10 Ways to Visit New York on a Budget

Story by: Presley Gomez     Date: 8 February 2023   

8 minutes reading time United States

New York City, also known as “the city that never sleeps“, is one of the most visited places in the world. With its famous skyscrapers, busy streets, world-famous museums, and diverse culture, it’s no wonder that millions of people visit the city every year. But because the city is so well-known, it can be very expensive to visit. The good news is that if you plan ahead and think outside the box, you can go to New York on a budget and still have a great time.

In this article, we’ll show you 10 ways to save money on a trip to New York.

1. Take advantage of free attractions

New York City is famous for its famous landmarks, world-famous museums, and lively culture, but you don’t have to spend a lot of money to see the city. There are a lot of free things to do and see, like outdoor parks, markets, museums, and historical sites. Whether it’s your first time in New York or you’ve been there a lot, these free things can help you see the best of the city without spending a lot of money.

Central Park

Central Park on a budget

Central Park is one of the best free things to do in New York. This huge park is more than 843 acres and has many things to do for people of all ages, like picnicking on the lawns or walking through the gardens and conservatories. During the summer, you can go to the Summerstage to see a free outdoor concert or movie.

Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island

Statue of Liberty National Monument

One of the most famous landmarks in the world, the Statue of Liberty is a must-see in New York. Even though it costs money to take the ferry to Liberty Island and climb to the top of the statue, visitors can still get great views of the statue from Battery Park or the ferry to Liberty Island. Ellis Island, which used to be a place where people came to America, is also worth a trip. The island is free to visit, and you can learn about the history of people coming to the U.S.


New York Museums

Some of the best museums in the world are in New York, and many of them are free at certain times. For example, the public can go to the Museum of Modern Art for free on Friday evenings from 4 to 8 p.m. Also, the American Museum of Natural History is free on Friday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m. Take advantage of these free times to see some of the best museums and galleries in the city.

2. Stay in budget-friendly accommodations

Visiting New York City can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be hard to find affordable places to stay. There are a lot of ways for travelers who want to save money on their stay to do so, from hostels and cheap hotels to Airbnb and couchsurfing. Whether you’re traveling alone or with a group, researching your options and making reservations early can help you find the best deals and make sure that your stay in the city is comfortable and affordable.


There are many cheap places to stay in New York, such as hostels. Hostels are a great option for travelers on a budget because they are less expensive than hotels. Many hostels have both private rooms and shared dorm rooms, which makes them great for both solo travelers and groups.


You could also stay in an Airbnb, which is also a cheap option. This home-sharing service has a number of apartments and houses for rent in New York City. By staying in an Airbnb instead of a hotel, you can save money on your lodging and have a more local, real experience.

Budget hotels

There are also many budget hotels in New York, and many of them have low prices and only the most basic services. Find the best deals on hotels by looking in less touristy areas, like the outer boroughs.

Here are some of the best-rated hotels in New York City that don’t break the bank:

  • Pod 51 Hotel: The Pod 51 Hotel is in Midtown Manhattan, close to many of the best things to do in New York. The Pod 51 Hotel is a great choice for travelers on a budget because it has simple but comfortable rooms and is located in the city center.
  • HI NYC Hostel: The HI NYC Hostel is on the Upper West Side, and for a low price, it has simple rooms with private bathrooms. Many of New York’s best sights, like Central Park, are just a short walk away.
  • Morningside Inn: Morningside Inn is a cheap hotel in Harlem that has simple rooms for an affordable price. It’s a great choice for tourists who want to stay in a neighborhood that’s on the rise in New York.

*Please keep in mind that prices and availability can change, so for the best deals, it’s best to do your own research and book early.


Consider couchsurfing if you want to save the most money. Here, you stay for free with a local who has a couch or room you can use. This is a great way to save money on lodging and learn about the city from a local’s point of view.

No matter what kind of lodging you choose, you should book early and do research to find the best deals and save money on your trip to New York.

3. Use public transportation

Public transportation in New York City is one of the best in the world, and taking it is a great way to save money on transportation costs. The subway system in the city is very big, and a single ride only costs $2.75. A MetroCard that lets you ride the subway as much as you want for a week costs $33, which is a great deal for tourists who plan to take the subway several times a day.

4. Eat like a local

New York is known for having a lot of different and interesting places to eat, from street food to fancy restaurants. Think about eating at hole-in-the-wall restaurants, food trucks, and local markets to save money and taste the city like a local. You can also eat cheaply and in a unique way in the city’s ethnic neighborhoods, like Little Italy and Chinatown. Eating like a local in New York can be a great experience, whether you’re a foodie or just want a great meal.

Food trucks and street vendors

New York Food Trucks

New York is known for its street food, and eating from foodtrucks and street vendors is a great way to save money and still eat delicious food. From hot dogs and pretzels to falafel and gyros, New York’s street food scene has something for everyone. Plus, you can eat on the go and enjoy your food while taking in the sights and sounds of the city.

Grocery stores and delis

Shopping at grocery stores and delis is another way to save money on food in New York. Stock up on snacks, sandwiches, and drinks, and eat on the go to save money on meals. This will not only save you money, but it will also give you the chance to see different parts of the city and try new foods.

5. Take a walking tour

New York walking tour

Walking is one of the best ways to see New York, and taking a walking tour is a great way to save money and learn about the city at the same time. There are many different kinds of walking tours in New York, from food tours to historical tours. Many of them are free or cost very little.

6. Visit during the off-season

Visiting New York during the busy tourist season can be expensive, but you can save money on hotels and attractions if you go during the off-season. In New York, the off-season is usually from January to March, when the weather is cooler and there are fewer tourists.

7. Take advantage of discounts and deals

There are many deals and discounts for tourists in New York, such as discounts on attractions, museums, and restaurants. For example, the New York CityPASS gives discounts on the Empire State Building and the American Museum of Natural History, both of which are very popular.

8. Avoid tourist traps

Tourist traps like souvenir shops and restaurants that charge too much can quickly add up and eat up your budget. Instead, choose shops and restaurants in the area, which are often cheaper and more real.

9. Take in a show

Seeing a show is a must-do for visitors to New York, which is known for its theater productions. Even though Broadway shows can be pricey, there are ways to save money on tickets, like lotteries and standing room tickets.

10. Plan ahead

Lastly, planning ahead is one of the best ways to save money in New York. Find out what activities and sights are free or cheap, plan your meals and transportation, and book your accommodations ahead of time. By making a plan ahead of time, you’ll be able to keep track of your spending and get the most out of your time in the city.

You can go to New York on a budget if you plan ahead and think outside the box. There are many ways to save money while still having a memorable time in the city, such as going to free attractions, staying in cheap places to stay, taking public transportation, and eating like a local. So pack your bags, get a Metro card, and get ready to see New York on a budget!

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