Times Square in New York

The Only 7 Day New York Itinerary for $100

In City Guides, Latest Posts 2, New York, United States by Sheena27 Comments

Want to do NYC on a budget? Follow our 7 Day New York itinerary planner and find out how to visit all the major attractions & museums for under $100.

There’s so much to see and do in the Big Apple! We recommend spending 1 week in New York in order to maximise your time and money.

Visiting New York doesn’t have to be as expensive as everyone says. Accommodation, food and drinks will definitely cost you but sightseeing is surprisingly affordable.

There are actually many Pay What You Wish days or free museums in NYC – our suggested itinerary for New York lets you take full advantage of this and see all the major attractions for just $100!


  • Monday in NYC
    • Columbus Circle
    • Central Park
    • American Museum of Natural History
    • Times Square
    • Pay What You Wish / Free Museums
  • Tuesday in NYC
    • High Line
    • Chelsea Market
    • Greenwich Village
    • SoHo
    • Little Italy and Chinatown
    • National September 11 Memorial & Museum
    • Pay What You Wish / Free Museums
  • Wednesday in NYC
    • Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
    • Charging Bull
    • Wall Street
    • Trinity Church
    • St Paul’s Chapel
    • Pay What You Wish / Free Museums
  • Thursday in NYC
    • The Met Cloisters
    • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
    • The Met Breuer
    • Museum of Arts & Design
    • Pay What You Wish / Free Museums
  • Friday in NYC
    • Headquarters of the United Nations
    • Iconic Buildings
    • Museum of Modern Art
    • Whitney Museum of American Art
    • Pay What You Wish / Free Museums
  • Saturday in NYC
    • Green-Wood Cemetery
    • Brooklyn Museum
    • Brooklyn Brewery
    • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
    • Pay What You Wish / Free Museums
  • Sunday in NYC
    • Gospel Church Service in Harlem
    • Studio Museum in Harlem
    • Brooklyn Bridge
    • Pay What You Wish / Free Museums

A week in New York isn’t enough but the only attractions you’ll have to pay for in our New York itinerary planner are:

  • Headquarters of the United Nations
  • Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art

This itinerary was first designed in 2016 when The Met offered Pay What You Wish admission. In 2018 this was changed to a mandatory $25.00 admission fee – it includes admission to 3 museums so it’s still great value.

The prices & visitor information has remained the same for all other museums & attractions listed here (updated January 2020).

This New York trip pelanner is action packed for travelers like ourselves who like to make the most of their time and budget. Feel free to adapt it to your own travel style and interests or spread it out over 10 days in New York or more.

If you have limited time, take a look at whether or not the New York Pass would be worth it for you.

Follow our NYC itinerary & your Big Apple vacation will be heavy on footsteps but light on the wallet!

Although the U.S. is a relatively safe country for travel, medical costs are high so if you’re an international visitor we recommend purchasing travel insurance before any trip. We’ve been using World Nomads through 80+ countries over the past 12 years and have been really happy with their coverage and services.

Monday in NYC

Spend the first day of your NYC itinerary in & around Central Park, including the incredible American Museum of Natural History. At night, hang out at Times Square & catch a show with cheap tickets on Broadway!

  • Columbus Circle – free
  • Central Park – free
  • American Museum of Natural History – pay what you wish
  • Times Square – free

You can actually follow this itinerary on any free day you have in New York, not just Monday! For those thinking about spending New Years in NYC, find out why Times Square may not be your best option.

We also recommend Lonely Planet’s New York Travel Guide to help you plan your trip.

Tip of the Day: Bring a packed lunch to eat in Central Park, so you can maximize your time in the American Museum of Natural History

View of Central Park from Belvedere Castle
Take in the views of Central Park from the top of Belvedere Castle

#1. Columbus Circle *

Start your day by taking the subway to Columbus Circle (lines A, B, C, D, 1).

This traffic circle has a statue of Christopher Columbus in the middle & is the official point in which all directions in New York City are measured from.

Surrounding Columbus Circle are the headquarters of Time Warner Centre, Trump International Hotel & Tower with its steel globe & the USS Maine National Monument.

 * Free attraction!

Columbus Circle in New York City
Start your day at Columbus Circle, the official centre of New York City

#2. Central Park *

From Columbus Circle, enter Central Park and explore the southern side & The Great Lawn – this is the most interesting & popular section of Central Park.

