You’ve come to the right place to find out how to plan your trip to New York on a budget. While NYC is an expensive city, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the city on any budget. Some of my favourite activities within NYC are free or inexpensive. This amazing city has so many amazing things to offer, check out my list of free or inexpensive ways to explore my favourite city…
Kicking off with one of my all time favourite New York landmarks, you must explore Central Park. From Columbus Centre work your way towards every girly girl’s favourite, the bronze Alice in Wonderland statue at the Mad Hatter tea party. Continue onto the Ramble, followed by Belvedere Castle and onto the Loeb Boathouse (featured on Sex and the City – the one where Carrie fell in the lake at lunch with Mr Big). The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir (another SATC reference, where Charlotte often ran) is up next and is so much larger than you see in the movies. The final stop which can not be missed, and the main reason I go to the park every visit is to see Strawberry Fields. Strawberry Fields is a space dedicated to John Lennon from The Beatles, who lived and died closed by. Strawberry Fields is special part of the city, not just Central Park. Here you’ll often find people playing Beatles songs on their guitars with a crowd of people singing along.
Central Park is over 50 streets long so pick your favourite sights or hire a bike and cover them all!
Another NYC favourite, the High Line is one not to be missed. The High Line is located in the Meatpacking District and Chelsea, traditionally NYC’s industrial part of town. The High Line itself is an elevated track which was used in the 1900s to transport freight. I love visiting here every chance I get. It’s a great way to get around the city, avoiding the traffic while enjoying some public art, vegetation and NYC’s industrial past all in one!
I recommend walking the Brooklyn Bridge just before the sun goes down. You can get a gorgeous view of Lady Liberty with the sun setting behind her while the city transforms from day to night. If you do make your way to Brooklyn once the sun goes down, Grimaldi’s is a popular place to eat! If you’re looking for a time when no one will be in your photos – early morning is your only option!
Walking the boroughs
There are so many incredible neighbourhoods in NYC. Start in Lower Manhattan and the Financial District and walk to East Village, the Lower East side before making your way west through Chinatown to Greenwich Village, Chelsea and the Meatpacking District.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
At any time, you can pay by donation to attend the Metropolitan Museum of Art of the Met. Take advantage of the CityPass to jump the queue and save a bit of cash in the process. The Met is huge and a favourite of all of the museums in NYC, with its huge collection of Egyptian Art, European Paintings and Greek and Roman Art.
See a show
There are lots of shows that air in NYC. During my most recent trip to NYC, I was approached in Times Square to be on Bethenny and on The Late Show. Without leaving it up to luck when you arrive, you can sign up online at many of your favourite show’s websites to go into the draw to win tickets.
Grand Central Terminal
You’ve seen this iconic train station in Gossip Girl, Madagascar, Avengers and Friends with Benefits to name a few. Go by Grand Central Terminal and watch the world pass by (along with the millions of people who pass through here on a daily basis).
Times Square at night is quite a sight to see. You can sit in the stands and watch all the screens change for hours. At almost any hour of the day, you will find Town Square filled with people. NYC is the city that never sleeps!
If you don’t mind waiting in line, you can enter the Guggenheim by donation on Sunday between 5.45 – 7.45pm. Get there early, not everyone gets in! If you have limited time in NYC, it might be worth taking advantage of the CityPass.
American Natural History Museum
The American Natural History Museum is another venue you can pay by donation. The History Museum features an interesting display of taxidermy animals from different regions of the world (not just the US). The Rose Centre shows a theatre and planetarium where you can watch “The Journey to the Stars”.
Museum of Modern Art (MoMa)
My personal favourite due to my love for Monet is the Museum of Modern Art. You can go to MoMa for free on Fridays between 4-8pm.
Staten Island Ferry & Statue of Liberty
The Staten Island Ferry is a great way to see the Statue of Liberty for free. Jump on board, take your photos of Lady Liberty and check out Staten Island on the other side.