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How to Save Money in New York City

How to Save Money in New York City

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Planning a trip to New York City with kids and want to save a few bucks? Keep scrolling to find out my top tips for how to save money in New York City!
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Visiting New York City can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be!

I’m here to show you how to save money on your trip to the Big Apple. These tips apply to anyone who wants to save a few bucks, even if you aren’t doing a budget trip to New York City.

From transportation and food to activities and accommodations, I’ll give you all my best tips so you can enjoy your time in NYC without breaking the bank.

Follow my tips and you’ll be able to experience everything New York City has to offer without spending a fortune. Check out my blog for more information on saving money while traveling.

And don’t forget to book your trip soon – NYC is always a popular destination!

Keep scrolling for my top tips on how to save money in New York City!

New York City on a Budget FAQs

What’s the cheapest way to get around New York City?

While it might be tempting to use Uber or Lyft, it’s so much cheaper to use public transportation. When you land at the airport, you can take the AirTrain instead of a taxi. You can also get around the city with the subway and bus system. Both are affordable and really easy to use.

Can you do NYC on a budget?

Absolutely! While New York City is famous for being expensive, there are plenty of cheap and free things to do in NYC. Plus, there are cheap places to stay and affordable restaurants if you know where to look.

What are the cheapest months to visit New York City?

If you’re hoping to plan a trip to New York City on a budget, you’ll want to visit between January and March. Flights and hotel rooms are cheapest during these months. There are also less tourists, so it’s easier to find deals on tours and attractions.

Save Money on Airfare to NYC

New York City is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. And, it’s also one of the most expensive. If you’re planning a trip to New York, it’s important to budget for your flights.

Here are a few tips to help you save money on airfare.

Image of an airplane wing over NYC aerial shot
Keep an eye out for airfare deals to NYC.

First, compare prices. Use a price comparison tool like Skyscanner or Kayak to find the best deal on your flight. Make sure to also check flights to Newark, New Jersey. It’s a convenient airport that often is cheaper than JFK or Laguardia.

Next, book early. Most airlines offer discounts for tickets booked in advance. Another way to save is to be flexible with your dates. If you’re not tied to a specific date, try to be flexible with your travel dates and you may be able to save some money.

Image of a Central Park bridge in the winter with snow on the ground and ducks in the water.
Consider visiting New York City in winter to save some money.

For example, fly during off-peak times. Flying during unpopular times like the middle of the week or early morning/late night can save you money. The offseason is typically from January to March, and from September to December. Prices for hotels and airfare are typically lower during these times.

So, if you’re looking to travel to New York City on a budget, keep these tips in mind! New York is an amazing city and with a little planning, you can visit without breaking the bank!

Affordable Transportation in NYC

New York City is notoriously expensive, but there are a number of ways to save money on transportation.

Image of people waiting at a NYC subway platform with a train behind them
The subway is one of the cheapest ways to get around NYC.

One of the most affordable and convenient ways to get around New York is by public transportation. For just $2.75, you can ride the subway or bus anywhere in the city. If you are staying more than a few days, you can even purchase a 7-day Unlimited Ride MetroCard to save even more.

There are also a number of apps and websites that offer discounts on transportation, including Ride Sharing apps like Uber and Lyft.

If you’re planning to visit New York City, be sure to take advantage of these affordable transportation options!

Save Money on Accommodations in NYC

New York City can be an expensive place to visit, but there are ways for budget travelers to save money while they’re in town.

Of course, staying with friends or family is the cheapest way to go. But, many people don’t have that option.

There are ways to save money on hotels in NYC at places you’ll actually want to stay in with your family.

Image of the Brooklyn Bridge along with the Brooklyn skyline
Brooklyn is such a cool NYC neighborhood.

One way to find cheap hotels in New York City is to stay in a neighborhood that’s outside of Manhattan. Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx all have neighborhoods that offer plenty of hotels, hostels, and Airbnbs for much less than you’ll find in Manhattan.

If you don’t mind traveling a bit farther, Staten Island is also a great option – it’s quiet and has stunning views of the Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan.

Another way to save money on hotels in New York City is to travel during the off-season. Hotels rates will be lower during the winter months (January-March), and you’ll have your pick of places to stay.

Of course, you’ll need to be prepared for cold weather if you go this route!

Affordable Food Options in NYC

If you’re looking for a good meal in New York City, but don’t want to spend too much money on it then there are plenty of affordable food options available. From street vendors and ethnic restaurants all over town; the city has something enough people will love!

New York City is home to some of the best food in America. The city’s neighborhoods are full or unique dishes that can only be found here, as well as hidden gems you’ll want to take advantage of before they’re gone forever!

One of the best ways to find cheap food in NYC is to explore the city’s many neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has its own unique cuisine and culture.

One way we’ve always found great deals on delicious meals was by exploring New Yorks’ many little delis and mom-and-pop shops. This is where you can find incredible pastrami sandwiches, bagels and lox, and egg creams.

