Visiting NYC on a Budget

Zack and I recently took a short trip to New York City during the holidays. Zack actually lived in upstate New York as a kid but had never been to the city. I’ve been several times and my brother, Luke, lives in Brooklyn, so I was excited to get to show Zack around.

Vacations can get pricey if you don’t plan it right – and with the holidays, moving into a new apartment, and my current status as unemployed, we wanted to keep things low-cost. But the great thing about NYC is there’s so much to do for any budget.


With 2 days to explore, we let my brother be our guide. On our first day, the weather wasn’t too cold so we wandered around Brooklyn (and got a great view of the skyline), checked out Central Park, saw the Rockefeller Center Tree all lit up, and visited Times Square. All free. We even got to meet up with our friends, Josh + Lauren, who were in the city at the same time.

On our second day, the weather was MUCH colder, so we enjoyed a long brunch before we visited the 9/11 Memorial, saw the One World Trade Center, and walked through Battery Park for a view of the Statue of Liberty. (Again, all the sights were free!)

If you want to go to the top of the One World Trade Center or visit the Statue of Liberty, those will cost you – it all depends on your budget and what you are most interested in seeing. I’ve done most of the touristy things, and Zack really just wanted to see all the big sights since we only had a couple days.


Then of course, there’s the food! So many great restaurants to try and food to eat! AND since all our sightseeing was practically free (minus the cost of the subway tickets), we could spend a little extra on dining.

This visit to NYC was my most relaxing visit to date. Even with having a first timer with us. I usually feel drained and exhausted after visiting the city, but somehow we managed to see so much and still have plenty of time to relax.


If you’re looking to do New York City on a budget, here’s a few more free things you can add to your list:

• Take a stroll on the High Line
• Check out the Brooklyn Bridge
• Visit the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens (depending on the time of year, they offer free admission on certain days!)
• Explore Chinatown
• Spend Friday evening at the MoMA (Free entry from 4-8pm)
• Discover the Whispering Gallery at Grand Central Station

Do you have any other tips for visiting NYC on a budget?

– Courtney

Restaurant Links
RIDER // Empellón Taqueria // Spicy Village

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