In the southern end, the highlights are Angel of the Waters fountain, vintage Friedsman Carousel, Grand Army Plaza, Hecksher playground (largest in the park) & The Pond.

You can sneak a peak for free at the Central Park zoo, which is one of the best things to do with kids in NYC.

Don’t miss Strawberry Fields with the famous “Imagine” mosaic, a memorial to John Lennon who was murdered outside his home in the Dakota Building across the road.

The next section is The Great Lawn: climb to the top of Belvedere Castle for the best view of Central Park.

Then head to Conservatory Pond & the sculptures of Alice in Wonderland & Hans Christian Andersen nearby. Other highlights are the Obelisk (the oldest man-made sculpture in the lake) & The Lake with the Bow Bridge.

* Free attraction!

Tour options:

Hans Cristian Andersen in Central Park
Pose with Hans Christian Andersen in Central Park!

#3. American Museum of Natural History

From Central Park, walk over to the American Natural History Museum, one of the largest of its kind in the world.

There are exhibitions & displays on humans, animals, plants, fossils, rocks, minerals, meteorites & cultural artifacts, to name a few.

Depending on the amount of time you have, you can either choose to race through every floor, follow the recommended highlights tour or pick & choose the sections you’re most interested in.

Entrance Fee: Pay What You Wish (suggested admission $23.00). Buy regular tickets here.

Opening Hours: 10:00 am to 5:45 pm

American Museum of Natural History
Dinosaurs come to life at the American Museum of Natural History

#4. Times Square *

Take the subway to Times Square & soak up the atmosphere. It’s one of the world’s busiest spaces, including up to 50 million visitors a year.

Be dazzled by the crowds & bright lights of flashing billboards – it’s the most exciting places in New York City!

* Free attraction!

Times Square New York City
Get the party started in Times Square!

Pay What You Wish / Free Museums

Plan your own Monday in New York City around these museums:

Tuesday in NYC

Spend the day in Lower Manhatttan – walk above the streets on the High Line, indulge in the Chelsea Markets, explore Little Italy & Chinatown and pay your respects at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

  • High Line – free
  • Chelsea Market – free
  • Greenwich Village – free
  • SoHo – free
  • Little Italy & Chinatown – free
  • National September 11 Memorial & Museum – free from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm

This 7 days in New York itinerary is based around the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, which is only free from 5:00 pm on Tuesday.

Tip of the Day: The National September 11 Memorial & Museum is very big. Aim to be in line for tickets by 4:00 pm – once you’ve received your ticket, you may be able to go straight in, before 5:00 pm

September 11 Memorial
Visit the National September 11 Museum on Tuesday for free

#1. High Line *

Take the subway to 34th Street – Hudson Yards (line 7) & walk over & up on to the start of the High Line.

The High Line is a unique, 2.3 km elevated park that runs along the Lower West side of Manhattan.

The project transformed an unused railway line into an urban park.

Over 200 species of plants have been planted along the walkways. It also hosts cultural attractions such as urban theatre & art installations.

There are many spaces, benches & sundecks for relaxing & socializing, with stunning views of New York City & the Hudson River.

* Free attraction!

High Line Manhattan
Walk above the streets of New York along the High Line

#2. Chelsea Market *

The High Line ends at Chelsea Market, which is a great place for browsing & shopping.

It’s primarily a food hall so this is a good spot for a snack – save lunch for a little later…

* Free attraction!

Chelsea Market at Christmas time!
Chelsea Market at Christmas time!

#3. Greenwich Village & SoHo *

From Chelsea Market, you could walk and/or take the subway to either the bohemian neighbourhood of Greenwich Village, trendy SoHo or both.

* Free attraction!

#4. Little Italy & Chinatown *

Continue on to Little Italy & Chinatown for lunch & some exploration of New York City’s historic Italian & Chinese neighbourhoods. .

* Free attraction!

Chinatown Signs in New York
There are plenty of cheap eats in Chinatown!

#5. National September 11 Memorial & Museum

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum commemorates the 9/11 & World Trade Centre bombing (Feb 26, 1993) attacks that killed 2,977 & 6 people respectively.

The Memorial features twin reflecting pools, the largest manmade waterfalls in North America. They sit at the foot of where the Twin Towers once stood.

