10 Things to Do in New York City on a Budget

Spread the Money


I am a native New Yorker, I have never lived anywhere else in my life.  And as a native, we are always looking for the best deals in town. If you are visiting New York and want to save some money, then you have come to the right place.

New York is probably one of the most expensive cities in the country. Most everything is expensive here. But I have listed some of the best ways you can save some dough when you hit the Big Apple. Whether you are a visitor or a native like me, some of these activities are too good to pass up, especially when you are on a budget.


The Halal Guys 

If you’re from New York, then you definitely have been to the Halal Guys. If not, then this is a must to try. They are the best ‘street meat’ vendors in the city and they are probably world renowned at this point.   I have been going here for over a decade when their lamb and chicken over rice platter cost only $5 bucks.  Now they are going for $8 bucks and they are still well worth it at that price.

During evenings and weekends, New Yorkers from every borough will come here to get a platter or two or three. Lines will usually go down half a block and let me tell you, it’s worth the wait.  I usually get the lamb over salad platter with tons of white sauce.   Be careful if you get the hot sauce, it’s super spicy. Even if you like some heat, this may be too much to handle.

They are located on 2 corners of 53rd and 6th Ave. They also have a location on 53rd and 7th Ave that not too many people know about. The line is a lot shorter or non-existent at this location so go there if you can.  Don’t be fooled by copycat street meat vendors. The real Halal Guys wear a yellow shirt/sweater with their logo in the middle.


2 Bros Pizza 

For fast and cheap pizza, nobody can beat this place. For $2.75 you can get 2 plain slices and a can of soda. It’s probably the best deal in town. Their specialty slices (extra toppings) will cost a few bucks more and are excluded from the $2.75 deal. It’s not the best pizza New York has to offer but it tastes pretty darn good at these prices.

Three are several 2 Bros Pizza locations throughout Manhattan. If you’re in New York, hungry and have less than $5 bucks in your pocket, then this is the perfect place to go.


Happy Hour

Almost every bar in NYC has a happy hour. If you are from a different state or country, I know Happy Hour at bars does not exist there. So for those of you who don’t know what it is, it’s basically when bars sell drinks at half the price or 2 for 1 during the weekdays from 4 – 8 PM usually.

When I occasionally go out for a drink in the city, I will usually only drink during Happy Hour. Why pay more for a drink if you can get it for half the price? After 8 PM, I am usually on my way home or passed out on my couch.



For you modern art lovers, this is the place you should frequent. The MoMA is located on West 53rd street. And they have another location in Queens called MoMA PS1.

Admission is free on Friday evenings from 4-9PM at the Manhattan location. This is when you should go. It will be a little more crowded but it beats paying the $25 adult admission. The Queens location is free for all NYC residents, otherwise it’s $10 for adults. Children under 16 can get in for free at both locations. Visit their website for additional admission info.


Metro Card Free Transfers

If you are visiting New York, you should definitely try being a local and take the subway. But what most people don’t know is that a transfer to a bus or train is free as long as it’s within 2 hours of when you swiped your MetroCard.

When I need to run quick errands around the city, I will take a subway to get where I am going and then if available, I will take a bus going back or vice versa. This way you only pay for one fare instead of two. It’s a no brainer.



If you want to see a Broadway Show when you’re in town, then don’t ever pay full price for it.  Go to TKTS and you can get same day tickets for up to 50% off.  They have locations in Time Square, South Street Seaport, Brooklyn and at Lincoln Center.  But these tickets are only available for the same day.  You can download the TKTS app and view which shows are available for the current day.



I also like to use the TodayTix app to see Broadway shows or plays. They offer lotteries for a few shows for the same day. They also sell tickets at discount prices. It’s definitely worth checking out. I have seen several plays and shows for only $20 bucks by using this app.


Metropolitan Museum of Art

Also knows as The Met is the largest museum in the city. It is located on 82nd Street and 5th Ave. If you are visiting, then you must go here. If you are a native like me, then you should try and go here at least once a year. I like to go during the spring time because Central Park is behind the museum and going for a stroll after visiting the museum is a tradition for me.

The amount you pay for Admission to the museum is totally up to you. You can pay one dollar or $25.


Apple Store 

Everybody loves the Apple Store, especially when your phone dies and you need to email somebody during emergencies.  The Apple Store on 59th street and 5th Ave is open 24 hours, 7 days a week. If you ever find yourself bored in the city and you need to kill some time, why not spend it at the Apple Store? Especially if the weather is horrible, which occurs very frequently in NYC?

You can use their laptops, desktops and iPads that are connected to Wi-Fi for free.


Central Park 

If you ever get tired of the hustle and bustle of the city like I do, then there’s a quieter place you can go too that is also free. Central Park is one of my favorite places to escape to in the city. It’s clean, free and at times, it feels like you are far away from the city. When in reality, you are standing right in the middle of it.

This is a great place to jog and people watch. There are many free concerts and events that take place all year round in the park too. It’s an awesome place to soak up some culture and connect with nature and it’s all for free.


Related Content:

How to Get The Best Vacation Deals

The One Thing I Don’t Mind Spending Money On

Save Up to $95 When Visiting New York 

How I Save $500 Month By Cutting This One Thing Out

See All the Movies You Want For $9.95 Month 




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