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by SixFigureStart | August 07, 2009


Fancy some chilly, refined air conditioning instead of your sweaty apartment? How would you like to spend this afternoon at the Museum of Modern Art or the Whitney? You easily can, without dropping so much as one thin dime. Both museums (and others like the New York Historical Society and the International Center for Photography) have free hours every Friday. In fact, many of the city's top cultural havens offer admission without charge for at least one day of the week, or on a certain day of the month; others are on "suggested admission" basis, so depending on your nerviness comfort level, those can be visited free as well. (Check the museum web site to verify hours.) You can visit New York magazine online to browse through a list of free museums, parks, and other NYC distractions. There is a trade-off of course: You'll undoubtedly have to queue up to get in, and whichever place you choose is sure to be much more crowded than usual. (Probably not as crowded as your "home office" at Starbucks, however.) We don't wanna totally shortchange our artistic/historical/etc. institutions -- everyone's hurting for green these days -- so feel free to buy something at their café, and definitely return and pay full fare next time (or when you receive that first post-recession paycheck).

(But wait! If you promise to act on it soon, we're gonna give you another tip: Governors Island [see the site for details]. It's only open during the summer and it's closed Monday and Tuesday, but the ferry and all tours are a big capital free. If you go on Saturday or Sunday, you can amble at will all over the island, the last memento of a New York City that no longer exists -- no congested sidewalks, no noise, and nothing blocking the cool water views.)

For anyone who doesn't live in NYC, the basic idea works just as well. Surf on over to the web site of your city's visitors bureau to pore through the low- and no-cost options on offer.

--Posted by Todd Obolsky, Vault Staff Writer