Taking a bite out of the Big Apple doesn’t mean taking a big bite out of your wallet. If you avoid all the tourist-aimed areas and attractions (Midtown, Time Square), and get on the level of a local, you might be surprised at all of the free and inexpensive things the city has to offer.
Start your day with breakfast downtown in the East Village at Stage Restaurant, where $5.10 will get you corned beef hash served with two eggs, toast and potatoes, all made from scratch. Or have an authentic New York bagel at Kossar’s Bialys. They use only the freshest and finest ingredients, so you won’t find sugar, salt or high-gluten flour in your bagel, and it will only cost you $1, and the bialys they’re known for will only set you back $.90.
Now it’s time to burn off breakfast and see what the city has to offer. To keep costs low, you can choose to walk the city, or you can purchase a MetroCard for any amount depending on how often you will be riding the subway for the day; a single train ride is $2.50. If the weather is nice, Manhattan has plenty of parks to enjoy; most notably, Central Park. The 843-acre park has a wide range of outdoor activities during all seasons, from hiking, biking and ice skating to enjoying a picnic or an outdoor concert. For $18, you can check out the animals in the Central Park Zoo, and if you’re a music lover, you can visit Strawberry Fields and see the Imagine Mosaic dedicated to John Lennon.
New York is home to a vast array of museums, some of which are free every day, and some that are free at certain days and times of the week. Check out NYC Go to plan your daily dose of art and culture. There are also plenty of free tours that can be taken around the city as well (some may be tip-based). Check out Free Tours By Foot, and choose the type of tour that speaks to you; from foodie tours, to ghost tours, to holiday lights and graffiti and street art tours, the 911 memorial, and much more, there is something for everyone.
No trip would be complete without an authentic slice of New York City pizza. Joe’s Pizza is a “Greenwich Village institution,” offering classic slices for more than 37 years at $2.75 for a slice. Another can’t miss inexpensive meal is at Mamoun’s Falafel on St. Marks Place. Serving both vegetarian and meat dishes, Mamoun’s makes authentic Middle Eastern cuisine at reasonable prices. A falafel pita will only set you back $3.50. Mamoun’s was also featured in 1000 Places to See Before You Die, giving you bragging rights on top of extra cash in your pocket.
It’s called “The City That Never Sleeps” for a reason, with bars and clubs staying open until 4 a.m., 24-hour restaurants and transportation and endless options for entertainment, it’s easy to stay up all night. While a Broadway show may be on the pricey side, you can still see a live taping of popular television shows for free, like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report, Dr. Oz or Good Morning America, to name a few. Just be sure to check each show’s website for age and show requirements. If you’re looking for a little more edge to your nightlife, for every bar in the city that serves a $15 martini, there’s also a bar serving two for one drinks during a seven-hour long happy hour. (Just stay below 14th Street to find the best deals.) Check out the long list of bars from Thrillist that serve a beer and a shot for less than $7. The Slipper Room has burlesque shows on Friday and Saturday nights, and the cover charge is only $5. New York is also known for their great jazz clubs, and Arthur’s Tavern in the West Village has been providing legendary live music for more than 65 years, and there’s no cover charge. At the C-Note you can listen to free live music seven nights a week, featuring everything from rock to country. There is a one-drink minimum, which is usually around $5.
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Pasadena, California, is home to plenty of places to experience great art, but none so impressive as Norton Simon Museum. Nestled in an enclave of greenery along the city's famed Colorado Boulevard, this museum offers a peaceful retreat from the bustle of the city outside for connoisseurs to experience the work of some of the world's most famous artists.
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