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Visiting New York City on a budget

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A concrete jungle of trendy neighborhoods, variety of attractions, arts and culture activities, and a formidable dining scene make New York City one the world’s most popular travel destinations. It isn’t the cheapest, though. Without a strategy, you could easily overspend in this metropolis. Here’s how to visit New York City on a budget without scrimping on experiences.

Getting around New York

Take public transportation. You can save a lot by taking public transportation rather than taxis around New York. For example, you can get a seven-day unlimited MetroCard for $30. You could easily pay more than that for cab fares in just one day. If you’re worried about getting lost or ending up on the wrong train, you can download a free New York Subway and Bus Map for help navigating the public transportation system.

Dining in New York

Use discounted gift cards. You can dine out for less by purchasing discounted gift certificates for local eateries at Restaurant.com. If you’re in town for New York City’s restaurant week, you have the opportunity to eat at the finest restaurants for a quarter of their normal cost. Take advantage of daily deals. Check Groupon, Living Social and other daily deal sites for New York restaurants and bars offering discounts during your stay. Enjoy cheap eats. There’s plenty of good food to be found in New York for bargain prices. Time Out New York has a guide to the best cheap eats in the city.

Having fun in New York

Take advantage of free attractions. Some of the city’s most well-known attractions actually are free. You can wander the 843-acre Central Park — or take a guided tour — for free. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral, see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island from the Staten Island Ferry, play a song on the big FAO Schwarz piano and much more. Plenty of museums also are free or accept contributions, such as the American Museum of Natural History, MOMA, Guggenheim Museum and Metropolitan Museum of Art. And you can even take a free walking tour of the city with groups such as Big Apple Greeter. Buy passes for multiple attractions. Get a discount on entrance fees by buying a pass to multiple attractions. For example, the CityPASS provides admission to six major attractions for 43% less than what you would pay if you bought tickets individually for each attraction. The New York Pass offers admission to 80 attractions with one-, two-, three- or seven-day passes. If you saw three attractions a day with the seven-day pass, you could save $400. See Broadway shows at a discount. There are plenty of ways to save on tickets to Broadway shows, from timing your visit to coincide with Broadway Week when you can get two tickets for the price of one to buying discounted tickets the day of a show at TKTS Discount Booths in New York City’s Times Square, the South Street Seaport and Brooklyn. See How to Save on Tickets to Broadway Shows for more tips.

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