Whenever I tell someone I go to school in NYC, they say something along the lines of "Wow! That must be so much fun! There's so much to do there!" Which is completely valid, unless you're a struggling college student.
Even if you don't have lots of money to spend on places to eat and go, there's still a plethora of activities and opportunity that is a great city and surrounding boroughs has to offer! I've compiled a list of some of my favorite things to do to help out anyone that is still struggling with finding what they like to do in the city.
1. Free film screenings and Q&A's
I've recently subscribed to the Lincoln Film Society's email list and let me tell you, it's paid off big time. As a student, there are many things we can take advantage of, like joining memberships for the cost of nothing! (Except all that NYU tuition). Anyways, this year I've gotten to attend films at the New York Film Festival for literally no money other than the train ride to get up to Lincoln Center so all in all worth it!
2. Walk bridges with friends!
If you're looking for something to do and you have your best friends with you, I'll give you one word of advice: walk! And walk a bridge for that matter! It doesn't matter which one, just see the city from a different perspective and have great conversations with your friends. It's always a great time even when the Q Train keeps rushing past you.
3. The High Line, of course
The High Line is just fun, alright? You can walk and talk and people watch. In the fall, it makes for a perfect day. You can even chill in Chelsea Market or go to the hundreds of free art galleries in the streets of Chelsea. Also, the city view from the High Line at night and attempting to stargaze is always a fun time.
4. Spend a day in Central Park
Like, duh. You can spend hours in this beautiful park alone or with a group of friends. It's good for every season, too! My first year in NYC, I went at the start of each season and noticed how much it changed and it's just fun, okay! Central Park is always full of free activities too, so stay tuned for that!
5. Friday nights at the MOMA
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS! Every Friday night the MOMA is free and open to the public! Even though it's crowded, it's still a prime time to visit one of the best museums in NYC for no cost at all! They also have free screenings and Q&A's of movies too!
6. Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Audrey McLaughlin en route to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.
The only con I'll say in this one is: don't go when it's still winter. Or do, but it isn't as cool. I made that mistake of hauling all of my friends and visiting family to the gardens during winter without somehow realizing that none of the plants would be like pretty and blooming, but nevertheless still had a great day!
7. Yoga to the People!
Free yoga? Every day of the week? And weekends? Don't mind if I do! Yoga to the People is located all around the city and free of charge, unless of course you use a mat or are kind hearted enough to offer a donation. It's a great time with a completely non-judgemental atmosphere to just chill and do your own thing!
8. Roosevelt Island Tramway
This is one of my favorite things to do, and it's so simple. Instead of taking the Subway to Roosevelt Island, an amazing place any time of the year but especially in the spring with all the cherry blossoms, you can take an overhead tramway that takes you above the city and over the water. It's a great experience and way of viewing the city in a way you don't normally get to. Take your friends and make a day of it!
9. Find "your place"
This is a big one. If you take one thing away from this list take this. Before my first year at NYU, I spent a couple weeks just roaming around the city. I was new and confused and didn't really know what to do with my time, so I did what I do best: I sat down and read. But what was different was, I sat down in what is now the place I call "my place" in NYC: Madison Square Park. This park is special to me because it's where I found my groove, so to speak, once coming to New York. I would stay there, read, meet people, and watch my favorite building change colors when it became nighttime. I think it's important to find a place in the city that is "your place" because it roots you in a "home" and it's somewhere you can take people that are special to you.