The names of every person who died in the 2001 (and 1993 World Trade Centre bombing) are inscribed into bronze panels around the Memorial pools.

Look out for the Survivor tree, which was recovered from the rubble in October 2001, badly burned with only one living branch.

The Museum tells the story of 9/11 through archives, multi-media exhibits, artifacts & narratives from the family & friends of the victims.

Entrance Fee:

  • Free on Tuesdays from 5:00 pm (regular admission $24.00). Buy regular tickets here
  • Tickets available on a first-come, first-serve basis from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Opening Hours: 7:30 am to 9:00 pm

September 11 Memorial Fountain
September 11 Memorial Fountain

Free / Pay What You Wish on Tuesday

Plan your own Tuesday in New York City around these museums:

  • Morgan Library & Museum (McKim rooms only) – Free (regular admission $22.00), 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
  • Wave Hill – Free (regular admission $8.00), 9:00 am to 12 noon

Wednesday in NYC

Visit the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island and take in the views of Manhattan from the water. On return, explore the Wall Street & the Financial District in Lower Manhattan.

  • Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island – $19.25 to $59.25 including entrance & ferry transport for both islands
  • Charging Bull – free
  • Wall Street – free
  • Trinity Church – free
  • St Paul’s Chapel – free

You can actually follow this itinerary on any free day you have in New York, not just Wednesday!

Tip of the Day: Save money & bring a packed lunch for the trip to the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

#1. Visiting the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

You can visit both the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island in 1 day – allow approximately 6 hours for the return trip to Battery Park.

There are no entrance fees for either island but they can only be accessed by ferries offered by State Cruises – tickets range from $19.25 to $59.25.

Statue of Liberty Itinerary
See Lady Liberty in the flesh!
  • Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is a female figure in robes, representing the Roman goddess Libertas. She bears a torch & a table inscribed with the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. A broken chain lies at her feet.

The Statue of Liberty is made of copper & was designed by Gustave Eiffel, the same man who conceived the Eiffel Tower in Paris.It was a gift from France (in 1886) & has since become an icon of the United States & a symbol of freedom.

  • Ellis Island

Ellis Island was America’s busiest immigration inspection station from 1892 to 1954. Over 12 million immigrants have passed through its gates.

Ellis Island Immigration Hall
Enter the historic Ellis Island Immigrarion Hall
Ferry information for the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

There are 3 different types of tickets available:

  • Reserve Ticket is the base ticket – $19.25
  • Pedestal Reserve Ticket includes access up to the Fort Wood section of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty – $19.25
  • Crown Reserve Ticket includes access up to the Crown of the Statue of Liberty – $22.25
  • Hard Hat Reserve Ticket includes the base ticket and a 90 min guided tour of the unrestored Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital Complex – $59.25

All tickets also include access to the grounds of Liberty Island and Ellis Island, audio Tours of both sites & Priority entry into the Boarding Queue

Ferries depart from Battery Park to/from Liberty Island & Ellis Island regularly from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm

For Crown Reserve Tickets & in peak seasons, it’s recommended to book online in advance. You can also buy advance tickets here.

Tickets are also available at the ticket booth & pier at Battery Park for same day sales.

Ferry view of Statue of Liberty
View of the Statue of Liberty from the ferry

#2. Staten Island Ferry *

The Staten Island Ferry is a free service running between Manhattan & Staten Island. It operates 24 hours, 7 days a week.

We recommending visiting both Liberty Island & Ellis Island but if you’re short on time or on a tight budget, you can take the free ferry ride for excellent views of the Lower Manhattan skyline & the Statue of Liberty

* Free service!

Staten Island Ferry
Take the Staten Island Ferry & see the Statue of Liberty for free

#3. Charging Bull *

On return to Manhattan, you should still have time to explore Wall Street & the attractions around the Financial District.

One of New York City’s most iconic sculptures is the Charging Bull.

Made of bronze, it’s 3.4 meters tall & 4.9 meters long – the bull’s testicles weigh 48 kg each.

The Charging Bull stands in Bowling Green Park, in the heart of the Financial District, as a symbol of aggressive financial optimism & prosperity.

* Free attraction!

Me with Charging Bull
Take a selfie with the Charging Bull & from the back too…

#4. Wall Street *

Wall Street is the financial hub of New York, the leading financial centre in the world. Be sure to check out:

  • New York Stock Exchange
  • Federal Hall (where George Washington was inaugurated as the first president of the USA)
  • Federal Reserve Bank
  • Trump Building at 40 Wall Street

* Free attractions!

