How to Visit New York City on $99 a Day

new york city washington square park

Visiting and getting around New York City on less than $100 a day can be tricky, but it can be accomplished. It just needs to be carefully thought out and here’s how we would attempt to do it:

Breakfast: $5.00 – Grab a bagel and a coffee from Bagels on the Square or pick a random spot of interest that’s close to where you are staying. If breakfast is included with your accommodation, take advantage of it and use the $5.00 or so you save for something else. I would head down to Bagels on the Square and start my morning activities from there.

Morning Activity: Take a walk down Bleecker Street and Christopher Street. Stop and browse in the many cool shops like Bleecker Street Records or walk by the now closed Oscar Wilde Bookshop. Then head over to the iconic Washington Square Park, home to the Washington Square Arch and many intense chess games. No trip to Washington Square Park would be complete without a visit to the famous chess area located on the southwest corner of the park. If chess is your thing, it’s easy to get a game going with the locals. However, you’re probably better off paying the going rate of about $5 for 2 games instead of gambling with the hustlers.

Lunch: $7.00 – Grab a bite at the highly recommend Mamoun’s Falafel on McDougal Street.

new york city fire museum

Afternoon Activity: $5.00 – Visit the New York City Fire Museum on Spring Street between Hudson and Varick Streets in Soho. The museum, once an active firehouse from 1904 to 1959, is filled with everything from 18th century hand-pumped fire engines to modern equipment. A highlight is the permanent exhibit commemorating firefighter heroism and the attack on the World Trade Center. Then have a walk around New York City’s famed China Town and Little Italy.

Dinner: $12.00 – Mooncake Foods on Watts Street in Soho is a delightful spot offering fun casual Asian comfort food. The food is amazing and the atmosphere is very cozy.

Nighttime Activity: $22.00 ($10.00 + 2 drink minimum. Free some nights*) – Catch a comedy show at the Comedy Cellar comedy room in the heart of the village, located below the Olive Tree Cafe. *Reserve seats online for Sunday – Thursday night shows and your tickets are free.

new york city comedy cellar club

Transport: $8.00 – Buy a Pay-Per-Ride (Regular) MetroCard. The fare for the subway is $2.25 and if you put $8.00 or more on your card, you receive a 15 percent bonus. Tip: Buy a $20 pay-per-ride MetroCard for your entire stay which is good for 10 trips for the price of 9.

Accommodation: $40.00 – Chelsea Star Hotel New York City. This Cheap New York City hotel on 30th Street and Eighth Avenue near Penn Station and Madison Square Garden, in Manhattan’s Chelsea district, offers unique decor and a variety of accommodation types for an affordable stay.

new york city chelsea star hotel

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10 thoughts on “How to Visit New York City on $99 a Day

  • Very helpful! Will def use the tips for taking a group of budget-travelers to NYC!!! It’s not easy traveling abroad when you’re from a country with weaker currecy :p Thanks

  • Useful… I have taken to flying into Newark and then Priceline an airport hotel and then taking the train into Penn. This way you get a comfortable room for about $40 and the journey into the city is about 20mins.

  • Great list, but I just wanted to point out that the $40 rooms are for shared dorm accommodations, not the private room seen in your article which cost considerably more depending on whether you pay for a private bathroom or shared bathroom.

  • Hey great tips, would love you to write what you could do if it was your birthday in New York – will be there in May for partners 40th and was wanting to plan an awesome day to remember.

  • A few NYC suggestions for on the cheap:
    A few slices of NY-style pizza- the best ever make a cheap lunch. Hit a bakery for a croissant or baguette and get a wedge of cheese and picnic. For a reasonable dinner, find a noodle house in Chinatown.
    NY is a walking city. Stroll Central Park, see how the other 1% lives on Park Avenue, walk lower Manhattan, Soho, Tribeca, the Financial District, Chinatown, the East and West Village. Walk across the Brooklyn or Manhattan Bridges. The city is interesting no matter where you walk and you can do it for days. Take the Staten Island Ferry- it’s a bargain and you get a great view of the harbor and Lady Liberty. What to see art? Galleries are free and there are tons of them. Splurge and go to MOMA or the Metropolitan Museum and do something free in the evening.
    NYC can be easily done on the cheap once you get a reasonable rate on a lodging.

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