Visit New York City & Spend Under $300
NYC on a Budget
Touching down in New York City, you’re bound to be impressed with the diverse population, wide array of sounds and sights, and stellar cuisine. We’ve rounded up a list of escapades that are almost free, low-budget, or even just suggest donations. Here is how to spend a weekend in NYC for under $300.
Where To Eat
Joe’s Pizza – Under $10
There’s no New York without pizza, and there’s no place better than Joe’s to have your first real slice. Loved by tourists and New Yorkers alike, Joe’s has been serving classic NY slices since 1975. They’ve expanded from their original Greenwich Village location to 14th Street and Williamsburg. Bonus: they’re open late for those post-night out dirt-cheap munchies. http://www.joespizzanyc.com/
Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop @ Gotham West Market – Under $20
Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop is a real life food hall with plenty of options–from healthy snacks to meaty meals. Ever heard of a Jewish man from Long Island moving to Tokyo to discover the roots of Japanese cooking and becoming a huge success? It’s basically unheard of. His return to New York resulted in Ivan Ramen, a Netflix Chef’s Table episode, and a whole lotta happy stomachs. http://gothamwestmarket.com/vendor/ivan-ramen-slurp-shop/
Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings – Under $15
“Mom’s recipe” is always the best recipe. Mimi Cheng’s is a newish quick-eats spot by The Cheng Sisters in the East Village and Nolita. They invite hungry folks to enjoy their home-cooked Taiwanese food just the way it was envisioned by their mother, Mimi. Their spot is a perfect place to slow down, sit around with good people, and enjoy delicious food. http://www.mimichengs.com/
Corner Bistro – Under $25
Corner Bistro is a NYC institution for its open-super-late style (4 a.m., to be precise). Their delicious and ultra cheap burgers have secured this place a spot in the heart of New Yorkers for time immortal, maybe. http://www.cornerbistrony.com/
Cafe El Presidente – Under $25
This Flatiron location combines fantastic Mexican food with coffee and fresh juices. Cafe El Presidente is the third venture following Tacombi (Nolita and West Village) and Las Brisas (Montauk), but it’s built for crowds. Watch tortillas being made, grab amazing food for cheap, and have a drink or two. http://tacombi.com/locations/flatiron
What To Do
NYC’s landmarks and museums are famous for their beauty and world-class displays. But some are kind of expensive. So we put together this list of great museums that only require suggested contributions (meaning you can pay whatever you want):
Brooklyn Museum of Art
At 560,000 square feet, the Brooklyn Museum of Art is New York City’s third largest museum in physical size. Holding an art collection with approximately 1.5 million works, the museum is a bastion of expression, risk, passion, and education. The museum’s exhibitions change from time to time, so checkout their website to see which one’s you’re interested in. Though, it’s worth noting that they’re all amazing. https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/
Metropolitan Museum of Art
When you’re in NYC, you might as well visit the largest art museum in America. It’s stunning, it’s an adventure, and it’s a brilliant way to spend the day. http://www.metmuseum.org/
Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum
Designed and created by the Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi, the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum was established to house his life’s work. Enjoy the open-air galleries, outdoor sculpture garden, and two floors of interior exhibition space. http://www.noguchi.org/
Cooper Hewitt Design Museum
Located in the Upper East Side’s Museum Mile in Manhattan, this Smithsonian location is dedicated to showcasing approximately 240 years of design. In the summer on Thursday evenings the museum hosts “Cocktails at Cooper Hewitt” for only $13 if you buy tickets online. Pay as you wish Tuesdays. https://www.cooperhewitt.org/
The Museum of Modern Art is a must-see for fans of contemporary art. This Midtown Manhattan establishment is home to some of Picasso’s and Van Gogh’s most famous work. Be sure to also visit their Queens location. Pay as you wish Fridays. https://www.moma.org/
Every weekend Smorgasburg welcomes over 20,000 visitors to Brooklyn. As one of the largest weekly open-air food markets in America, the operation welcomes folks to eat from 100 local vendors. The market takes place every Saturday on the Williamsburg waterfront and Sundays in Prospect Park. https://www.smorgasburg.com/
Explore the largest park in NYC by bike or foot to see what all the fuss is about. Rent a super affordable bike through Citi Bike Share and ride the full loop through the park, which is about 6.2 miles. After working up an appetite, pop into the Upper East Side for lunch or coffee. https://www.citibikenyc.com/how-it-works
Brooklyn Brewery Tour
Take one of the Small Batch Tours at Brooklyn Brewery Monday-Thursday for a peek behind the curtain at one of largest craft breweries in the country. For only $15 a person, tours provide a guided tasting of four Brooklyn Brewery beers, teach visitors about some of the history of the brewery, and take guests through a tour of the entire brewhouse and packaging hall. Bonus: you also get a souvenir. Sign-up online to reserve your spot!
Extra Credit: rumors are swirling of potentially charging tourists who take the free Staten Island Ferry. AKA, it’ll no longer be free. So you may want to do it before it’s too late. This cheap thrill runs every 30 minutes, and connects the Southern tip of Manhattan with the Borough of The Sopranos. It offers fantastic views of the State of Liberty, and they sell beer on board.
Into The Night
You really don’t have to splurge to go out in NYC. New Yorkers know that living like Sex and The City–you know, Cosmos and stilettos–is virtually impossible, so they opt for more laid back, divey hangout spots. This is where the real people will drink and let loose.
This legendary Williamsburg spot combines dancing, cheap drinks, and live music in both indoor and outdoor spaces. Complete with its own taco joint, Union Pool has been the go-to spot for weekend revelers for years.
This truly is one of the last original dive bars in Manhattan’s eclectic Chinatown. Here, musicians, models, fashion designers, and skaters alike come to enjoy dirt cheap beers and drinks at owner Charles’ epic bar.
This one counts for two. Welcome To The Johnson’s is a a Lower East Side staple that looks and feels like your parents’ 1970s wood-paneled basement, complete with $2 beers and a jukebox. The new Bushwick location however, is much cleaner but still casual, and includes frozen cocktails you’ll definitely want to try. Shot + Beer = $6.
Let’s say you were to squeeze in five meals, two night outings and two museums… We think you can get away with spending under $250. Counting your MetroCard for getting around, we’ll give it a generous $300. Now, let’s get you in a room to go with that budget.
Sandwiched between Chelsea and NoMad, The Paul stands out for its affordable rates. With minimalist design and a no-frills approach, The Paul is a contemporary stay that also offers personalized service, free passes to Blink Fitness Gym, free WiFi, and close proximity to major transportation hubs. Situated just a few miles from the Freedom Tower, the Empire State Building, and Madison Square Garden, it’s a perfect launch pad for exploring New York City.
Free Gym Access
New York’s all about experiences. At Aloft, the essentials are more than taken care of so you can spend more time enjoying what the city has to offer–think free & fast wifi, ergonomic work stations, free coffee, snack bar, and rooftop lounge. Not to mention close proximity to the festival and cultural hubs like Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn Museum, and Barclays Center.
Snack & Cocktail Bar
Meeting Spaces & Work Stations
This Affinia hotel makes the cut because they know what people want when they’re looking for budget friendly. Located in the quiet Murray Hill neighborhood–far from the tourist-heavy streets but still close enough to attractions and transportations–this is a great no-frills option to consider. Expect decent interiors, great service, and a digestible bill when checking out.
Nightly Wine Hour
Homely, like you never left the comfort of your own home… in Manhattan, surrounded by everything the city has to offer. This is the vibe at Marmara. You won’t see flashy neon lights or unnecessary amenities, but enough low-key sophistication and great service to make your stay a memorable one.