It’s no secret that New York is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live and visit, but with this savvy guide, filled with penny-saving ideas and budget options from the people who know the city best, you’ll get even more out of your stay in the Big Apple!
Of course New York is well-known and highly celebrated for its world-class museums and cultural institutions, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to experience them all, even on a tight budget. Many of the major art, history and children’s museums have a tradition of opening their doors to the public, free of charge, on designated days of the month, to save you the otherwise pricey entrance fee. This goes for centres such as The Museum of Modern Art, Museum of the Moving Image, New York Historical Society and the Guggenheim Museum. Alternately, you can visit the fascinating American Folk Art Museum, which holds a vast and expertly curated collection of traditional folk art works and objects, and admission is free all-year-round.
Booking accommodation for your stay in the city can easily be the biggest expenditure of your trip, but it doesn’t have to be with these alternative, bargain options. Bed & Breakfasts are the ideal substitutes for hotels, especially for families travelling with children, seeking an intimate and secure base for their stay in the city, and usually work out at a fraction of the price! Another option is for self-catering apartments, which similarly provide a more private affair than a hotel and also give the option to cook for yourself, saving money on eating out too. These are made even cheaper if you book well in advance and during off-peak season, which for New York is from January to early March.
If you want to guarantee a prime location and superior hospitality, your best option is booking a hotel room or apartment with Secret Hotels, through lastminute.com or Hotwire, which will save you up to 35% on mostly 4 and 5 star properties.
New York’s legendary nightlife doesn’t have to cost you an arm and leg; there’s a plethora of after-dark destinations that promise an unforgettable night without the hefty price tag! The Slipper Room on Stanton Street is a unique find; offering unabashed revelry and provocation, through burlesque performances, exquisite cocktails and exceptional live music, and all for under $5 cover charge! In the heart of Manhattan, Chetty Red is a sensational comedy club charging absolutely nothing for entrance. But there are no cheap laughs here; all the acts have treaded the boards at either NBC or Comedy Central, so you can guarantee they’ll put on a show you won’t forget!
As well as a scattering of Michelin starred and celebrity-owned restaurants, you can find food just as delicious around the city that is a lot easier on the pocket. You’ll find cuisines from all over the globe; Vietnamese, Indian, Latino, Caribbean and Greek, to satisfy even the most discerning of cheap eaters! The best place to head for these quick, cheap eats is the collection of food karts on Wall Street, where you’ll join the bankers and office workers on their lunch breaks. Stick to the all-American classic with a mouth-wateringly good, four-ounce cheeseburger from Wall Street Burger Shoppe for only $4!
Arguably the best way to explore New York, discover all its hidden gems and get from place to place, is to take one of the city’s many free walking tours, which run throughout the calendar year and provide stunning opportunities to see less-frequented spots, beautiful parkland and characteristic architecture. The Lower East Side walking tour is provided for tourists by the local Visitor Centre from April to December and is free of charge, giving you resident insight into the neighbourhood’s best shopping, dining, sight-seeing and nightlife. The Big Apple Greeters tour is proof that New Yorkers have plenty of heart, to take time out of their own lives to show visitors around their favourite neighbourhoods and help acquaint them with the wide diversity of personality in each one. So you get an insider’s view into how it is to live like a real New Yorker, without having to spend a dime!