Free Things To Do in Manhattan

Take a stroll around Central Park

Even if you weren't on a budget, I'd still recommend a stroll in Central Park. The 843 acres of land is right in the middle of Manhattan. It's the world's largest urban public park.

Before Central Park existed, Manhattan was experiencing exponential population growth. Citizens were noticing the large amounts of crowds. To get some air and privacy, people would begin visiting cemeteries. The city council began to notice the tiring effects on people. In 1857, Central Park was constructed. In 1962, it became a National Historic Landmark.

Inside Central Park, you'll find the Central Park Conservatory Garden, the Central Park Zoo, a few ice skating rinks, and Belvedere Castle. Throughout the year there are several events, ranging from open-air musical concerts to Shakespeare plays. Check the official Central Park website to see if any free events occur during your visit.

Walk around Times Square

Times Square is the brightly illuminated intersection of the Broadway district. The intersection was named after the newspaper corporation, the New York Times, which resides at the One Times Square building. That building might sound familiar to you. It's where the giant ball drops every New Year's Eve.

Times Square attracts close to 40 million tourists every year. All around the intersection are giant electronic billboards, advertising famous brands we all know. Along the streets are popular shops and Broadway theaters. Take the time to explore Times Square. If you have some change, grab a cheap pretzel or hot dog at one of the food carts.

Visit Grand Central Terminal

Back when trains were the most popular form of long distance travel, Grand Central Terminal was the most crowded train station in the United States. It's still popular, though now it's mostly used by daily commuters getting to work.

With 44 platforms and 67 tracks, Grand Central Terminal is the largest train station in the world by number of platforms. Grand Central Terminal spans about 48 acres. Inside, you'll find fast food meant for busy commuters. Around Grand Central Terminal, you'll also find plenty of souvenir shops.

Wander inside Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center is home to quite a few NBC Studio shows including all of the late night talk shows and Saturday Night Live. Before your visit, check NBC's websites to see if you can get tickets to one of these shows. Wander inside the complex to feel what it's like at this important media hub.

Outside Rockefeller Center is the popular ice rink. Here, you'll find families and children enjoying winter time. Outside the building, you'll also find the giant sign for Radio City Music Hall. This auditorium housed artists like Fitzgerald and Sinatra.

Look straight above at the middle of Rockefeller Center and you'll see a 872 feet tall skyscraper. That's the GE Building. In 2005, they built an observation deck and named it Top of the Rock. The view on that deck rivals the view on top of the Empire State Building.

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