FTC: This post is not sponsored. All thoughts and weird comments are my own!
I am a full blown 100% New Yorker, born and raised! So believe me when I tell you I understand all of the stigmas and stereotypes that plague my city… because most of them are true. New Yorkers can be pretty rude, our city does have a very distinct odor that you grow to know and love (or at least tolerate) and yes… it is quite expensive to live here.
With all of that out of the way, New York is still absolutely my favorite city (and I’ve visited quite a few) and once I show you how to properly navigate it, it’ll be your favorite too!
New York is one of the most beautiful cities during the holiday season… we know how to decorate a city and celebrate the season like no one else can. Since this post is initially coming out right around the holidays it will include a few seasonal holiday suggestions, but I’ll group/categorize them accordingly, so even if you’re stumbling across this post in the middle of July (ugh… I envy you… its 30 degrees in NYC right now) this list will have plenty of suggestions to help you stick to your budget and still have a blast in NYC.
The Complete Budget Friendly Travel Guide To New York
Where To Eat
Pizza: New York has the best pizza hands down! (Sorry Chicagoans… it doesn’t compare). And I’ve tried way more pizza than I really should have. My fatty calories are your gain, because I can now suggest all the dopest pizza places for you to try.
- Gabyz Pizza (Queens)
- Cuts and Slices (Brooklyn)
- Joes Pizza (Manhattan)
- DiFara (Brooklyn)
- Artichoke Pizza (Manhattan)
Brunch: You can’t come to NYC and not do brunch… it is an absolute must. We’ve mastered the bottomless trend and there’s no signs of stopping it. Besides that we may not be southern comfort masters, we sure know how to pair chicken and waffles with our mimosas. Any of these recommendations are sure to make your mouth water, and not destroy your pockets at the same time.
- Miti Miti (Mexican Cuisine- Brooklyn)
- Mojave (Mexican Cuisine- Queens)
- Agave (Mexican Cuisine- Manhattan)
- Sweet Chick (Southern Cuisine- Brooklyn)
- Gran Eléctrica (Mexican Cuisine- Manhattan)
- House of Small Wonders (Japanese- Brooklyn)
- SoCo (Southern Cuisine- Brooklyn)
- Queens Comfort (Southern Cuisine- Queens)
Italian: I love Italian food… and I know I’m partial/ bias but New York also has some of the best Italian food I’ve ever had (not better than Italy obviously… but certainly second best).
- Carmines (Manhattan)
Where To Stay
New York is fairly easy to navigate, and has several different options on how you can do so. So where you stay won’t have too much of an effect on the actives you can do. Public transportation will cost you 2.75 a ride, and of course there’s Uber, Lyft and other ride share options. You can grab a citi bike which ranges in price depending on how long you rent them for, or you can use your two feet.
When it comes to your housing, staying in the city will likely run you the most coin, and staying in Brooklyn will probably run you a close second. Manhattan and Brooklyn do have the most activities to get yourself into (sorry Queens… I live here and even I know that it can get a bit dry). I do recommend that if you want to save on time and travel costs, then staying in Brooklyn or Manhattan are your safest bets.
Try opting for an AIRBNB stay instead of a hotel stay. If you are going to stay in Queens I don’t particularly suggest staying by the airports (both LGA and JFK are in Queens) because there is nothing really around either of those neighborhoods. Instead get an AIRBNB near a subway or LIRR stop and you can be in and out of the city in 15-30 minutes depending on your location.
Where To Visit
- The Highline
- Central Park
Things You Have To Do
Museums: New York is known for having some of the greatest museums and when you come here or when you live here, it is a must to stop by and visit one or two of them. This can get a bit pricy, so you have to do one of two things in order to be fiscally responsible and cultured at the same damn time. Most of the museums in NYC have either a “free day” where you can donate what you want, or you can use a student ID, educator ID, or military ID to receive a discounted admission. Senior citizens also receive discounted admission to 99% of the NYC museums as well. Here are a few you’ll want to consider visiting:
- Museum of Modern Art (MoMa)
- Brooklyn Museum
- Queens Museum
- The Museum of Sex
- Museum Of The City Of New York
- American Museum of Natural History
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET)
- Museum Of The Moving Image
- Whitney Museum of American Art
- Intrepid: Sea, Air & Space Museum
Broadway Show: I know what you’re thinking, there’s no way that broadway tickets are affordable or within our budget. WRONG! I’ve figured out how to beat the system on financially friendly Broadway Show tickets and I’m here to share that secret with you. When it comes to affordable Broadway tickets in NYC there are a few things you can do. All of them require your schedule being pretty flexible and open to change. The best way to get broadway tickets at an affordable price is to stand on line in Times Square on Friday morning at the TKTS booth (there are a few other booths in the city as well)
There you’ll be able to grab tickets for a show that night or the next day. You can also use TodayTix to do the same thing/process from your smart phone instead of in person. Of course you get the better deals when you go on Friday morning, but TodayTix has also worked wonders to help me see shows I’ve been dying to see. (the more popular the show… the harder it is going to be get affordable tickets… but it’s still worth a try)
Another option for cheap Broadway show tickets is to enter the lottery. Broadway has recently started conducting lotteries for really popular shows that offers tickets at face value that are often being scalped and sold for 3-5 times more than they cost.
Smorgasburg: I know the Smorgasburg could’ve been listed under the food section, but it is an experience all itself. Plus you control how much you spend here, so it could be a free experience (where you eat nothing) or a pretty pricy one (where you eat just about everything you can get your hands on). If you come during the fall/winter/ spring months you miss out on the original huge outdoor Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, but there are indoor ones throughout the year that are still just as tasty without the dope views of the city.
Things You Should Do
Nightlife: NYC is famous for it’s rooftop bars, even in the winter time (yes we heat our roofs to keep the party going year round). I’m not a huge partier and I don’t know too many clubs/bars/lounges to name off the top of my head to recommend, so the ones I list are tried and true places that I’ve enjoyed visiting. If none of these floats your boat though you can always head over to Groupon and get free/reduced admission to any “lit” parties during your visit, or bored weekend stay at home.
- Gansenvort Hotel (Manhattan)
- Studio Square (Queens)
Sports Game: We may not have the BEST sports teams (sorry Knicks fans) but we’ve got quite a few pretty good ones (Giants, Devils, and Yankees). So while you’re here think about heading to a game. Similar to scoring affordable Broadway tickets, the key to scoring really good seats to these games is to usually buy them the morning of, or use apps like Groupon/ Living Social…etc. I’ve scored pretty amazing tickets to most sports games a few hours before the game for a quarter of the normal price.
Holiday Must Sees
- The Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center
- Macy’s Holiday Window Display
Until next time,
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Hey there! I’m Melissa, co-founder of Trials n Tresses, natural hair and beauty lover, binge tv watcher and lover of life. When I am not creating content for TNT, I’m busy teaching the future of society.