How to see New York City on a budget

New York
This post was sponsored by Travelstart South Africa.

Planning to visit New York but on a budget? I’ve got some tips for you!

Spending a month in New York for work was a dream come true for me. I met such amazing people and also had the opportunity to live a little like a New Yorker and experience the city a little differently, however, it was an expensive trip for me as a South African still earning in Rands.

New York

There were many days that I ate cheerios for breakfast and lunch and attended a whole lot of networking events for supper, but I don’t regret any of it!

I have so many amazing memories of the city and its people that I wouldn’t mind going back and doing it all over again.

So today, I am sharing a few places and tips with you based on my experience.

How to see New York on a budget:

Tips for the city:

  • First, you want to make sure you can get cheap flights.
  • Make sure you always have some cash with you.
  • There’s a lot to see and do, so I highly suggest you do your research and make a list of places you want to visit before arriving. You most probably won’t see them all.
new york budget
  • The best way to see the city is by walking! Download google maps and use yelp to find places to eat near you.

Forget about Uber or a yellow cab (unless you are traveling a distance), Use the subway if you need to but walk as much as you can or use a Citi bike. You will find random spots that are worth checking out on foot and posing for the gram.

  • Book a room via Airbnb instead of a hotel – somewhere out of Manhattan so you can save a little and see more than just Manhattan. I stayed in Brooklyn. You can get R825 ZAR off your first trip with Airbnb! Click here to redeem it.

Sightseeing (doesn’t cost you + perfect for pictures)

1. Walk on the High Lane.

2. Times Square at night after 11 PM (it’s a different vibe).

3. 9/11 Monument is a must-see.


4. A morning run at Central Park is beautiful.


5. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge at night especially if you are going with your other half.

6. Museums – many are free from time to time so click here for more info.

7. Grand Central Terminal – if you a Gossip Girl fan, you will love this one. 😊

8. Visit a few of the markets (many are closed in winter) – Chelsea Market and Smorgasburg are highly recommended.

9. NYC Public Library to catch up on some reading.

10. St. Patrick’s Cathedral to pray and look at the gorgeous architecture– go inside too.

11. Check out Williamsburg and the graffiti at Bushwick Collective.

12. Walkthrough SoHo, Chinatown and Little Italy (You will find some good food here)

13. You must see the Oculus, Flat Iron and Chrysler building especially if you love taking out photos of buildings.

14. Visit Dumbo in Brooklyn (another picture spot). For a rooftop experience, check out 1 hotel at Brooklyn Bridge.


15. Brooklyn Bridge Park

16. The Crown at 50 Brewery for the sunset views.

17. Vessel at Hudson Yards.

18. Luna Park at Coney Island.

19. Stop at Sezanne L’Appartement window for a picture.

20. West Village (Lovely cafes).

21. Join the audience of a LIVE taping of your favourite show – you can get free tickets here.

Must do (Will cost you)

1.  The New York City Pass gives you access to all the tourist must-see places so if you on a budget, this might be something worth investing in.

2. Have a drink at a bar on a rooftop. Happy hour is a must to save!

3. Eat a cannoli at Little Italy.

4. Have a fish cone at Taiyaki NYC or dessert at Serendipity 3.

5. See the city from the Top. You have a few options – Rockefeller Center observation deck, Empire state building, and One World Observatory. Rockefeller is a highly recommended one.

6. Eat a good pizza – Joe’s Pizza in Greenwich Village is a must-try!

7. Try and do a food tour if you can – it requires a lot of walking, but you get to eat at some good places while learning the history of your surroundings.

8. Take a ferry to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. It’s worth it.

9. See a comedy show! It’s such an experience.

10. See a Broadway show (you don’t have book your tickets in advance – you can get some last-minute deals at TKTS booths so works perfect if you have a budget for shows).

11. Pietro Nolita (Instagram spot) to eat a yummy lunch.

Anything you would like to add? I’m sure I will be expanding this list over time.

Facebook Comments
How to see New York City on a budget

Hi, I’m Shan. I’m an entrepreneur and a sucker for good adventures. I was listed in Forbes Africa 30 under 30 2019 and just recently launched my start-up – MomSays.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *