Planning a trip to New York City can be strenuous, especially of you’ve been before. I am gearing up to go back—with my life long best friend—and found myself scrambling to find fun things to do that don’t break the bank. I’ve seen the Statue of Liberty and walked through Madame Tussaud’s. It’s time for something different. It’s not as easy to find things off the beaten track on the internet, so here is what I suggest!
- Stay with a local – Plenty of people are friends with New Yorkers. I can think of five off the top of my head that I could stay with when I go, so I’m doing just that! It’s much, much cheaper than staying in a hotel, and it’s much more fun. Have them show you around or tell you what to see. Chances are there is a little corner market you never would have seen. They may lead you to the best burger in all the United States! So what if you’re sleeping on a futon for a long weekend; it’s entirely worth it.
- Find Discounted (or better yet, free) Tickets – Broadway shows are incredible, so if you can afford to see them, do! They tend to start at $50 a tickets and go up from there. Granted there are some cheaper shows, I recommend looking up tickets for half price—they’re all out there. It’s also fun to see outdoor shows like Good Morning America or the Today Show. It’s a fun way to see current artists, but still a fun “New York” thing to do. And during this time of year, the Christmas display windows are a show themselves; they are an absolute must see.
- Visit a bathhouse – This lifelong best friend and I have recently decided to visit a bathhouse wherever we travel. They are usually really cheap, and it will feel especially wonderful in New York during the winter. Be wary of what you’re looking for—some bathhouses double as sex clubs, so make sure you’re not getting any extra bang for your buck! There are literally dozens of options: Turkish & Russian bathhouses, Korean bathhouses, Gay bathhouses…whatever tickles your fancy. Most places charge $25-$35 per day, which is really a steal for all the amenities they have. If you have never been in a bathhouse before, do your research and try something new!
- Experience Food – This is really where you should be spending your money. New York has some of the most incredible dining experiences anywhere. It’s about so much more than the food; at Momofuku Ko, there is only room for 12 guests that have reserved a spot well in advance. You can eat Filipino food off of banana leaves with your bear hands at Kamayan Night at Jeepney. And there is always Dining in the Dark. Whatever it is you find most interesting, do it.
- When all else fails, grab a map and go. There are all kinds of things you can stumble upon during a short walk anywhere in the city. Make sure to pack your walking shoes and an outfit for every occasion. Anything can be done on a budget, you just have to put in the time to research.
Want more of New York, but not sure where to start? Check out StudentUniverse’s recommended activities for more ideas! Stay tuned for images from Megan’s trip!