The cosmopolitan city of New York is well-known for its shopping, vibrant culture and thriving night life but there are still plenty of great activities for those traveling on a budget. Backpackers planning a trip on a shoestring can take advantage of a range of money-saving options available, including great value New York hostels, to free attractions.
Traveling to the Big Apple during the summer months presents a number of low-cost opportunities. In particular, New York’s numerous and well-attended parks are a great place to relax and people-watch.
Central Park is a national landmark and retains a natural feel, despite being entirely landscaped. It is the location for summer open-air theater productions as well as being the venue for the free music festival, Summerstage.
Lincoln Center Out of Doors is another free music and performing arts extravaganza that takes place in Damrosch Park and a visit to Washington Square Park provides entertainment courtesy of the weird and wonderful street entertainers.
Backpackers can also take in the iconic symbols of New York such as the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, the Empire State Building and Ground Zero. A free ride on the Staten Island Ferry provides a stunning view of the Manhattan panorama.
Entertainment and Culture
Those seeking an inexpensive way to take advantage of the wealth of art in New York will be delighted to learn there is free admission on Friday nights from 16:00 until 20:00 local time to the Museum of Modern Art. The Chelsea District has many specialist art galleries that also offer free or discounted entry.
A stroll along Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue will take travelers to the modernist symbol of capitalism, the Rockefeller Center. Opposite is the neo-gothic seat of the Roman Catholic Church, St Patrick’s Cathedral.
Backpackers looking for entertainment in New York can obtain tickets to television shows free of charge. Waiting lists to be in the audience of popular programs such as The Today Show can be long, however, so it is worth getting your request in earlier to guarantee a seat.
Those looking for a night out should remember the legal drinking age in the US is 21. Greenwich Village has some excellent cheap bars and a thriving student scene that keeps drinks at a reasonable price.
Food and Accommodation
With an abundance of accommodation options available in the city, budget travelers can choose from a whole host of fantastic New York hostels, which will suit most tastes and needs.
The city has an equally diverse range of dining experiences on offer. Immigrant communities from every part of the world have a culinary presence in this melting pot of a city and specialist diets, from vegan to celiac, are catered for at very reasonable prices in areas, such as Chinatown in Manhattan. Oh, and don’t forget to leave the customary tip!