New York City on a Budget: Tips and Tricks!

When it comes to vacations, New York is often one of the top destinations for travelling that comes to everyone’s minds. But with the grand hotels, restaurants and a million tourist attraction spots, it can easily turn into a very expensive stay for many. Nevertheless, you can have a low-cost and entertaining visit to the Big Apple if you keep a few tips in mind. Here’s a list of some pointers that could help you plan your trip to New York City on a budget!

1. Visiting months

NYC in January

Choosing the right months to travel to New York can largely reduce your expenses. Even though the city is a bustling tourist destination all year round, travelling between January to early April or during the months of September and early November will help you avoid peak crowd seasons and keep the cost of your stay to a minimum. 

2. Budget hotels

hotel nyc

When it comes to accommodations in New York, many hotels can look too pricey for budget-conscious travellers, especially if travelling during the top tourist months. It is best to avoid staying in Manhattan to keep that budget in check. Williamsburg and Park slope, among other Brooklyn neighbourhoods, are likely to provide you with cheaper accommodations than Manhattan. Another budget-friendly way to stay in the city is to rent an apartment. Platforms such as Airbnb can offer great deals but make sure to check the policies and location to get the best out of the deal. 
Some budget-friendly hotels to check out: Pod-39Hilton Garden InnCarlton Arms Hotel Hotel 31

3. Getting around

Subway NYC

Saving on transportation costs while travelling to different locations within and around the city is a great way to ensure a budget-friendly travel. The city’s subway is one of the cheapest modes of travel with each ride costing around $2.75. If you plan to use the subway daily, getting an unlimited subway pass is probably the best shot to travel around on a budget. These cards can be purchased for a day, 7 days or even more depending on how long you plan to stay. NYC also has a bike share programme called Citi Bike which is another good alternative to more expensive travel modes like bike rental or even taxis. The prices start from $3 for a single ride up to $12 for a one-day pass. 

4. Sightseeing on a budget

NYC pass

It is not necessary for you to spend big bucks to get a true feeling of the city and all its attractions. You will find a number of inexpensive ways to have fun. CityPASS, Sightseeing FLEX Pass, or New York Explorer Pass are all attraction based passes that could help you visit a cluster of places at a cheaper price. Look out for museums that offer free admissions every now and then. The Museum of Modern Art has free admission for children under 16, select colleges and universities, and few other groups of people. The Guggenheim museum offers pay-what-you-wish opportunities to visitors on Fridays and Saturdays from 4 pm. to 6 p.m.

5. Free attraction spots


There are quite a few enjoyable activities you can engage in while in New York without putting a lot of strain on your wallet Take the Staten Island Ferry for free to get a breathtaking view of the skyline or go to the famous Times Square and enjoy the  huge billboards while window shopping through some glamorous shops. Try your luck at securing cheap Broadway tickets at the TKTS discount ticket booth at Times Square. There are also various musical concerts and events happening in the city at cheap rates. Movie screenings in parks and open-mic comedies in bars are usually free of cost and a good way to have a budget-friendly memorable night in New York. 

6. Outdoor activities for free


Simple things like taking a stroll along the High Line or going for a picnic to Central Park can truly make your day because of the beautiful view that the city has to offer. You can even walk across the Brooklyn Bridge in the evening and enjoy the city lights and the New York night sky. Book yourself a free walking tour in advance of the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy, Brooklyn Brewery and Single Cut Beersmiths or the Flatiron District. 
Bridges and Parks to check out:Prospect ParkWashington Square ParkThe Manhattan BridgeThe Williamsburg Bridge

7. Save on meals


Dining out in the city could unconsciously bring up your expenses. With the culture of tipping your servers and the prices of the cafes and restaurants, you could easily end up paying $15 on an average for a single meal. To keep your budget in check, avoid famous touristy spots and stick to more local, quieter places to dine such as Chinatown. This is also a good time to get a little adventurous with your choices and experience the street food of New York. Your stay would truly not be complete without trying out the local hot dogs, pretzels, bagels and other delicious snacks served by the street carts. 
Some cheap eat options: $4 rice rolls at Joe’s Steam Rice Rolls$8.50 pork dumplings at White Bear$7 large plate at Punjabi Grocery and Deli$4.50 tofu pudding at Fong On

8. Shopping on a budget

Thrift shop

While it is easy to get swayed away by the glitzy showrooms and big designer names, New York also provides various places to shop without going overboard with your expenses. Nordstrom Rack, City Opera Thrift Shop, Topshop, and Century 21 are some places to check out for products of reasonable prices. 

There are a hundred ways to keep your budget in check while travelling to New York City. Few smart decisions taken as a tourist, from the timing of your visit to the place of your meals, can take you a long way in having an affordable yet enjoyable stay in the city!

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