New York dazzles visitors with its nonstop energy and endless attractions. But the Big Apple’s reputation for sky-high prices can put a dent in your vacation budget fast. Use these budget hacks to keep costs low while still experiencing everything this world-class city offers.
Walk or use the extensive subway system to get around NYC Advisor. Single rides are $2.75, while day, 3-day, and 7-day unlimited MetroCards quickly pay for themselves. Avoid taxis unless weather demands it. Also consider budget airlines and bus companies for cheap NYC access.
Split an Airbnb rental or book budget hotel chains like Pod Hotels, Yotel, and Motel One for rooms under $150/night, which is a steal for New York. Or check out hostel dorms on sites like Hostelworld. Many offer private rooms too.
Eat cheap slices at walk-up joints like 2 Bros Pizza. Load up on hot dogs and pretzels from street carts. Grab discounted meals at happy hours, prix fixe deals, and NYC Restaurant Week. Grocery shop at markets like Western Beef or Trader Joe’s to DIY affordable meals.
The Staten Island Ferry, African Burial Ground, and High Line are all free. Many museums like the Bronx Zoo offer free/pay-what-you-wish days. Sign up for ticket lotteries for events like Shakespeare in the Park. Explore the city’s countless free parks and neighborhoods from Chinatown to Harlem.
Broadway and Entertainment
Score steeply discounted same-day Broadway tickets at the TKTS booth. Take advantage of concerts, shows, and comedy nights at smaller venues. Join free TV show tapings. Take a free tour of Lincoln Center. Watch street performers in Central Park.
Bargain hunt at outlet malls and discount shops like Century 21 and Filene’s Basement. Find deals at sample sales. Buy cosmetics and household staples at pharmacies like Duane Reade. Madewell and Uniqlo offer style for less. Sign up for online deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial.
Avoid pricy organized tours. Do free or cheap self-guided tours from companies like Strawberry Tours, Free Tours by Foot, and Big Apple Greeters. Or create your own DIY tour using tools like Shuffler or Spotted by Locals.
When to Visit
Aim for shoulder season between March-May and September-November when flight/hotel deals pop up but weather is still nice. Skip holidays when everything is most expensive. January is frigid but you’ll find rock-bottom prices.
With insider tips on transportation, activities, and getting around, you can indulge in world-class Big Apple experiences without busting your vacation budget. Use this New York hack guide to keep things cheap while still savoring the best of the city.