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How to Visit NYC on a Budget

New York City is one of the world’s most exciting and interesting cities – making it a top tourist city from visitors from around the world. While its incredible size, population, and diversity make it an overwhelming place to visit — with a million different tourist attractions, museums and things to do — there are a handful of ways to make a visit to NYC much easier…and cheaper!

Book Somewhere Cheap to Stay

New York City hotels are notoriously small, cramped and uncomfortable — even the more luxurious and more expensive properties. Just get used to that idea and choose somewhere cheap and convenient, and plan to spend as little time in your hotel as possible. Airbnb doesn’t have the approval of most landlords or the city government, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t thousands of Airbnb properties. Hostels also exist in NYC, with decent accommodation for budget backpackers and students. Look for accommodation in Brooklyn rather than Manhattan; or, if you want to stay in Manhattan, find somewhere accessible on the NYC subway, further away from downtown.

Know When to Visit Museums

In New York City, you’ll find some of the world’s best museums. From the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to the MoMA and the Guggenheim, art is respected and valued in the city. But, most of the NYC museums don’t come cheap. Thankfully, many corporations have subsided certain nights of the week to make art more accessible. The MoMA is free on Friday nights after 5pm, and the Witney Museum of American Art offers a “pay-what-you-want” entrance fee on Friday evenings. The Guggenheim offers a “pay what you wish” entrance fee on Saturday nights. And the Met’s entrance fee is always just a suggestion — you can choose your own entrance fee donation to be anything from $1 to $25! With each of the free nights at the museums, be prepared for long queues; and in the wintertime, they’ll often require you to coat-check large bags. So, if you want a smooth and easy visit, it’s best not to bring a bag.

Visit the Free NYC Attractions

While there are plenty of great tourist attractions in NYC requiring entrance fees — whether it’s the observation deck from the Empire State Building, a visit to the Statue of Liberty, or guided walking tours — there are just as many (if not more) free things to do in NYC. Visit the 9/11 Memorial, wander around Times Square, walk the Brooklyn Bridge, and explore the markets of Chinatown and Little Italy. There’s a lot to see and do in NYC, and you don’t have to spend a lot to see it all.

Eat Cheap

Like any big city, there’s going to be food and restaurants available for every type of budget. And in NYC, there’s always the street food — hot dogs, pretzels, and other street food vendors can be found on literally every street corner. Prices vary, but if you’re hungry, time-crunched, and don’t have a lot of money, these are a great way to experience the New York way of life. Just make sure you get a Nathan’s brand hot dog — they’re the best!

Have you ever visited NYC on a budget? If so, do you have any tips? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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