NYC for Free: How to See the City on a Budget
While New York is arguably the greatest city in the world, it can also be incredibly expensive to visit. As a resident, I’m constantly finding myself forking out a hefty amount for a cappuccino; a cocktail can empty my bank account faster than I can drink it.
Yet for visitors who aren’t willing to take out a second mortgage on their house, there are many ways to enjoy the Big Apple that won’t break the bank. Personally, I’ve found that the best way to experience New York City is to walk it.
Find your favorite park.
You can spend an entire day wandering around New York City’s famed Central Park. My favorite way to experience the park is to simply get lost in it, finding little pockets of solitude, sitting on park benches and listening to incredibly talented street performers play music. In the summer, I love to lie out on the Sheep Meadow with a book or hire a rowboat at the Loeb Boathouse. Winter in the park offers ice skating, Christmas lights and a quiet blanket of snow, while autumn is a great time to wander along the park’s various pathways and watch the leaves change color.
Then there’s Prospect Park, the lesser known younger brother of Central Park that was, in fact, designed by the same park-itects. I used to live a few blocks from Prospect Park, and I consider it just as beautiful. Most days I strolled with the horses, rode my bike around the perimeter, or enjoyed Sunday night drumming circles as the sun set. Washington Square Park, home of 1960s folk legends such as Bob Dylan, is still teeming with street performers every day of the week. It’s one of my favorite spots in the city, and during my explorations I’ve seen a live Shakespeare performance, poets writing personalized poems for a dollar, and a piano player playing a baby grand, as well as mimes, dancers, rappers and a whole lot of chess players ready for a match.