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Things to Do

Free NYC events, festivals and activities

Living in New York City is beyond expensive. From rent to MetroCards to a cup of coffee, everything adds up quickly.

Luckily, there are tons of free events to check out in the city that never sleeps.

Here's our freebie guide to NYC.

Summer Solstice Music Festival (June 21)

Stroll Park Avenue on Thursday to catch free
Photo Credit: Grand Central Partnership

Stroll Park Avenue on Thursday to catch free live music, from jazz to Latin soul, during the first-ever Summer Solstice Music Festival by Grand Central Partnership. Check out the Duane Eubanks Quintet, JJ's Funky Groove, Zaccai Curtis Trio, Fulaso, Eric Person Trio, A Latin Movement, Bryan Carrott Trio, Liz Leimkuhler & Friends, Beyond Fab and more. (Free, 4 to 8 p.m., Park Avenue, from 39th to 52nd streets, grandcentralpartnership.nyc)

'Be an Outsider at work' (June 21)

L.L.Bean and Industrious are launching
Photo Credit: Whitney J. Fox Photography

L.L.Bean and Industrious are launching "Be an Outsider at work" -- an outdoor co-working space in the middle of Madison Square Park for one day only. Book your spot at the space, which has individual work spaces, conference areas and cycling desks now. (Free, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., beanoutsideratwork.com)

Make Music Day (June 21)

This all-day musical celebration on the summer solstice
Photo Credit: NAMM Foundation

This all-day musical celebration on the summer solstice across the country is coming to New York City with more than 1,000 free concerts in public spaces throughout all five boroughs. Enjoy hip hop, opera, Latin jazz, punk rock and more by high school bands to marquee names on streets, sidewalks, stoops, plazas, cemeteries, parks and gardens. (Free, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., makemusicny.org)

Open Mic Mondays at HGU (every Monday)

Open Mic Mondays at HGU New York Hotel's
Photo Credit: HGU New York

Open Mic Mondays at HGU New York Hotel's Rose Hill Lounge gives participants a full band accompaniment while the audience can sip on cocktails as they sit on leather couches. Celebrity drop-ins occur from time to time and the lounge also has a rotating collection of modern art, courtesy of Chelsea's Gallery 151. (Free, 9 p.m. to late, 34 E. 32nd St., hgunyc.com)

Citi Summer in the Square (Thursdays)

Every Thursday, get access to free fitness classes,
Photo Credit: Liz Ligon

Every Thursday, get access to free fitness classes, movie nights, shows, live music and dueling performances through August 9 at Union Square. At lunch time, the New School of Jazz performs and in the evening, a dueling performance show will entertain you. You can also take a fitness class (dance, cardio and sunset yoga) hosted by New York Health & Racquet Club or run with the Paragon Run Club. In August, you can also catch an outdoor movie screening of "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" on the 2nd and "Hairspray" on the 9th. (Free, summerinthesquare.nyc)

LIC Flea & Food (June 24-25)

The LIC Flea & Food is opening this
Photo Credit: LIC Flea & Food

The LIC Flea & Food is opening this weekend. Part food festival, part flea market, part beer garden, there's plenty to do at the waterfront. At its center are more than 80 "carefully curated" vendors selling artworks, furniture and clothing, while the outskirts feature local food artisans and restaurants vending lunch. (Be on the lookout for free samples.) A DJ spins near the beer garden, which has locally brewed beer on tap, and you can easily spend a day relaxing on the riverside AstroTurf. Other dates include July 7-8, Aug. 4-5. Sept. 1-2, and Oct. 13-14. (11 a.m. to 6 p.m., 5-25 46th Ave., Long Island City)

Daily Events on the Waterfront

Brookfield Place has games and daily events each
Photo Credit: Brookfield Place via Facebook

Brookfield Place has games and daily events each evening on the Waterfront through the summer, including pingpong, fitness classes, music and film screenings. The Tartinery Shack also has drinks and bites for those coming after work.

Mondays: Pingpong, 5-8 p.m.

Tuesdays: Trivia, 5-8 p.m.

Wednesdays: Fitness, 6-7 p.m.

Thursdays: Music and film, 6-8 p.m.

Saturdays: Fitness, 11 a.m.-noon

Sundays: Lazy Sundays with DJ sets, 11 a.m.- 2 p.m.

Island Fridays

Sit back for some Jimmy Buffett, Zac Brown
Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Sit back for some Jimmy Buffett, Zac Brown and Kenny Chesney tunes at Opry City Stage at this free, weekly concert series. Teaming up with Broadway's "Escape to Margaritaville," Opry City Stage is opening its doors to the public for free for these concerts. Attendees will get special drink deals on margaritas, as well as participate in live giveaways for tickets to the new Broadway hit. (Free entry, 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., 1604 Broadway, oprycitystage.com)

Catch a movie under the stars

Enjoy a summer outdoor movie screening this weekend.
Photo Credit: Randall's Island

Enjoy a summer outdoor movie screening this weekend. Here's what is playing:

June 22: "Wonder Woman" (rain date: June 29) on Roosevelt Island, 7 p.m.; "La Bûche" by Danièle Thompson at Transmitter Park (Brooklyn), sunset; "The Gospel of Eureka" at New Design High School on the Lower East Side, 8 p.m.; "Wonder Woman"

at Randall's Island Park, 8:30 p.m.; "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie: Sponge Out of Water" at Seaside wildlife Nature Park, 8 p.m.; "Yogi Bear" at Farber Park, 8 p.m.

