New York City is a city unlike any other as it is not only the most densely populated city in the US but also is one of the most influential cultural capitals of the world. This bustling city has something for everyone with its entertaining Broadway shows to its expansive green space in Central Park. And although New York City can be very expensive to visit, with a little planning, you can visit this city on a budget. We recommend spending at least 3 days, if not more, in NYC. Here is our guide for visiting New York City, New York on a budget.
FYI: This post is based on a trip taken in late July
What to do in New York City on a Budget
An iconic spot and must see in New York City is the Brooklyn Bridge. We walked across the bridge from Manhattan to Brooklyn as well as back but beware that it is a much further walk than you would expect. The bridge may only be about a mile long but there is approximately a mile lead in on both sides.
Tip: To get to the park where we took our first picture on this blog post with the Manhattan Skyline, you have to get to the Brooklyn Bridge Park (on the water, south of the bridge) and it is quite a hike from the bridge itself. If you are not as apt to walk as us, you may want to take a cab.
Broadway is home to the best of the best as far as shows and talented cast members. We recommend splurging on tickets as close to the stage as you can afford. Being closer to the stage truly makes the Broadway experience magical. We saw Aladdin on Broadway and it was our favorite part of our New York City trip.
Tip: Use the Today Tix App to get better prices on tickets. We got to sit within the first couple rows at Aladdin as we got tickets for less than half of their normal box office price using this App. We also used this App to get tickets to a Stomp show for a very fair price.
Cost: Variable, use the Today Tix App for a discounted price
Statue of Liberty
If you are in New York City, you need to visit the Statue of Liberty. It is one of, if not the most, iconic symbol of America. We enjoyed the Ellis Island Immigration Museum as well learning about the rich history of immigrants coming to America. We did not go inside the Statue but if you want to go inside of it, make sure to buy tickets early as these tend to sell out months in advance.
Tip: Book a ferry to the Statue of Liberty at the earliest time possible because it will be much less busy in the morning. As the day goes on, more and more people are dropped off on the island and inherently, without people having a specific time they have to leave, more and more people continue to accumulate.
Statue of Liberty National Monument
Cost: Variable ticket cost for ferry depending on what type of ticket you buy
In all the chaos of New York City, this park feels like a serene green space getaway. This massive park is truly one of a kind with all the different activities within it, even including a small Zoo. We enjoyed going for a morning run here twice and seeing what the park had to offer without the crowds.
Tip: If possible, go here on a weekday and early in the day. We visited Central Park on three separate occasions on our short four day trip and we enjoyed our two early morning weekday visits much more than our weekend afternoon visit. On a nice day, this park can get quite busy and although we like people, we don’t like crowds.
Bonus: Attend the Taping of a Show
We had planned to do this, we got tickets to Good Morning America; however, for a reason unknown to us, the studio was closed to a live audience the day when we had tickets to attend so we hope to do this another time.
Tip: These tickets are free but not easy to get. Make sure to check for tickets well in advance to know when you need to request them.
What to eat in New York City
Black Tap Shakes
This restaurant specializes in unique, GIANT and artistic milkshakes. We lucked out and stumbled upon a pop-up Black Tap Shakes food truck that offered a limited selection of the normal shakes they offer in their restaurant. We were happy to find this food truck as we did not have to wait and there is a typically 1+ hour wait at the restaurant.
New York City is a melting pot of people and the number of different authentic ethnic restaurants reflects that well. We loved all the food we ate in NYC (Thai, Indian, Lebanesse, Mexican) but we do not have further restaurant recommendations as most of the spots we picked were based on convenience to where we were at the time we wanted to eat.
Where to stay in New York City on a Budget
Stay somewhere between Central Park and Time Square. We stayed at the DoubleTree By Hilton Hotel Metropolitan NYC and felt it was a good central location as well as fairly priced. The location of this hotel allowed us to walk everywhere we visited in the city from here. Alternatively, if you don’t want to walk, you could easily use the Subway system from this location as well.
Hilton DoubleTree Metropolitan
We hope this post helps you plan your trip to New York City on a budget. Anything else you’d add to our guide to visiting New York City on a Budget? We’d love to hear your feedback. Please send us an email or leave us a comment.
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