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14 Ways 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 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, and that includes recommending some of the best places to eat in New York.

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.

see New York City on a budget


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


Wednesday 14th of June 2017

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!

Claire Summers

Thursday 15th of June 2017

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!


Tuesday 13th of June 2017

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!


Tuesday 13th of June 2017

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.

Claire Summers

Tuesday 13th of June 2017

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

Veronica P.

Tuesday 13th of June 2017

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.

Claire Summers

Tuesday 13th of June 2017

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.

Paige W

Tuesday 13th of June 2017

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.

Claire Summers

Tuesday 13th of June 2017

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