In the words of a famous songstress, “Welcome to New York, it’s been waiting for you”. A city as big as its reputation, New York is renowned for walks around Central Park, shopping sprees on Fifth Avenue, the Empire State Building and so much more. But how do you enjoy this big city when you have a small budget? Here are a few tips to make sure you have the time of your life - basically for free.
Brooklyn Brewery Tours
Enjoy a free tour of Williamsburg's Brooklyn Brewery. These tours run on the hour from 1-5pm on Saturdays and 1-4pm on Sundays. Tours don’t include tastings, but after seeing the amazing process that makes these beers possible, the idea of trying one in the Bare-Bones tasting room will be very tempting. You can buy beer tokens at $5 each (bonus: buy four get one free), or opt for taking in the tour and leaving the rest to the imagination of your tastebuds. Either way, you’re going to learn some exciting things about beer-making in Brooklyn.
Explore Central Park
Take a stroll through one of the world’s most famous parks, where you could even bump into some famous faces. Fans of The Beatles can take in the Strawberry Fields site—an ‘Imagine’ mosaic near the Dakota, where John Lennon was killed in 1980—where you can pay homage to one of the greatest musical figures of all time. Bookworms will also enjoy visiting ‘the Pond’, where Holden Caulfield kept turning to in The Catcher in the Rye.
Eat your way through NYC
Restaurants in New York City can be pricey, but not if you know where to get your nosh. Head to Williamsburg on a Saturday or Brooklyn Bridge on a Sunday to visit the Smorgasburg collection of open-air food stalls. Alphabet City is also a great option for tasty, inexpensive pizza. If you’re looking for a spot to grab some cheap drinks, try the Peter McManus Cafe in Chelsea—a friendly Irish pub where the bar staff will often give you a round on the house.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
If you don’t have time for a “Gallery Crawl”, pop into the world-famous Metropolitan Museum of Art. Although many tourists believe the entry fee into the museum is $25, it is actually a “suggested donation”, and you don’t have to pay a fee at all. If you really would like to make a donation, but can't foot the $25 suggestion, use the opportunity to get rid of all those annoying pennies (every little bit helps, after all).
Walk the walk!
Who knew NYC was best enjoyed by foot? Although a trip to New York wouldn’t be complete without a ride in a yellow taxi or a trip on the subway (just so you can say you did it), there are “Free Tours by Foot”, who offer numerous tours of Manhattan and Brooklyn. You can enjoy a spooky ghost walk, a street-art tour and tours of Harlem, Little Italy and Chinatown (amongst others). BONUS: you get to burn off some calories and enjoy all the street snacks guilt-free on your route.
The Staten Island Ferry
Known to many tourists as the greatest free attraction on the Eastern Seaboard, the Staten Island Ferry provides commuters with an incredible view of the Statue of Liberty as it cuts across the New York Harbour. Keep in mind that this is at no cost, while ferry tours to the Statue of Liberty itself start at $12.
See NBC’s Today Show
Stop by the Rockerfeller Centre to witness NBC’s Today Show being filmed. Lines start from around 6AM and the show often features famous guests that you could catch a glimpse of (fingers crossed). If that’s not enough, you never know where your live TV cameo could get you!
These are just a handful of the many amazing, low-budget (and often free) things you can see and do when travelling to New York City, So what are you waiting for? Book your trip to NYC today.