How to Spend a Day in NYC for Less Than the Price of a New Smartwatch

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Flights Team
9/10/2017 - 9:42am

There are two sides to New York City: the expensive, flashy element that calls to smartwatch-wearing, Cosmopolitan-sipping socialites; and the affordable activities and cultural factors that speak to scrappy travelers like you.

While it’s easy to feel tempted to give into the hype and buy the latest piece of technology, so you can blend in with the wolves of Wall Street, there are actually a ton of cheap things to do in New York on a budget. Keep the 300 bucks you saved for the newest smart watch and put it toward something fun, like buying a kitschy sundae made entirely of frozen camel milk or peering at the city from the Top of the Rock – when in New York.

Check out seven other ways to have the most epic day in NYC that will cost you a whole lot less than $300.

Visit Central Park

Throughout your travels, you’ve learned that most parks are free, but Central Park still stands a cut above the rest. Kick off your New York City tour de force by entering the urban playground and experiencing all the attraction has to offer. Spot a grizzly bear inside the Central Park Zoo, snap a picture near the area’s iconic Alice in Wonderland statue, or lounge alongside picnickers in Sheep Meadow.

Central Park
Photo by Becky Phan

Attend a Statue of Liberty Tour

You’ve long recognized the Statue of Liberty as an American icon, but have you ever seen the gray lady up close? You’ll need to purchase a ferry ticket to visit Lady Liberty, but once you’ve arrived, you won’t have to pay to visit Liberty Island or nearby Ellis Island. With all the cash you’ll be saving, you can buy a special red, white, and blue ensemble just for the occasion.

Statue of Liberty
Photo by Lucas Franco

Watch Broadway Shows

There’s a secret that New York City locals don’t want you to know: Theater isn’t just for the rich. Whether you’re a theater lover with an interest in the latest shows, or a novice to Broadway looking to see a classic, you can find an affordable ticket. Matinees during the week often offer discounted tickets. Additionally, the longer a show’s been running, typically the cheaper the ticket will be.

Photo by Andrae Ricketts

Tour the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a classy place, and by classy, we mean that the amount you pay for admission is up to you. The facility requests adults pay $25 to enter, which is well worth it to see the beauty that lies inside. However, it’s up to your discretion to pay what you like – perfect for exploring NYC on a budget. Visit the museum’s website to see what exhibits are currently available, and check the calendar for any free events or guided tours that will occur during your time there.

Metropolitan Museum of Art
Photo by Rob Bye

Be amazed at the New York Botanical Garden

New York City is a concrete jungle, but there’s still a bit of greenery that has been known to slip through the cracks. Pound the pavement en route to the New York Botanical Garden, and soak up every amazing inch of the attraction. You’ll still be in NYC, but the orchids and water lilies will temporarily block out the lights of Times Square and make you feel like you’ve been transported somewhere tropical.

New York Botanical Garden
Photo by Johnny Tran

Eat some of the best food in the city

Who said you have to come to New York with a wad of dough in order to eat well? There’s a reason college kids and backpackers love the Big Apple, and it’s largely to do with the city’s specialty cuisine. Chomp on a bagel with lox for breakfast, enjoy a hotdog with spicy mustard for lunch, and finish the day with a few slices of New York-style pizza – all on the cheap.

Delicatessen Restaurant
Photo by Roman Arkhipov

Ferry to Governors Island

On weekend mornings, certain ferry tickets to Governors Island are free. Throughout the rest of the week, a ticket is only two dollars. The 172-acre island sits in the New York Harbor and is the perfect place to experience the city like a local. Check out the numerous parks, piers, and picnic areas that the island is known for.

Governors Island
Photo by pisaphotography

Technological trends come and go, but the memories of your cheap trip to New York City will last forever. You might want the aid of a camera to capture the grandeur of your trip, but you can hold out for the smartwatch until Christmas – Uncle Lou does always come through with spoiling you and your siblings, after all.

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