It seems that New York City gets even more crowded during the holidays. With three of the busiest airports in the country and some of the best shopping in the world, it’s no wonder that people flock to this bastion of excess. Despite its reputation as an expensive city, New York has more than its fair share of fun and free things to do.
The country’s first public park, Central Park is one of the most beautiful in the world and a great place to spend your time in the Big Apple. As fall foliage starts to change colors and, well, fall from the treetops, you’ll know what a unique place it is—and if you’re lucky enough to experience a snowfall in New York, you’ll find Central Park transformed into a real-life winter wonderland of sled hills, ice rinks, and snow-covered paths.
In the same vein, if you’re looking to learn to lutz, you can practice your figure eights at The Pond at Bryant Park. The ice rink is open 8am-10pm and is free—of course! Skates can be rented on the premises, so the only requirements are some warm socks and your favorite skating threads.
For those of you who cringe at the thought of sequined outfits, fear not. You can peruse the finest finery in the fashion capital of the world at the Museum at FIT. And if art is your passion, you are in luck, as New York is the epicenter for fine galleries that welcome you to peruse some of the hottest works around without admission fees (just be aware that many galleries are closed Sundays and Mondays).
Of course, you can also utilize NYC’s massive population and just go people-watching. One of the best places for this is also one of the best places to get a bowl of bone-warming soup or to find great deals on designer-knock-off outerwear. We mean, of course, Chinatown. With all the hustle and bustle to keep you in the New York mindset, Manhattan’s Chinatown is the largest in the Western world and will surely delight—if not overwhelm—your senses.
And if hoofing it around Manhattan proves to be too taxing for your feet and your patience, consider stepping back and taking in the island from the outside. For exactly $0—a great price no matter what the exchange rate—you can enjoy one of the finest vistas of the metropolis. Simply hop a ride on the Staten Island Ferry. With over a hundred trips a day and refreshments available on board, the view and the price may just float your boat.