New York Holidays on a Budget
New York City – it’s probably the most famous city in the world. Fast paced and unpredictable, it offers a diversity that no other city can boast. NYC is “The” city – available 24/7 for every whim in the world. It’s a city which features on nearly everyone’s “To Do” list, but there’s usually one thing holding us back – cost! New York is famously one of the most expensive places on the planet. But take it from me, a girl who spent a summer in the Big Apple as a penniless student – it’s only too easy to do your New York holidays on a shoestring budget. You just need to be let in on a few trade secrets!
So first up, the reality is if you want to stay in Manhattan, it’s not going to be cheap. You’d be better off staying somewhere like Long Island City, a great alternative for a budget stay. Long Island City is located in Queens and just one subway stop away from Midtown Manhattan, so you’d literally be there in 15 minutes. In the last couple of years, the area has become something of a holiday hotspot, and with hotels like Z NYC and Verve Hotel, it’s not hard to see why. Not only are you getting lower rates, but you’ll get a great view of the city skyline and easy access by subway and taxi. Queens is where I stayed during my time in New York, and honestly I’d go back in a heartbeat.
You might think being a tourist in New York costs a fortune, but when you think of it many of the city’s most iconic attractions are completely free! Take a stroll through the lush lawns of the world famous Central Park. Hop on the Staten Island Ferry and appreciate the panoramic views of Lower Manhattan and the towering Statue of Liberty. Go visit Times Square! It’s pretty much everything you’ve ever imagined and more – the most dazzling place you’ll ever step foot. It really is a city that never sleeps, and trust me I’ve been there all hours of the day and night and it’s always hopping!
If you do have some cash to splurge then you’ve got to see a Broadway show! Although they’re notoriously costly, like everything, there are ways around it for the cash strapped. In this case they come in the form of TKTS Discount Booths, which can be found in Times Square. Offering discount tickets to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows for up to 50%, these booths were my pride and joy during my time in New York. The catch is they only sell day of performance tickets (or day before matinee tickets) so luck can have a lot to do with what you’ll find on a particular day, but it never failed me!
Eating out in New York
Just because a restaurant is cheap, doesn’t mean it’s not great. One of my favourite places to eat was “Bill’s Bar & Burger” in the meatpacking district. The burgers are divine and a “Classic” will only set you back $8.25. Chinatown is another must stop for cheap (but oh so delicious) cuisine, where it’s rare to shell out more than $6 for a meal. The “Great NY Noodle Town” in particular is a great spot for some night-time dining.
If you’re a real foodie, the best time to go to New York is during its annual “Restaurant Week“.This year it takes place between February 17th and March 7th, with a three-course lunch costing $25 and dinner $38. With over 300 of the city’s most popular restaurants taking part, you’ll be spoilt for choice!
One of the things relatively inexpensive in New York is its public transport, particularly if you use a MetroCard. My advice is to buy one with enough rides to last the length of your trip. On average it might cost you $2.50 per ride, but the New York City Transit is one of the most extensive public transportation systems in the world so rest assured, if you’ve got your MetroCard, you can get to just about anywhere in the city.
So those are my tips for a cheap New York holiday. But that’s not to say you shouldn’t splash out on occasion. New York is a place you’re probably not going to get the chance to visit too often, so enjoy it! Savour at least one dinner at a fancy restaurant, buy that t-shirt you can’t get anywhere else and if there’s an attraction you really, really want to visit, just go! Who knows – you might not get the chance again! To see what ClickandGo has to offer, check out our New York Holidays all including flights and a great choice of accommodation.
About the Author – Cathy Cannon
Cathy is a recent graduate of DCU’s Master in Multimedia, and also holds a degree in Journalism. She has a passion for all things news and media related, and spends pretty much all of her free time reading, eating, watching movies and travelling every chance she gets.