10 Ways to Experience the Extravagance of NYC on a Budget

You may envision the glitz and glam of New York City and think the only way to experience the city is to pay high prices everywhere you go. This city may be known for its extravagance, but there are ways to experience New York City sightseeing on a budget. Here are ten ways to enjoy the city and keep a little money in your bank account.

Picnic in Central Park

You can’t visit New York City without a trip to Central Park. Pack a picnic and enjoy this picturesque place at no charge. There are 26 ball fields, a pond for fishing, concerts and even Shakespeare performances. You can keep your entire family entertained at Central Park. Schedule a bike tour or just rent bikes and explore on your own.

Bike Tours

New York is a big city, and you can miss seeing a lot of the city if you don’t also add a more relaxed, intimate bike tour to your itinerary. Many bike trails have been created to help locals get around and are a great way to get a better view at the city. Ride the Hudson River Greenway by Battery Park and get a great view of the Hudson River. You may also want to try Ocean Parkway, Manhattan Waterfront Greenway or Williamsburg Bridge Bikeway.

Carnegie Hall

A concert at Carnegie Hall won’t disappoint. They can, however, be a bit pricey. The trick is to get to the box office by noon. If you get to the box office early you can get partial-view tickets for only $10. Sure the tickets aren’t great, but you will still hear the great sound of the classical music.

Museum of Modern Art

This museum is extremely well-known. It is the home of work by Picasso, Pollock and Van Gough. You can add seeing work by these famous artists to your time in the city free of charge if your schedule your visit on a Friday. Every Friday from 4:00pm – 8:00pm entrance to the museum is free.

Museum Free Days

The Museum of Modern Art isn’t the only museum offering free admittance. Most of the museums in New York offer a free day. If there is a certain museum you want to visit, look up when their free day is. This day will obviously be a lot busier, but you will get to experience the extravagance of a famous museum without the price tag.


Getting around the city is fairly easy, but can be expensive if you are getting a cab for every ride. Taxis are expensive. The must budget-friendly way to get around is to buy a MetroCard.  You can buy MetroCards with multiple uses. Ride the subway, and don’t be shy about walking to some of your destinations.

Free Sites

It is easy to spend thousands of dollars in New York City, but the city is also full of free attractions. You can visit Times Square, Ground Zero, Rockefeller Center, Central Park and the famous New York City library all free of charge.

Staten Island Ferry

The ferry ride to Staten Island takes about 25 minutes. You get a great view of the Statue of Liberty and the ferry ride is quite enjoyable. The best part is the ride is free. You can spend a little time exploring Staten Island and then enjoy the ferry ride again as you return.

The Julliard School

New York is famous for its’ top-of-the-line performing arts school, Julliard. The school does offer some free performances. Free theatre tickets are available at the box office and there are also times stand-by tickets are available. Don’t be shy. Just go to the box office and ask.

Bus Tour

Although not free, you may want to try a fun NYC bus tour to get a better feel for the city. Bus tours are affordable and do a great job familiarizing you with the city. These tours can act like a fabulous concierge who shows you where everything is. A bus tour will not only teach you about the city and show you hot spots, it can act as a way to places you want to add to your itinerary.

Leslie Horning is the Web Marketing Manager at gonytours.com, a provider of discount New York City and Brooklyn sightseeing tours.

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