going on throughout the year at the High Line. Maybe you'll be lucky enough to stop by during an interactive lego exhibit and unleash your inner child.

4. Prospect Park

If you're ever out in Brooklyn, check out Prospect Park. There's some kind of outdoor activity for everyone offered at this park - from birdwatching, to baseball, to kayaking and paddleboating.

Prospect Park's lush greenery makes it the perfect place to settle down for a picnic. It'll allow you to enjoy more privacy than the far more crowded Central Park, while still enjoying plenty of sun and gorgeous views.

5. Roosevelt Island


If you've never been to Roosevelt Island the first thing you need to do is ride the famous tram. For the swipe of your metro card you get to soar over the Upper East Side and soak in possibly the best view of the East River around.

Once you get to the Island you can check out the North Point Lighthouse or the 'Octagon' - the remnants of what was once an island retreat, then a hospital, and is now high-end housing (no surprise there).

6. Socrates Sculpture Park


If you're trekking out to Queens Socrates Sculpture Park is definitely a spot to visit. With beautiful views and plenty to do, this park is the one to beat in Queens.

Not only is entrance to the park free, but every summer they also host a free international film festival celebrating the diversity of Queens. Check out the list of films for this years screening festival here.

7. South Street Seaport


If you ever (surprisingly) find yourself in the Financial District, you have to check out South Street Seaport.


South Street Seaport has its own take on Smorgasburg in the Fulton Street Market, along with several other stores for you to peruse at your leisure (including a Haagen Daaz store, if you choose to indulge).

8. Battery Park


Battery Park is loaded with monuments, gardens, memorials, and more. You can take in the breathtaking views of the city, or even stop at a cafe for a pick me up in between exploring.

Battery Park is a great place to explore all year round. In the summer there are plenty of music and film festivals popping up every couple of weeks, and in the winter you can try your hand at ice skating, in case ice skating in Bryant Park is a bit too crowded for your taste.

Check out 10 Best Places to Beat the Heat with Public AC This Summer in NYC.

[via Time Out] [Feature Image Courtesy Instagram] 

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