A Week on the Cheap in New York City

Sunday, 1 December 2019

New York City regularly comes in the top 5 most expensive places to live in the world. Sadly, it's not any cheaper for tourists - but don't let that put you off! If you book far enough in advance, you can get return flights with a reputable airline (ours were approx. £250 with BA) and if you're smart when you're there you can easily fill a week with free activities, without feeling like you're missing out on anything major. In this post, we want to show you all the things that we would recommend doing in the city whether you're traveling on a budget or not. New York has been one of our favourite places we've visited and somewhere we'd definitely love to live if we ever had the opportunity. We spent 5 days in the city, which may not sound like a lot, but on an average of 25,000 steps a day, it felt like plenty of time! Without further or do, here are some of our favourite things to do in the big apple:

Walking the High Line

The High Line is a 1.5-mile greenway in western Manhattan built on a historic freight rail line, elevated from the city's streets. It makes a nice change from Manhattan's long straight roads and meanders around the city, offering plenty of great photo opportunities along the way.


Exploring Brooklyn

We spent a while wandering the streets of Dumbo and Williamsburg, both great for markets, vintage clothes shopping, photography and general people watching! We went to a great vegetarian restaurant called The Butcher's Daughter, which was in Williamsburg.



Top of the Rock

Now if there is one thing that's worth paying for in New York, it's getting a top view. You can go up the Empire State Building, seen in the photo below, but in our opinion, you're best off going up the Rockerfella, so that you can get the more iconic Empire State in view. It's $35, so by no means cheap, but you can stay up there as long as you want and it gives you a view of Manhatten like no other.


South Manhattan and Staten Island

Heading south from central Manhattan, passing Noho and Soho, you'll find yourself in the area of the 9/11 memorial and the world trade centre. Not far from there is the architecturally brilliant Westfield shopping centre, which is definitely worth a quick look in. Not far from there is Wall Street and if you carry on walking towards the water, you'll reach the South Ferry Terminal, which will take you to Staten island for free. Even if you decide you want to come straight back to the main island, the boat trip is definitely worth the time, as its a great free way to get up close to the Statue of Liberty. If you time it right, you can get the ferry out at sunset and get it back once it goes dark, getting a great view of the lit-up Manhattan skyline. 


Department Stores

There are almost too many department stores to go in, each famous for featuring in different rom-coms and reality TV shows. The best is without a doubt Saks on Fifth Avenue, for its over-the-top displays and funky lighting. Although if you're on a budget and are actually looking to go clothes shopping, then Bloomingdale's is a much better option.

Chelsea Market

Like in London, Chelsea is one of the nicest (and most expensive!) areas of the city. Chelsea market was one of our favourite places to visit in Manhattan - full of individual boutique shops, artisan food places and cool street art.


New York Public Library

It's quite likely that you'll walk past this as you make your way through the streets of Manhattan, and its definitely worth a look in. Make sure you check out the main reading room.

Grand Central Station

The USA is not known for railways and yet undoubtedly one of the best buildings in NYC architecturally is Grand Central Station.

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