Sponsored Love: Trip To NYC On A Small Budget

April 30, 2024

New York: “The city that never sleeps.” From stunning views to the bustling streets to the iconic Broadway shows, the city has it all.

But let’s be honest- it can be expensive. However, despite its reputation for being pricy, a trip to NYC can be affordable.

Whether you’re a budget-savvy traveler or simply looking to make the most of your vacation money, we’ve got you covered. Learn how to experience the best of the Big Apple without putting a hole in your pocket with our awesome tips. 

Plan your Trip in Winter

Traveling to New York City can strain budget, especially during peak seasons. However, strategically planning your visit between January and early April or from September to early November can help you sidestep the crowds and keep your expenses in check.

Though it might be cold, winter in New York City is a truly magical experience. From ice skating to hot cups of cocoa to the festive decorations, the city offers a beautiful atmosphere during this time of year.

Choose Budget Hotels

Finding affordable accommodation in New York City can be tough, but it’s not impossible. First, you need to broaden your search beyond Manhattan. While Manhattan is the heart of New York City, other areas like Brooklyn and Queens offer more budget-friendly options. Neighborhoods such as Park Slope, Williamsburg, and Long Island City are not only cheaper but also full of charm and amenities.

You can also consider alternative accommodation options, such as camping upstate in the Hudson Valley or Catskills. This can provide a unique way to experience New York’s natural beauty. Another option is to rent an apartment through platforms like Airbnb, which is often more affordable than traditional hotels, especially for longer stays.

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Take Advantage of Public Transport

When it comes to getting around New York City, don’t hesitate to use public transport. The subway is the cheapest way to get around, with each ride costing less than $3. If you plan to use it a lot, you can even get an unlimited ride MetroCard for just $33 for a whole week.

You can also save money by taking the free Staten Island Ferry, which gives great views of the Statue of Liberty. And if you like biking, you can use Citi Bike, where rides start at as low as $3. These options can help you explore the city without spending too much on transportation.

Go for Local Food

Kickstart your morning with a satisfying breakfast from the street carts scattered across Midtown. These carts serve everything from steaming coffee cups to breakfast tacos, and bagels slathered with cream cheese at prices suitable for all. Don’t miss out on trying iconic New York Street eats like $1 pizza slices or classic hot dogs from Nathan’s Famous.

Explore multiple cuisines through neighborhoods like Chinatown, where you can enjoy dim sum delights at Nom Wah Tea Parlor or savor flavorful lamb dumplings at Xi’an Famous Foods. For a taste of Egypt, head to Zooba in Nolita for flavorful hawawshi, or satisfy your burger cravings with a juicy American cheeseburger at 7th Street Burger in the East Village.

Explore NYC’s Free Gems

When you are on a budget but still want to soak in the history, culture, and entertainment that New York City has to offer, here is what you gotta do:

  • Historical Sights: Learn the city’s rich history by visiting free historical landmarks, monuments, and memorials. Remember to add landmarks like Alexander Hamilton’s grave at Trinity Church, the Civil War arch north of Prospect Park, and Grant’s Tomb to your checklist.
  • Museum Visits: Time your museum visits strategically to take advantage of free or pay-what-you-wish hours. Many museums, such as the Frick Madison and the Guggenheim Museum, offer free entry on certain days or hours. You can check out the Jewish Museum on Saturdays for free admission and Neue Galerie New York on the first Friday of each month.
  • Free Festivals: New York City offers a vibrant festival scene with free events throughout the year. If you visit during autumn, you can enjoy the Brooklyn Book Festival’s free readings and author talks. In spring, see the Shakespeare in the Park series at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park or the GMA Summer Concert Series and SummerStage Festival, which offer free performances by renowned artists.

Enjoy a Leisurely Day at the City’s Parks

New York City boasts various stunning parks where you can unwind without spending a dime. Central Park remains at the top with its scenic trails, serene lakes, and iconic landmarks like the Bethesda Fountain. Brooklyn’s Prospect Park gives a tranquil escape, featuring lush greenery and picturesque meadows. 

For a lively vibe, Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village offers vibrant performances and a youthful atmosphere. Alternatively, for a quieter retreat, Riverside Park has peaceful river views and a glimpse of history at President Ulysses S. Grant’s tomb. 

Full-on Entertainment through Broadway Shows

A trip to New York is incomplete without catching a Broadway show. Visit the TKTS Booth in Times Square, Brooklyn, or Lower Manhattan. Here, you can snag discounted same-day or next-day tickets, sometimes up to 50% off regular prices. Arrive early to ensure you grab the best deals.

While New York City is mostly safe, Times Square is prone to pickpocketing and scam artists due to its popularity among tourists. Be careful about your surroundings, especially in crowded areas.

Walk the Iconic Brooklyn Bridge  

Last but definitely not least, take a walk across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. Built in 1883, this historic landmark offers stunning views of Manhattan’s skyline, all for free. The stroll takes about an hour and is perfect for capturing Instagram-worthy photos. For an extra special experience, go during sunset to see the city bathed in golden light. And if you’re a night owl, enjoy the city lights twinkling against the New York night sky.

Final Words

New York City offers various affordable experiences for budget-conscious travelers. While you’ve got the hacks on saving money, remember to find the cheapest day to book flights. So, get ready to pack your bags and dive into the city’s vibrant energy and endless possibilities.

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