New York Stock Exchange
The American Flag draped on the New York Stock Exchange

#5. Trinity Church *

Take a look inside the impressive Gothic Revival architecture of Trinity Church.

It also features 23 bells, three sets of bronze doors & a cemetery.

* Free attraction!

Cemetery at Trinity Church
Cemetery at Trinity Church

#6. St Paul’s Chapel *

St Paul’s Chapel is known as “The Little Chapel that Stood” after surviving the attacks of September 11, 2001 without a broken window. It’s also the oldest church in Manhattan.

St Paul’s Church became a refuge centre for recovery workers at the World Trade Centre.

For eight months, hundreds of volunteers worked around the clock: serving meals, making beds & counselling fire fighters, police & others.

Mourners placed memorials around the church fences.

St Paul’s Chapel is currently closed for restoration.

* Free attraction!

St Paul's Chapel in 2008
St Paul’s Chapel in 2008

Free / Pay What You Wish on Wednesday

Plan your own Wednesday in New York City around these museums:

  • Bronx Zoo – Free (regular admission $22.95)
  • New York Aquarium – Pay What You Wish (regular admission $24.95), 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
  • New York Botanical Garden – Free (regular admission $23.00), 9:00 am to 12 noon
  • Queens Botanical Garden – Free (regular admission $6.00), 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm in April to October, everyday in November to March
  • Staten Island Zoo – Free (regular admission $10.00), 2:00 pm to 4:45 pm

Thursday in NYC

Tickets to The Metropolitan Museum of Art also includes same-day admission to The Met Cloister & the Met Breur so spend the day taking full advantage of this great deal, especially if you have 5 days in New York or more.

  • The Met Cloisters – $25
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art – included in Met Cloisters admission
  • The Met Breuer – included in Met Cloisters admission
  • Museum of Arts & Design – pay what you wish from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

This itinerary is based around the Museum of Arts & Design, which is only free from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Thursday.

Tip of the Day: Start at The Cloisters & allow yourself enough time at The Met, The Breuer is a bonus if you still have the time & energy!

Metropolitan Museum of Art
Step inside The Metropolitan Museum of Art on our New York Itinerary

#1. The Met Cloisters

Start the day in Upper Manhattan at The Met Cloisters in Fort Tyron Park.

Take the subway all the way up to Dyckman Street (line 1) & explore the marvels of medieval Europe through art, architecture & gardens.

#2. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the largest art museum in the US.

Its permanent collection holds more than 2 million pieces from all civilizations, dating back to antiquity.

The extensive collection includes paintings, sculpture, musical instruments, costumes & antique armor.

#3. The Met Breuer

If you have time, check out The Met Breur a few blocks away.

It’s dedicated to the 20th & 21st century modern & contemporary art from the Met’s permanent collection.

  • Visitor Information

Entrance Fee: $25.00. Buy tickets here.

Tickets to the Metropolitan Museum of Art also includes admission to The Met Breur nearby & the Met Cloisters in Fort Tyron Park, Upper Manhattan. It’s valid for 3 consecutive days.

Opening Hours:

  • Metropolitan Museum of Art – Sunday to Thursday, 10:00 am to 5:30 pm. Friday & Saturday 10:00 am to 9:00 pm.
  • Met Cloisters – mixed hours, check online
  • Met Breuer – mixed hours, check online
Inside The Met
Inside The Metropolitan Museum of Art

#4. Museum of Arts & Design

Take a break, then if you’ve still got the energy & stamina, head to the Museum of Arts & Design on Columbus Circle.

It displays historic & contemporary innovation in craft, art & design.

Entrance Fee: Pay What You Wish (regular admission $16.00), 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Opening Hours:

  • Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
  • Thursday and Friday from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm

Free / Pay What You Wish on Thursday

Plan your own Thursday in New York City around these museums:

First Thursday of the Month:

The Met Building Entrance
The entrance to The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Friday in NYC

Explore Midtown East from the Headquarters of the United Nations to the Museum of Modern Art, with all of New York City’s most iconic buildings in between.

