How to Do NYC Without Spending a Fortune


Traveling to New York City on vacation, but don’t want to spend a fortune while you’re there? Luckily, there are many places to go and things to do within the city that won’t burn a hole in your pocket. Make the most out of your travels and experience all that the Big Apple has to offer while saving your money. This NYC attractions list of ten top spots to check out will help you to discover the cheap and even free side of the city without sacrificing the quality of your vacation.


nyc cheap things to do
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Although NYC is one of the most expensive cities in the world, you don’t have to be rich in order to enjoy some of the city’s most popular attractions. For example, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has a “suggested” admission price of $25. This means that you can actually enter the museum for as little as 1 cent! Be sure to check out this top attraction on a Saturday night when you can enjoy live music without the crowds that the museum sees during the day.


Broadway Performances

It’s true that Broadway tickets have skyrocketed in price over the last few years and for many, this is simply not affordable. However, you can score tickets at up to 50% off on same-day performances by purchasing your tickets at the TKTS booth in Times Square.


Central Park

A visit to the world-famous Central Park doesn’t cost a thing! Enjoy a walk in the park, people watch, check out free events and stop by some of the most popular sites in the park. Some sites in the park include Strawberry Fields and The Pond, which is referenced a number of times in, “The Catcher in the Rye.” Central Park is also home to the carousel and the zoo, both of which are completely affordable NYC attractions.


nyc cheap things to do
Staten Island Ferry
Want to see the Statue of Liberty up-close without having to pay for a ferry tour? Hop aboard the 100% free Staten Island Ferry and cut across the New York Harbor, taking in the views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.


nyc cheap things to do
American Museum of Natural History

Visit the American Museum of Natural History during its last opening hour at 4:45 to 5:45 PM when it’s free to enter. The admission price is also “suggested” at all other hours so it technically isn’t required to pay the suggested admission price.


The Bronx Zoo

Every Wednesday, visitors headed to the Bronx Zoo can pay what they wish to enter! This is a fun and affordable attraction for the whole family where you can walk on the wild side.


nyc cheap things to do
Brooklyn Brewery Tours

Williamsburg, Brooklyn is home to the Brooklyn Brewery. Here you can enjoy a free tour of the facility along with some beer samples from 1 to 5 PM on Saturday and 1 to 4 PM on Sunday every week.


Grand Central Partnership Walking Tours

At 12:30 PM every Friday, two historians lead walking tours of the Grand Central area. Learn about the history behind Grand Central Station, the whispering gallery and the Chrysler Building during this 90-minute tour. While NYC is safer now than it was in years past, it’s always good to tour with a guide like you will on this tour. However, if you’re looking for added safety, you could always carry protection, whether it’s mace or the best gun belt.


nyc cheap things to do
Times Square

A trip to New York City would not be complete without visiting Times Square. The lights and sounds of the city are sure to amaze you. Times Square is home to a variety of shops and restaurants for all budgets. Some popular spots include the world’s largest Toys R Us, Planet Hollywood and Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Co.

Check out the Best Hotels for Experiencing New York’s Times Square listed by HotelsCombined for more exciting sights and sounds in Times Square.


nyc cheap things to do

nyc cheap things to do nyc cheap things to do nyc cheap things to do 

City Hall

Schedule a free tour of City Hall in advance. This has been home to NYC’s government since 1812. Visit the governor’s room, the spot where Abraham Lincoln’s coffin once laid and more.


Want more tips for visiting NYC on a budget? Check out this excellent post by Wanderlustingk.





  • Erica says:

    Sweet list! NYC is definitely doable on the cheap, though I tend to mix these up with splurges for the ultimate NYC experience :)

    • Cory Lee says:

      Yeah, I usually splurge a bit in NYC also, which is easy to do. I think that’s okay though as long as I don’t go overboard. :)

  • travelFREAK says:

    Very useful article, Cory! There are so many cheap and free things one can do in NYC! Many people think it’s impossible to do NYC on a budget, but it’s not!

  • Yay, thanks for sharing out beautiful city! It really doesn’t cost much to experience a taste of the Big Apple–well, until you start eating/drinking, that’s when it gets pricey;-)

  • Aileen says:

    Amazing list/roundup! I am definitely going to take note of these places once I land to NYC! My definite first stop would be the Grand Central 😛

  • Matt A says:

    One last tip – if you want to save a ton on accommodation, stay across the bridge in Secaucus, NJ. While you won’t “sleep in the city that never sleeps” you will save A LOT of money. I’ve spent a week for what a night costs in the heart of the city. You can easily save $500-1000 on your trip.

    And convenient? Walk across the street from most hotels in Secaucus to catch a 10-15 minute bus into the city. Sleep and relax in the quiet, wake & enjoy the city: best of both worlds.

  • Anne Lisenko says:

    I truly enjoyed your company as I “virtually” toured Kona with you. I can’t believe that you weren’t in Carnes (sp) because you sounded so knowledgeable. Thanks for the tour, the suggestions, and the humor.

  • This is just what I need for my next visit to NYC 😀 Last time I ‘accidentally’ took the Staten Island Ferry, which turned out to be a big bonus because I got to see Lady Liberty for free!

  • Wayne Seto says:

    Thanks for the post! I’ve always wanted to go to New York but have held off due to how expensive it may be. Great list. When I return back to North America, I may have to look into a visit to NYC!

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