14 Tips to see New York City on a Budget

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New York can be expensive! It can also be as bad as Disney World for queuing so if you don’t want to spend half of your time standing in a que spending lots of money, here are a few tips to make the most of your visit on a budget and see as much of the city as you can.

1. Footwear 

Get some good walking shoes and skip the subway! It’s a grid system so super easy to find your way around so give the subway a miss and explore on foot. I always find exploring on foot is so much more interesting anyway and you can get a real feel for the city much quicker.


2. Get a New York Pass

If you really want to do all the expensive tourist things then get a New York Pass… See my blog post on making the most of the pass here. It will save you some dollar and you can also skip queues a lot of the time.


3. Walk The Highline

The views are outstanding and if you go in spring/summer you can make the most of the gardens.


4. Skip the Statue of Liberty Tour

If you want to see the Statue of Liberty? Save yourself hours of queuing and $18 and take the Staten Island Ferry. It’s free and you get this close…


You also get incredible views of Manhattan from here so you can take a few pics of that iconic skyline.


5. Or Take the Tour from New Jersey

If you want to visit Ellis Island and The Statue of Liberty on an official trip then I would strongly recommend skipping over to New Jersey and entering that side. There are never any queues and you can get the Light Rail to Liberty State Park and take a lovely stroll through the park.



6. See a Broadway Show for Cheap

Want to see a broadway show? Download the TKTS app to check what is available. You can’t book online only in person but you can skip the horrific queues at Time Square by heading downtown to their Seaport booth, which opens at about 11 am each day. You can also get matinée tickets from this office for the following day which you can’t get from Time Square…You’re welcome

7. Walk to Brooklyn

Take a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. You won’t regret it.

8. Be careful where you eat

Don’t eat on 7th around Time Square. Eat on 8th or 9th. Businesses can mark up 30% on Time Square because of their rent. If you eat there you will pay for it!

9. Visit the Empire State Building in the day

If you want to go up the Empire State building do it during the day. Go up the Rockefeller at night so you can get a photo of the Empire State lit up. You will need to go early and book your time if you want to go after 7 pm. But the good news is you won’t have to queue like you do at the Empire State Building.

View from The Empire State Building
Visiting New York? Two New York Pass Hacks To Make The Most of Your Visit
View from Top of The Rock

10. Go to Bryant Park

Bryant Park is the place for free things. If you can’t afford a Broadway Show then go there on a Thursday afternoon where they often do 45 min performances of the shows.


Christmas on Bryant Park

11. Go to the Met

The Met is donation based so pay what you can afford. You could easily spend all day in there so make the most of it!

12. Go to the Whitney on a Friday Night

The Whitney and a few others have times that are free entry so check online before you go (The Whitney is free on a Friday).

13. Take a cruise down the river

Fancy a river cruise but don’t want to pay the prices? Then head downtown and take the East River Ferry for $4 you get a rather stunning view and a river cruise without paying the price. Nb if you go on a weekend it’s $6.


Street Art in Williamsburg Brooklyn

14. Eat Pizza!

You can get 2 slices and a soda for $3 at 99 cents Pizza.

If you are heading to the USA and looking for great advice on money saving then check out this post 30 ways to save money traveling the USA

New York can be expensive! So here are a few tips to make the most of your visit on a budget and see as much of the city as you can.

If you need a cheap flight to New York check Skyscanner first! Or download their App here, and don’t forget your insurance!

11 Replies to “14 Tips to see New York City on a Budget”

  1. Some great tips for the Big Apple. We have never been to New York before but I am sure much like cities such as Paris and London it is very expensive. We find most cities have a free walking tour which are usually excellent

    1. I love free walking tours! I must admit I’m never a fan of doing all the expensive tourist stuff but I’m glad I did it once in NYC…never again haha.

  2. These are really great tips! Walking shoes is a great tip because when I was there, I worked just as much as I could stand. We did take the Subway a couple of times, just to say we had. I wish I had known about the Staten Island Ferry! I would’ve loved to do that…. Next time.

    1. The Staten Island ferry is the one tourist thing I do whenever I have a friend in town!

  3. Veronica P. says: Reply

    I am with you here! I was in NYC only once and it was on a budget not because I planned to do so, but because almost everything that one needs to see there for the first time is free.

    1. There is so much to see and do in NYC for free! I think I put off doing any of the tourist stuff for so long because I hated having to pay so much and I didn’t need to. So when I decided to cough up the money I decided I would make the most of it even if I needed to sleep for a few days after haha.

  4. I have been to New York a couple of times and had no idea about the New York Pass. I’ll definitely look into that on my next trip. I love that it allows you to skip a lot of lines, cuz I hate wasting time standing in long queues.

    1. My aunt actually recommended it to me. If you want to do a lot of the expensive things it’s worth it.

  5. Great tip about Broadway, I’ve always wanted to see a show there! I went to NYC years ago & did the Staten Island ferry, it is definitely worth it for the views of the Statue of Liberty!

  6. Your post reminded me of my time in NYC. The city is filled with exciting sights to see and things to do. My personal favourite is the High Line Park! I haven’t yet got to visit the Empire State Building. I will definitely do that next!

    1. I know there is just so much to do right! I think this was my 3/4 visit and I decided it was time to finally go up the Empire State!

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