New York City may be known for its skyscrapers and sky-high living prices, but there are still Big Apple bargains to be had for travelers on a budget. A little planning and legwork goes a long way toward saving money in New York, so you can experience world-class culture and iconic urban sights at down-to-earth prices. Here are our top tips.
Indulge in the Street-Food Scene
Yes, New York City boasts Michelin-starred restaurants and celebrity chefs, but some of the best bites are found right on the street—at wallet-friendly prices. Lunch like a local at food trucks and street vendors that have perfected the art of fast food. If you're feeling overwhelmed by options, focus on the flavors of a single neighborhood such as Greenwich Village, Little Italy, or SoHo on a food-themed walking tour.
Check Out the Museums
You don't have to spring for a Broadway ticket to get cultured in New York. Collections at the Guggenheim, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and American Museum of Natural History offer hours of viewing pleasure with minimal expense. Check local event listings for discounted days, free docent tours, and other budget-friendly perks.
The New York City subway system is great for zipping around underground, but if you want to take in the street-level scene, a hop-on-hop-off-bus tour combines the flexibility of public transit with local trivia. Easily get on and off at essential stops such as the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, and the 9/11 Memorial, all while avoiding the expense of private taxi rides.
Play in Central Park
New York City’s sprawling urban green space is free for all to enjoy, and you could easily spend your entire vacation exploring its meadows, lakes, and statue-filled gardens. Join a low-cost Central Park walking or bike tour to avoid getting lost and ensure you see the park’s highlights and hidden corners.
Take a Harbor Cruise
If a helicopter flight is nowhere near your budget, you can still enjoy spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline on an affordable harbor cruise. The Circle Line and other operators run a range of itineraries that showcase the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, and other landmarks up and down the East and Hudson rivers.