June 23: "En El Séptimo Día" at the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park (free), 8 p.m.; "Dunkirk" at Detective Russel Timoshenko Soccer Field, 8 p.m.

June 24: "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" at Sheepshead Playground, 8:30 p.m.

Here's a full lineup of movies this summer.

Art 1978: The NYC Parks/New York Times Photo Project

Check out the works of eight New York
Photo Credit: The New York Times / Arsenal Gallery

Check out the works of eight New York Times photographers hired by the Parks Department in the summer and fall of 1978 during the NYC newspaper strike. Head over to the Arsenal Gallery for the opening of this new exhibit, featuring 3,000 images of NYC's parks. (Free, opening reception: Wednesday, 6-8 p.m.; open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Arsenal Gallery in Central Park, 830 Fifth Ave., third fl., 64th Street at Fifth Avenue, nycgovparks.org)

Queens International Night Market (Saturdays)

Now in its fourth year, this food and
Photo Credit: Sharon Medina-Chavez

Now in its fourth year, this food and art market in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park features live performances, too. New bites for 2018 include Thai roasted crickets, Moldovan waffle rolls and Wenzhou-style fried chicken feet. Shop for trinkets like vintage brooches, stationery and Mexican handicrafts, too. (6 p.m. to midnight, near 47-01 111th St., Queens, queensnightmarket.ticketleap.com)

'Hot Dog Bus' (opens June 9)

This modified, vintage Volkswagen Microbus has been transformed
Photo Credit: Studio Erwin Wurm

This modified, vintage Volkswagen Microbus has been transformed into a bright yellow, overstuffed food truck that will be serving free hot dogs to visitors of the Brooklyn Bridge Park this summer. Artist Erwin Wurm hopes that the bus' shape will inspire them to reconsider the relationship between capitalism and consumption while they eat, which could be seen as an additional "sculptural process in its own right," according to the Public Art Fund.

Shape Up NYC fitness classes

The city offers free workouts and fitness classes
Photo Credit: iStock

The city offers free workouts and fitness classes across five boroughs, including yoga, pilates, Zumba, dance, aerobics, sculpting, boot camps and more. Why pay for a class you can get for free? Check on nycgovparks.org to find the nearest courses.

Free day at the Whitney Museum (Fridays)

Pay what you want to get into the
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Pay what you want to get into the Whitney on Friday evenings. The museum has 63,000 square feet of exhibition space and has about 15,000 pieces of work by artists like Willem de Kooning, Edward Hopper, Georgia O'Keeffe and others. (7 to 10 p.m., 99 Gansevoort St., facebook.com)

NYC Urban Park Rangers

Acting as your ambassador to nature, urban park
Photo Credit: NYC Parks / Daniel Avila

Acting as your ambassador to nature, urban park rangers can help you get in touch with your wild side here in the concrete jungle. From hikes to survival skills, to wildlife viewing and animal tracking, they'll teach you whatever you want to know for free. There's a schedule nearly every day, so check out the NYC Parks website.

Hear some local talent at QED's open mic (Wednesday-Sunday)

Head to QED Astoria for free open mic
Photo Credit: QED via Facebook

Head to QED Astoria for free open mic nights featuring comedy, poetry, storytelling, music and more. Whether you want to sit in the audience and relax or practice your performing chops in front of a small audience, this is the space to do it. (27-16 23rd Ave., qedastoria.com)

Get literary at this reading series (second Monday of each month)

This Crown Heights beer garden brings all the
Photo Credit: Franklin Park via Facebook

This Crown Heights beer garden brings all the nerds to the yard the second Monday of every month. Both established and new writers will read at this acclaimed and completely free event. Enter a free lottery to win some literary swag or take advantage of $5 drafts during the event. (8 p.m., 618 St. Johns Place, Crown Heights,franklinparkbrooklyn.com)

Show off your singing chops at Arlene's Grocery (Mondays)

This downtown music venue hosts a rock 'n'
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Roger Kisby

This downtown music venue hosts a rock 'n' roll karaoke night weekly, where attendees can choose from a selection of hits to perform with a live band. Bring your friends and have a moment in the spotlight while performing your favorite rock song. (95 Stanton St., Manhattan, 10 p.m., arlenesgrocery.net)

Tour the Brooklyn Brewery

OK, so the beer isn't free (unless you're
Photo Credit: Brooklyn Brewery

OK, so the beer isn't free (unless you're super nice to the ticket takers), but wait in line for a timed, 30-minute tour of the Brooklyn Brewery in Williamsburg -- it's totally free. The scent of beer is complimentary, too. (79 N. 11th St., brooklynbrewery.com)

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