1. Museums: Still possible for $5 and under!
- European Paintings 1200-1800s, Arms & Armor, The Egyptian Temple of Dendur, Egyptian Art, Musical Instruments, and the Roof Sculpture Garden with an incredible view of Central Park
2. The Highline
3. 18 Miles of Books & The Village
4. New York Public Library Main Branch
5. Central Park
6. People Watching
7. Lady Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry
8. Sky-high views
9. Go underground
10. Shopping Vintage-Style
11. Harlem/Columbia Heights
12. See the architectural landmarks and pay your respects at the 9/11 memorial
(As a New Yorker, I kindly ask you not to take smiling selfies or remove the flowers out of respect.)
12. Brooklyn Heights/Promenade
14. Coney Island & Brighton Beach
16. Jackson Heights
- Socrates Sculpture Park. A free open-air sculpture park on the edge of the water with rotating exhibitions. It’s a great place to spend a nice afternoon or Saturday as you laugh (or ponder) upon the many sculptures
- Museum of Moving Image. Free 4-8pm on Friday nights. This museum is one of New York’s hidden gems as it houses so much film and movie history. You can walk onto the famous diner from Seinfeld and see original masks from Star Wars.
- Astoria Bohemian Hall. Eat, drink and be merry here. It was first built in 1910 for the many Czech people to preserve their traditions, one of many in New York, although it’s one of the few remaining ones. (Subway: Broadway N/Q Subway Lines)
18. Flushing Meadow Park
- If you’re a tennis fan, you can watch the pros practice for free and even get tennis balls signed by your favorites during the Kids’ day during the U.S. Open. I’ve met a lot of major tennis stars while they were walking around by themselves; don’t try to kiss Roger Federer!
- Worth seeing is the Queens Museum of Art, a fantastic NYC art museum that has suggested admission with a hidden secret: the Panorama. It’s a built to scale version of New York (1:1200) as of 1964. Every single building is carefully replicated. You’ll feel like a giant as you walk over it, realize how HUGE New York is, and appreciate its history. Outside is the famous Unisphere,
20. Forest Hills Gardens
Not too far away, you'll find Forest Hills Gardens, a historic neighborhood full of HUGE English-style Tudors build it in the early 1900s in the "Garden City" style. This was one of the earliest planned communities intended to surround its residents with as much nature as possible despite living in the "city." Ascan Avenue is where to walk to feel worlds away from Manhattan.
Important to being on a budget: Get the out of Manhattan. If this is something that you don’t want to do, you’re limited to Hell’s Kitchen (10th Avenue close to great food!), Alphabet City, and Morningside Heights (close to Columbia University). For the same price, you can get your choice of more affordable accommodation in Astoria (Queens), Williamsburg (Brooklyn), Carroll Gardens (Brooklyn), and St. George (Staten Island). All of these locations will give you access to Manhattan as well as some great neighborhoods. If you’re on a really tight budget, consider Jersey City or going deeper into Queens and Brooklyn.
- From JFK towards Brooklyn/Manhattan/Queens: the A train, which is only the cost of one subway ride. It’s a LONG ride, but it's only $2.75
- From LaGuardia Airport: Take the bus Q70 and transfer at Jackson Heights for the E, F, M, R, or 7 subway depending on your final destination. (Cost: $2.75)
- From Newark: Take New Jersey transit to Penn Station, which costs $3.75 plus $1.25 for the number 62 bus to the Terminal.