New York on a Budget

Everyone wants to visit NYC and take a bite out of the Big Apple. But a trip to New York can also take a huge bite out of your wallet.

You CAN visit New York on a budget and still have a great time. Find out how to spend less on food, entertainment, and transportation while still having a great travel experience.

5 Ways to See the City for Less

If you’re visiting New York on a budget, check out these 5 ways to make your money go further in the big city.

1. Indulge in New York Style Pizza

New York Style Pizza

Eating out in New York City isn't cheap. A good way to enjoy the sit-down experience without breaking the bank is to go to one of the city’s many outstanding pizza restaurants.

A large pizza usually runs $16 to $20 plus a little more for each topping. This is a cost effective way to dine out as a family or a group.

For tasty New York City pizza (we’re talking a thin hand-tossed crust) and a good atmosphere we recommend the following restaurants:

  • Grimaldi’s Pizzeria in Brooklyn (one of the most popular)
  • Lombardi’s Pizza in Little Italy (the first pizzeria in the U.S.)
  • John’s Pizzeria in Greenwich Village

Read more about New York City Pizza Restaurants.

Essential New York City Guide Tip
Tip: NYC Pizza Restaurants are notoriously cash only so come prepared with cash to avoid being at the mercy of the on-site ATM machines.

2. Visit Museums for a Fraction of the Admission Price

New York City has a great selection of museums that attract many visitors. At $18-$25 per adult ticket, however, those admission prices can really add up.

Guggenheim Museum
Guggenheim Museum

Many museums offer a break by having certain time periods during the week designated as either free or “pay-as-you-wish”. The latter means that you can walk in and hand the cashier whatever amount suites you to enter the museum.

With a little extra planning, you can visit an awesome museum either for free or for a fraction of the normal admission price - perfect if you are visiting New York on a budget! Museums that offer this include the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim, the Whitney Museum, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Frick Collection.

More details on how to save on museums.

3. Get Discounted Broadway Tickets


Seeing a Broadway show is a fun thing to do in New York City. But at over $100 per ticket, this can make for quite an expensive evening if you're visiting New York on a budget.

Wouldn’t you jump at the chance to see Broadway for half price? Well, you can when you buy tickets at the TKTS booth! If you don’t mind standing in line on the day of the performance, you can get tickets 25% to 50% off.

More TKTS info, how to do it, and if it’s right for you.

4. Forget About Taxis and Take the Subway

Using the subways to get around doesn’t just make your visit cheaper; it actually adds to the experience. The subway system is a vital part of what makes the city run and gets millions of New Yorkers to where they need to go every day.

If it’s good enough for New Yorkers, then why not make it your primary method of transportation? You can travel all around the city for a week for just $30 when you purchase a 7-day unlimited MetroCard. You could easily spend that same amount on just a few taxi rides.

More information on the New York City subway system.

You can also use public transportation to get from any one of New York’s three major airports to Manhattan. Find out how.

5. Take a Free “Cruise” Aboard the Staten Island Ferry

Who doesn’t love a free boat ride?

This half-hour ferry trip across the New York Harbor goes right past the Statue of Liberty and Governor’s Island. You will also enjoy looking out across the harbor to see the buildings of Lower Manhattan and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge that connects Staten Island and Brooklyn. View from the Staten Island Ferry

This ferry service between South Ferry Terminal (near Battery Park in Lower Manhattan) and Staten Island is utilized by commuters and tourists alike. Once you get to the ferry terminal on Staten Island, you can immediately board a ferry going back to Manhattan. The entire round trip takes about 1 hour.

This bargain is hard to beat. Many of our more frugal guests choose to view the Statue of Liberty in this fashion rather than paying money and standing in line. You won't get as close to the statue, but did we mention it's free?

More NYC on the Cheap - Eating and Shopping!

For more New York City on a Budget, check out this guest article for outstanding tips on cheap eats and budget shopping.

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