50 Money Saving Tips For Your Trip To New York City
You’ve planned a trip to the city that never sleeps and you can’t wait to start exploring, eating, shopping and seeing everything New York has to offer but everything can become very costly if you don’t know where to find a bang for your buck or those secret deals locals always seem to be able to find.
Don’t Worry! You can still enjoy your time in New York City without going broke by following these top money saving tips!
1. Take the subway not a cab. The subway is safe. It gets you almost anywhere you want to go and the subway is typically faster than taking a cab.
2. Party in Harlem. You typically get more value for your money in a few areas outside of the city. Harlem is safe, beautiful and the entertainment scene is growing so fast !
3. Eat out for lunch, not dinner. Many restaurants offer the same dishes for lunch as they do for dinner, but at a fraction of the cost.
4. Buy an unlimited Metro Card. Buy an unlimited card based on the amount of time you’ll either be staying in the city or visiting.
5. Go out during happy hour. Going out for a drink between 4pm and 7pm will allow you to find some of the best drink and food specials.
6. Visit museums on pay-what-you-wish nights. There are a number of museums that offer free admission on certain days and times of the week.
7. Eat Falafel. A New York favorite: this vegetarian dish is filling and typically costs $2 – 3. Falafels consist of pita bread stuffed full of fried chickpeas, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and a white sauce. Beware of the hot sauce! They can be found all over the city.
8. Don’t pay full admission (or any) to the MET or Natural History museums. A number of museums around the city are actually “suggested donation”, meaning you don’t have to pay a cent to get in! Many tourists are unaware of this little tidbit and end up shelling out $15 – 20 each.
9. Take advantage of free samples. Almost everywhere you go you’ll find stores and people handing out free samples of their goods. A number of grocery stores offer free food samples at their locations. Try Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s in Union Square.
10. Visit the Bronx Zoo for Free on Wednesdays. Every Wednesday of every week, the Bronx Zoo has donation based admissions. That means you can get into the zoo for little to no money.
11. Park outside the city and take the train or a water taxi in. Parking in NYC can cost a lot more than doing so in New Jersey. Try parking in NJ and take the subway, a train or water taxi into Manhattan.
12. Book your hotel with Priceline’s “name your own price” option or other last minute booking site. By making an offer on a room through Priceline, you can end up paying significantly less for a hotel room in the city.
13. Attend free TV show tapings. A number of shows are filmed in NYC and offer free tickets to those who want to sit in on it all. Shows like The Daily Show give out tickets each day and have a standby line if you are not lucky enough to get tickets the first round.
14. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge. One of the most amazing views of the city can be seen from the Brooklyn Bridge. The walk is both breathtaking and free.
15. Ride the Roosevelt Island Tramway. The cable car connecting Manhattan to Roosevelt Island is another cheap way to catch beautiful views on the city.
16. Take the subway from the airport. If you’re arriving at JFK International Airport, you can take the subway into the city. A cab ride will cost you roughly $50.
17. $1 pizza slices: the biggest bargain in the city
There’s a place to eat for any budget in New York and for the most budget of all is the $1 cheese slice. There are a number of places to find the Dollar Slice.
18. Order your groceries online and save. To save money, try ordering your groceries online to be delivered. There are a number of such services such as FreshDirect. As the food comes from outside Manhattan, the prices are generally cheaper and you don’t have to haul the stuff home!
19. Take a jog through Central Park. The park is amazing and jogging is always free. Check out the sites while staying healthy.
20. Buy stuff from Amazon. Everything in NYC is expensive. I buy almost everything via Amazon.com.
21. Sign up for a few coupon sites. There are TONS of coupon sites that focus on NYC. Not only Groupon, but also Living Social, Google Offers, Bloomspot and more. Everyday each site will send you their daily deals. I’d strongly advise opening an email account just for these offers. Your mailbox will fill up quickly.
22. Don’t pay for internet access. The city offers a growing number of free Wi-Fi hotspots.
23. Join a free NYC running club. There are a number of clubs which you can join for free which offer runs through the city with other members. Make friends, check out the city, get in shape and save cash.
24. Check out the Union Square Greenmarket. This is an open air market which takes place every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday in Union Square. You’ll find fresh fruits, vegetables, etc. grown locally for a fraction of the cost of most stores.
25. Skip the tour buses. Go for a walk! The city has tons of stuff to do. Sometimes the best thing to do is just explore. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon and costs nothing. The best way to take in the city sights is to simply walk.
