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Print by Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co (courtesy of Pinkolive.com)

New York City is not cheap. We all know that.

With record breaking rental rates and groceries you’d think were made of gold because they’re so damn expensive, it’s difficult to have any money left to actually do things that take the stress away from these “adulting” necessities.

But don’t fret, I’m here to share the top five free/cheap things you can do to live in the great city of Gotham and still live like a boss.

  1. Making the most of museums – New York City is the mecca of museums. From the Frick to MET, MOMA, Guggenheim and everything in between, some of the world’s greatest collections belong to NYC! And while frolicking in the Frick on any given day can typically set you back two Hamilton’s ($22…hey, that’s at least one bag of kale and some coffee), on the first Friday’s of every month, it’s “pay as you wish” (yes, you can choose $0!).  And that’s not the only institution that participates in such niceties, so do more than 35 city spots – https://www.nyc-arts.org/collections/35/free-museum-days-or-pay-what-you-wish
  2. Get Going – Getting charged to go to the gym is so last year. With many exercise entities charging you well over $100 for basic membership, who even has the stamina to work out after that sticker shock? With fabulous free classes around the city like sunset salsa in Hudson River Park, free Yoga among your fellow Midtowners at Bryant Park, or a super cool (and much needed) Self Defense class in the Lower East side, there are no room for excuses here! So pack your workout clothes and your positive attitude, it’s time to sweat! For more free classes in and around NYC, visit Shape Up NYC.
  3. Eat (and drink) Your Heart Out – Ahhhh, New York City, the capital of crazy good cuisine. And while this marvelous metropolis has some of the most amazing things you ever indulged in, you don’t have to spend your life savings to eat well. Let’s take John’s of Bleecker for example. For less than $30, you can enjoy one of the best pizzas of your life and a bottle of wine in a historical NYC restaurant. How? You ask. John’s is one of the many New York City restaurants allowing you to BYOB for a nominal (and I mean nominal charge)! And if pizza ain’t your thing, you can look up one of the hundreds of restaurants that offer amazing dinner deals with things like “buy one, get one” taco on Taco Tuesday. Alternatively, you can pick up a bag of your favorite food items and head to the park for a good ol’ fashion picnic. Oh, and did I forget to mention the hundreds of street fairs offering some of the best bites around? Finally, places like wine and liquor stores often have tastings to share with their patrons. Forget your neighborhood pub and pop into the local liquor store!
  4. Entertainment and events – Whether you’re a movie master, a street art aficionado or an outdoor enthusiast, there are certainly no shortage of free and fun things for you to do in the city.  For starters, summer is a great time to experience “movies in the park” offered by city green spaces like Bryant Park, McCarren Park and even on a rooftop (think Azul at the Hugo Hotel).  But if you don’t like to lounge around and are more of an active type, there’s a ton of street art and art galleries to explore, free kayaking and even free concerts! Oh, and for you Broadway buffs, Broadway For Broke People is an amazing site where you can enter a lottery for some amazingly good cheap broadway tickets!
  5.  Educational and Enlightening – Every New Yorker has a passion, a side hustle or just straight up infinite curiosity. So why not satiate that hunger for knowledge by learning a new language, picking up a new hobby or sitting down to learn a new skill? With endless options of free classes & workshops throughout the city, not only will you not be bored, you’ll be building a better version of yourself. Things like language class at the library, digital workshops at one of nine Apple stores in the city, or one of 800 free classes with NYC Department of Education are all great ways to develop the You 2.0. (Also check out Club Free Time for different options).

For more ideas on how to live like a local on a dime, visit www.timeout.com or CheapInTheCity.com’s 101 Free Things to do in NYC. Happy hunting!

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