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The Ultimate Guide to Cheap Things to Do in NYC: Daytime and Nighttime Activities

Check out our guide to the best cheap things to do in NYC, including daytime activities like visiting Central Park and nighttime activities like seeing a comedy show.

cheap things to do in nyc
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New York City is one of the most exciting and vibrant cities in the world. Known for its towering skyscrapers, bustling streets, and endless entertainment options, it’s a city that never sleeps.

However, with so much to see and do, it can be easy to overspend. If you’re looking to experience the city on a budget, there are plenty of affordable activities to enjoy. 

Here are some of the best cheap things to do in NYC, both during the day and at night.

Daytime Activities

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  • Visit Central Park: Central Park is one of the most iconic parks in the world, and it’s completely free to explore. You can take a stroll through the park, have a picnic, or rent a bike and explore the many paths and trails.
  • Walk the High Line: The High Line is a unique public park built on a former elevated railway line. It offers stunning views of the city and is a great place to take a leisurely walk.
  • Visit the Brooklyn Bridge: The Brooklyn Bridge is a must-see attraction in NYC, and it’s completely free to walk across. You’ll enjoy stunning views of the city skyline and the East River.
  • Check out the Street Art: NYC is known for its vibrant street art scene, and you can see some of the best works for free by walking through neighborhoods like Bushwick and Williamsburg.
  • Visit a Museum: While some of the city’s museums can be expensive, many offer free or pay-what-you-wish admission on certain days. Some of the best options include the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the American Museum of Natural History.
  • Explore Little Italy and Chinatown: These two neighborhoods offer a taste of NYC’s diverse cultural heritage. You can wander through the streets, visit the shops and markets, and sample some delicious food.
  • Visit the New York Public Library: The New York Public Library is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city, and it’s completely free to explore. You can browse the books, visit the Rose Reading Room, or take a guided tour.

Nighttime Activities

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  • See a Comedy Show: NYC is home to some of the best comedy clubs in the world, and you can catch a show for as little as $10. Some of the best clubs include the Comedy Cellar, Upright Citizens Brigade, and Caroline’s on Broadway.
  • Take a Nighttime Stroll: Many of the city’s parks and public spaces are open late, and they take on a whole new atmosphere at night. You can take a stroll through Central Park, Bryant Park, or the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.
  • Enjoy a Cheap Meal: While some of the city’s restaurants can be pricey, there are plenty of affordable options. You can grab a slice of pizza from one of the many pizzerias, enjoy a hot dog from a street vendor, or indulge in a late-night snack from a food truck.
  • Visit a Rooftop Bar: NYC is home to some of the best rooftop bars in the world, and many offer stunning views of the city skyline. While some of the bars can be expensive, there are plenty of affordable options, such as the Top of the Strand and the Refinery Rooftop.
  • Attend a Free Concert or Performance: Many of the city’s parks and public spaces host free concerts and performances throughout the summer months. You can enjoy music, theater, and dance without spending a dime.
  • Take a Ghost Tour: NYC has a rich history of ghost stories and haunted places, and you can learn about them on a cheap ghost tour. Some of the best options include the Ghosts of New York Tour and the Greenwich Village Ghost Tour.

Conclusion

New York City may seem like an expensive destination, but there are plenty of affordable activities to enjoy, both during the day and at night. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, you can explore the city’s iconic landmarks, diverse neighborhoods, and vibrant entertainment scene without breaking the bank. 

From visiting Central Park and walking the High Line to seeing a comedy show and attending a free concert, there’s something for everyone. You can even indulge in the city’s famous food scene without spending a fortune by grabbing a slice of pizza, a hot dog, or a late-night snack from a food truck. With so many affordable options, there’s no reason not to experience the best of NYC on a budget. 

So, next time you’re in the city, be sure to check out these cheap things to do and make the most of your time without overspending.

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