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NYC can be a pretty challenging place to visit on a budget. Before you know it you’ve already spent $60 on a cab from the airport and $200 for your first night at the hotel… and you haven’t really even done anything yet! But don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be that expensive of a place to visit. Here are some of my tricks for NYC on a budget and some of my favorite places for food, too!


Hotels are expensive in NYC, as a general rule. And even the points rates are pretty expensive. Nevertheless, here are some of my picks for “reasonable” hotels.

  • Radisson Martinique on Broadway – 50,000 Club Carlson Points/Night (or per 2 nights if you have the credit card… it’s really only a good deal if you have the credit card.)
  • IHG Properties in Manhattan – 35,000 IHG Points/Night (There are 9 different IHG at this same price point, depending on the location you like best.)
  • Marriott Properties in Manhattan – 35,000 Marriott Points/Night (There are 8 different Marriott properties at the same price point, depending on the location you like best.)


There are a ton of great food options in NYC, and you have everything from fast food to Michelin 3-Star restaurants. Here are some good options that won’t break the bank.

  • Les Halles – Good upscale-ish lunch place that isn’t too expensive.
  • Grace Street – Pretty good coffee and a cool atmosphere for hanging out.
  • Shake Shack – Good shakes/burgers/dogs.
  • Best Bagel & Coffee – These are seriously the best bagels. Ever.
  • Eataly – An Italian market place with multiple restaurants inside.
  • Don Antonio by Starita – Pretty good pizza!


  • Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian – FREE
  • Viewing the Statue of Liberty from Battery Park – FREE
  • Discount Broadway Tickets from the TDF TKTS Booth – 40 to 50% off
  • American Museum of Natural History – You don’t have to pay the full ticket price. You can make a donation of any amount that you want!


  • Subway – the subway is a pretty great and relatively cheap way to get around NYC. I have a metrocard so I don’t have to buy a ticket every time I need a ride, but depending on how long you’ll be there YMMV.
  • UberPool – Uber has their ride sharing service in NYC. If you’re traveling alone or just with one other person you can use UberPool and Uber will try to pair you up with someone traveling to the same general area. I used UberPool to travel from LGA to downtown Manhattan and the fare was only $19! That’s pretty good in my book!
  • LyftLine – LyftLine is very similar to UberPool, but the pricing structure is a little different. Once again, it only works if you are traveling alone or with one other person, but the price will be slightly more if there are two people.