New York is an expensive city, both to explore and live in as a tourist. There is no doubt that NYC is of the most diverse tourist destinations worldwide. With a vibrant urban lifestyle, amazing architecture, vast green spaces, lots of fun activities and amazing tourist attractions, there is so much to see. But it doesn’t have to be expensive.
There are various ways you can enjoy sightseeing, world-class museums, ferry trips and other amazing attractions on a budget. Here are our tips on how to enjoy NYC on a budget.
Finding affordable accommodations for your stay in New York can be quite a problem. But you can get some good bargains if you do some research. There are numerous properties available for accommodation on letting platforms like Airbnb, flat-swap websites like HomeExchange and even fancy hotels, particularly if you avoid high-end places like Manhattan.
Most people don’t take their time researching accommodation until the last minute. Do yourself a favor by searching for ideal and affordable accommodation way before your trip and book in advance. You will get better deals and save yourself some dollars.
Take to the Water
Booking a ferry tour is one of the best ways to discover NYC’s beautiful attractions and enjoy sightseeing from a different view. The Staten Island Ferry is and has always been free from 1997 and offers one of the most dazzling views of the Southern tip of Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Enjoy sightseeing across New York bay all the way to the fifth borough.
The Ikea ferry is also free on weekends but charges $5 on weekdays and runs from Wall Street to the Swedish Furniture Store located in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Combination tours offer the best option – explore the city on a bus tour during the day and enjoy the city’s beautiful skyline on a boat tour: visit Top View Sightseeing for more info on bus tours.
Sightseeing on the Roof
They say that the best way to view New York City at its best is from the top. However, observation decks at popular Empire State Building ($32), the New World Trade Center ($32) and the Rockefeller Center ($30) will set you back a few dollars and are mostly teeming with tourists. If you don’t want to deal with lines, opt to visit one of the many rooftop bars in the city.
Rooftop bars like the copper-colored bar of the Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking District allow you to enjoy great drinks as you enjoy the views. Others include the Wythe Hotel that offers a sweeping view across the East River and 230 Fifth in Midtown.
Take a Stroll in the Park
New York City offers a selection of great parks with verdant green spaces where you can have some fun, relax, picnic and even play around. From the “Park in the Sky”- the High Line situated on a transformed elevated freight train on Manhattan’s Westside, the iconic Central Park, Flushing Meadows – Corona Park, McCarren Park, Hudson River Park, Fort Greene Park to Inwood Hill Park, you have many options.
Take a walk or hire a bike with your friends and enjoy guided tours in the Central Park. So long as the weather is good, we recommend you get some good food and find the perfect picnic spots in your favorite park. Most of these parks have lots of activities and free and fun things to do.
Enjoy Art at Flexible Fees
If you love art, you have to visit some of NYC’s top art museums. Although they don’t openly announce it, the Prestigious Metropolitan Museum of Art located in Central Park allows you pay for what you wish, instead of the stated $25 entry fee.
The same goes for Whitney Museum of American Art which allows pay-for-what-you-wish on Fridays from 7pm-10pm. The Museum of Modern Art on 53rd Street also allows free entry on Fridays from 4 Pm.
During summer, New York City offers a wide range of free and fun outdoor activities. From swimming pools to cheap walking and biking tours, it’s easy to find something to keep you engaged all day. You can explore various NYC walking and biking tours that offer a personal-level experience of the best attractions and sightseeing spots in the city.