Cheap Day in New York City

Day in New York City for Under Ten Dollars

All it Takes is a Water Bottle and an MTA Unlimited Day Pass

Sturdy shoes and a hearty picnic will sustain you; leave credit cards at home and begin to explore free New York City. Try the itinerary below, then invent your own.

New York City is full of free museums and literary events, as well as zoos, ferries, art galleries, and musical events. There are countless ways to spend money in New York City, but those do not require guidance. The following describes a plan to spend a great day in New York City for less than ten dollars.

Museum of the City of New York

Free NYC Classes and Museums

Start the day with a vitalizing yoga class at Yoga To the People on St. Marks Place. Ride the 6 train uptown from Astor Place to 86th St. and walk west three blocks to 5th Avenue for an afternoon at the Met. Don’t be fooled, entrance prices are suggested donation only. After the museum explore Central Park (just behind the museum), and then head back downtown on the Lexington Avenue 4 or 5 express train from 86th St. to the last stop in Manhattan, Bowling Green.

Ride The Staten Island Ferry

It is time to take in the glory of the Statue of Liberty, which looks just as regal from the bow of the free Staten Island ferry as it does from the pricey tour boats, all of which take off from the southernmost edge of the island, in or beside Battery Park. Ride the SIF directly back to Manhattan or walk ashore and enjoy a picnic from a grassy perch on one of Staten Island’s many hills.

Staten Island Ferry Guide

NYC Literary Events

When the ferry returns, experience New York’s unbeatable literary culture by speeding up to Union Square on the 4 or 5 train and attending a free reading at Barnes and Noble, or, if the mood strikes, take the 6 train back to Astor Place and head over to the KGB bar, located on the second floor of a brownstone in the middle of 4th Street, between 2nd Avenue and Cooper Square, where literature junkies gather nightly for drinks and readings from any of the city’s hundreds of writers. There are several free readings around the city on any given night at universities, community centers, bookstores, and bars. Before starting a day in New York, check the websites of Timeout New York and the Village Voice, as well as Barnes and Noble and the 92nd St. Y for current listings.

Free Days

This is no doubt enough exhausting activity for one day, but be sure to come back to the city to enjoy free Wednesdays at the Bronx Zoo, free Friday nights at the MOMA, and countless free galleries and musical performances any night of the week. The bridges and tunnels leading into Manhattan sometimes feel like links to an impenetrable fortress for people with little money, but a bit of ingenuity can make the city into one of the most cost-efficient places in the world to visit.

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