Just because stocks are down, your spirits don't have to be. There's plenty of fun to be had that doesn't cost a penny, even in the world's most expensive cities. Check out these free diversions in Hong Kong, London and New York. (See the 5 best places to travel in a recession.)
Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware
Learn about the elaborate tea rituals of the major Chinese dynasties at this museum in Hong Kong Park. The collection ranges from clay to porcelain, and goes all the way back to the 7th century.
Check out new work by local artists as you nibble hors d'oeuvres and schmooze with art-world insiders. To get a free invitation, simply add yourself to the gallery's mailing list. Not sure where to start? The Schoeni Art Gallery is opening a show of paintings by the cutting-edge artist Liu Hong Yuan on Dec. 11.
Po Lin Monastery
Escape from the busy city with a visit to the working monastery atop the Ngong Ping plateau on Lantau Island. After taking in the view of the surrounding mountains, climb the 268 steps to the famous huge bronze Tian Tan Buddha.
See 10 things to do in Hong Kong.
Catch performances by some of the best up-and-coming classical artists at a free lunchtime concert at St. James's Church, Piccadilly. The light streaming in through the stained-glass windows only adds to the experience.
Meditation may be the secret to attaining an inner peace that can't be bought. Relax with a free class at Inner Space, a personal transformation center in the West End run by the spiritual group Brahma Kumaris.
Echo the likes of Karl Marx, George Orwell and William Morris by speaking your mind at this historic corner of Hyde Park. Or just listen to the soapbox orators as thousands of others have done since 1855, even before Parliament recognized the right of free assembly.
See 10 things to do in London.
Big Apple Greeter
Get to know the ins and outs of a New York City neighborhood with the help of your very own New Yorker. A volunteer greeter will give you a gratis two-hour to four-hour tour, including a primer on how to navigate the subway system but only if you book early.
Lucille's Bar & Grill
Venture into Times Square and take in some free live music at Lucille's, part of B.B. King Blues Club. This month, catch veteran blues artist Jon Paris or singer Nikki Armstrong.
New York Public Library
Wander the grand stairways and cavernous halls of the library's beautiful Beaux Arts building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. When you're done feasting your eyes, feed your mind at one of the numerous free performances, lectures and exhibitions, such as "Art Deco Design," which runs through Jan. 11.
See 10 things to do in New York City.
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