Image of a paper plate with a pizza slice on it in front of Joe's Pizza in Brooklyn
Joe’s Pizza is one of our favorite places for cheap pizza that also tastes great! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

There are also tons of places to get pizza slices for $1-$3. These are great for a quick lunch as you’re walking around the city, or you can grab a whole pizza and bring it back to your hotel room.

If you’re looking for some great deals on food in New York City, check out the city’s many street vendors. They have hot dogs and tacos to falafel or shawarma- doubt there is anything that will disappoint!

You can find these street vendors in many of the city’s parks. So pack a picnic and take advantage of this great way to eat for cheap in NYC. Take a walk around the neighborhoods and see what you can find!

And you can always take advantage of Happy Hour deals. Not only is it a great way to save money on cocktails, but you can also get discounted prices for small plates.

Save Money on New York City Activities

New York Pass

If you plan on doing a lot of NYC attractions, the New York Pass is definitely the way to go. It has 115 top things to do in NYC and you’ll save so much money.

Image of a mom and boy taking a selfie at the Statue of Liberty in NYC
Seeing the Statue of Liberty is probably on your NYC bucket list! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Here are some of the top New York City attractions included in the New York Pass:

  • Empire State Building
  • Edge
  • Statue of Liberty
  • The Ride
  • Tons of walking tours
  • and more!

The New York Pass is perfect for people staying 3+ days in New York City and want a packed itinerary at a fraction of the cost.

Visit Discounted and Free Attractions with a CityPASS

The Big Apple is a popular tourist destination, but it can be expensive to visit all the popular attractions. CityPASS is a great way to save money while visiting New York City.

Image of the ornate exterior of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City with people sitting on the stairs
The Met is an amazing thing to do in New York City.

A CityPASS can help save money by providing admission to some of New York City’s top attractions at a discounted price. Attractions that are included in the CityPASS include:

  • Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Guggenheim Museum
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • and more!

There are also several attractions that are free to visit with a CityPASS. These include the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and the Statue of Liberty and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.

Cheap Broadway Tickets

If you are a fan of the arts, you probably want to see a Broadway show in NYC. I mean, it’s one of the most iconic things to do in New York City.

But, tickets can set you back several hundreds of dollars. That may or may not fit into your NYC budget.

To save money on Broadway tickets, take advantage of online sites like NYTIX or Broadway Box. It’s the easiest way to score last-minute deals on Broadway shows.

There’s also the TKTS booths in Times Square and Lincoln Square. You need to physically stand in line there, but it’s worth it if you’re already in the area.

More Free Activities in NYC

Visitors to New York City will find that there is no need for them spend a fortune in activities. In fact, many things can be done without paying anything at all!

A walk through Central Park gives you some exercise while exploring the Bushwick Collective offers artistic inspiration – both are free.

Image of people walking across the Brooklyn Bridge heading toward Manhattan
Walking the Brooklyn Bridge is a fun thing to do in NYC for free.

It’s also really awesome to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge or the High Line to get epic views of the city. These are both amazing things to do in NYC on a budget.

If it’s hot outside then head over into Bryant park where they show films every summer under their outdoor cinemas. During the winter, lace up your skates and go ice skating instead.

Photo of a Big Apple Greeter free tour of Brooklyn in New York City, which is a free thing to do in NYC #bigapplegreeter #walkingtour #brooklyn #nyctour #newyorkcity
Big Apple Greeter is a volunteer organization of people who are passionate about sharing their city with visitors from around the world. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Big Apple Greeters is a great organization that does free private walks with a local where you can really get to know a neighborhood in NYC. Opting for a free walking tour vs paid tour is one of the best ways to save money in NYC. Read our full Big Apple Greeter review.

The Staten Island Ferry is also a great way to see the Statue of Liberty without paying for a tour. The ferry is free and runs throughout the day.

And don’t forget Times Square- window shopping here might seem like just wasting time but it’s a memorable experience!

Best Places to Shop in NYC on a Budget

If you love shopping, you’ll be awed by all the amazing NYC stores. From big name brands to small boutiques, NYC has it all.

First of all, you’ll want to avoid actually buying anything in Times Square. While it’s fun to window shop, prices here are the most expensive in the city.

Image of NYC Chinatown in the rain
There are tons of cool places to shop in NYC Chinatown.

For a unique shopping experience, head to Chinatown. They have a bunch of NYC souvenirs for a fraction of the price you’d pay in Times Square. Usually they are the same items. Plus, they have some really cool Chinese items.

Check out stores like Miniso or Uniqlo if you want to get a lot of bang for your buck. These are especially worth checking out if you don’t have one in your home state.

Another option is to visit vintage shops where you can sometimes score great bargains.

Of course, minimizing souvenirs and shopping sprees is one of the easiest ways to save money in NYC.

How to Save Money in NYC Wrap Up

By following the tips mentioned in this article, you should know a few simple ways to save money in New York City.

Whether you are looking to cut costs on attractions, transportation, or food and drink, there are plenty of ways to reduce your expenses.

So why not give some of these methods for saving money in NYC a try on your next visit to the Big Apple?

Looking for more NYC content? Check out my kid-friendly 7 day New York City itinerary, NYC in 4 days itinerary, Real New York Tours review, and Museum Hack tour of the Met review.

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