New York City- named the 6th BEST city in the world! It is a must see.

Despite being recognised as one of the best, it certainly doesn’t get its fame for being cheap and affordable…

In reality, New York is the most expensive city in the US according to CBS!  And so let me share with you my top 5 cheap/ free things to do in NYC.

Like so many of us, I am sure you have a list the length of your arm of the places in the world you want to visit. For me last year, at age 18, New York was at the very TOP of my list! Although, as I started to research things to do, places to see, things to eat and where to stay, I started getting pretty overwhelmed by the price of everything!

I quickly started to look for alternatives to make my dream of seeing New York City a reality!

Here’s what I found:

  1. CHEAP ACCOMMODATION
  2. FREE TRANSPORTATION
  3. CHEAP EATS
  4. FREE SIGHTS
  5. CHEAP ENTRY

Let’s get on into it…

#1- CHEAP ACCOMMODATION

As you will already know, if you have started your quest for accommodation- HOTELS ARE EXPENSIVE! This is especially true if you are looking to go in the summer! To get a standard hotel in a good location, at a minimum you are looking at £100+ a night. On top of this there is tax at 14.75% and City charge of £3.50 per night. For Jeremy and I this just wasn’t an option.

After doing some research we found Airbnb to be the best thing for us! We decided that we loved the idea of staying in a classic ‘New Yorker’ apartment and boy did we get lucky! We managed to find a fabulous place on West 44th street. Which means we were only a 5-minute walk from the hustle and bustle of Times Square!

The apartment itself was great, we had everything we needed, a super comfy bed, a bathroom, WIFI and anything else a person could really need! We were especially lucky, not with only with the location but also with our host! He made us feel at home and had buckets of recommendations for us! We got all of this for a grand total of £291 including all fees for 3 nights. What a bargain!

#2- FREE TRANSPORTATION

If you are anything like me, seeing the price of taxis in New York will be enough to make you shudder.

The metros are a much cheaper option, but if I am honest. Jeremy and I found the metros so confusing that we ended up walking almost everywhere! We were quite happy to explore things on foot as we had never been there before and walking really is the best way to see as much as possible in a short space of time!

One great freebee I managed to find through some meticulous research was the Staten Island Ferry. Staten Island is in the Southwest of the City. The ferry to and from Staten Island from Manhattan is famous for its fantastic views back over the city and all its skyscrapers. But mostly for a free look at the iconic Statue of Liberty.  I really recommend that you do this!

Staten Island ferry views
Staten Island ferry views

#3- CHEAP EATS

Over the last few years, New York has grown increasingly famous for its food. I struggle to go on Facebook without seeing a rainbow bagel or cookie dough EVERYTHING. Although in terms of proper meals, at first it is a bit of a battle trying to find somewhere that is good value.

So firstly (ignoring my sarcastic remark about rainbow bagels) for breakfast you must try the New York classic of coffee and a bagel! We had an incredible takeaway breakfast from Best Bagels. At only $1.25 for a plain bagel you aren’t going to find somewhere better! It was also voted #1 for coffee and tea in New York out of over 500 places.

For lunch, I really recommend try a proper deli! There are plenty around and are all usually pretty good value. We chose to eat at Everyday Gourmet Deli on our way back from visiting Grand Central. A massive sandwich with pretty much and filling you can think of starts at around $7.00!

Deli Food
Deli Food

Finally, for dinner I recommend a trip to Little Italy. Here authentic and affordable Italian food is in abundance!

My key advise here would be stay clear of dinner at Times Square! If you have a large budget then great! Although Jeremy and I most regret our small and overpriced meal at Applebee’s on Times Square. Just a little tip if your trying to stretch your cash that little but further!

#4-FREE SIGHTS

WOW, where do I begin! There’s loads you can see for absolutely nothing in New York. Central Park, Times Square, 9/11 Memorial and Grand Central to name but a few! All of these were wicked and each of them have very different experiences to offer! Another free sight I would recommend is the Highline. If you haven’t already heard of it, the Highline is a 1.45-mile-long old railway that has been repurposed as a green space/ park. From the Highline you can get unique views of the Cities for Free!!

9/11 Memorial
9/11 Memorial

And that brings us to..

#5- CHEAP ENTRY

If I am totally honest, we really didn’t pay for entry to many places as we managed to see a lot of things for free. Although one thing we thought was really worth paying for was an observation deck. Each observation deck has different experiences and views to offer. We opted for Top of the Rock as it had fantastic views all the way around! From the 69th floor the views over Central Park are UNREAL. I am so glad that we chose Top of the Rock. It was great value at only $35.00 and very insightful. We also didn’t feel packed in or rushed like I have heard a lot of people say about the Empire State. So just bare that in mind when you’re deciding where to soak in the skyline views.

Views from the Top of the Rock
Views from the Top of the Rock

So-there’s my top 5 tips for free/ cheap things to do in New York. I hope you enjoyed reading and that it can save you some money on your Trip!

Abbie- Fitter4Travel

P.S. if you found this helpful, please follow me on Instagram to keep up to date with what I am doing and what content I am creating.

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