When visiting New York City (or any city), it’s an inconvenience to travel without access to internet. This post will tell you where you can get free wi-fi in hundreds of locations throughout the city…even in the subway!
Whether you are a detailed planner or a ”fly by the seat of your pants” traveler, being able to keep in touch with tour companies, restaurant reservations, car rentals and your hotel is of the utmost importance. This makes having access- preferably free access- to the internet crucial. If you’re from another part of the United States, most likely your plan extends to other U.S. cities. If you’re visiting from another country, using your internet can become pricey. Having a few options in your pocket can alleviate the stress of navigating new surroundings. Below are a number of ways to find free internet across New York City. But first, two other bits of important information when visiting NYC: Finding Free Public Restrooms and How to Take a Pay-What-You-Wish NYC Walking Tour
New York City is rolling out a sleek, modern system of free Wi-Fi across the city. The service can be found at specially designed kiosks (referred to as “Links”) on city sidewalks. Links will also have USB ports for recharging your mobile devices. Built into each Link is a touchscreen digital tablet so you can browse the internet for those who dont own a smart device. You’ll be able to use the tablet for maps and directions as well! People can use Links to make free voice calls within the U.S. and in case of emergencies, Links have a “911” button built in for people to contact the city’s emergency service. By July 2016 there should be 510 working “Links” on streets throughout Manhattan. The plan is As the program rolls out, eventually there will be over 7,500 throughout the 5 boroughs of New York City.
If you have your own smart device, connecting to the free network is super easy – simply search for the network called LinkNYC Free Wi-Fi. You’ll be asked for your email address and once you’ve entered it, you’ll get connected to the free network. To find out updated status about where Links are located you can check on Link.nyc. For additional help with instructions on how to log in and using Links, check their website. This short video below is a good introduction to this amazing addition to an already amazing city!
Purchasing a SIM card
This is probably the most convenient way of allowing you to keep in touch frequently with others while traveling in the U.S. You can make phone calls, send texts, and use the internet. For help on how to find a plan that best suits you best, read our post on SIM Cards for New York City and the USA. If purchasing a SIM card is out of your budget, there is an astounding number of free WiFi spots in New York City.
Free Wi-Fi at businesses and food shops
As we all know, Starbucks is the world’s free wireless service. It’s becoming the norm for food shops, especially popular chain restaurants, to offer free Wi-Fi. Many advertise on their front window with a “WiFi” sticker, usually in the color blue. And plenty of hotels, cafés, libraries, restaurants and shops around the city have free Wi-Fi. Two food chains with free Wi-Fi you will find all over the city are Dunkin Donuts and McDonalds. Check out this useful map from Gothamist showing all the Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts locations in NYC.
Free Wi-Fi in Lower Manhattan via The Downtown Alliance
Downtown Allliance has 18 free public Wi-Fi zones in Lower Manhattan. Connect by choosing #DwtwnAllianceFreeWiFi when given a choice of networks. Locations include in front of 7 World Trade Center, Bowling Green, Stone Street, as well as other spots in the Financial District. Check out their website for all the details.
Free Wi-Fi in the Parks
New York City parks have several free Wi-Fi spots, in all five boroughs. To find out locations and what providers are unlimited free time, or partially paid Wi-Fi time, click on NYC Parks Wi-Fi. AT&T offers unlimited free Wi-Fi – just choose the network attwifi. Cablevision and Time Warner Cable offer a 10-minute free pass (once every 30 days) or a $.99 all day pass. Search for GuestWiFi. In Midtown Manhattan, Bryant Park has Wi-Fi. Connect to the BryantPark.org network. If you need help, check their instructions on how to log in. Downtown at Union Square you can connect via unionsquarewifi.
Free Wi-Fi in the Subway
New York’s subway stations are continually being upgraded to include Wi-Fi via their Transit Wireless WiFi™. As of June 2016 there are over 147 Manhattan, Queens and Bronx underground stations that offer free Wi-Fi. Look for station signs that let you know if the station is WiFi enabled. To log in choose the network TRANSITWIRELESSWIFI. A ‘welcome page’ with an advert will show up, and then you click “connect” to authenticate to the network. You only need to do this once, as you will be automatically connected every time you enter an enabled station. See the list of stations currently connected by viewing or even downloading a map of stations with Wi-Fi by visiting their website.
Free Wi-Fi in Brooklyn
In addition to all the obvious free places like fast food chains and libraries, Brooklyn offers free Wi-Fi in some of the most beautiful green spaces in the entire city. Bring your device and connect to the Internet while enjoying the lush landscape and spectacular views of the city from Brooklyn Bridge Park Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO. You can connect in specific sections of this massive waterfront park and recreation area. The northern portion of the park, between the two bridges, as well as Empire Fulton Ferry Landing and Main Street get service from DUMBO Wi-Fi. Free Wi-Fi service to Pier 1 and Pier 6 is through AT&T. And now you can use one of two free solar-powered cell phone charging stations located at Jane’s Carousel and on Pier 1. Fort Greene Park is another location with Wi-Fi and a lot of fascinating New York City History. The classic brownstone Brooklyn neighborhood of Park Slope is a must visit when you are in New York as is Prospect Park, which has several free Wi-Fi hot spots. Visiting Park Slope is easy with our Park Slope and Prospect Heights Self-Guided Tour.
NYC: The Official Guide
NYC: The Official Guide has interactive maps of all five boroughs, pinpointing places with free Wi-Fi. Visit NYC.go’s post on Wi-Fi in NYC to find a list public spaces like parks and libraries, as well as business like museums, restaurants and coffee houses. This site may be more useful for those with data but without an unlimited data plan, or if you plan on traveling from one Wi-Fi spot to the next.
Free Tours By Foot Meeting Points
Have no fear. You are taking several tours with us and want to know where you can surf the web while waiting for your tour to start. Maybe you forgot to check your email and need to see the picture of your guide so you know who to look for. Below is a list of free Wi-Fi at the meeting points of our various Free Tours By Foot tours. They are categorized by the neighborhoods in which our tours start.
Lower Manhattan Tours
Midtown Manhattan Tours
Central Park & Harlem Tours