New York on a Budget

New York on a budget

Visiting New York on a budget can be daunting, it’s far from a cheap destination. However, there are a few things you can do to save and keep costs low during your stay. From discount passes to eating out, here are a few recommendations for helping the dollars to stretch a little further on your New York break.

Discount Passes

If you are planning on spending some or all of your time in New York exploring and visiting attractions, it is absolutely worth getting a discount pass in advance. You can save money on the entrance to attractions and even on tours and activities like bike rental. There are a few passes to choose from and which one you go for should depend on how long you are in New York for, how much you want to see and do and how flexible you want to be with your time.

See all the options for discount passes in New York here

Cheap Deals in New York

Finding a cheap hotel and flight to New York can be difficult, but it is possible. Flights and hotels can be booked several months in advance at discounted prices. Every day I look at the cheapest deals in New York and collect them to share with you.

Check the cheapest deals in New York here

Cheap Internet in New York

An eSIM data plan is the best way to get cheap internet in New York, instead of roaming data or buying a SIM card in New York. You can install a data plan on your phone that allows you to always have access to cheap internet during your trip.

Buy your eSIM data plan here

Use my Free App

To help you navigate New York I have created Eric’s New York App for Android and iPhone. You can download it for free and use it offline so you can have it to hand to help you find your way around. Whether it be getting from A to B on the subway, ordering tickets or looking for WiFi hotspot; Eric’s New York will definitely help you to save some money as well as time whilst in New York.

New York on a Budget - App

Dine in New York on a Budget

In New York City you can really go all out. When it comes to dining, the city is your oyster! However, dining like a king can cost a lot, not very convenient when you are in New York on a budget. Luckily, there are some great, cheap ways to eat in the city that will have you saving money and licking your fingers.


Of course, let’s start with my favourite, pizza. There are so many great places to eat a slice. It’s quick when you are busy sightseeing and it’s cheap too. At NY Pizza Suprema, next to Penn Station, or at Joe’s Pizza on Carmine Street, you can get a tasty slice for only a few dollars!

New York Diner

A very traditional way to eat is to head to a local New York diner, where food is cheap and there’s plenty of it. Westway Diner on 9th Avenue is open 24/7. It’s a typical diner: the food is simple, typical American, and served very quickly. To get the real feel of a traditional New York diner, head to Hector’s Cafe & Diner. One of the last real ‘old school’ diners in New York. It’s an oasis in the hip and touristic Meatpacking District.

Street Food

When in New York on a budget, do as the New Yorkers do and stop at one of the many street-side food carts for a bite to eat. You can find much more than a hotdog in this diverse city: Mexican tacos, Korean barbecue chicken and Belgian waffles can all be found in this culinary melting pot, and at great prices too.

See a Sports Game

Seeing the Knicks or the Rangers at Madison Square Garden tends to be costly, especially if you are in a group. Luckily there are other options.

Hockey or Basketball in Brooklyn and New Jersey

Barclays Center in Brooklyn is home to the Brooklyn Nets, basketball team. The New Jersey Devils play at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Tickets for both are very reasonable, starting at around $25. The atmosphere at a game is fantastic, even if you don’t like sports! You can spend the whole evening at the Barclays Center, which is really easy to get to by subway as the subway station is right outside the stadium. You can get to the Prudential Center by taking the NJ Transit from Penn Station to Newark Station, followed up by a short walk. You can also take the PATH from One World Trade Center.

Baseball in New York

My favourite team the New York Yankees play from April to October, very regularly at Yankee Stadium. Tickets, especially when booked early, cost from as little as $5. Are you not much of a sports fan, or maybe just not this sport? No problem, the atmosphere alone will be worth a trip to the stadium.

You can also go to a New York Mets game for a small price. The Mets play at Citi Field Stadium in Queens and seeing a baseball game is a truly American experience. Both Yankee Stadium and Citi Field are easily accessible by subway, making it even more economical.

Do you want to get even more out of your baseball experience? Go to a game when there is a promotional giveaway. Both teams organise them, so you can either get free New York Mets gifts or New York Yankees gifts at special home games. Unique collector’s items such as bobbleheads and caps are being handed out for free.

New York on a Budget - Sport New York on a Budget - Sports game

Getting Around

Manhattan is a pretty huge place. If you need to get from A to B sometimes walking is not an option and when in New York on a budget, taking taxis can soon add up, especially in New York traffic.


If you want a cheap, quick and easy way to get around the city, the subway is the best option. Use the subway overlay in my free app, Eric’s New York, to easily navigate your way around. You can even purchase your MetroCards online before you travel.

Bike Rental

Another great way to explore and see the city is to rent a bike. The longer your rental, the cheaper the hourly rate. Bike rental options are also included in the New York Pass and the New York Explorer Pass. Rent a bike and explore Central Park, Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Bridge or, if you are feeling brave, the entire city! A great, budget-friendly activity for the entire family.

Free things to do in New York

In a city where spending a lot is so easy, there are also options to spend nothing at all. I have compiled a list of free things to do in New York which includes a variety of activities. Including information on the Staten Island Ferry, the Roosevelt Island Tram, Grand Central Terminal, visiting one of the many parks or markets, all free of charge.

Shopping in New York

If you are looking to do some cheap shopping in New York, you should visit one of the outlets centres. Here you can do some discount shopping and save a lot of money. Especially those located outside Manhattan are very big, so a lot of options to shop!

About the Author

Hey there, I'm Eric! I'm a true New York fan with over 20 years of experience visiting and living in NYC. Here on my website, I share all my tips and valuable information to help you make the most of your trip. I personally test and regularly re-test everything on my site to ensure that what I write is useful, honest, and always up-to-date.
If you have questions, need more free tips, or want me to check your itinerary, please email me at You can also follow me on Facebook to get daily updates from New York.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies and the Privacy Policy. Find out more here.

Subscribe to my newsletter

Search tickets