  • Headquarters of the United Nations – $22.00
  • Chrysler Building – free
  • Grand Central Terminal – free
  • Flatiron Building – free
  • Fifth Avenue – free
  • Madison Avenue – free
  • Empire State Building – free
  • New York Public Library – free
  • Bryant Park – free
  • Rockefeller Centre – free
  • Radio City Music Hall – free
  • St Patrick’s Cathedral – free
  • Museum of Modern Art – free from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm
  • Whitney Museum of American Art – pay what you wish from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm

This itinerary is based around the Museum of Modern Art & the Whitney Museum of American Art, which are only free on Fridays.

Tip of the Day: Skip the Whitney Museum if you don’t want to hop around like mad – it’s Friday night, get yourself a drink instead!

Ice Skating at Rockefeller Centre
If you’re in New York around Christmas, ice skate at Rockefeller Center!

#1. Headquarters of the United Nations

Take the subway to 42nd Street-Grand Central (lines S, 4, 5, 6, 7) for the Headquarters of the United Nations. This is international territory, belonging to the Member States of the UN.

1 hour guided tours are offered which include visits to the General Assembly, Conference & Secretariat buildings and the Dag Hammarskjold Library. Many exhibits & art collections are also on view.

Entrance Fee: $22 adults, including the guided tour on weekdays only

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 4:45 pm


  • Bring your passport or government-issued photo ID
  • Arrive 1 hour before the start of your tour for a security screening

Schedule of availability & tickets can be booked online or purchased on-site.

Conference Building UN Headquarters
Conference Building at the Headquarters of the United Nations

#2. Iconic Buildings of New York City *

Now it’s time to check out some of the iconic buildings of the New York City skyline.

Start with the art-deco-style of the Chrysler Building before checking out the beaux-arts interior of Grand Central Terminal.

Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central Terminal

Then, take the subway to 23rd Street (line 6) & begin exploring again at the triangular-shaped Flatiron Building.

Criss-cross back & forth between the fashion meccas of Fifth Avenue & Madison Avenue before reaching the unmistakable Empire State Building.

Continue up Fifth Avenue until you’re at the New York Public Library – it’s free to enter so take a look around inside at its many exhibits & splendid architecture.

Alongside is Bryant Park, a leafy green spot to relax, people-watch & gaze up to the surrounding skyscrapers.

Relax in Bryant Park
Relax in Bryant Park

Keep going along Fifth Avenue to the Rockefeller Centre & Radio City Music Hall, both of which are major landmarks of New York.

Then cross over to the nearby St Patrick’s Cathedral – admire the neo-gothic architecture & stained glass windows.

* Free attractions

#3. Museum of Modern Art

Be prepared for long queues at the Museum of Modern Art on Free Friday Nights, even before 4:00 pm – the website recommends arriving after 6:00 pm but that doesn’t give you enough time.

It’s worth the wait though.

MOMA holds, arguably, the greatest collection of modern Western masterpieces in the world. These include the most iconic works of Dali, Picasso, Monet, van Gogh, Pollock & many influential American artists.

Entrance Fee: Free (regular admission $25.00), 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Buy regular tickets here.

Opening Hours:

  • Saturday to Wednesday, 10:30 am to 5:30 pm
  • Thursday, 10:30 am to 8:30 pm
  • Friday, 10:30 am to 8:30 pm
Free Fridays queue MOMA
Prepared to stand in line on Free Fridays at MOMA

#4. Whitney Museum of American Art

After MOMA closes, you have time for a quick visit to the Whitney Museum of American Art – take the subway to 14th Street-8th Avenue (lines A, C, E, L).

Its collection focuses on 20th & 21st century American art, through paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, prints, films & new media.

Entrance Fee: Pay What You Wish (regular admission $22 adult online, $25 at the museum or buy here), Friday 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Opening Hours:

  • Sunday to Thursday, 10:30 am to 6:00 pm
  • Friday & Saturday, 10:30 am to 10:00 pm

Free / Pay What You Wish on Friday

Plan your own Friday in New York City around these museums:

Saturday in NYC

Spend Saturday across the East River at the Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn Brewery and Brooklyn Museum. Return to Manhattan in the evening for a few hours at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

  • Green-Wood Cemetery – free
  • Brooklyn Museum – pay what you wish
  • Brooklyn Brewery – free
  • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum – pay what you wish from 5:45 pm to 7:45 pm

This itinerary is based around the Brooklyn Brewery & Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, which both have either free tours or Pay What You Wish admission on Saturdays.

