tourist attractions

New York City Things to Do on a Budget – Free and Low-Cost Activities

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New York City is one of the most expensive cities in the world, but there are still plenty of things to do on a budget. From free museums to low-cost Broadway tickets, there’s something for everyone in the Big Apple.

Free Activities

Central Park:

Central Park is one of the most iconic parks in the world, and it’s completely free to visit. You can spend hours exploring the park’s many trails, gardens, and attractions, such as the Bethesda Fountain, Strawberry Fields, and the Central Park Zoo.


Many of New York City’s tourist attractions, including museums, offer free admission on certain days of the week or during certain hours. For example, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is free on Friday evenings and Sundays, and the American Museum of Natural History is free on Friday evenings after 5pm.

Staten Island Ferry:

The Staten Island Ferry is a great way to get stunning views of the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan skyline, and the Brooklyn Bridge. The ferry is also completely free!

Brooklyn Bridge:

The Brooklyn Bridge is another iconic New York City landmark that you can visit for free. You can walk or bike across the bridge, or simply stop to admire the views.

High Line:

The High Line is a former elevated railway that has been converted into a public park. The park offers unique views of the city and is a great place to take a walk or have a picnic.

Low-Cost Activities

Broadway tickets:

There are a number of ways to get discounted Broadway tickets. One option is to buy tickets through a discount website such as TKTS or TodayTix. Another option is to go to a matinee performance, which is typically less expensive than an evening performance.

Comedy shows:

New York City has a vibrant comedy scene, and there are many comedy shows that you can attend for free or for a low cost. Some popular comedy clubs include the Comedy Cellar, the Stand, and the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.

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Food tours:

There are many food tours available in New York City, which is a great way to sample different cuisines and learn about the city’s culinary scene. Some popular food tours include the Greenwich Village Food Tour, the Brooklyn Food Tour, and the Hell’s Kitchen Food Tour.

Museum admission:

If you’re planning on visiting multiple museums, consider purchasing a CityPASS. A CityPASS gives you admission to six popular attractions, including the Empire State Building, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Top of the Rock Observation Deck.

Public transportation:

New York City has a comprehensive public transportation system that makes it easy to get around the city without having to rent a car. You can purchase a MetroCard, which gives you unlimited rides on the subway and bus for a set period of time.

Here are a few more things to do in New York City if you’re on a tight budget:

Visit the New York Public Library:

The New York Public Library is one of the largest and most iconic libraries in the world. It’s also free to visit! You can wander through the library’s many rooms, admire its beautiful architecture, and even check out books.

Take a walk through Chinatown:

Chinatown is one of the most vibrant and diverse neighborhoods in New York City. It’s also a great place to find affordable food and souvenirs.

Visit the 9/11 Memorial & Museum:

The 9/11 Memorial & Museum is a moving tribute to the victims of the September 11th attacks. Admission to the museum is free on Tuesdays from 5pm to 8pm.

Take a ferry to Staten Island:

The Staten Island Ferry is a great way to get stunning views of the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan skyline, and the Brooklyn Bridge. The ferry is also completely free!

Visit the Brooklyn Bridge Park:

The Brooklyn Bridge Park is a beautiful park that offers stunning views of the Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge. The park also has a number of free events throughout the year, such as concerts, movies, and festivals.


New York City is a great place to visit on a budget. With a little planning, you can easily find plenty of free and low-cost activities to enjoy.

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