7 Things You Can Do In New York City On A Tight Budget

New York City

There is nothing about New York City that says “small”. From big buildings to large amounts of traffic, the Big Apple can quickly turn into a big headache. Especially if you’re looking to plan a fun filled trip. It’s not exactly the cheapest place to visit. However, despite being surrounded by expensive stores and costly sight seeing landmarks, it is possible to do a fairly inexpensive trip to the city that never sleeps. Over the past few years, I’ve had to go to New York City for a variety of reasons. Some of these were
business related while others were for fun. Regardless of how long you stay in the city, you will want to do something while you’re there. As you can imagine, there is something to do pretty much everywhere you turn.

The question that’s probably weighing on most peoples’ minds is this: Can I visit New York City without going broke in the process? Unless you are wealthy or have a lot of money saved up, I can’t promise that you won’t break the bank a little bit. However, you can get a lot out of your visits to the Big Apple without it costing a fortune. Even if you don’t live as close to New York as I do, you can still get a fulfilling experience while visiting one of America’s most popular cities. Based on personal experience, I came up
with several ways you can have a fun trip to New York City while on a tight budget. Here are some of the ways I’ve done it successfully over the years.

Take A Walk Around The Park

From Central Park to Bryant Park there are plenty of beautiful parks to visit in New York City. Not only is taking a walk around the park a great way to see the city, it is also a great way to relax and enjoy the ambiance of the city when you are in need of a break. Whether you’re alone or with another person the parks of New York City are a great place to grab a cup of coffee, sit on a bench, and enjoy a beautiful day in the city without spending a lot of money.

Bryant Park is one of the many beautiful parks you can visit in New York City.

Walk Around Times Square

If fun and excitement is more your speed then take a walk around Times Square and prepare to be entertained. I can tell you firsthand that you will see things you never thought you’d see when passing through the heart of New York City. From street entertainers with paint all over their naked body to a number of other unimaginable things, Times Square will provide you with a unique experience. Although there are plenty of places to go to spend money, frankly, you don’t really need much of it. You may even come across discounted tickets to a Broadway show or something else close by if you’re lucky enough.

This is just a small sample of the craziness and crowds you can expect to cross paths with in New York City.

Go Window Shopping

Ok, so this might not sound like a lot of fun. However, New York City has tons of stores that may not be available in many towns and cities around the country. There is so many places to go and so much to see around every corner. If you can control your spending and know you’re on a tight budget, then this could also be a fun way to see the city, brainstorm ideas for future shopping trips, and keep you entertained while visiting the New York City.

If you can control your spending habits, then walking around the Big Apple could be a great place to do a lot of window shopping and get a lot of exercise too!

Find Famous Landmarks

New York City has some of the most famous landmarks in the world. From the Empire State Building to the Statue of Liberty there is something famous to marvel at throughout the city. Without spending a lot of money you can bounce around the city and keep yourself entertained by going on a scavenger hunt for famous buildings, landmarks, etc. Places like 30 Rock and the Empire State Building offer day passes that will allow you to experience the city to the fullest at a discounted rate. If balancing your trip and wallet is important to you, then incorporating a day pass with other landmark visits sprinkled in could easily fill up a day of tourist activity.

Radio City Music Hall is one of MANY famous landmarks you can “hunt” for while visiting New York City on a tight budget.

Find Discounts

A skillful tourist will probably be able to find discounts just by using the internet. I’ve already dropped a hint or two on how to accomplish that. However, simply walking around the city, especially Times Square, could help the discounts to find you. From Broadway to shopping you never know what type of deals and fun could be available to you just by simply walking around the city. There are so many people who are trying to get business in such a competitive environment that you are bound to stumble across somebody willing to cut you a good deal on something. Who knows your next great discount could literally be right around the corner.

Thanks to a random flyer handout in the middle of Times Square my wife and I got seats to Waitress on Broadway at a discounted price!

Stay Outside Of The City

As you can imagine, staying overnight in New York City isn’t cheap. It may seem like common sense to stay in the heart of the city if you’re already visiting. However, there are other options. Northern New Jersey has proven to be an excellent alternative for those who want to stay in a hotel at a lower rate, but still be close to the big city. Staying outside of the city may even prove to be a great way to unwind in a more quiet environment after spending the day hustling through the city. There is plenty of public
transportation available regardless of whether you stay in New Jersey, Long Island, etc. Although you will have to log a few extra miles in order to commute in and out of the city it should prove to be worth it financially in the long run.

If money is an issue then consider staying in New Jersey. There are plenty of fun things to do in the Northern part of The Garden State.

Plan A Short Trip

Most of my trips to New York City have been pretty short. Personally, my wife and I almost always plan to go to atleast one big event when we visit New York City. From baseball games to Broadway or even a concert, you might want to plan to go to one big event in order to ensure that your visit has a good balance and a timeframe to work with. By planning to go to an event ahead of time it could help to keep you from wanting to spend too much money. However, if you just want a taste of the New York City life,
but want to keep yourself on a budget, then just plan to make it a short trip.

If you think a long trip may lead to big spending then plan for a short trip and go home before you break that bank!

You may also like...

10 Responses

  1. NYC is one of my fave places to visit! Haha… I guess we’re lucky because we live just hours away. The things you mentioned here are exactly what we do when we are on a tight budget. My fave so far is walking around Central Park.

    • Marc Schmidt says:

      I wish I had visited NYC more when I lived in PA. It seemed a bit intimidating when I was younger, but it totally isn’t. I also know NYC has changed a lot since I was younger so maybe that has something to do with it too!

  2. Simply B says:

    I have been wanting to visit NYC for a very long time. But I know I will be budgeting for a ton of food and coffee when I go. Are you a coffee drinker? I’m know they must have some amazing shops..

    • Marc Schmidt says:

      I am a coffee drinker, but haven’t tried anything other than Starbucks. Maybe next time I go up there I’ll give something else a try. I would save most of your money for food. There are obviously tons of great places to eat.

  3. Great post Marc. I love New York I will have to keep some of this in mind for our next trip there.

  4. Ashleigh says:

    This is a fantastic read! Thanks for sharing because I would absolutely love to go to New York but I have always thought it would be too dear so this is definitely great to read 🙂

    Ashleigh x

    • Marc Schmidt says:

      Thanks Ashleigh! It took me a longtime to get over the intimidation factor of NYC. Once you learn about the area it’s a breeze to navigate. I love going there. I don’t get up there enough!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: