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Die Brooklyn Bridge ist ein absolutes Highlight in New York - und kostenlos zu besichtigen, Bild: Dominik_stilosophen / shutterstock

New York for free: 5 free highlights of the cosmopolitan city

Breathtaking, cosmopolitan and – expensive. New York City has become one of the most expensive cities in the world in recent years. Not only the inhabitants of the Big Apple, but also tourists are feeling the effects of this development: accommodation, restaurant visits and sightseeing can put a lot of strain on the travel budget. Nevertheless, the city can also be explored on a small budget or even completely free of charge. Many New York landmarks are not only freely accessible, but also hide exciting insights and unexpected highlights. Coney Island, the High Line Park and other sights prove that a trip to New York can be a complete success even without a lot of money!

The green heart of Manhattan – Central Park

Central Park in New York
In Central Park you can walk for many hours – and still haven’t seen everything, Image: Reisemagazin Online

Central Park is one of the largest urban parks in the world. Nestled between skyscrapers, traffic chaos and teeming footpaths, the park, which has been in existence since 1885, offers pure nature. Around 100 kilometres of footpaths lead through groves and gardens, over bridges and meadows, past watercourses and numerous sights that can be visited free of charge; including Bethesda Terrace with the Bethesda Fountain or Belvedere Castle, built in 1869 in the style of a European castle. The Conservatory and Shakespeare Garden, as well as many of the hidden niches, grottos and waterfalls, silence the noise of the metropolis and show New York from its idyllic side. In addition, there are almost always free cultural events in Central Park: street artists, musicians, skaters and dancers make the park their stage. Young visitors can have fun on one of the more than 20 playgrounds or marvel at the nostalgic Central Park Carousel.

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Between the Worlds – The Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge is one of New York’s most outstanding landmarks. Over a length of 1.8 kilometers, it connects the vibrant district of Manhattan with tranquil Brooklyn. In its massive pillars, steel cables, streets and paths, the spirit of historic New York lives on. The suspension bridge, which was completed in 1883, can be crossed by car, on foot or by bicycle. A brisk walk from one end of the bridge to the other takes about 20 minutes. Usually, however, visitors stay much longer on the historic building. The breathtaking view and the special architecture of the Brooklyn Bridge invite you to linger. The footpaths above the roadway allow walkers to watch the New York traffic rushing by directly under their feet. The Brooklyn Bridge offers a special experience at sunset. Twilight bathes the city, its skyline and the East River in spectacular colors.

The Ultimate Selfie Location – Times Square

Times Square in October 2023
Times Square in October 2023, Image: Reisemagazin-Online

Times Square is the radiant center of Manhattan. Its more than 300 large-scale neon signs, which consume about 161 megawatts of electricity every night, are the trademark of this square, which is so important for New York’s cultural and media landscape. Dozens of cinemas and theaters are located on its periphery. The famous Broadway and numerous places of worship, including the Hard Rock Cafe and Madame Tussauds, are to be discovered. Even without a budget, the many unique shops, such as Hershey’s Chocolate World or the Disney Store, can be explored. A special highlight of Times Square is also the various 3D billboards, the red glowing TKTS steps and many other spectacular photo and selfie locations. If you’re lucky, you can even witness a film shoot or flash mobs. Especially at night, however, Times Square unfolds its magic. During the so-called Midnight Moment, many of the huge neon signs are synchronized in the course of an art installation and amaze passers-by, tourists and residents – completely free of charge!

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The New York Walk with a Difference – The High Line Park

High-Line Park in New York
Switch off a little from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis: The High Line Park, Image: Reisemagazin-Online

The High Line Park is a destination in a class of its own. An elevated railway line that was disused in the early 1980s forms the basic structure of the park, which was expanded between 2009 and 2023 into a walking path that runs across the streets of Manhattan. Richly landscaped and equipped with numerous art objects, the High Line Park offers the opportunity to explore the west of Manhattan away from the traffic chaos of New York. The trails run over 2.5 kilometers and offer unique views of the Hudson River and Manhattan’s street canyons, where old and new New York merge. The High Line Park leads past numerous milestones of modern architecture; including the futuristic-looking cultural centre The Shed and the unusual Lantern House. At the northern end of the complex is the stair tower The Vessel, which opened in 2019. In the form of the Meatpacking District with its industrial charm, the High Line Park also allows you to explore a part of historic New York.

Colorful Dreamland – Coney Island

Coney Island Beach
You can also switch off on the beach of Coney Island, Image: Reisemagazin-Online

In the south of Brooklyn, about 50 minutes by subway from Manhattan, is the brightly colored Coney Island. In addition to its extensive beach and pier, the peninsula is best known for Luna Park, a retro-style amusement park. The history of the wooden roller coaster Cyclone, for example, dates back to the 20s. But the newer rides also exude a unique nostalgic atmosphere. Away from rides and arcades, Coney Island has a beautiful boardwalk and even a free art exhibit. The Coney Art Walls showcase varied street art and are freely accessible to any interested visitor. Especially in the summer months, Coney Island is colorful and lively. But even out of season, the peninsula knows how to convince with its extraordinary look; both the nostalgic rides and event locations as well as the crazy shops and restaurants are real eye-catchers.