The Frugal Model’s NYC Summer Guide

It’s no secret that living in or around the city is expensive but don’t let the thought of being broke stop you from enjoying everything your city and summer has to offer! Ashley at The Frugal Model pulled together a list of places to go to find free stuff to do in the city and we’re ready to start going through the list ourselves…

Community websites:  Your town likely hosts a bunch of free summer events that can be found on your city or park and recreations websites. Just Google ‘œyour town + free events’. In NYC there are always free concerts in the parks, street fairs and other cool activities:

Local library:  You probably haven’t seen the library since high school, but it’s actually a great spot for things like free readings, workshops and classes, exhibitions, and even things like exercise programs and movie nights. It’s a great way to meet others in your community as well as a resource for discounts and passes to other local attractions.

Event listing websites:

  • Eventbrite: Only most major cities are included, but this great event site allows you to search by price ‘“ so choose what you can afford ‘“ if you’re broke, choose free.
  • Yelp: Search ‘œfree events’ and plug in your area code for free stuff recommended by people in your area.
  • TimeOut:  Most big cities are included ‘“ they have an extensive ‘œthings to do’ category with many free events included.
  • A database of free attractions across the US listing free museums, parks and more, but you’ll want to confirm with the individual attraction on the terms of the free admission.
  •’s Frugal Living site: Links to editor-picked listings of the best free things to do by city (US/Canada, and a few in other countries).

Free attractions:

  • Museums and zoos: Check out the ones in your area to see when they offer free admission. Many museums also have a ‘œsuggested admission price’  – which means you can pay whatever you want. If you’re a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch customer, wave your card to get into a bunch of museums for free  on the first weekend of every month. Check with your bank to see which venues participate.
  • Amusement parks: I love me some Six Flags, and luckily they offer promo codes on certain products like Post cereal, as well as the amazing buy one get one free deal when you bring in a coke can. Check their website for more details, and of course always buy your tickets online for bigger discounts. If you order your tickets at least three days in advance, you’ll save about 40%.
  • Movies:  Did you know that with advanced screenings  you can watch a film for free before it’s released?  offers promotional screenings through their website.  You could also enjoy the very retro experience of a  drive-in movie theater (find one at, and  your whole carful of friends and family can watch usually two movies for one price. You can also save with credit card-sponsored offers (such as  Visa Signature 2-for-1) or buy tickets in bulk from Costco,  AAA, or

More ways to save:

  • Use your AAA or similar membership for discounts
  • Use your student ID (even if it’s old) for student discounts and pricing
  • Some cable and wireless companies also offer special deals for their customers
  • Daily deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial now offer deals for events/experiences
  • $15 buys an entertainment book with coupons for things like movie tickets, food and attractions.

Are you excited yet? You should be. Everything is more enjoyable when you don’t have to pay for it.

This post originally appeared on Follow her on Facebook and Twitter!

What are your favorite free activities in the city?

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