Budget Travel In New York

budget travel in new york

The big city lights, hip culture, historical monuments, and wide array of shopping prove that New York City provides something for all. It also has a reputation for breaking the bank; however, for the budget-conscious traveller our friends at Hostelbookers have sent over a list of ways to see the big city and save those $$$.

Free Attractions and Events

Even in the winter, Central Park is one of the most beloved attractions in NYC. The park boasts musicians, a beautiful reservoir, and plenty of local artists. In the summer the park plays host to yoga classes, classical concertos and sandbox programs for the little ones. Or you can just admire the beautiful landscaping and multiple gardens to enjoy, photograph or sketch.

new york public library

The New York Public Library should do it for the literature buffs. The library is filled with 53 million items, including a unique copy of Christopher Columbus’s letter announcing his discovery of the New World, Author Truman Capote’s cigarette case andJack Kerouac’s crutches.

For History buffs, The Federal Reserve Bank of New York offers free tours to the general public. Visitors can view exhibits on counterfeit currency and coin collections, as well as the high security vault holding 10,000 tons of gold reserves. Tours must be reserved at least a week in advance, so be sure to make reservations early in the trip planning process. 

New York City boasts numerous hubs for modern art lovers - head to Rockefeller Plaza (also where the Today Show is filmed) to see commissioned pieces or head to Socrates Sculpture Park to see sculpture on a bigger scale, this is the only park in the NY Metropolitan area to build and show off sculpture on a large scale.

For those that don't mind the crowds, many museums and attractions have free admission during certain times or on specific days. The American Museum of Natural History offers free admission for the last hour of operation each day. Wednesdays are "pay what you wish" at the Bronx Zoo and The Brooklyn Museum offers free admission, along with wine sipping and DJ parties on the first Saturday of the month.

Cheap Eats

Catching a good meal post and pre sightseeing in New York City is always a must do. It’ll keep you fuelled and we all know in NYC there is no shortage of delicious food. With options available for nearly every type of cuisine imaginable, you will never run out of choices. However there are ways to keep money aside with these cheap finds.

new york pizza

You cannot go without having Pizza in NY and for a cheap slice of the action, head straight to Bleeker Street Pizza on 69 7th Ave. Choose from meat and veggie options for $3.50, now that’s delish food on a budget!

Bobwhite Lunch and Supper Counter bring a bit of Louisiana to NY with their ‘Fried catfish sandwich’, with superslaw and tender crusted fillet, at a mere $8.50 it’s a treat for the pallet. Located at 94 Avenue, 6th St.

Head to Brooklyn, Williamsburg to BriskeTown where you can get a monster breakfast taco filled with smoked beef, scrambled eggs and a chilli sauce packed into a soft tortilla, at $4.00 you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank. Oh yeah, you can get free meat if it’s your birthday! BriskeTown is located at 359 Bedford Avenue.

Gluten free diners can also enjoy a variety of delicious and inexpensive options. La Esquina, Pho Bang, Black Tree NYC, Kotobuki, 'Smac, and Friedsman's Lunch all offer fabulous gluten free options. Risotteria, one of NYC's first completely gluten free restaurant, has extensive options available but they do not reserve so do get there for first in line as there is always a crowd.

Vintage Shopping

Well, shopping is a popular pastime in NYC, leading from high street to designer to thrift shops. The difference is, head to a thrift store, buy an amazing piece of clothing and pay a fraction of the price. Here are some of our favourites.

vintage shopping

Finderz Keeperz is one of New York City's best kept secrets. This shop's extensive collection and affordable prices make thrift shopping here exciting. On Saturdays and Sundays, the popular Mary Help of Christian's school flea market is a popular destination for vintage shopping while also raising money for the school.

Metropolis vintage store at 43 3rd Ave is a great place to find one of a kind tees and retro clothing. They have a large collection of men’s clothing and a line-up of some famous faces including Chloe Sevigny, Iggy pop and Ryan Adams! Hang about and you never know who’ll walk in!

The Housing Works Thrift Store also boasts an extensive collection, including many brand name items and the proceeds go to HIV/Aids. And Inside Reverse in Brooklyn are a hidden gem too.

A trip to New York City doesn't have to break the bank. With a little planning, budget-conscious travellers can enjoy a memorable and exciting adventure in New York City.

Photo credits: DIY Thing, Audrey SelChrisjtse


    • krantcents

      krantcents 10/11/2013 1:32 p.m. #

      As someone who was born and grew up in NYC, I used to love street food. You know pizza, hot dogs, chestnuts (winter) etc.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 10/12/2013 4:05 p.m. #

        Yes, the street food does sound amazing.

    • CarolB

      CarolB 10/11/2013 1:49 p.m. #

      Great tips Sicorra. I'll have to put them into play! It's been years since I've been to NYC, and I'd love to bring my boys for a long weekend, but as you know, the prices are crazy!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 10/12/2013 4:07 p.m. #

        One or two people could probably go and not spend a whole lot, but yes when you need a room for 4 people, and food, it can up. Perhaps a weekend would be more affordable though.

    • Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way

      Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way 10/14/2013 2:15 a.m. #

      One of my biggest dreams is to visit the Big NYC! I have read lots of good reviews about New York but as well the high cost of living. Especially at night because NY is also known as the City that never sleeps, with the beautiful lights and the gigantic buildings all over!

    • Tara @ Streets Ahead Living

      Tara @ Streets Ahead Living 10/15/2013 7:31 p.m. #

      Now there's a big trend in NYC where you can get slices of cheese pizza for $1. Cash only and the pieces aren't huge but you can get a couple and be set!

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