26. Shop in Chinatown. If you’re looking for deals, there’s no better place than Chinatown. Haggle as much as you can to get the best deal. Don’t be shy, they aren’t.
27. Grab a hotdog from a vendor. You can’t visit or live in NYC without eating one. So, grab a $1 hotdog from a vendor and save some cash.
28. Buy your clothes at Thrift Stores. There are many Thrift Stores around Manhattan and most of the clothes come from New Yorkers. For some trendy and cheap clothes, make sure to check them out. Note: Sometimes thrift stores are more expensive because they’re trendy. Try going to Goodwill, and not something that says Vintage. They’ll charge you more because of the word “vintage”.
29. Watch free movies in Central Park. Every summer Central Park offers free movies via the Film Festival. Lounge in the park and watch a free movie under the stars.
30. Watch free movies in Bryant Park. Just like Central Park, Bryant Park offers free movie viewings at dusk throughout the summer months.
31. Go sunbathing in Central Park. A popular activity among New Yorkers, sunbathing in the park is both relaxing and free.
32. Don’t visit NYC around the holidays. Everyone loves NYC during the holidays. Because everyone wants to be here, prices go up drastically. Unless you’re hell bent on spending the holidays in the city, try visiting another time of the year. Spring is an excellent time.
33. Don’t eat out in Times Square. Yes the lights are dazzling, but Times Square is a tourist trap. After taking in all the lights, head somewhere else to eat your dinner.
34. Don’t eat out in Midtown. Midtown is overpriced and caters toward the business crowd and tourists.
35. Take the water ferry to Staten Island. The Staten Island water ferry is completely free, runs year round and offers some amazing views of the city.
36. Don’t buy souvenirs in Midtown. Instead, buy them in Chinatown. You know that $20 “I Love NY” t-shirt you just saw in Times Square? They go for like $1 each in Chinatown.
37. Don’t eat in your hotel. Unless your breakfast is included, don’t eat in your hotel. Instead, grab breakfast at one of the diners in Midtown.
38. Buy from street vendors. NYC has some very strict health guidelines that vendors must follow in order to keep their location open. Grabbing a snack from a vendor can save you time and money while helping out small business owners. They also tend to offer some amazing handmade crafts. The streets of SoHo are filled with craft vendors.
39. Buy coffee at the small local spots. If you’re in the mood for a good cup of coffee, try a local coffee house. Many times they are a great deal cheaper than chains and are just as good, if not better.
40. Grab a copy of The Village Voice or AM New York. NYC has a number of free publications. Many of them offer up the free local events of the day. You can find them outside most subway stations.
41. Go Kayaking for free. There are several locations, including Pier 40 (Houston Street), Pier 96 (56thStreet) and Riverside Park near 72nd Street. They offer free kayaking every summer.
42. Go ice skating for free at Rockefeller Center. Just like Bryant Park, Rockefeller Center offers an amazing ice skating experience for free. Skates cost extra, so bring your own if you have them.
43. Eat out during restaurant week. You’ll be able to dine at some of the city’s most exclusive (and expensive) restaurants for a fraction of their normal price. Meals are typically 3 courses.
44. Grab a massage during spa week. Every year, NYC has spa week. You’ll be able to grab a massage, facial, etc. for a fraction of the cost you’d normally pay. Spa week takes place in early spring.
45. Try visiting other parts of New York Outside of the city! Tourist spots will always be overcrowded and overpriced.
46. Walk the High Line.
47. Discount Shopping. New York is a shopping paradise, where you can find brands considered designer back home for cheap.
At any of the major department stores, stop by customer service to pick up an international visitor discount coupon (be sure to bring your passport) which will give you a minimum of 10% off the ticketed items.
48.Take a tour of the New York Public Library.Free tours are available for the Schwarzman Building, the second largest public library in the U.S., as well as for the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture, which is considered one of the most important research libraries devoted to the study of people of African descent.
49. Visit Grand Central Station. With marble detailing Grand Central Station feels less like a train station and more like a palace for commuters.
50. Find the cheapest Broadway show tickets and Lincoln Centre. While the TKTS in Time Square is a well-documented place to get cheap Broadway tickets on the morning of the show, consider heading to their South Street Seaport or Downtown Brooklyn branches. Shorter lines means more chance to get the tickets you want!