Even if you don't have a huge hunk of cash to spend on a swanky meal or a night sipping fancy cocktails, there's a great deal of fun to be had in Williamsburg totally FREE. Most of the action takes place around McCarren Park, but whether you're into alcohol, music, or art, these ideas won't cost you a dime.
The free summer movies in McCarren Park used to be shown at McCarren Park Pool, until the city decided it wanted to reopen the pool as an actual swimming facility (it had, for years, been used as a concert venue). Since it's under construction, the L Magazine sponsored free movies have been taking place at the basketball / tennis / whatever you'd like to name them courts on the Southwest corner of the park. You will be sitting on pavement so bring lots of pillows or even chairs to protect your bum. Local food sellers and Brooklyn Brewery offer up drink and food. Movies shown are usually campy or nostalgic. It's a fantastic summer evening.
199 Bedford Ave., (718) 963-3939
Hours: 12 p.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. - 11 p.m. Saturday, 12 p.m. - 9 p.m. Sunday
Check UVA's website for upcoming tastings, usually organized by region or type of wine. These events are free, but you'll probably find it difficult to leave this store without a bottle or two under your arm. The staff is friendly and helpful, and their selection has a great range from affordable to pricey.
90 Kent Ave.
Due to public support, the city has created a free concert series for everyone to enjoy in the warmer months. Summerstage has venues all over the city, and recently added Williamsburg's waterfront part to the mix. These shows are always a scene: totally packed with rowdy people. This past year, Grizzly Bear, Pavement, and Belle & Sebastian were just a few of the great bands that stopped by.
79 N. 11th St., (718) 486-7422
Hours: Tours on Saturday at 1 p.m. every hour until 5 p.m., Tours on Sunday at 1 p.m. every hour until 4 p.m.
On Saturdays and on Sundays the Brooklyn Brewery offers free tours. Opened in 1988, this beer brand has now expanded its horizons well outside of New York. (Apparently you can even get it in Hong Kong). If you're at all interested in beer it's worth going, especially if you're also a fan of free tastings. Stick around afterwards for more drinking, or buy some brew to take home.
483 Driggs Avenue, (718) 599-8779
Hours: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Friday through Sunday.
Located near the corner of Driggs and North 10th St., the Black and White Gallery is an art and project space that features work from artists just starting out and those advanced in their careers. They have another space in Chelsea, but the Williamsburg location was created specifically for installations. This gallery is committed to art, and the typical style here is aggressive and avant-garde. Pop in and look around, free of charge.
709 Lormier St., (718) 302-2770
Hours: 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday through Wednesday, 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. Thursday through Saturday, 4 p.m. - 2 a.m. Sunday
Besides being a great bar, Pete's Candy Store boasts a backyard garden and free live music every single night of the week. Check their website for details on the band, or just wander in whenever you want. Music generally starts around 9 p.m., and afterwards the musicians sell their CDs and chat with their audience.