Group of young people eating in Central Park
Things to do

New York Travel Blog: Guide to Visiting New York on a Budget

Visiting NYC on a budget? Learn about free or cheap things to do in New York. All of these activities and attractions will allow you to leave NYC with great experiences and memories.

November 29, 2020

These are unusual times we find ourselves living in, with restrictions being put in place and lifted with little notice, so please be sure to confirm operating hours before visiting any of the attractions or venues mentioned in this article. 

New York is one of the greatest cities to visit, but many people pass on the opportunity because they think the trip will be too expensive. Sure, NYC has some extravagant restaurants and stores, and many hotels and activities are not cheap - Broadway shows, for instance, can be costly. But, there are some amazing experiences to be had for hardly any money at all - and even for free! 

This guide to visiting NYC on a budget will tell you what to see and do, so that you can enjoy a fun NYC trip without draining your bank account.

This latest New York Travel Blog article, ‘Guide to Visiting NYC on a Budget,’ provides ideas for free or cheap things to do in NYC, so that you can enjoy a trip to the Big Apple on a budget.

You may have heard that NYC is an expensive city to visit. The truth? It can be. But, it doesn’t have to leave you penniless or without all-together. There are so many fun things to see and do in New York that are completely free - or at least cheap. We’ve rounded up the best of them and included them in this Guide to Visiting NYC on a Budget.

Enjoy! Read up and start planning that memorable trip to New York City!

Free Things to Do in New York

Some of New York’s top attractions and activities are completely free. Here are a few of the best of them:

Grand Central Terminal - Visit Grand Central Terminal to view a beautiful Beaux-Arts building that oozes NYC history. Take pictures, enjoy a free walking tour with the Grand Central Partnership, admire the intricate ceiling and stairway, and stop by the Whispering Wall.

MoMA - Wait! MoMA is free? You bet it is, on Fridays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Get there early to get a good spot in line, and then enjoy all of the same galleries that paying visitors see. View Warhol, Lichtenstein, Matisse and more at MoMA.

The High Line - The High Line is a new public park in NYC that sits on an old elevated rail line. Set above the West Side, The High Line is a great place to enjoy nature, view art and experience innovative design. You’ll see some of the best views of the Hudson River from The High Line.

Brooklyn Bridge - Access the Brooklyn Bridge from Lower Manhattan and take a free walk into Brooklyn. The one-way journey lasts about an hour and it’s full of moments that can make their way onto your Instagram page. Gaze at views of the water, Manhattan’s skyscrapers and Brooklyn’s brownstones.

Central Park - The greatest urban park in the world is free to visit, so plan on spending at least a few hours exploring Central Park. Walk across meadows and bridges, take pictures of the gorgeous water bodies, roam through forests, search for sculptures and even see a free concert during the summertime.

Not everything in NYC is expensive! There are many things you can see and enjoy that are actually very affordable and even free! Comedy Shows, Concerts, Museums, Walking Tours & more, are all doable for a very affordable cost and can often cost you nothing! What a city!

Cheap Things to Do in New York

For very little money, you can enjoy these cheap things to do in New York:

Explore NYC by Subway - For the price of a couple of cheap subway tickets, or an inexpensive daily pass, you can go on a self-guided tour of New York with stops in the Financial District, SoHo, Times Square, Upper West Side and Harlem.

See a Comedy Show - Many of NYC’s comedy clubs offer free or super-cheap shows. See some of the best stand-up talent at famous venues like Bell House and Upright Citizens Brigade.

Catch a Performance of Hamilton - Yes, you can see Hamilton on the cheap. If - and that’s a big ‘if’ - you enter and win the digital lottery that’s held 2 days before every performance (starting at 11 a.m.) Cross your fingers and make a wish!

Enjoy a Concert at Carnegie Hall - Same-day tickets for practice performances at Carnegie Hall are yours at a deep discount (on a first-come, first-served bases). This New York institution turns its dedication to excellence into your memorable NYC experience.

In this latest New York Travel Blog article, ‘Guide to Visiting NYC on a Budget,’ you’ve learned about some great free and cheap things to do in NYC. There are many more! Don’t let your budget keep you from fully experiencing the best of the Big Apple.

You may also enjoy this article, 'How to Spend 3 Days in New York City.'

Visit our New York Visitor’s Guide for more recommendations for all there is to do, see and experience when visiting New York.

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