Many cities have a lot to offer, and some of it is free! It’s just a matter of knowing what’s out there. Luckily for you, dear reader, you have three cheapo detectives known as the Urchins on the case! Here is what we found for you this week.
Yes, I am recommending another garden. I apparently have an incurable weakness for flowers, trees, and strolling. A few weeks ago, this penchant for plants led me to the Hamilton Gardens. Set in the town of Hamilton on the North Island of New Zealand, the Hamilton Gardens are comprised of no less than 18 individual gardens. The Paradise Collection contains an Italian Renaissance Garden, an English Flower Garden, an American Modernist Garden, a Chinese Scholars Garden, a Japanese Garden of Contemplation, and an Indian Char Bagh Garden that immediately transport you to the country and time of each garden’s design. From within the English Flower Garden, you would swear 19th-century England was just over the hedge. Same goes for 10th-century China and all the others.
An Herb Garden, a Kitchen Garden, and a Maori Garden are just a few of the beautiful places you can stroll through during your visit. I spent an entire afternoon enjoying the scenery and still didn’t see everything Hamilton Gardens has to offer. Maybe I would have seen more if I hadn’t stopped so often to freak out that such an incredible place is free to the public. Because as much as I love gardens, man do I love free things to do. The Hamilton Gardens is one of the best places imaginable for a date, including a date with yourself, your favourite book, and a long summer afternoon.
SITE Santa Fe opened in 1995 and hosted the first international biennial of contemporary art in the United States. Since then, SITE has brought artists from all over the world to Santa Fe, a city most commonly regarded for Southwest and Native American art. In the revitalised Santa Fe Railyard, the museum is a part of the movement to rebuild the old railyards as an economic centre. With live-in artist studios, green spaces, galleries, and SITE, the Santa Fe Railyards are an awesome example of cities reusing city space instead of continually growing out. I have yet to actually go to SITE Santa Fe (for some reason Trader Joe’s is the only reason I ever make a trip to town), but the museum is free on Fridays! I might have a new reason to go to Santa Fe!
The High Line is a park unlike any other I’ve been to. For all I know it is the first park in America of its kind. The High Line is a stunning example of urban site recycling. The High Line was first constructed in 1934 as an additional section of elevated railroad tracks for the New York Central Railroad. It was designed to allow trains to enter directly into buildings, bringing forth and unloading supplies and shipment, without having to disturb the traffic flow on the street.
Smash cut to 1999. The High Line hadn’t been in use for nineteen years due to the growth of interstate trucking. Rather than demolish the now-useless set of tracks, a community group called Friends of the High Line pushed the idea of turning the High Line into a park. Today’s High Line is beautiful, innovative, and completely free. It’s getting a wee bit cold here in New York, but I plan on making my way to the High Line when the snow is falling, because right now it’s quite difficult for me to imagine anything more breathtaking.