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Free Things to Do in Queens, NY

Fun Is Good but Free Is Better


Free things to do in Queens aren't too hard to find. Every week there are free events in the parks and at cultural centers across the borough. Here are a few continuing free things to do and other recommendations to get the most of your time and your wallet in the great borough of Queens, New York.

Free Museums

Noguchi sculpture
Photo (c) John Roleke
Several local museums are free or have time each month when admission is free. Follow the link for more freebies at P.S. 1's Warm Up, NY Hall of Science, Noguchi Museum, and the Queens County Farm Museum.

The Great and Free Outdoors in Queens

Alley Pond Park Adventure Center
Photo Credit: NYC Parks & Recreation
Most public recreation spots -- parks, beaches, pools -- are free or nearly free. The NYC parks -- plus the national Gateway Park -- will bring you from busy soccer fields to the wilds of Jamaica Bay. Check our weekend update for events in the parks, like the free kayaking in the East River every Sunday in the summer -- or free sledding in the parks on the first NYC school snow day of the year or the climbing wall at Alley Pond Park. Here's more on our favorite parks in Queens.

Cool Off for Free

Astoria Pool
Photo (c) John Roleke
Outdoor public pools in Queens are free, and the indoor pools have a small fee for adults, but are free for kids under 18. Our best recommendations are for beautiful Astoria Pool in the summer, and the new, indoor Flushing Meadows Corona Park Pool and Rink for the rest of the year.

Free Beach

Breezy Point
Photo (c) John Roleke
Rockaway Beach is one of the most popular summertime destinations in New York City, and it's free but for the cost of transportation, sun block, and Italian ices. Plus, there's Jacob Riis Beach, Fort Tilden, and Breezy Point all to explore in the Rockaways. Beaches in Queens are perfect in the summer and fine all year for free, scenic strolls.

Championship Tennis ... for Free

Jonas Brothers
Photo (c) John Roleke
The biggest secret to the US Open is the free Qualifying Tournament that runs the week before the Open proper. This is the time to see stars in the making. It's free and the views are great.

Arthur Ashe Kids Day is another free day at the Open; a day for families and kids. The premier concert at Arthur Ashe costs money, but there's more than enough to do for free -- tennis clinics, games, more live music, and chances to meet tennis stars.

Yes, the photo is of the Jonas Brothers at Arthur Ashe Kids Day, wielding comically oversized tennis gear.

Free Events in Queens

Forest Park Bandshell
Photo (c) Nicholas Biondo
Throughout the year, you can find free events happening at local park, theaters, and community centers; plus parades and street festivals. One way to keep up is via our free, weekly email newsletter with its weekend event picks. Also see the annual and monthly major events calendars.

Wander Flushing Meadows

Ballet International African
Photo (c) Nicholas Biondo
Flushing Meadows Corona Park is one of the biggest parks in NYC. It's been home to a lot of history: two Worlds Fairs and one United Nations. It's great place not just for sports, but for free exploring. Try a scavenger hunt in the park, and find these (some easy, some hard):
  • A ancient pillar, formerly part of Temple of Artemis
  • The world's largest steel globe
  • A former ice skating rink that was once the former meeting hall of the United Nations
  • A cricket match, or at least a cricket field
  • A movie scene of alien destruction
  • A heliport turned catering hall

See the World in a Walk or for the Cost of a Subway Ride

Street Signs in Downtown Flushing, NY
Photo (c) John Roleke
Queens is famous for the diversity of its immigrant neighborhoods. You can literally taste tour the world in a single day of exploring and eating. Add to that the diversity of landscapes -- urban, suburban, seaside -- and history that goes back to colonial days, and you got a number of recommended destinations for urban explorers, including:

Check our weekend roundup in the newsletter for upcoming walking tours

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