Skip to Main Content

PSJD: A NALP Initiative

Having Fun on the Cheap - New York

Use PSJD's "Having Fun on the Cheap" pages, which are compiled by locals, to learn how to stretch your paycheck and maximize your fun while completing an internship or working in a big city. Contact us at if you have resources to contribute.  Thanks.

Free and Cheap Things to Do

Ride the Staten Island Ferry: Perhaps the best-kept secret in NYC, the Staten Island Ferry is the cheapest option for that breathtaking glimpse of major sights like the Statue of Liberty, Governor’s Island, and the downtown skyline. It is FREE. It has a coffee shop on board. It also sells inexpensive beer: one NYU student calls it “the best bar in the city.” And if you’re a baseball fan, tickets are cheap to watch the “Staten Island Yankees” play in the stadium next to the ferry terminal on the Staten Island side.

Eat at Roving Restaurants and Farmer’s Markets: Need a great bite on the go? While you should definitely sample from NYC’s ubiquitous hot dog and pretzel carts, a gourmet food truck is a fun way to partake of great cuisine on a budget. While many trucks have semi-permanent locations, most trucks post where they’ll be on their twitter or webpage. Some great ones include Wafels & Dinges, Rickshaw Dumpling Truck, and Moshe’s Falafel.

You may be surprised to learn that NYC now hosts dozens of Farmers Markets in all 5 boroughs,, where you can buy super fresh and delicious produce!

Enjoy some Gelato or Other Frozen Treats: From Grom to Il Laboratorio del Gelato there is no summer treat New Yorkers have become fonder of. Another favorite local summertime dessert is tart frozen yogurt available from the original yogurt outpost Pinkberry or one of many followers.

See a Play at a Discount: TKTS – the Theater Development Fund’s project to help make theater more accessible – offers same day, half priced tickets to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. The line might be long, but it is worth it. There are two locations: one in Times Square and the other in the South Street Seaport. Don’t forget about Student Rush offers (each theater has its own policy so check their website) which provide students tickets for $20-$30 or the Public Theater’s free summer Shakespeare in the Park.

 …Or a Movie or Museum for Free!  Many public parks offer a free outdoor movie series. RiverFlicks at Hudson River Park, HBO Bryan Park Film Series, and Outdoor Cinema at the Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens are among local favorites. Also, the MoMA, the Brooklyn Museum, the Guggenheim, and many more museums all have at least one free night a month, if not once a week.

Don’t Just Sit There … Bike, Skate, or Swing!  Renting a bike is a great way to enjoy the City; you can rent from Tribeca’s Frank’s Bike Shop to Midtown’s Central Park Bike Rental and everywhere in between. You can bike up nearly the entire Hudson River on the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway or find your own favorite path at Visit Union Square Park on Wednesday nights for a free group skate or head up to Lincoln Center for a swing lesson and open dance at A Midsummer’s Night Swing for $17 – or sit and listen for free!

Explore NYC’s layered history  Amidst tall skyscrapers and modern plazas, layers of history wait to be discovered in all 5 boroughs. There’s no better way to get to know your neighborhood, or someone else’s, then by taking a walking tour or guiding yourself on your own. To complement your public service work, visit some of the City’s radical history sites such as:

  • African Burial Ground, where free and enslaved African Americans were buried during the 17th and 18th centuries
  • Cooper Union, where in 1860 Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous Cooper Union Address
  • Site of Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911, which spurred the labor movement
  • Stonewall Inn, 1969 birthplace of the modern gay rights movement

Visit a Public Park or Public Beach Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pelham Bay Park, and The High Line are just a few of the city’s expansive, beautiful parks. Some have great summer music festivals with many free events, like Central Park’s SummerStage. You can take a free ferry to Governor’s Island and rent a bike or enjoy a homemade picnic. Rockaway Beach is a free way to beat the heat while Long Beach and Jones Beach will cost you from $ 8 – $14 per visit. For more information, visit

De- Stress In The Great Outdoors  After long days in an office or court room, relax beside the Hudson River at one of the summer’s many outdoor yoga sessions. Additionally, Bryant Park offers free Tuesday morning and Thursday evening yoga and Open Air Yoga offers classes in Battery Park City in the morning and Central Park in the evening for $12.

Buy At a Discount These days Kmart, JCPenny, Target, Marshalls, Ikea, and Costco can be found in multiple boroughs. Go with a friend and stock up for savings or hit their clothing departments for low cost professional wear. Trader Joe’s has also opened up several outposts in Manhattan and Brooklyn.  Finally, do your research and sign up for group coupon sites; there are great deals to be had all summer long.