5 Free or Low Cost NYC Fun Ideas You’ll Love Me For

If you’re like me, you like to have fun. You like to go out, have a good time and really live it up—but spending money all the time isn’t always practical when you live in a place like New York City. So, I’m dedicating this post to all you Frugalista’s who aim to have fun on a budget.

I’m going to forego the all-to-obvious routes of fun on a budget like use of groupons, living social deals and other such discounts with hopes that you already subscribe to and regularly peruse those deals, so that I can spend more time telling you about lesser known venues.

1. Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). During the Fall, Winter and Spring BAM offers free concerts (and sometimes comedy shows) in their upstairs cafe’.   These shows typically start at 9pm on a Friday and Saturday night. You should arrive about 8pm in order to ensure you get a seat. Food and drinks are available for purchase, but are not mandatory. Check the calendar regularly for acts you might like.  As an added bonus, in the summer they continue to have concerts. These concerts are outdoors, typically during the day, and at Brooklyn’s Metro Tech.

2. Theatre Development Fund (tdf.org). If you’re from the NYC area or have visited, you’re familiar with the booth in the middle of Times Square (and Downtown Brooklyn), where you can purchase same day surplus theatre tickets at a discounted rate.  But did you know you can also purchase them on their site? Get a $30 annual membership and you can purchase from the convenience of your home days before the event.  And, I’ll do even do you one better…(see next tip).

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3. Off-Off Broadway Shows.  I love shows and I never really care about whether it’s Broadway or not—they all make me happy. If you share the same enthusiasm, the tdf.org $30 annual membership is soooooo worth it for you.  Daily they have off-off Broadway shows available for $9 per person.  (That’s less than seeing a movie!!!)

4. Restaurant.com. Over 10 years ago I stumbled on this little gem. On their site, you can get restaurant gift certificates in your own neighborhood, even—for a really discounted rate (example: $5 for a $25 restaurant gift certificate). BUT even better than that…they like to sell on ebay.  There have been plenty of times when I’ve won $25,$50 or $100 gift cards for $1.

5. NYCgo.com. This fun site will tell you what’s free this week, as well as things that are regularly free in NYC. Options range from free museums and attractions to show tapings such as, 106 & Park, Inside the Actor’s Studio and Live! With Kelly and Michael.

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6. First Fridays. Many museums sponsor First Friday events in NYC.  The Museum of Modern Art, Brooklyn Museum, The Schomburg,  and The Museum of Arts and Design are just a few.  The First Friday of the month, these museums offer free admission to see their exhibits and often end with a DJ and good music.  Just google First Fridays in NYC and you’ll have enough to do all year round. Depending on which Museum, First Friday events are well known and well attended, so make sure you go nice and early before the real crowd comes.

Hope you’ve enjoyed these fun tips. Feel free to share this post widely, as well as add to the list by sharing your tips in the comment section below. 

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