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7 Unforgettable (and Affordable) New York Attractions

Travelling to New York City for the weekend, but aren’t sure where to start? We’ve narrowed it down to 7 affordable NYC attractions that are sure to offer the most bang for your buck.

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Affordable New York Attractions: Battery Park

Begin your tour of affordable New York attractions at Lower Manhattan’s Battery Park, and set your eyes on Lady Liberty herself. Walk along the Promenade and take in the view before departing on a ferry tour of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Other attractions you’ll see from the ferry include the Brooklyn Bridge and the New York City skyline, complete with the newly emerging World Trade Centre skyscrapers which are currently under construction. Ferry tours depart every half-hour from Battery Park, beginning at 9:30 a.m., with the last departure at 3:30 p.m. Cost: $13 adults, $10 seniors and $5 for children 4-12.

(Photo courtesy of Phil of Photos/Flickr Creative Commons)

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Affordable New York Attractions: Ground Zero

After setting foot back onto Manhattan Island, your affordable New York attractions tour begins with a walk north on West St. toward Ground Zero, and witness the rebuilding of the World Trade Centre skyscrapers. Upon completion, One WTC will stand at 1,776 feet, making it the tallest building in the United States. While there are plenty of changes occurring at Ground Zero, make sure you don’t miss the National September 11 Memorial. Located within the original footprints of the Twin Towers, the memorial includes a museum and two massive pools with the inscribed names of nearly 3,000 victims of the original World Trade Center and 9/11 attacks. Admission is free but passes must be requested in advance by visiting

(Photo courtesy @NYC Photos-flickr/Flickr Creative Commons)

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Bargain NYC Spots: The Empire State Building

Next, your NYC bargain tour sets along Broadway St. towards Midtown Manhattan. Currently New York’s tallest building, the Empire State Building is one of the best ways to take in the city. Catch a spectacular view from the 86th-floor, where the 180-degree observation deck allows you to see New York from every angle. Aim to arrive just before dusk, and see the city in both the light of day, and beautifully lit by the nighttime skyline. The Observatory is open daily until 2 a.m. (last elevator ascends at 1:15 a.m.). Cost: $21 adults, $19 seniors, $15 for children 6-12, under-5 free.

(Photo by Melissa Greer)

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Inexpensive Big Apple Locales: A Times Square Visit

In the evening, your inexpensive NYC visit will see why they call it the city that never sleeps, and submerse yourself in the bright lights of Manhattan’s Theatre District. Take in a show, but stop by the TKTS discount theatre tickets booth first.  You can grab some tickets for cheap, and it has a stepped red roof visitors often climb to get a better view of the Square’s illuminated neon signs.

(Photo courtesy of Christopher Chan/Flickr Creative Commons)

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Cost-Conscious New York Tourist Stops: Central Park

A cost-concious visit to the Big Apple wouldn’t be complete without visiting Central Park. It spans 843 acres, between Fifth Ave. and Central Park West, and contains lawns, gardens, paths and seven bodies of water, as well as the Central Park Zoo. Music lovers should visit Strawberry Fields, a 2.5 acre area of the park which commemorates the late John Lennon’s life. Fans often pay their respects to the former Beatle by laying flowers on a tiled Imagine mosaic.

Another must-see attraction, the Central Park Lake, is a picturesque body of water where visitors can forget about the hustle and bustle of the city, and take a relaxing daytime gondola ride. There are also several ways to explore the park: on foot, bike, pedicab tour or the classic horse and carriage tour. Pedicab tours are ideal since you can sit back and take in the sights while having a knowledgeable guide point out interesting park facts and attractions along the way. A one-hour pedicab tour covers approximately 1/4 of the park. Cost: $45 adults and $40 for children.

(Photo by Melissa Greer)

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Easy-on-the-Wallet NYC Must-Sees: American Museum of Natural History

A must-see on your NYC visit is one of the largest museums in the world, the American Museum of Natural History is the definition of a must-see attraction. Located just across the street from Central Park, the museum is comprised of 25 interconnected buildings in New York’s Upper West Side. With 45 permanent exhibitions, plus several special collections, it would take days to see everything this museum has to offer.

To ensure you have the best experience, be sure to select a couple of exhibitions ahead of time. Popular exhibits include the Irma and Paul Milstein Hall of Ocean life, the Arthur Ross Hall of Meteorites and the Hall of Reptiles and Amphibians. Check the museum website to see current and upcoming special exhibits. Open daily 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Cost: $19 adults, $14.50 seniors/students and $10.50 for children 2-12. (Admission to special exhibitions is extra).

(Photo courtesy of asterix611/Flickr Creative Commons)

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Bargain New York: Touring the Movies

Finally, take in the Big Apple on a bargain from bus for an “on location” tour. The New York TV and Movie Sites Tour offers a fun sightseeing experience, visiting popular film locations such as the apartment building from Friends, The Original Soup Man featured in the Seinfeld “Soup Nazi” episode, and the Daily Bugle offices from Spider-Man. Tours depart daily at 11 a.m. Cost: $40. Duration: Approximately 3.5 hours. 

If you’re a fan of a certain HBO series, you can follow in the footsteps of Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha as you visit locations from the Sex and the City TV series and movies. Highlights of the Sex and the City Tour include the New York Public Library where Carrie and Big were supposed to be married, the Pleasure Chest where Charlotte bought her “Rabbit” and a brief stop for cosmos at “Scout,” the bar owned by Aiden and Steve. Tours depart daily at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Cost: $44. Duration: Approximately 3.5 hours.

(Photo courtesy of Rob Yong/Flickr Creative Commons)