Top Things to Do In Manhattan on a Budget
As you may well know, Manhattan is not the cheapest city to have a vacation. By living on the East Coast for a bit of time, I understand the hardship of being on an extremely limited budget, especially in Manhattan.
In this list, I have complied the top things to do and see in Manhattan that you can do on a budget (even free). My goal with this list is to provide you with “a different Manhattan”. What I mean to say is that anyone can say visit Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and the Empire State Building to name a few. However, I hope to show a different perspective of Manhattan. It is one of a sense of mentally feeling like a native New Yorker while providing historical references.
This particular New York City landmark has a historical significance to the city. Originally used as a transportation route to and from Manhattan, it has evolved into a public open walking space.
My personal favorite part about the Highline is that you receive the best views of the Hudson River. I personally recommend visiting the Highline during the summer rather the winter. In the summertime, various shops open on the Highline where tourists have the opportunity to purchase various goods, such as ice cream and other city-related souvenirs.
I also recommend this place if you are a person who is interested in plants. While walking through the Highline, you will able to learn about the various plants via plaques that are situated throughout the landmark.
Although there are many ways to get to the Highline, I recommend taking the express 2/3 train to West 14th street and then walking up two blocks north to West 16th. From West 16th, walk west and you are right at the Highline! The best part is that there is no entrance fee to the Highline. It is completely free!
2. Battery Park
Located in the downtown region of Manhattan, Battery Park is also a place where you can visit for no charge. Personally, if I had to pick one of my favorite “touristy”(meaning lots of people) places to visit in the city, it would be Battery Park. There is just something so relaxing while sitting at the edge of Manhattan Island while listening to the sound of the harbor. The park also continuously reminds me of what makes Manhattan truly special from the rest of the larger cities in the United States.
Besides relaxing in the park, there are various activities to do in the area if you are on a limited budget. One activity that I would recommend doing is walking along the Battery Park Promenade. It stretches across the southern tip of Manhattan Island. I also think that the prome-nade is also the best place to see views of New Jersey and Brooklyn. The park also contains various monuments for the public to view. Some of my favorite monuments on display are the Battery Cannon and the New York Korean War Veterans War Museum which pay tribute to those who sacrificed for the United States.
If you are in the mood for a drink after all that walking in Battery Park, I recommend visit-ing the Battery Gardens: The Beer Garden. What I enjoy most about this beer garden is that you have the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life. Secondly, the bottled beer is relatively cheap(for Manhattan standards). It is seven dollars per bottle.
Although I could write forever about what I love about Battery Park, there are just so many activities to do and see there. Unlike the Highline, I recommend visiting this place all-year round. The fastest way to get to Battery Park is to take whatever metro line is closest to you all the way south. It is located at the last stop before you hit the water.
3. New York Public Library (Stephen A. Schwarzman Building)
Located at 42nd street and 5th Avenue, the Schwarzman building represents New York’s promise of maintaining Manhattan’s past history while continuing to evolve at the same time. Be-sides it being the second largest public library in the country and fourth largest in the world, I rec-ommend visiting the New York Public Library even if you are not a reader. You will be amazed by its 1900s architecture.
Originally built in 1911. This particular branch of the New York Public Library Branch rep-resents New York’s prominence on a domestic level and also on a global level in all facets of ur-banization, especially education.
Currently, the Schwarzman building houses fifteen million items. Some of those items are comic books and baseball cards(which are my favorite since I am a sports history nut).
Each time I visit the city, I make it a goal to try and learn something new about the world around me by going to this particular branch of the library system. If you are a reader, you will be amazed by what you can get your hands on to read!
You are also able to receive tours of the building. If you want to schedule a group tour, it MUST be made at least eight weeks in advance. Group tours fees are $10 per person, $7 for seniors, or free if you are a full time student.
If you want to join a free tour,(which I recommend) that is also doable too. Tours are from Mondays to Saturdays starting at 11 a.m. till 2 p.m. However, spots on these tours are limited to 25 people.
4. Grand Central Terminal
`Located on the east side of 42nd street (see subway map for details), this train terminal is a visual representation of New York City’s prominence as a transportation hub on a domestic and a global scale.
Built in 1913, Grand Central Terminal has also stood the test of time through various his-torical events, such as the Great Depression and World War II.
Each time I visit New York City, I always find myself coming back to Grand Central Terminal. I do not know what keeps pulling me back. Maybe it is the rush of people trying to catch their respective trains? Perhaps it is the architecture of the terminal? All I can tell you is that there is a particular aura about the place that is hard to describe. If you are interested in ar-chitecture, you will understand what I am talking about.
If you are interested in places to dine, there are tons of eateries to choose from. Since this article revolves around being on a budget, I recommend my favorite “Steak N’ Shake”.
There are also tours available of the terminal. The tours run seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.(holidays vary). The tours are also cheap. It is $9 per adult and $7 per child.
5. TKTS Broadway Tickets
What is visiting New York City without seeing a Broadway school?! After all, it is not the capital of theatre arts for nothing! TKTS offers Broadway tickets that are discounted from 20%-50% off. There are two TKTS locations on the borough of Manhattan. There is one located in Times Square (which you will understand why I do not recommend visiting when you visit Times Square). The second location is located downtown near an area called South Street Seaport. The South Street location is less crowded.
I have seen great shows from using TKTS discounted tickets. One show that I saw was School of Rock and Latin History for Morons. Both excellent shows.
However, PLEASE make sure you know what show you want to see BEFORE hand. It holds up the line if you do not know what you want to see.
I recommend having a list of 3-5 shows you want to see and know what area you want sit in the respective theater. If you do not know the sections, that is ok. Just say “Best Available”.
In conclusion, I have also included in my post a map of the New York City Subway map. That way, you are able to have a visual representation of how to get to these places mentioned and other places you want to see in Manhattan and New York City. I hope my city guide pro-vides you with a list of things to do and see on a budget.