Free holiday fun in NYC

The holidays are a joyful time for everything but your wallet. A recent National Retail Federation survey estimates that the average person will spend $967 during the holiday season.

But not every holiday experience needs to break the bank. Here are three free events and activities in New York City for you and your family this winter.


From now until February 28, you and your family can visit the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for free every weekday. Visit the Garden’s 52 acres of grounds, take advantage of self-guided outdoor tours, or stay warm inside by experiencing the plants in the tropical pavilion. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is closed on Mondays, and if you want to pay an admission fee there will be special winter programming for adults and kids on the first Sunday of January, February and March.


New York City has many iconic ice skating rinks, including ones at Rockefeller Center and in Central Park. But the only one in the entire city that offers free admission is located at The Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park. Though the rink is 17,000-square-feet, it can get crowded, so there is an option to purchase an Express Skate or Reserve Skate package. And while admission is free, if you don’t own your own skates you will need to rent them for an additional cost.


One of the busiest times of years to catch shows is around holidays. But if you don’t want to pay big bucks to see the latest Broadway hits, head to the Time Warner Center for Broadway Under the Stars. The last performance of the series is on December 11 at 5 pm, and will feature songs from the musicals SpongeBob SquarePants, Once on This Island and A Bronx Tale. And while you’re enjoyment is priceless, the event is also free.