Updated: Mar 4

New York is one of the most visited cities in America. Unfortunately,it can be very expensive. Though it can be costly to take a trip to this iconic city,it doesn't have to be. There are many things to do that are pricey but also many that are completely free. If planned carefully New York can be inexpensive without compromising fun. Below are a few ways to save money while visiting The Big Apple.

Where To Stay

Where you stay in New York can mean saving hundreds if you pick the right area. If you are looking to stay on Times Square or have the perfect view of Central Park then expect to pay a hefty price. There are however, many neighborhoods that are just as nice for a much lower cost.

The best thing is no matter where you stay the subway can be taken to Manhattan and all the cities hot spots. Try to find a hotel nearest a subway station to save time and money.

If your wanting closer to the Broadway District and Times Square try finding a hotel in Hell's Kitchen, they tend to be a little bit cheaper and still a close distance. Hell's kitchen also has some delicious food choices.

A great option for good hotels at a cheaper price is staying in Long Island City. Long Island City is inexpensive and just the subway goes right into Manhattan.

Walk Or Take The Subway

Walking is not only free but it gives you the opportunity to see things you may have missed otherwise. See the city like a local and walk whenever possible.You can see the cities beautiful architecture up close. New York is known for the unique buildings and history.

One of the best things about New York is its inexpensive transportation system. The city can be accessed everywhere by subway and bus. The subway is by far the cheapest way to see New York. A 7-day unlimited Metro Card is only $33.00. If you pay per ride it's just a few bucks.

Find The Free Stuff

Free stuff is there and with a little research you can find some interesting things to do. Here are a few free things that are great choices when on a budget.

  • Central Park - Take a stroll through one of the most famous parks in the world absolutely free. See the Strawberry Fields, dedicated to John Lennon or take a picture at The Pond, its been in numerous movies and tv shows. Central Park is a must see for everyone visiting New York and a wonderful free activity.

  • Coney Island and Rockaway Beaches - Take a 45 minute ferry ride from Pier 11 to Rockaway Beach. The beach is free and a great way to spend the day with your family.

Coney Island is just a subway ride away from Manhattan. Visit the legendary boardwalk and soak in the sun at the free beach.

  • 911 Memorial - There is a tour that has a fee but you can visit certain areas at no cost. Take a moment to reflect and remember those who were affected by 911. You can visit the "Reflecting Absence" and "Tree of Survivors" absolutely free.

  • Staten Island Ferry - The ferry runs all day and doesn't cost a dime. See the Statue of Liberty up close and the New York skyline.

  • Bryant Park - Bryant park aka "Manhattans Town Square" is another free entrance park in New York. Its a great place for relaxing, reading a book and picnics with the family. It has beautiful gardens and great dining options.In the winter its the only ice skating rink with free a entrance.

  • See A TV Show Taping - TV Show tapings are free. You will need to register in advance for tickets. See shows like The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,Late night with Seth Meyers, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and more.

  • The Today Show - Standing outside the Today Show window during taping is a popular thing to do in New York. Its free and easy to pre-register. Go here to sign up for the taping.

  • Walk Across The Brooklyn Bridge - Take a stroll across the iconic bridge into Brooklyn.Its a nice 1.1 mile walk and worth ever step. The views from the bridge are truly spectacular.

  • Take A Break In Union Square - Stop and take a rest at Union square. While there check out the green market.

  • Do Some Window Shopping - Window shop down Fifth Ave. This is a favorite thing to do during the holidays when all the shops are decorated in true New York Christmas fashion.Check out the shops and boutiques in SoHo and Greenwich Village.

Cheaper Things To Do

Some things in New York unfortunately have a price. There are some things to do and see that are inexpensive. Here are a few options for less costly activities.

  • TKTS Booths- If your looking to see a Broadway Show for a cheaper price then check out the TKTS booths. You can save 50% by purchasing tickets the day of the show. There are booths right on Times Square. Go here to find out locations and times to purchase tickets.

  • Hop On And Off Buses- If going your own way isn't for you another cheaper way to see the city is a hop on and off bus. Buses stop throughout the city at all the major sightseeing spots. Prices can range from $30-$60 for a 24-hour ticket. Multi day tickets can also be purchased.

  • Rockefeller Plaza Tour- Tours for Rockefeller Plaza are around $25 bucks. You can pay a little more and access the Top of The Rock Observatory. Go here to see prices and times.

  • The Metropolitan Museum- A donation of $25 gets you in to visit this 13-acre museum filled with ancient art.

  • Grand Central Terminal - Take a self guided tour of the classic Grand Central terminal. Its a true New York landmark filled with history. You can rent a headset for just $9 for a audio tour to get the full story of this amazing building.

  • New York Botanical Garden - Set in the Bronx, this beautiful garden is a must for the nature lover. The cost is only $20 and well worth it.

Create Your Own Tour

Instead of paying someone to show you around the city, create your own tour.The subway can take you everywhere in the city, take advantage of it. Making your own tour at your own pace will not only be fun but also cheap. It gives you the opportunity to get off the tourist path and see New York like a local. has some great self guided tours to help you get started.

Where To Shop

If your a avid shopper New York can suck you right in. On every turn there are touristy shops filled with t-shirts, novelties and everything "I Love NY". We all want to take home some souvenirs but there are some areas that are way to over priced. One is Times Square, you can get the same items for half the price if you go to Chinatown and shop.

There are also outlet malls and markets where you can find some great deals. If your looking for name brands at a lower cost try Woodbury Commons Premium Outlets. Some great markets to check out are Chelsea Market, Union Square Market and Brooklyn Flea.

New York should be on everyone's bucket list. Its full of bright lights, famous landmarks, history and culture. I hope this blog helped you find ways to visit NY on a budget.Subscribe to our blog and newsletter for tips, deals and updates.

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