New York City can be an expensive place to visit, but you can save some money by sticking to these free attractions.
The Big Apple, the City That Never Sleeps, the Center of the Universe – no matter what you call it, New York City is undeniably one of the most influential cities in the world. It's a global hub for finance, fashion, film, music and culture, attracting some 50 million visitors each year for both business and vacation. It can also be an incredibly expensive place to visit, but you can keep your expenses at a minimum with a little advanced planning and this list of fun and free activities:
Explore Central Park
It doesn't cost a penny to discover the beauty of one of the city's most famous sites: Central Park. This green landscape, spanning 843 acres, serves as a delightful respite from the urban bustle with colorful blooms, tranquil ponds and lakes, soothing fountains and plenty of people-watching opportunities. Walk the grounds to see spots features in a multitude of classic films, such as "An Affair to Remember" and "Annie Hall." Pack a picnic to enjoy on the ledge of the famous Bethesda Fountain, where street performers often put on engaging spectacles. Depending on when you come, you may also catch a free Shakespeare production at the park's Delacorte Theater.
See a Television Show Taping
New York City is second only to Hollywood when it comes to movie and television filming. Residents and visitors alike can join the audience of popular TV show tapings for free. a plethora of shows including "Good Morning America," "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," "The People's Court," "Saturday Night Live" and "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" all welcome guests into the studio. Visitors may want to catch a filming of Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" – the famed political satirist/TV host is expected to leave the show before he takes over for David Letterman on the "Late Show." Keep in mind that some shows have a long wait for tickets, so you may want to check with the studio and reserve yours in advance. However, those wait last minute may be able to snag standby tickets with a short wait in line.
Tour the Brooklyn Brewery
Beer fans won't want to miss out on a no-cost tour of the Brooklyn Brewery, available every half-hour starting on Saturdays (from 1 to 5 p.m.) and Sundays (from 1 to 4 p.m.). Take a peek behind the scenes to see how brewmasters craft their nationally renowned beers and learn about its interesting history – the brewery, which was opened in 1987, developed its beers under guidelines of Bavarian purity laws, which stated that only water, yeast, hops, wheat and malted barley could be used in the process. Afterward, stop by the tasting room for a fresh ale and some mingling among the locals. The brewery doesn't accept advanced reservations for these tours, so you may want to arrive early to ensure a spot.
Stroll Through the New York Public Library
Spending an afternoon at the library might not seem exciting, but the New York Public Library is magnificent structure that everyone should see once in a lifetime. Also known as the Stephen A Schwarzman Building, it greets patrons with two majestic marble lions (Patience and Fortitude) at the entrance. Walk through to find the massive reading room adorned with antique lamps and intriguing exhibits, such as a copy of the Declaration of Independence and hundreds of thousands of old maps. Architecture buffs will especially love this establishment – the 100-year-old building is ornately designed in the Beaux-Arts style. Come Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a free guided tour.