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  • Natalie Cardona

Budget Friendly Things to Do in NYC

Photo Courtesy of Wix

New York is known for being expensive, but it is possible to make your trip less pricey. New York City offers an experience like no other, and some of its best-kept secrets are affordable. Whether you need ideas to stay within budget, or looking for some fun activities around NYC, this list offers six budget-friendly activities to try.

1. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge and Enjoy the Park

Enjoy what New York has to offer for FREE! Walk the Brooklyn Bridge and capture great views of Manhattan. You can walk in either direction, but walking from Manhattan to Brooklyn lands you next to Brooklyn Bridge Park, which is a great plus!

Brooklyn Bridge Park offers a variety of activities from roller skating to kayaking for free on certain days. Check out all the activities and schedules for Brooklyn Bridge Park to plan ahead and make reservations. With New York's gorgeous skyline in the background, the bridge and park are great for all-day outdoor fun.

2. Take a Trip to Staten Island

Ride the Staten Island Ferry and see great views of New York Harbor, Brooklyn, Manhattan, New Jersey, and the famous Statute of Liberty and Ellis Island. Best of all: the Staten Island Ferry is free!

On the trip from Manhattan to Staten Island try to stay on the right side of the ship to see The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. You can choose to take the trip back right after arriving or take a 20-minute bus ride to Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden. This public garden has affordable museums and activities to enjoy before heading back to Manhattan.

3. Walk along the Highline

The Highline is a public park built on a rail line on the west side of Manhattan. Tour along the 1.45-mile rail line and see greenery, outside art installations, and great views of Manhattan.

Begin at Gainsgroove Street and stop to grab some food at Chelsea Market. Continue the journey on the Highline and make sure to take in all the amazing architecture and plants around you. Finish the Highline on W34th Street next to Hudson Yards. Take some pictures of The Vessel and check out the shopping center. Nearby are some of the most famous spots in NYC: Madison Square Garden and Peen Station.

4. Have Fun at The Brooklyn Children's Museum

Exploring New York with little ones? This activity is perfect for them. The Brooklyn Children's Museum offers fun for kids 6 months to 10 years old. This isn't a regular museum, hosting various interactive and hands-on exhibits for kids to learn and play for hours.

Admission is $13 a person and the museum also has Amazon Free Hours between 2 and 5 pm on Thursdays. Take the kids to the world's first children's museum and let their imagination run wild in the World Brooklyn exhibit.

5. Ride Bikes and Picnic at Governors Island

Minutes away from Lower Manhattan sits a historic island filled with arts and culture. Just a ferry ride away, the island is car-free making it perfect for bike riding. Ferry tickets are $4 and are free for children under 12 years old. Blazing Saddles and Citi Bike offer affordable bike rentals for all. Tour the island and see the public art on display and enjoy the outdoors with a picnic. There are also food vendors on the island if you don't want to pack lunch.

6. Take the Tram to Roosevelt Island

Take a quick ride 230 feet above East Manhattan and the East River. The tram cost the same as riding the subway but offers great views of NYC. The commute is just half the fun, with Roosevelt Island offering great historical attractions. Stop by to see the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park and the Lighthouse on this small quiet island.

New York is filled with many places to see and things to do, and these 6 activities are a great example of how you don't have to break the bank to have fun in NYC!

Natalie Cardona is a recent graduate of CUNY Baruch College. She has a BA in Digital Communications and Culture with a minor in law and policy.

She is currently pursuing a career in media and entertainment. She loves music, TV comedies, sports, and trying new cuisines and restaurants with friends.

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