As Summer gets into full swing, there is more to do for free in the city than just enjoying the greenery of the numerous parks and the High Line. This summer you can get fit, get cultured, go clubbing or just enjoy some downtime for free at various events throughout the city. Rain or shine there’s something to do! Here’s our Untapped roundup of the events to hit up.
If it’s more of a ‘work hard, party hard’ after-work scene you’re looking for, from Gstaad in Chelsea, to subMercer in Soho there are a host of free club nights playing out afterhours within the city.
As the nights get balmier, why pay to sit in a cold movie theater when you can watch a free film under the stars? Take in the views on Monday nights in Bryant Park, Thursdays at Brooklyn Bridge Park and starting in July Hudson River Park accommodates to both adults on a Wednesday and kids on a Friday. Although not a park setting, a more unique experience can be had at ‘The Intrepid’ . And finally for those who feel like practicing their French, the alliance franÃ§aise hosts French film nights in various parks around the city throughout the summer.
The Chelsea Music Festival boasts some exciting concerts scattered all over trendy Chelsea bringing together music, the visual arts and the culinary for a unique experience. Although not all events are free, there are a few that are.
For something more relaxed and different, Fridays from 7pm see the Hudson River Park crawling with people relaxing after work to watch the sunset to live music.
Lincoln Center also opens its doors on Thursday nights with international, national and local artists playing a whole range of music from different genres at the Daniel Rubenstein Atrium.
Summerstage occurs in parks all over the city, bringing a variety of genres of the arts for free at various locations whatever the weather. Dance Troops include the Decadancetheatre and Germaul Barnes/Viewsic Expression Dance and The Restoration Dance to name but a few, and come rain or shine all the shows will attempt to play out. BAM is also holding a concert series in Brooklyn. As the oldest performing arts center, the shows of the new up and coming artists are not to be missed.
The annual tradition of Shakespeare in the Park is now its 50th Season. The venue is located in the Delacorte Theater in Central Park and showcases not just Shakespeare (and when they do Shakespeare it is not always in the traditional sense!), but also other newer plays such as this year’s production of ‘Into the Woods’. Warning: the line for tickets is usually epically long.
And if you just need a laugh in your life, there are a whole host of free stand up comedy events on offer to help you unwind after work.
This weekend, June 9-10, hosts a more alternative artistic experience on Governors Island with the Figment art project. The event runs Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm and is a ‘participatory art and culture’ event. Visitors are encouraged to bring things to make their day enjoyable such as outdoor games or picnics, and enjoy being surrounded by the large-scale artworks.
More conventional, and for those rainy days and even for when the summer draws to a close, the doors of certain museums on Manhattan are open either for free most days, or with a ‘pay what you wish’ system. The list includes the Guggenheim Soho, the Whitney Museum at Philip Morris and the Jewish Museum, as well as the Met, the Frick, the Guggenheim and the Museum of Natural History operating on a ‘pay as you wish’ system. Further museums have weekly ‘free evenings’, such as the MOMA on Fridays from 4-8pm, as well as the New Museum of Contemporary Art on Thursdays from 7-9pm. Just be prepared to wait on line!
For a less museum type art experience, wandering around Chelsea’s galleries for an insight of what is going on in the art market is also worth a peek.
Aside from the traditional running through central park or along the waterfront there are other ways of getting fit on offer. With Brooklyn Bridge Park offering Yoga and Pilates on Tuesday Evenings from 7-8pm and from 5.30 on Thursdays at Hudson River Park, one wonders why become zen in a stuffy studio when you can do it surrounded by nature?
Hudson River Park offers two more weekly work outs in the form of Bootcamp at 6.30 on Tuesdays (although it is limited to 75 people so RSVP-ing is necessary), and dancing the night away on Sunday nights again from 6.30 with lessons in salsa, tango and swing on offer.
Bryant Park also hosts a wide variety of different sports for free, a bit out of the ordinary is their free beginner fencing lessons on Wednesdays.
And if it’s water sports you are looking for ‘The Downtown Boathouse’ offers free kayaking in the Hudson.
Food & Drink
And since you’ll be doing all that exercise, treat yourself to a free meal at one of the numerous markets, in particular Brooklyn’s weekly Saturday Smorgasburg. It isn’t a free for all on food, but one could happily spend the day playing tapas style on free samples at the various stalls!