14 Ways to See New York City on a Budget

14 Ways to See New York City on a Budget

New York can be expensive! It can also be as bad as Disney World for queuing! Do you want to know the best ways to see New York City on a Budget and save you time? Then you need my 14 tips to see New York City on a Budget. In this guide, I’m going to share with you the best ways to see NYC without spending a small fortune.

1. Get some good footwear

Get some good walking shoes and skip the subway! It’s a grid system so super easy to find your way around. 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. Find a great pair, and save money on them with a DSW discount code.

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. The Highline starts up on 33rd Street not far from Part Authority Station and ends in the Chealsy right by the Whitney. The best time of year to go in during the Spring or Summer when it is in bloom.

Although it’s pretty cool in winter too!

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…

North American Adventures | 14 ways to see New York City on a Budget

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.

North American Adventures | 14 ways to see New York City on a Budget

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.


North American Adventures | 14 ways to see New York City on a Budget
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.

North American Adventures | 14 ways to see New York City on a Budget

North American Adventures | 14 ways to see New York City on a Budget
Street Art in Williamsburg Brooklyn

14. Eat Pizza!

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


14 Ways to See New York City on a Budget


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

This post was proofread by Grammarly

Book your trip now

Are you ready to book your trip?  To help you get the best deals and service here are the companies that I personally use to book all of my travel online. I always shop around before booking anything, but these are my tried and tested starting places.

  • Skyscanner – I’m a bit fan of Skyscanner, it is who I use to book all of my flights. I often will check other like Google Flights or Momodo, but I always go here first and it is who I book 99% of my flights with. 
  • Booking.com – I LOVE booking.com especially when I can book and cancel free up until a certain point, mostly because my plans are forever changing. It’s easy to use and has one of the widest selections. 
  • Airbnb – I’m not a huge user of Airbnb, but sometimes I do like to use it, and I ALWAYS check it before I book anything else. You can get some really cool places to stay here, and it is especially good in places like Cuba. If you don’t have an account and you click on this link then you will get $36 off your first booking.
  • Hostelworld – If you are looking for hostels then this is a great place to check first. They often have additional places that you won’t find on Bookin.com.
  • Agoda – Although I don’t use it as much as booking.com, Agonda is especially good if you are traveling in Asia as they really do dominate there. 
  • Worldpackers – If you want to travel on the cheap and save money on accommodation then you need Worldpackers in your life. You can read more about it here. If you click this link to sign up and use the code CLAIRESITCHYFEET then you can get a 40% discount on your membership! 
  • Book a Way – If you are traveling in Asia and want to pre-book your transportation then bookaway.com is a fantastic site to do so. They have buses, trains, and cars.
  • RentalCars – Looking to rent a. car while you are away? I always book through Rental Cars as they do a search of all of the big sites and find the best deals. 
  • Welcome Pickups – Very occasionally getting from the airport to my accommodation is a total pain in the butt, or I’m traveling in a group and it makes sense to arrange a pickup. When I do I use Welcome pickups.
  • World Nomads – If you are looking for flexible travel insurance then it’s World Nomads all the way. I wrote all about insurance here if you want a more thorough review. 
  • SafetyWing – AsI’m a Digital Nomad and not moving around quite so much anymore I personally use SafetyWing now for my health insurance. I wrote a full review here
  • Viatour – Sometimes it can be a little expensive, but I like Viatour for somethings, especially if you can get a discount code! It’s also great for inspiration. 
  • Klook – If you are traveling in Asia, then Klook is great! You can book all kinds of tours, activities, and train tickets, plus they even have sim cards and WiFi.

Claire Summers

Dancer, producer, traveller, photographer, cake maker, dog lover and knitter of Christmas scarfs.

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. mark wyld

    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. Claire Summers

      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. Paige W

    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. Claire Summers

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

  3. Veronica P.

    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. Claire Summers

      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. Candy

    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. Claire Summers

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

  5. Claire

    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. Cat

    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. Claire Summers

      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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