If you follow me on any kind of social media, you’ll have undoubtedly been spammed enough over the last few weeks to know that I’ve been lucky enough to visit New York City this Easter. And in the process, I thought I’d write a little piece on the budget excursions Manhattan has to offer.
In total I spent around ten days in The Big Apple, giving me a chance to really explore every avenue (literally) that the city has to offer. As I was there for such a long time I got the chance to really immerse myself in the city. I won’t go into too much detail, but I’ll give you the lowdown on some of my (budget) highlights during my stay in the city that never sleeps.
For the first half of my stay, I resided in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, with some of my friends from university. Clinton Hill was a chilled out neighbourhood and for our accommodation we used Airbnb. It was my first time using the site, but our host Lisa was really helpful, and I couldn’t recommend the whole process enough.
For those of you that don’t know what Airbnb is, it essentially allows you to rent a unique accommodation from local hosts anywhere in the world, at an extremely cheap price. So if you were ever planning on visiting an expensive city like New York, I would definitely recommend looking into using the site to save pennies.
Nevertheless, in terms of actual activity our first few days were spent trawling the sites of Manhattan. I’d highlight that you have to be careful when wandering around Manhattan, as if you look remotely touristy, you’ll get bombarded with people trying to rip you off, by selling you everything and anything.
From bus tours to helicopter rides, my advice (especially if you’re on a budget), would be to ignore it. There are plenty of things to do and see in the city without having to get your wallet out.
For example if you walk across The Brooklyn Bridge, you’ll get the best views of Manhattan you can get, and it’s absolutely free. Another thing I’d recommend is the Staten Island ferry ride and again won’t cost you a cent. You get a great view of the financial district, which includes the tallest building in New York, The Freedom Tower (a memorial to 9/11). Along with that you also get a great view of the Statue of Liberty. So if you’re in the area and you have an hour spare, I’d definitely recommend it.
Again another activity if you’re in Downtown Manhattan is to walk The High Line. This is essentially an old train track that’s been raised about three stories high. But has recently been converted into a walkway that allows you to view the city from a couple levels up. It gives you a dynamic view of the city and also provides you with some great photo opportunities.
Other free activities you can do include a wonder around Central Park, strolling down the famous Times Square or visiting The Museum of Natural History. There are lots awesome Museums in Manhattan, and lots of them can be accessed for free, it’s all about timing! I’ll leave a link down below to a site that goes into this in more detail if you’re interested. There also a number of brilliant websites out there that also provide cheap things to do in New York (Headout), so make sure you check out the link!
Whilst free things are great, sometimes you have to spend a little to get those extra experiences money does buy. If you absolutely have to spend your money on something, I would recommend going to ‘The Top of The Rock’, this is a rooftop viewing from the highest floor of NYC’s Rockafeller Centre.
Whilst it’s not the tallest building in Manhattan, in my opinion if definitely gives you the best view of skyline, with a view of all the great skyscrapers coupled with a view of the endless Central Park. Pricing in at around $30, whilst expensive I would say it’s definitely worth it. Upon your first glimpse it hits you, you stand completely in stand in awe of the concrete jungle we’re told so frequently about. It’s everything you’ve seen in the movies and more, I tried to get some good photographs to capture the moment but they honestly did not do it justice.
If there is one tip I could give you is to time your trip to the top at around sunset. That way you’ll get to see the beautiful skyline in a variety of ways, each of which are equally breathe taking.
Now I’m starting to go on a bit, but lets call this part one. Next time I’ll focus on other areas of budgeting your New York stay, along with exploring Manhattan’s alternative little brother, Brooklyn.
Cheers for reading,
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