How To Spend $80 A Day In New York City

In New York City, it may seem like you need to budge hundreds of dollars a day on activities but with proper planning you can get by on $80 a day. Our sample day has it all laid out for you.

February 8, 2023

How To Spend $80 A Day In New York City

New York, New York big city of dreams but every thing in New York isn’t always what it seems. New Yorkers are often known for being direct and rude but talk to a few New Yorkers and you’ll realize we’re not rude at all … just busy. Same thing holds true for budgets. In this expensive city, it may seem like you need to budge hundreds of dollars a day on activities but with proper planning you can get by on $80 a day. Our sample day has it all laid out for you. 

In case you’re wondering how to make a day like this work for you … request a tailored plan. Our team of trip consultants builds custom plans for travelers based on the activities they love most. Tell us your must-see attractions, dietary restrictions, and the number of days you’re in New York City, and our team will build a hand-crafted plan that matches your profile.

Custom New York City Trip Plan
New York City Trip Planning

Ok, on to the sample $80 in New York City plan …

Morning: Start Your Day with Breakfast at a Bodega

Starting your day with a hearty breakfast is essential, and there's no better place to get it than at a bodega. Bodegas are local convenience stores that offer breakfast items such as bagels, pastries, and coffee at affordable prices. You can get a breakfast sandwich for around $4, and a cup of coffee for $1. Bodegas are also known for their convenient and fast service, so you can grab a quick breakfast on the go without having to spend a lot of time.

Mid-Morning: Walk the High Line

After your breakfast, take a walk on the High Line. The High Line is a park built on a disused railway line that runs along the West Side of Manhattan. In addition to its stunning views, the High Line is also a hub for cultural activities, with events like art installations, live music, and food festivals taking place throughout the year. Best of all, the park is free and open to the public, making it an accessible and affordable way to experience the beauty of New York City!

Lunchtime: Grab a Bite at a Food Truck

For lunch, head to one of the many food trucks that can be found around the city. Food trucks are common around NYC and you can get a delicious meal for around $10. Food trucks are also a great way to try new and unique food that you might not be able to find in a traditional restaurant. For example, the Halal Guys are famous for their delicious gyro and falafel platters, while Kimchi Tacos offer a unique fusion of Korean and Mexican cuisine. No matter what type of food you're in the mood for, there's sure to be a food truck that has something to satisfy your cravings.

Afternoon: Visit a Museum for Free

After lunch, enjoy discounted or free admission to NYC's world-renowned museums. Take advantage of student, senior, and kids' discounts, or if you're from the tristate area, enjoy discounts at various galleries. Many museums also offer free or "pay what you wish" admission days, making it a budget-friendly way to spend your afternoon. The Metropolitan has a suggested admission fee of $25, but New York residents can pay what they wish. The American Museum of Natural History also has “pay what you wish” for any residents in Connecticut, New Jersey or New York. The American Folk Art Museum and The Museum at FIT always have free admission for everyone. The Guggenheim Museum has “pay what you wish” on Saturdays, and the MoMA offers free admission on the first Friday of every month.

Evening: See a Broadway Show

For the evening, catch a Broadway show. Broadway shows are a big part of the NYC cultural experience, and you can get discounted tickets for many shows through the TKTS booth in Times Square. Discounted tickets start at around $50, so make sure to check the TKTS booth for the latest offers. The TKTS booth is also a great place to get information about the newest shows and find out which productions are selling out.

Dinner: Eat at a Street Food Market

For dinner, head to one of the many street food markets in NYC. Some of the most popular street food markets in NYC include Smorgasburg and Hester Street Fair. When the weather's warm, these markets offer a vibrant and bustling atmosphere, with vendors selling everything from artisanal baked goods and handcrafted cheeses to gourmet hot dogs and tacos. During the colder months indoor food courts like The Bowery Market, Dekalb Market Hall and Food Gallery 32 are also great stops for a variety of affordable eats. The prices are also very reasonable, with most meals costing around $15 or less, making food markets a great option for people on a budget.

Nighttime: Enjoy a Free Concert or Stand-up Comedy Show

After dinner, enjoy a free concert or stand-up comedy show. Many bars and clubs in the city offer free entertainment in the evening, and you can find a show that suits your taste. Try hitting up some of the smaller venues and bars in Manhattan and you’re sure to find a great (and free) open-mic. A few of the most popular venues in the city are also surprisingly affordable such as The Comedy Cellar and the Blue Note Jazz Club.

New York City Custom Trip Plan
Custom New York City Trip Plan

Our team of trip consultants builds tailored plans for travelers from around the world visiting NYC. We’ve built a wide range of plans for family trips, anniversaries, birthdays, and other special occasions, even for solo travelers treating themselves. Each plan is built with a 3-step process: 

Step 1: Bucket your must-see attractions 

Step 2: Add in restaurants, rooftops & other hidden gems 

Step 3: Create a custom map and provide transportation tips, so you know the best way to navigate the city. 

Click here to have our team tailor your New York trip itinerary today or check out a few of our sample plans here.

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