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Trip List by ptflynn

New York City on a Budget - updated January 2009

31 May 2006  I visited New York City 6 times in 2005; have gone back at least 3-4 times each year since. Just returned most recently on January 13, 2009.
3.5 of 5 stars based on 11 votes

Don't exclude New York City from your list of places to visit because you think it's too expensive. There are some great bargains!

  • Explore locations featured in this Trip List: New York City, Brooklyn
  • Category: Recent trip
  • Traveler type: Culture, Sightseeing, Never been before, Repeat visitors, Theater
  • Appeals to: Business travellers , Couples/romantics, Singles, Budget travellers , Tourists
  • 1. Milford Plaza Hotel

    Fabulous location on 8th Avenue and 44th Street, just a few steps west of Times Square. Rate over Memorial Day weekend was $169-$179 per night. Not fancy but clean. See below for Smith's Bar and Lounge, which is across the street.

    Added January 2009 - got a SUPER CHEAP rate in January 2009, including the Club Lounge. See my review of the Milford for details.

  • 2. Salisbury Hotel
    Salisbury Hotel, New York City, New York
    CHECK RATES!
    Avg price: $301

    Small but clean rooms and nice staff. Good location just south of Central Park, across the street from Carnegie Hall. Great pizza by the slice just a few steps away. Can't recall what we paid during summer 2005, but it was reasonable, probably no more than $150 ish per night.

  • 3. Quikbook Hotels, Discount Hotel Reservations
    http://www.quikbook.com/

    My favorite place to search for discounted rooms in New York. If I find something interesting I ALWAYS check the reviews on TripAdvisor.com before I make a reservation. And then I go directly to the hotel's official website, they usually have the lowest price.

  • 4. Macy's
    Macy's Herald Square, New York City, New York

    I don't care if you actually buy anything here, but you must visit Macy's. It's huge, appears to occupy an entire city block. The crystal chandeliers on the main floor are stunning. And you have to check out the old wooden escalators. This is not like any department in your neighborhood shopping mall.

  • 5. Chinatown
    Chinatown, New York City, New York

    Cheap jewelry, watches, handbags, and fabulous people watching. See below for my favorite place to eat there.

  • 6. Broadway
    Broadway, New York City, New York

    There is NOTHING as terrific as New York Theater. Don't forget to check out the shows Off-Broadway as well, some of them are terrific.

  • 7. Playbill.com
    http://www.playbill.com

    Become a member, it's FREE. They will email you some great discounts for Broadway shows. Added January 2009 - other great websites for discounts are BroadwayBox and Goldstar.

  • 8. TKTS
    TKTS, New York City, New York

    This is THE place to go to get same day discount tickets to Broadway shows, often at a 50% discount.

  • 9. Birdland
    http://www.birdlandjazz.com/

    Authentic New York jazz in an intimate atmosphere. Check out the schedule on their website. If you're in NYC on a Monday night, you must go to the "Cast Party".

  • 10. Staten Island Ferry
    Staten Island Ferry, New York City, New York

    This is public transportation for New Yorkers, but I promise it's worth a ride. As you pull away from the dock, you get the gift of the best view of the southern tip of Manhattan Island. And every time the ferry sails just past the Statue of Liberty, I am reminded of how emotional it must have been for so many of our ancestors to have been greeted by her. Best of all the ride on the Staten Island Ferry is FREE.

  • 11. World Trade Center
    9/11 Memorial, New York City, New York

    I have visited the site twice and it's been very emotional for me. It's incomprehensible, standing there, remembering the television images of the planes hitting the towers, and then the towers collapsing. The site seems small, considering the devastation that occurred there. I will forever be in awe of New Yorkers for the death and devastion that they endured on 9/11. For me, going there is like going to a cemetery to pay my respects. May the victims rest in peace.

  • 12. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
    Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City, New York

    If you only go to one museum in NYC this is the one. The architecture of the building is as good or better than the art itself.