Tip of the Day: Start early to give yourself enough time for the vast attractions in Brooklyn

New York Itinerary Guggenheim
View famous modern & contemporary art at The Guggenheim

#1. Green-Wood Cemetery

Green-Wood Cemetery was founded in 1838, making it was one of the first rural cemeteries in America.

Green-Wood Cemetery is a National Historic Landmark recognized for its national significance in art, architecture, history & landscaping.

It features hills, valleys, glacial ponds & paths alongside tombs & mausoleums. It’s a Revolutionary War site as well as a magnet for bird watchers.

Entrance Fee: Free

Opening Hours: Seasonal, approximately 7:45am to 6:00 pm

#2. Brooklyn Museum

The Brooklyn Museum is New York City’s second largest museum with an extensive collection of Egyptian masterpieces, African art, European paintings & contemporary art.

Entrance Fee:

  • Pay What You Wish (suggested admission fee $16.00)
  • Free on the first Saturday of every month from 5:00pm to 11:00 pm

Opening Hours:

  • Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday – 11:00 am to 6:00 pm
  • Thursday – 11:00 am to 10:00 pm
Brooklyn museum in suggested itinerary for new york
Visit the impressive Brooklyn Museum

#3. Brooklyn Brewery

Established in 1998, the Brookyn Brewery was a pioneer of the American craft beer revolution.

Take a free tour and learn about the beer history and brewing science behind this hip New York label. You may even get a free tasting in the Tap Room!

Tour fee: Free

Tour hours: Saturday & Sunday, every half hour between 1 pm to 6 pm

There are also more in-depth weeknight tours available for $18.

#4. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Take the Subway back to Manhattan, to 86th Street (lines 4, 5 & 6) – head to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum & view its impressive collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist & early modern & contemporary art.

The cylindrical building is a sight in itself.

The Guggeheim was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright as a “temple of the spirit”. The top is wider than the bottom, with a long ramp gallery running in a spiral from the ground floor to the skylit-ceiling.

Entrance Fee: Pay What You Wish (regular admission $25), 5:45 pm to 7:45 pm. Buy regular tickets here.

Opening Hours:

  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday – 10:00 am to 5:45 pm
  • Saturday – 10:00 am to 7:45 pm
Guggenheim Museum New York
Pay What You Wish every Saturday night at the Guggenheim

Free / Pay What You Wish on Saturday

Plan your own Saturday in New York City around these museums:

First Saturday of the Month

Brooklyn Museum – Free art & entertainment, 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm

Third Saturday of the Month

El Barrio del Museo – Free art & entertainment

For a complete list of museums & attractions with Free or Pay What You Wish admissions, see our post Every Free Museum New York!

Sunday in NYC

Attend a Gospel church service in Harlem on Sunday morning before being inspired at the Studio Museum in Harlem. Finish the day with a sunset walk across Brooklyn Bridge.

  • Gospel Church Service in Harlem – free (donations collected)
  • Studio Museum in Harlem – free
  • Brooklyn Bridge – free

This itinerary is based around the Studio Museum in Harlem, which is free on Sundays, and attending a Sunday gospel church service.

Tip of the Day: Enjoy some soul food for lunch in the heart of Harlem, after the Sunday church service

Me on Brooklyn Bridge
Save the best for last with the Brooklyn Bridge on Sunday

#1. Gospel Church Service in Harlem

Take the subway to 135th Street (lines 2 & 3) and you have the choice of 2 churches to attend a Sunday service.

It can be a very powerful experience with gospel music & impassioned sermons.

The service usually lasts around 2.5 hours & there are collections for donations, like in all churches. Dress appropriately.

Abyssinian Church Harlem
Tourist are welcome at the 11:30 am service at Abyssinian Church
  • Abyssinian Church

Abyssinian Church is the most popular church but it has mixed reviews.

The 11:30 am service is open to tourists – it’s attended by many tour groups so be prepared to arrive early & line-up (seating is based on a first come, first serve basis).

Abyssinian Church also has a strict dress code & no bags or photos are allowed. Consult their website for more information.

  • Mother African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

Mother African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church is the oldest African-American church in New York City.

It offers a more informal, but equally commanding, 11:00 am Sunday service with gospel singing, worship & preaching.

