Free NYC! (Thing to Do and See)

New York is an expensive place to live, but it doesn’t need to be an expensive place to play! There is so much to do in the city for free, so get a piece of paper and start taking notes (or just hit print):

Always free: The National Museum of the American Indian, the New York Public Library, the Hispanic Society of America, Central Park, Riverbank State Park, Prospect Park, the Socrates Sculpture Park, and Castle Clinton National Monument.

Free on Fridays: The American Folk Art Museum has a lot of character and is free on Friday nights from 5:30-7:30. The Guggenheim (talk about character!) is also free (or rather, pay what you wish) on Fridays starting at 5:45. There’s also music. The Museum of Modern Art is free on Fridays from 4:00-8:00, and the Whitney Museum of American Art opens its doors to the unwilling to pay on Fridays from 6:00-9:00. The American Museum of the Moving Image is also free on Friday evenings, from 4:00-8:00 – a great place to catch up on old You Can’t Do That on Television reruns!

Free on Saturdays: The Studio Museum in Harlem is free on the first Saturday of every month, as is the Brooklyn Museum, but only after 5 p.m. The Jewish Museum of New York City is free every Saturday after 5 p.m.

Other free things to do: Brooklyn Botanic Garden are free on Tuesdays and from 10:00-noon on Saturdays. The New York Botanical Garden (in the Bronx) is free on Wednesdays and also from 10:00-noon on Saturdays.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is free for students (and has a pay what you wish policy for everyone else) and if you save your Met ticket, it can be used as your free pass into the Cloisters Museum.

A lot of this info comes from the National Geographic site (found through Blissful Free Things in NY Travel’s informative post – thanks, Erica!). Thought I’d share the wealth with you all.

You’ll definitely be hearing more from me on this, just in looking these few things up I came across so many other great museums in NYC, less well known ones—that’ll be my next post…so stay tuned!

Related Travel Guide Topics:


Honeymoon in Hawaii

While it was still freezing in NYC, my new, spectacular wife and I escaped for 2 weeks (spring break plus some) to Hawaii for our belated honeymoon. We’re back already but if I close my eyes and concentrate just a little, I think I can take you back there…

Warmth is showered upon me as I peel off the layers of clothes that had kept me warm in the airports and the flight. I squinted my eyes with pleasure and splashed suntan lotion on Carrie’s (now bare) shoulders. We got in a cab that brought us to the Sea Mountain Resort, but not without giving us a tour of a most picturesque landscape. Our windows were open and we could see, feel, and smell Hawaii bursting with life around us. The sight of the waving trees and glistening sands drenched in heat and ocean winds was delectable and whispered our names, beckoning us to partake in its splendor.

The majestic sands of the Punaluu Black Sand Beach won us over for our first day trip. We dragged our feet along the lava granules (sand) lining the beach. Inspired by the natural foot massage, I treated Carrie to a full body Punaluu massage (created and carried out by me) where I took the coarse rocks mixed with warm water and spread them out on her body. We saw turtles and went snorkeling. We went swimming in the freshwater pond at the far end of the beach and saw ducks. We ate a romantic picnic lunch and lazed out in the sun for hours.

I had just finished a unit on volcanoes for my third graders and had promised to take pictures of some volcanoes in Hawaii; and what better place to do so than the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The biggest and most active volcanoes dot this park. The environmental features of this island are absolutely phenomenal. The hike we went on brought us to dramatic vistas that were surrounded by the looming heights of volcanic displays.

Spencer Beach Park and Hapuna Beach State Park demanded a few days of our time, and we broke up beach time with eating at fantastic restaurants and participating in (kinda cheesy, but fun) luaus. We also went to Mauna Kea Beach, which honestly, I can’t remember anything specific about—maybe that’s the one that we camped out at?

The Hawaiian palate is impossible to describe—it’s like someone threw some colors on a canvas and then swirled them magically into a beach sunset. The air is imbued with passion and chaos—it is only through these great forces that this sort of beauty exists.

We took fantastic pictures, but I’m not sure if I know how to post to this site. I’ll see if I can figure it out…
Continue reading

West Coast Beaches Trump East Coasts

Just read the post on the top 10 east coast beaches and thought I’d add my 2 cents about the fantastic California beaches—which, let’s face it, are much much better beaches than the ones in the east. I’ve been up and down the California coast a thousand times, so I know what I’m talking about.

Not to be too obvious or anything, but if you’ve never been to Venice Beach, you’re missing out on one of life’s great experiences. I mean, it’s definitely not one of your most serene and romantic beaches and it’s definitely a bit (or a lot) touristy, but it’s fun. People breathing fire and riding unicycles and doing all sorts of other bizarre performances line the promenade. And there is some solid street food. I guess as a local it’s not where I like spending my afternoons, but the occasional stop by Venice Beach is always a good reminder of how much vibrant life we’ve got at our fingertips in the amazing, colorful world. I think the first time I got really drunk was on Venice Beach.

Seal Beach might be my favorite, mainly because I remember going there with my family every Fall for as long as I can remember for the Seal Beach Sandcastle Festival. There’s something about the sand at Seal Beach which is perfect for molding and you can’t imagine the creations that these people come up with. I used to want to be a sandcastle construction man when I grew up. Ah, to be young again…)

Black’s Beach
— an unofficial nude beach. Need I say more? I’m a 24 year old single guy. Not to be a stereotype or anything…

Ok, moving right along. Baker Beach in San Francisco is pretty cool. I’ve gone fishing there a few times. Pismo Beach is definitely up there. It’s mentioned at the end of Big Lebowski…not that that makes it a good beach, but I’m just saying…

I practically lived at Avila Beach when I was in college (Cal Poly) so I can’t not put that on this list. Also good fishing here. And here’s a bit of trivia: the first motel, Motel Inn, ever is still alive and well on Monterey Street in San Luis Obispo.

Four more spots on my top 10 list and a thousand more beaches….A bit more obscure, but worth checking out is Stinson Beach. Good beach and good hiking. Jerry Garcia lived here, along with many other of the Merry Pranksters. Some good trivia. I guess if I had to choose three more, they’d be Doheny State Beach – Dana Point, Beacon’s Beach, and Bolsa Chica State Beach — all in Southern California, closer to where I grew up, and probably some of the most visited beaches (by me, at least).

I’m sorry—there’s no way these beaches compare to anything on the east coast. West Coast rocks!