New York City - Without Breaking Your Budget
By Rachel Medlock
It's the Big Apple, baby, and all roads eventually lead - or cross - in its streets. But you won't be doing your sightseeing there, because it's too expensive"right? If you're resourceful, there are many free and/or inexpensive tourist destinations in New York City. Below are but a few - including well-known sites, food, and New York's art scene.
- Central Park - Stretch your legs and see the world's most famous park without spending a dime. Enjoy just walking around the 800 + acres, or visit one of the park's many famous sites for reasonable prices, including the Central Park Zoo, take your kids to one of the 21 playgrounds, or enjoy one of their many tours.
- Ground Zero - Many New York visitors want to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the terrible events of September 11, 2001. Today, you can take a guided tour of the site for around $20, or visit it on your own for less. While you're there, you might want to visit St. Paul's Chapel on Broadway and Fulton Streets near the area. An impromptu memorial has grown there, with messages from visitors in many languages.
- Many birds, one stone - A variety of tours exist for a variety of budgets, ranging from the all-day $75 tour including Ellis Island, the United Nations, and many others, to a few hours $35 tour including visits to famous New York neighborhoods and museums. For a mere $20, you can take a Harbor Cruise to the Statue of Liberty.
- Ethnic Delights - While you're in New York, don't pass up the opportunity to sample the flavors in the world's biggest melting pot. Whether you stop for a slice of pizza in Little Italy, or grab some Dim Sum in Chinatown, New York's diverse residents have brought their recipes with them from their home countries and they are ready to share them with you. A unique dining experience in New York can be had for under $10.
- Union Square Greenmarket - At Union Square, vendors sell fresh produce, homemade breads, homemade drinks, and even homemade cheese - and they are willing to share. They often offer free samples. The Greenmarket is a project by the Council on the Environment of NYC, and they"ve managed the open-air farmers markets in New York since 1976.
- Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway - So you want to see one of New York's famous Broadway shows, but you don't want to break your budget? Consider one of the Off-Broadway or even Off-Off-Broadway theatres, where you will pay only 25% - 50% of what you would pay to see it on Broadway. There are numerous sites advertising discounted Broadway and Off-Broadway tickets; if you plan in advance, you can easily budget a show into your trip.
- Museums - There's MOMA, the Met, the Guggenheim, the Whitney, the Natural History Museum, and many other world-famous New York City museums. Visiting all of them would cost a fortune, right? Not necessarily. There are several options for the cash-poor here. First, you could arrange to take a tour - for around $50, you can visit most of New York's most famous museums. But there are plenty of free museums, too - including the American Folk Art Museum, urban art particular to New York at the Urban Center Gallery, and the National Museum of the American Indian, which has the largest collection in the world devoted solely to Native American culture and history. But if you don't feel a visit to New York is complete without a tour of some of the famous museums mentioned above, then go see them on a "pay what you wish night - MOMA's, the Whitney, and the Guggenheim are all "pay what you wish Friday evenings, and although not everyone is aware of it, the Met and the Brookly!
n Museum of Art has a suggested admission, but is "pay what you wish everyday!
Remember, you can find a vacation that matches your budget as long as you're willing to be flexible and creative - even in New York. There are many online resources you can use to plan an exciting but realistic vacation to the Big Apple. Have fun, and good luck!
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