10 Ways to Love New York Without Breaking the Bank

New York City is one of the most captivating cities in the world, and one of the most expensive. Fortunately there is an abundance of things to see and do for free or a reasonable fee. For me, exploring one of the distinct neighborhoods is a great way to spend an afternoon. Here are 10 more great things to see and do in New York without breaking your budget.


1 Bike, walk or row through Central Park

For the best escape from the city, rent a bike, take a walk, or rent a rowboat from the boathouse in Central Park.

CENTRAL PARK

CENTRAL PARK

2 Get up close and personal with the Statue of Liberty

A visit to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are a must on any trip to New York. The $18 ticket including both is already good value. But for only $3 more for a crown access ticket, you will receive priority entry, saving you wait time, and given access to climb the 393 stairs up inside the statue for an unforgettable view from the crown. These tickets go fast and must be booked in advance.

libertyDSCN4049

STATUE OF LIBERTY

See a Broadway play for half price

For same day tickets at up to 50% off, head to the official TKTS booth, located “under the red steps” on
Broadway and 47th Street. It helps to be flexible, but there is usually a good selection of plays available.

Times Square

TIMES SQUARE

Walk the High Line

The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long new urban park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. Day or night, the park is a place for running, walking, eating, or just relaxing.There are food kiosks on the High Line between West 15th and West 18th Streets. See the High Line website for access points and more info. The High Line is fully wheelchair accessible. Note that dogs and bicycles are not allowed on the High Line.

Visit a world-class museum for free

NYC has some of the best museums in the world, and several offer free entry certain days of the week. Here are just a few examples: Fridays: Museum of Modern Art (4 to 8pm) and The Whitney Museum of American Art (pay what you will, 6 to 9pm) Saturdays: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (pay what you will, 5:45 to 7:45pm) Sundays: Frick Collection (pay what you will, 11am to 1pm)

Head to Chinatown for deals and dumplings

Check out the deals then try some authentic dumplings, in the home of the largest population of Chinese people in the Western Hemisphere.

Watch a taping of your favorite show

Jimmy Fallon, Live with Kelly and Michael, The View, Saturday Night Live, and more all have live audiences that you can be part of for free. You have a better chance of getting in with advance tickets, but you can try arriving early and joining the standby lineup.

Visit the Bronx Zoo

The Bronx Zoo is the largest urban wildlife preserve in the United States, and offers pay-what-you-wish admission every Wednesday.

Walk across the Brooklyn bridge

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge (from Manhattan to Brooklyn) is one of my favorite New York activities. There’s a dedicated pedestrian walkway above the car traffic and you will have the best views of the city . While you’re in Brooklyn, get a pizza at Grimaldi’s or hot chocolate from Jacques Torres Chocolate.

BROOKLYN BRIDGE

BROOKLYN BRIDGE

10 Hit some golf balls at at Chelsea Piers

Located on a scenic Hudson River pier, this four-tiered driving range features a 200-yard fairway, and an automatic ball tee-up system. Starting at $25/148 balls, off-peak hours.

How to See the Statue of Liberty with Crown Access

The first thing to do once you have booked your trip to New York City is to reserve your Statue of Liberty Crown Access ticket.

How to visit the Statue of Liberty Crown

STATUE OF LIBERTY CROWN VISIT

Statue of Liberty Crown Access Tickets go fast and must be booked in advance

The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are highlights of a trip to New York, and the $18 ticket including both is already good value. But for only $3 more for a Crown Access Ticket, you will be whisked past the regular line-up, saving you a lot of wait time, and given access to climb the 393 stairs up inside the statue for an unforgettable view from the crown.

The Statue of Liberty was designed by sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, and was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the United States. Climbing up to the Crown is a much more intimate experience than the regular tour, as only a few people are allowed up at a time. In 1886 the Statue was completed, and she has since become a symbol of freedom to millions around the world.

Statue of Liberty – Original Torch

STATUE OF LIBERTY – ORIGINAL TORCH

This tour would be a great family outing. The climb is equivalent to 27 stories, so might not be suitable for some younger children, while others will love the challenge. (Children 4-12: $12) Children must be at least four feet tall, and must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Plan your visit

  • Tickets can only be booked through Statue Cruises, the official provider. Other ticket sellers either don’t give access to the island, just a view from their boat, or are over-priced/scams.
  • Tickets can be purchased online or by phone: 1-877-LADY-TIX (1-877-523-9849) or 201-604-2800
  • Prices: $21/adult, $12/child, $17/senior
  • Ticket includes ferry and access to both Liberty Island and Ellis Island.
  • Audio Tours of Liberty and Ellis Islands are included.
  • This is a high security attraction, and it’s essential to visit the National Park Service information page, so you know what to expect.
  • All crown visitors must be able to climb up and down the 393 steps unassisted.
  • There are 162 narrow and tight steps from the top of the pedestal to the crown.
  • There is no elevator from the top of pedestal to the crown (the Statue’s feet to the Statue’s head).
  • The stairs to the crown are in an enclosed area that can have high temperatures in the summer, so bring water.
  • Try to book your tour earlier in the day as afternoon tours (2pm or later) won’t have enough time to stop at the the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.
  • Ferries leave from two locations: Battery Park, at the southern tip of Manhattan in New York City, and Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

 – Emma Lazarus

CLIMBING TO THE TOP

CLIMBING TO THE TOP

STATUE OF LIBERTY

STATUE OF LIBERTY ISLAND

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How to get tickets to the Statue of Liberty Crown