You know what they say about New York City, right? If you can make it there, then you can make it anywhere. Now, that phrase might be referring to making a name for yourself, but we think it’s referring to something else. New York City can be incredibly expensive, and if you can pull together the cheddar to make it in this metropolis, then you’ll likely be a rich person wherever else you might go…
Or maybe we’re just being pessimistic. Whatever the case may be, there’s no denying that New York City is one of the most expensive places to live and to visit in the world. However, that expense isn’t something that should turn you off from visiting. Far from it! Provided you know what to do and what to check out, it’s entirely possible to have a quintessentially New York City experience without breaking the bank.
So, how do you go about doing that? What are the places you should visit, and what are the things you should see? (For that matter, what are the things you should avoid?) Well, we’ve got you covered below! Let’s take a look at 20 great ways you can experience New York City on the cheap.
1. Central Park Picnic
Skip the fancy and expensive restaurants and instead have a romantic picnic in on of the most famous parks in the world!
2. Times Square
Sure the crowds are a pain, but Times Square is an impressive sight, and you don’t need to pay anything to walk through it.
3. Public Transportation
There’s no need to call an Uber or take a yellow taxi! New York City has one of the best public transportation systems in the world.
4. City Bikes
Another great way to get around is to take advantage of the Citi Bikes that NYC offers. They’re cheap and fun!
5. Walking Tours
Need to get your bearings? There are a number of amazing walking tours you can take, many of which go by the “pay what you can” model.
Broadway is expensive. However, if you visit one of the TKTS booths, you can oftentimes score half-priced tickets to some of Broadway’s hottest shows.
7. Governor’s Island
A free ferry ride will get you out to Governor’s Island where you can take in the skyline and even catch some free cultural events and concerts.
8. MOMA Fridays
On Friday night, one of the best modern-art museums in the world offers free admission. It starts at 4pm, but you’re best served by lining up earlier than that.
9. Art Galleries
Chelsea is home to some awesome art galleries, as you might’ve heard, and they don’t charge admission. (Aren’t you going to buy something?)
10. Tourist Passes
Want to hit a bunch of the big tourist sites in the city? Save a lot of green by signing up for a tourist pass, then.
11. Staten Island Ferry
Want to check out the Statue of Liberty but don’t want to pay for a tour? Why not take the free Staten Island Ferry, then?
12. New Accommodations
If you’re willing to rough it a bit, you can save a lot of money in NYC by staying in a pod hotel or in a hostel.
13. The High Line
Did you know that an above-ground subway track was converted into an incredible park? If not, then now you do! Check it out!
14. Free Grub
It’s become a popular thing for NYC bars – particularly those in Brooklyn – to offer free grub with a drink order. Take advantage!
15. Brewery Tours
Speaking of getting a drink, NYC is home to some awesome breweries almost all of which offer free tours and tastings.
16. Coney Island
By taking the subway, you can pay a visit to one of the most famous amusement parks in the world. It’s still got that old-time charm, too!
17. TV Tapings
Plenty of television shows tape in NYC, and getting tickets to see one or several tapings is always a free affair.
18. Neighborhood Markets
All of the neighborhoods of New York City and the outlying boroughs hold markets, and all of them are a great way to put your finger on the pulse of NYC’s diverse array of cultures.
19. Free Kayaking
During the warmer months, you can hit the LIC Boathouse or the Downtown Boathouse to get your hands on a free kayak.
20. Walk Across Brooklyn Bridge
There may be no more quintessential New York experience than this, and it’s completely free to do.