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What’s better than spending a few free days right in your own backyard known as the Big Apple doing things that are free? We can’t think of anything, so we’re sharing our list of things to do this week in New York City that won’t cost you a dime. Just bring your curiosity, some snacks and comfortable shoes.

International African Arts Festival
Sat Jul 3 10am–9pm. Commodore John Barry Park, Brooklyn (

Celebrate our country’s melting-pot heritage at the 39th annual International African Arts Festival. The four-day fest stages an eclectic lineup of performances, including jazz, gospel and reggae concerts, dance, storytelling, arts and crafts, face painting, rides and a massive African marketplace.  All ages.

Kayaking on the Hudson

Sat Jul 3 10am–5pm.
•Riverside Park at 72nd St (
• Pier 96, Twelfth Ave at 56th St (
• Pier 40, West St at Houston St (

The New York City Downtown Boathouse is offering free kayaking every weekend through October at three Hudson River docks.  You don’t need to make reservations, just walk up and wait on line. Experts will help kayaking virgins, but it would be smart to have some swimming skills. Kids under 16 must be accompanied by an adult in the same boat. All ages.

Art Island Outpost Fourth of July Celebration

Sat Jul 3 11am–3pm. Governors Island, New York Harbor (
The Children’s Museum of the Arts helps little patriots celebrate Independence Day with a space-age craft project: Participants will make rocket ships, and perhaps even learn how to moon-walk, hee hee. There are a bunch of other free activites on Governors Island to take part in. All ages.

Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest

Sun Jul 4 at noon. 1310 Surf Ave at W 10th St (
You’ll probably want to watch more than participate in this annual overeating contest. In recent years, this competitive-eating challenge has been a two-man showdown between Joey Chestnut—winner in 2009 with 68 franks—and six-time champ Takeru Kobayashi, who ate 64½. All ages.

Declare Independence

Sun Jul 4 1–4pm. Lefferts Historic House, Brooklyn (
Little ones will fashion a plumed hat to wear as they lend their John Hancock to a reproduction of the Declaration of Independence. All ages.

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