Entrance Fee: Free (collections for donations)

Mother Zion Church
Attend a Sunday gospel service at Mother Zion Church

#2. Studio Museum in Harlem *

The Studio Museum in Harlem is a contemporary art museum dedicated to the work of African-American artists. Through paintings, sculptures, photographs,

Entrance Fee: Free on Sundays, Pay As You Wish on other days (suggested donation $7).

Opening Hours: Thursday & Friday, 12 noon to 9:00 pm. Saturday & Sunday, 12 noon to 6:00 pm.

* Free attraction!

Studio Museum in Harlem
Take in some African-American art at the Studio Museum in Harlem

#3. Brooklyn Bridge *

From Harlem, take the subway to the start of the Brooklyn Bridge (lines 4, 5, 6  to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall or lines J or Z to Chambers St.).

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the quintessential New York City experiences.

It’s beautiful at any time of the day but especially at sunset.

This way, you can enjoy views of Manhattan, Brooklyn & the Statue of Liberty while there’s still light & then watch as all the lights go up, when the sun goes down.

* Free attraction

Brooklyn Bridge at Sunset
Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge over sunset for amazing light & colour!

Free / Pay What You Wish on Sundays

Plan your own Sunday in New York City around these museums:

There are so many things to do in New York City but did you know that you can visit all the major NYC attractions for $75?! Find out how it all works on our ultimate 7 Day New York City itinerary #nyctravel #nycitinerary #nyctravel #diytravel
Introducing the ultimate NYC itinerary! Find out the best things to do in New York City, all free museum days & how you can visit every NYC attraction for $75 in 7 days! #nycitinerary #nycthingstodo #nyctravel #diytravel
Want to spend 1 week in New York? Find out the best things to do in New York and how you can see every top attraction & NYC museum for under $100! #newyork #nyctravel

This post contains affiliate links, which means that we receive a small commission if you click on a link & purchase something that we have recommended – at no extra cost to you.

Updated in January 2020


  1. Great list! We loved so many of these places like the High Line, but will have to add a few to our list for next trip!

  2. That is indeed a great itinerary. It takes in so much and cannot believe it is so cost effective. A week in New York with so many diverse experiences is indeed something to look forward to.

    1. Author

      Thanks Vyjay, there really are so many free or pay what you wish museums & attractions in New York City, it’s unbelievable! Good luck on your future trip to the Big Apple! 🙂

  3. I could spend a lifetime exploring NYC. It is one of my favorite cities of all time. I especially like how there are so many free sites to explore. You post has made me want to visit again soon.

    1. Author

      Hi Christina, New York is also one of my favourite cities in the world. It can be expensive but I wanted to show that there are so many things you can do for free or not much money. I hope to be back there one day soon too! 🙂

  4. It’s nice to know that you can actually go around New York on a budget. It’s one of my dream cities, because of all the TV shows that I’ve seen set on that city haha…

    Of course the greatest goal is to see the Statue of Liberty in person.

    1. Author

      Hi Marge, Lady Liberty is a beauty – you can take the 24/7 Staten Island ferry & see her for free or take a cruise to Liberty Island & climb up inside the statue & out onto the viewing platforms.

      I hope you can get to see her one day soon! 🙂

  5. What a great guide. I love when people highlight all the incredible free things there is to do in a city.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. Love this! As a Canadian, our dollar is so weak against the US right now so New York can be super pricey! I love the suggestions of hitting up the parks, and famous streets/location around NYC!

    Stephanie | theFantasia.com

    1. Author

      Thanks Stephanie, the Aussie dollar is even weaker! I love museums but my favourite thing to do in any city is just walking around the streets & getting a feel of the place 🙂

  7. Great tips! I’m sure I can put a number of them to use this fall when we go too.

  8. Oh wow! I seriously thought that New York is an expensive place to go to. It’s so amazing to read that there are lots of places to see for free here! Thanks for sharing!

  9. AAAHHH New York is a dream city to travel. and never thought i could travel there with a limited budget.. I have to think moe again so I could visit there soon.

    1. Author

      And this doesn’t even cover all the free stuff on offer during the summer! Dance classes on the pier, movie night in Bryant Park, & Shakespeare in Central Park to name a few.

      Did you check out our free museum post?

  10. Pingback: Cycling in New York City: The 5 Boro Bike Tour • LL World Tour

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