  • 13. Museum of Modern Art
    Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City, New York

    Recently reopened after a major renovation. Wonderful contemporary art that even the not-so-artsy will recognize and appreciate.

  • 14. Smith's Bar and Lounge
    http://newyork.citysearch.com/review/7186175

    The URL has some reviews, but I don't think they do the place justice. Combo diner and bar. When we stay at the Milford, this is THE place to have breakfast (cooked to order for under five bucks). Corner of 8th Avenue and 44th Street. Added January 2009 - the price for breakfast may have gone up a few bucks. Still a great deal.

  • 15. Joe's Shanghai - Pell St.
    Joe's Shanghai, New York City, New York

    The best authentic Chinese restaurant in New York, and it's inexpensive. There's also another location on 56th Street, but I prefer the original. Cash only, no credit cards.

  • 16. Brooklyn Bridge
    Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn, New York

    After dinner at Joe's Shanghai, enjoy a stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge. You'll see a magnificent view looking back onto Manhattan, and it's another one of New York's great FREE and unique attractions.

  • 17. Triple 8 Dim Sum Palace
    http://brooklyn.citysearch.com/profile/7084940/

    Fun to go with a group. Seems like we sit there for hours, and eat and eat and eat, and it's never more than 15 or 20 bucks per person. It's located in the non-touristy part of Chinatown, above a Chinese "Mall".

  • 18. Ozzie's Noodle Shop

    44th Street, just west of Times Square. Inexpensive noodle dishes are in the $6.95 range, other Chinese dishes available too. More Americanized Chinese than authentic, but quick and inexpensive and convenient to the Theater District.

    Added January 2009 - Ozzie's has moved to 42nd street, between 9th and 10th. The food is sitll very reliable and inexpensive. I think the soups are now $ 7.95, but the bowl is HUGE.

  • 19. Hourglass Tavern
    Hourglass Tavern, New York City, New York

    In the Restaurant Row area, just west of Times Square. Very reasonable multiple course prix fixe dinner, and they promise to get you out in an hour and in time for your evening at the theater.

  • 20. Thalia
    Thalia, New York City, New York

    Soaring ceilings and big picture windows make for great people watching. Perfect spot for Sunday Brunch at noon. Lobster Benedict including a Bloody Mary for 20 bucks. Be sure to call ahead for a reservation.

  • 21. Joshua Tree
    Joshua Tree, New York City, New York

    Added January 2009 - Another great find on Restaurant Row, 46th Street, convenient to the theater district. While it is basically a sports bar, hubby had a delicious and big burger, I had a yummy quesadilla, and we shared a pitcher of beer. The tab was about 30 bucks, cheap for New York standards. They have a nice (and cheap) brunch menu, that we plan on trying during our next visit.

  • 22. Moshe's Felafel

    If you want something quick and cheap and delicious, this is the place for you. This is a food cart, located (for at least 3-4 years that I know about) on 46th Street near 6th Ave. Great felafel and delicious homemade soups.

  • 23. The Belvedere
    The Belvedere, New York City, New York
    CHECK RATES!
    Avg price: $344

    I stayed there most recently in January 2008. Great location. Nice staff. It has a coffee maker in the room, plus a small refrigerator, which is enough for me to have a quick breakfast. The price has gotten steap in recent years during high season, but in January 2009 I found a rate under $150, which is a great deal for the Belvedere.

  • 24. Tony's Di Napoli
    Tony's Di Napoli - Midtown, New York City, New York

    This is a GREAT place, especially for a group. The portions are HUGE. We were there in January 2009 with another couple. We shared 2 entrees (black pasta with seafood and eggplant parmigian) and it was plenty of food. Plus, you have to get the gigantic Strawberry Shortcake. It was too much for the 4 of us. YUUUMMMMMMMY. And the check with tip was less than 25 bucks a person, which is super cheap for New York. (An added note - the biggest money waster in NYC is alcohol, it's very expensive. We bring our own and have a few cocktails in the room before dinner. That saves a huge amount of money. This applies anywhere, but especially in NYC.)