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What to do in December: 17 free things to do in New York

'30.11.2023'

Alina Prikhodko

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Want to enjoy the holiday season without burning a hole in your bank account? It may seem impossible in New York, but you can feel the magic of magic even without money. Gothamist made a selection of 17 free entertainment for every taste.

With this list of fun and free activities you can enjoy this December, you'll have some money left over to buy gifts for your loved ones this coming month. holiday markets, go to dinner at one of the iconic restaurants or just squander your money like Scrooge McDuck at all kinds of fairs and activities city.

Stroll through Dyker Heights

Every year after Thanksgiving, residents of Brooklyn's Dyker Heights neighborhood decorate for the holidays, transforming the area into... impressive exhibition. They usually sparkle with lights from sunset until 21:00 pm throughout December and the first week of January.

Look “Broadway Under the Stars”

If you want to see Broadway musicals without spending money on a ticket, check out Broadway Under the Stars. Every Thursday from 17:00 pm to 18:00 pm you can enjoy performances of today's most popular shows including Chicago, Shucked and The Lion King. Details here.

Explosive melodies in “Silent Night”

Carols are so passé, why not grab a Bluetooth speaker, join a group of strangers and blast the music through the streets of Greenwich Village? Composer Phil Cline will lead people from Washington Square Park to Tompkins Square Park on Sunday, December 17, and participants will listen to one of four original tracks through Bluetooth speakers or a boombox. (You must bring your own.) Sunday, December 17th at 18:00 pm at Washington Square Park. Details here.

Visit the animals in Brooklyn Bridge Park

Get to know the park better by visiting the Environmental Education Center during free opening hours. The center features an aquarium filled with East River wildlife, as well as crafts and educational materials. This is sure to delight children and perhaps even adults. Until December 12, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 15:00 to 17:00, on Saturdays and Sundays from 13:00 to 17:00. Details here.

Go for a run

There is no reason to wait until January to make decisions. New York Road Runners has been hosting free weekly runs across the city for nearly a decade, and the holiday season is a great time to start a new habit or pick up an old hobby. NYRR public runs can be found in parks throughout the city's five boroughs. People of all ages, experience levels and abilities are welcome. Why wait if you love it? Details here.

Learn dance salsa

Winter is the perfect time to warm up by learning to dance salsa. Every Sunday at La Diáspora in Chinatown you can get a free 45-minute salsa lesson. If you're hungry, you can buy yourself a brunch or a cocktail to help you get into the dance mood. Sundays from 15:00 to 16:00 in Chinatown.

Become a star burlesque

Expand your boundaries - attend a free burlesque show at the famous House of Yes in Bushwick and take part if you wish. Hot & Fresh Burlesque Night invites aspiring performers and audiences to try their hand at this daring art. How do you like this? Wednesday, December 6th at 7pm.

Go to the exhibition “"Shine Bright"

You can see more than 2 million lights at the Shine Bright exhibit at Hudson Yards. In addition to 185 kilometers of garlands, you'll see hundreds of evergreen trees and giant holiday decorations, including a 10-meter balloon. People with children can go to the 3rd level of the mall from 17:00 to 20:00 from Monday to Friday to take a free photo with Santa (until December 22 only).

Visit master class on drawing

This workshop was inspired by the Drawing Center's current exhibition on the work of artist Stefan Mandelbaum. The workshop will provide participants with the opportunity to reflect on Mandelbaum's often disturbing art and create something unique for themselves. As a bonus, the center will provide all the necessary art materials, so all you need to do is show up in a good mood. The event is recommended for people 18 years of age and older. Sunday, December 16, 11:30 am. Details and registration here.

Check out the treasure collection New York Public Library

Over its 125-year history, the library has accumulated many amazing exhibits. Thanks to Polonsky's exhibition, the best of them are on display during regular library hours. Exhibits include portraits, early sound recordings, copies of the Declaration of Independence, letters from Christopher Columbus and a Gutenberg Bible.

Take a tour of Spanish Museum and Library

Admission to the Spanish Museum and Library is always free, but you can enhance your experience with a free tour on Fridays and Saturdays at 14:00 pm. Tours take you through the museum's various collections, and are a good way to get to know one of New York's most underrated institutions. The museum displays works by Goya, El Greco, Orozco and other artists.

Go ice skating

Ice skating in Bryant Park's Winter Village free, but there's one catch: you have to bring your own skates. If you don't have them, rentals will cost you between $18 and $55; It's cheaper during off-peak hours.

Write a masterpiece in silence

November is National Novel Writing Month, but you can safely continue working throughout December by attending the Tuesday Silent Writing Happy Hour at Pete's Candy Store. The evening begins with short readings and prompts to help writers find inspiration. You can write your next Man Booker Prize-winning masterpiece, or stare at a blank page wondering what you want to say. The choice is yours! At least you'll be surrounded by other writers who can sympathize with you. Through December 19, Tuesdays from 17:00 pm to 19:00 pm, Williamsburg.

Take your dog to Governors Island

In December, dog owners and lovers can take their pets to Governors Island to enjoy nature without the traffic and crowds. Although the island is usually closed to all but service dogs, Winter Dog Days opens up more than 68 hectares to four-legged friends who are sure to enjoy the opportunity to play in the open air. Colonel's Row even has a new dog park where you can take your pets off leash and set them free amidst the stunning backdrop of New York Harbor. Starts December 1st, Governors Island. Details here.

Go to latin jazz performed by Grammy nominee

Bar and lounge MAD, inspired by “Mad Men,” the NH Collection New York Madison Avenue hosts Latin jazz every Thursday night with no cover charge. Grammy-nominated Colombian pianist Hector Martignon performs. It's a good excuse to dress up midweek, sip a cocktail and pretend you're Don Draper pondering your place in the universe with a jazz piano providing the soundtrack to your thoughts. Thursdays at 20:30 in Murray Hill.

Look at Manet and Degas in Metropolitan Museum of Art, until it's not too late

The Manet/Degas exhibition, which features two legendary enemies of French painting, has received rave reviews from tourists and locals alike. With over 160 works on display, the exhibition gives you a unique insight into two masters who changed the face of painting. Until January 7, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Take a photo with Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center

You simply must see this spruce. Several floors high, decorated with a 900-kilogram star designed by architect Daniel Libeskind, it is a miracle of man and nature. This legendary Christmas tree Installed and decorated by a whole team of engineers, it is chosen every year by Eric Pause, head gardener of Rockefeller Center. If you're nearby, check out shop windows on Fifth Avenue. On Sundays you can enjoy the street scenery no cars thanks to the city's Open Streets program.

 

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