12 Budget Hours in New York City
What to do when you want to make the most out of your day (but still stick to a budget)
Stretching 468 square miles and populated with over eight million individuals, New York City is as diverse as it is large. It can be particularly daunting to visit The City (as it is lovingly referred to by locals) for a short period of time, as its grand landscape and multifaceted culture allows for hundreds of thousands of tourist destinations and sights to see. For those college students looking for a short, cheap and unique visit: here is The College Tourist’s 12 Hour NYC Destination Guide
What better way to start your day New York than with a uniquely “New York” food? Bagels are both cheap (one typically costs about a dollar) and filling. Head over to one of New York’s top bagelries, Murray’s Bagels, located at 500 Avenue of the Americas in the heart of Greenwich Village, for an authentic and delicious experience. Here, treat yourself to a fresh, hand-rolled bagel or a variety of pastries, sandwiches, soups and salads. But beware, because of its popularity, Murray’s is often extremely crowded and prone to long lines.
A visit to New York would not be complete without a stop at the historic Metropolitan Museum of Art. Built in 1866, the Met is the largest art museum in the United States and is home to over two million works. Immerse yourself in Ancient Egyptian culture through paintings and ruins or take a stroll down corridors filled with antique and medieval weapons. You can also have a Gossip Girl moment by hanging out on the stairs leading up to the museum. One exhibit to look out for is entitled “Charles James: Beyond Fashion.” Located in the Anna Wintour Costume Center, the display focuses on James’ design process and his influence on modern fashion. While students are recommended to pay $12 for entrance to the museum, this is merely a suggested price.
Explore the most visited urban park in the United States while simultaneously getting a core workout. Central Park’s scenic bike path spans 6.1 miles and coincides with landmarks such as the Boat House and the Reservoir. Bicycle rentals from companies such as RentBike NYC can start from as little as $4.99/hour (when booked online). For the less athletically inclined, try heading over to the High Line on the Lower West Side. This fairly new attraction is an elevated railroad line that was converted to a public park and is open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
One of the best parts of the variety within New York is the wide range of food available. For lunch, try checking out specialty restaurants, such as Peanut Butter & Co. on 240 Sullivan Street (between West 3rd and Bleecker.) Here, customers are able to choose from a variety of gourmet and classic sandwiches. Some options include the “Peanut Butter Cup” with Nutella, the “Bees Knees” with wheat germ and apple butter, and the “Peanut Butter BLT” with fresh cut bacon. Sandwich prices range from $4.95-$8.50.
After lunch, head over to the Meatpacking District for a unique shopping experience. This neighborhood is the home of the famed Chelsea Market. Within this indoor shopping space, you can find dozens of bodega-type vendors, stores and restaurants. Most of the retailers at Chelsea Market relate to food, with unique breads, cheese, coffee, and wine being sold. However, clothing destinations such as Anthropologie and bookstores like Postman Books also have a presence here as well. Because of the variety at Chelsea Market, prices tend to range from store to store.
If you’re not quite full from shopping at Chelsea Market, you may want to head to Upper West Side destination, Treat House for a snack. This bakery offers a unique take on a classic dessert, the Rice Krispie Treat. Choose from over 25 flavors, including red velvet, chocolate peanut butter, bubble gum, and cranberry almond. The treats also satisfy a number of dietary restrictions. They’re mostly gluten-free, dairy-free, kosher, and nut-free.
One structured way to explore The City is through guided tours. While thousands of options are available, such expeditions can be quite costly. The company, Free Tours By Foot offers walking, bike and bus tours throughout different New York neighborhoods such as Harlem, Midtown, and SoHo. The company also offers nuanced journeys such as a “Subway Art Tour” and an “East Village Thrift and Shopping Tour.” At the conclusion of each excursion, patrons are asked to pay whatever price seems fit.
Throughout the summer, New Yorkers look forward to free, outdoor events. One of which takes place behind the historic Public Library. Each Monday evening from June 16 until August 18, movies will be screened for free on the lawn of Bryant Park. These events are fun and fairly relaxed. Bring a sheet and a picnic dinner and enjoy a film. These screenings can become quite crowded so it is advised to get to the park in advance.
For a cheap and delicious dinner, try another New York delicacy, pizza. One favorite restaurant of NYU students as well as locals is Artichoke. Located on 14th street between 1st and 2nd avenues, this small shop is perfect for anyone looking for a quick, cheap, and delicious bite. One slice is typically $5. With daily closing hours at 5 a.m., the restaurant definitely stands true to the mantra of New York being the city that never sleeps.
While bars in New York are abundant, several venues allow for customers to consume alcohol while creating a masterpiece. At Paint Along NYC, customers are able to take painting classes while consuming their own, or purchased alcohol. Classes typically span a two-hour duration and are taught by professionals. Prices for Paint Along usually cost about $30. The venue is located at 129 East 27th Street.