New York City. The city that never sleeps. The city of lights, glamour, and movie stars. No matter where you live, New York City is a hot ticket destination for vacations and bucket list places to visit. It’s the place for Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Broadway. There’s so much to desire there! However, not only is it considered the most expensive city in the entire United States, it's in the top 10 most expensive cities in the world! But taking a trip to New York doesn’t have to be an unfilled dream or break the bank. Learn the secrets of this amazing city and anyone can make it in New York with the right tips!
Accommodation, Transportation, & More with $50
First things first is where to stay. Many people start looking up areas and limit themselves to Manhattan in order to be in the middle of the action. However, New York City is all so close together, you can stay in cheaper, surrounding cities without missing a beat! Check out hotels, Airbnbs, and villas to rent in surrounding boroughs like Park Slope or Williamsburg. Both are filled with unique New York experiences, including amazing restaurants, bodegas, bars, and beautiful parks. Check out Brooklyn or Queens for nicer hotels - you can get a fancy room for less than half of the high prices of Manhattan. The public transportation systems will keep you constantly connected and moving around from place to place cheaply.
Speaking of public transportation: the smartest way to travel around New York City is to live like a local: try taking the subways and buses. One-way tickets on a subway are about $3 and they have temporary bus passes on their transit website.
Find the restaurants that locals eat at instead of hitting up tourist traps. The foods will be equally delicious for much less cash! There are many side carts and stands selling food that locals eat for almost every meal when they are on the go. Find the little hole-in-the-wall restaurants that everyone is walking into, and look at coffee shops with locals lined out the door. These places are always hidden gems and sometimes the best hot dog you’ll ever eat!
Most people love the idea of visiting all the famous and special museums in New York City and spending hundreds of dollars on tickets. But did you know, almost all of these museums have free days or discounted days on their websites? Match your travel dates with the free dates at the museums and visit their famous attractions without emptying out your wallet.
While you’re at it and saving money, instead of high priced city views check out these spots you can visit for free:
- The Staten Island Ferry
- The High Line
- Brooklyn Heights Promenade
- The view from the Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Center)
- Prospect Park
- Washington Square Park
- Riverside Park
- The Brooklyn Bridge
- The Manhattan Bridge
- The Williamsburg Bridge
While most people think about taking their trips over summer vacation or in the warmer months, it’ll be cheaper to travel to New York in the winter months. Will it be cold? Absolutely, but bring a few extra jackets to save yourself a few hundred dollars. A totally wort-it exchange.
Experiencing Broadway Like a Pro
Obviously, seeing a Broadway show is one of the must-do experiences in New York City. But did you know you can do it on the cheap?
Here’s the trick: check out the TKTS Booth in Time Square (there are also locations in Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan). They sell theatre tickets with some serious discounts: sometimes even up to 50% off! If you get there earlier you can grab your tickets to add some extra special experiences to your vacation!
Heads up: Time Square is a place to be on your guard. It’s still a tourist hub with lots of pickpockets and thieves. Wear a crossbody purse or wrap your wallet with a rubber band and put it in your front pocket to avoid scams. If you’re really worried about it, make friends with a local and ask for more advice!
Being one of the oldest cities in the United States, New York City is also full of wonderful historical sites. While there are many different places to go that could cost a pretty penny, there are also some really special experiences to have that are totally free! Here are a few places to check out that won’t cost you a dime:
- Alexander Hamilton’s grave at Trinity Church
- The Civil War arch (north of Prospect Park)
- Grand Tomb at New York National Memorial
If you love beers and checking out amazing, fresh breweries take a free brewery tour through the city! The Chelsea Brewery, Brooklyn Brewery, and the Bronx Brewery are all free tours and excellent beers to taste!
It’s easy to stretch your money and have an amazing time in New York City without feeling like you’re missing out!