New York, New York – one of the world’s most exciting, bustling, multicultural metropolises, but also one of the expensive.
By the time you’ve paid for pricey flights and accommodation, a trip to New York can seem out of reach for budget travellers. But with hostels in New York offering a bed for a decent price and our thrifty guide to the sights, a weekend in New York could work out to be perfectly affordable…
1.Take the subway to PS1 Contemporary Art Center
An affiliate of the MoMa (Museum of Modern Art), but with a suggested donation of just $5 to enter, the PS1 manages to stand out from the crowd of New York’s museums. The former school has been transformed into a radical exhibition space for contemporary and conceptual art.
2. Drink freshly-squeezed lime Margaritas
Mole Mexican Bar & Grill on Allen Street has a $5 happy hour between 4 and 7pm every day. This family-run Mexican bar in East Houston serves excellent cocktails, but you can add nachos, quesadillas and guacamole (also $5 at this time) or a $3 draft beer to your order.
3. Browse the Chelsea Art Galleries
Manhattan’s upmarket West Side is one of the cultural centers for New York’s art scene. Chelsea is home to around 200 galleries which exhibit both new and established artists’ work from Tuesday to Sunday. Best of all, they’re free to explore…
4. Walk the High Line
New York’s old elevated train platform has just reopened as an imaginative public park – and a wonderful place to relax, high up above the city streets. More information on the High Line opening can be found at National Geographic.
5. Chinatown, Canal and Mott Streets
Explore this multicultural city’s thriving Chinatown district of exotic shops and restaurants along Canal and Mott Streets and stop off for a bowl of $5 noodles on the way.
6. Enjoy Bryant Park
Central Park might be New York’s best known green space, but Bryant Park in midtown (between 5th and 6th Avenue, from 4o to 42nd Street) is the place to head for free outdoor concerts, film showings and other events.
7. See the city like a local
Forget ferry rides and city tours, the best way to get a feel for and a look at the city is on a scenic bus route through the streets for $1.50. Try the M5 from Greenwich Village to Riverside Drive, which passes Chelsea, Rockefeller Center, Lincoln Center and Central Park South, or the M4 from Madison Avenue through Harlem to the Cloisters.
8. Free Pizza at Croccodile Lounge
It may not be the world’s best hang out, but cheap drinks and a free cheese pizza with every order means hungry backpackers really can’t go wrong at this New York bar at 325 E 14th St.
9. The Peanut Butter Co, Greenwich Village
Freshly ground Peanut Butter is made on site, and the whole menu is full of weird and wonderful peanut butter sandwiches – like the ‘Elvis’ ( a heart stopping combo of bacon, banana, honey and peanut butter), and the ‘Sampler Platter’ where you can try crazy flavours like Cinnamon and Dark Chocolate… For real kitsch appeal, the sandwiches come with a side of carrot sticks and potato chips. There’s even some wacky desserts like PB Tiramasu, and you can buy jars of the gourmet stuff to take home if you have any change!
10. Tip-top cupcakes
Stop at Crumbs Cupcake Store on the Upper West Side, you can’t visit NYC without cupcakes on the menu…
For more up-to-date tips on events and New York news, check out NewYorkology before you go!
Have you got a budget tip to share for New York? Get in touch…
Thanks to our friends on Flickr, Omar Omar, acnatta and See-ming Lee 李思明 SML for the excellent images. Please note, all images were suitable for use at the time of publication according to the Creative Commons License.