The Big Apple may be one of the most thrilling places in the world to visit – but the thrills don’t come cheap.
However, there are ways to keep expenditure down, and many of the best things in New York cost little or are free.
Where to stay:
Hotel rates are at their lowest in January and February. The prices mentioned below are room-only in late February, including taxes.
Majestic: New York City is one of the most thrilling cities in the world, but the thrills don’t come cheap
I would skip hostels and go up one level in terms of comfort with a ‘microhotel’.
My favourite is the historic Jane (thejanenyc.com) in trendy West Village. It has funky bars and tiny but cleverly designed cabin-like rooms, which cost from £87 for a private bunk-bed room and a shared bathroom.
Another money-saving tactic is to stay in Brooklyn instead of Manhattan. Rates at the Aloft New York Brooklyn (alofthotels.com/brooklyn), which has a buzzy, industrial-chic lobby lounge, start at £107 a night. Wall Street is only three stops away on the subway.
If you’d like a conventional hotel in midtown Manhattan, the art-filled Roger Smith (rogersmith.com) is good value, with rooms from £103 a night.
Airbnb (airbnb.co.uk) has thousands of options in New York, with the average nightly price for a private room for two £72 in Manhattan and £53 in Brooklyn.
Walking in traffic-snarled Manhattan can often be quicker than taking a taxi. Alternatively, use the subway. With a MetroCard, the pay-per-ride fare is $2.75 (£1.93).
At $32 (£22.50), the 7-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard will work out better value if you’re in town for three or more days. MetroCards can also be used on buses.
Take the 25-minute ride on the Staten Island Ferry for superlative views of the Manhattan skyline and Statue of Liberty. When departing Manhattan, grab a spot by the deck rail on the right-hand side.
Iconic: Take a ride on the Staten Island Ferry for unparalleled views of the Statue of Liberty
For more iconic views, take the A or C train to Brooklyn’s High Street stop, then walk back to Manhattan across the Brooklyn Bridge. You should also stroll along the High Line, an elevated park converted from a disused railway line and enlivened with sculptures.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a ‘suggested’ admission fee of $25 (£17.50) – but for now you can choose to pay as little as a cent.
However, from March 1 the fee becomes mandatory for tourists. At other top museums and galleries you can pay what you wish or enter for free at certain times.
The CityPASS (citypass.com/new-york), covering six major attractions for £95, will save you money if used to the full. Equally importantly, it lets you avoid the often-lengthy queues at the Empire State Building, Top Of The Rock and 9/11 Memorial Museum.
Where to eat:
Snack at the food carts: the going rate for a hot dog is £2.25 and a large pretzel is £1.50.
Budget eats: Snacking at food carts is an easy way to save money while exploring Manhattan
For breakfast, buy bagels from a deli such as Ess-a-Bagel (ess-a-bagel.com) in Midtown East: they cost £1.10 for plain or £2.50 with cream cheese.
For lunch, tuck into a cheeseburger (£4.50) from Shake Shack in Madison Square Park (shakeshack.com).
For dinner, head to Grimaldi’s (grimaldis-pizza.com), a pizzeria under the Brooklyn Bridge. The delicious thin-crust pizzas cost from £13 for a large one for two.
I travelled with Thomas Cook Airlines (thomascookairlines.com) from Manchester – flights cost from £340 return.
BA (ba.com) has a sale until Tuesday (from £369 return), and Virgin (virginatlantic.com) seats cost from £371 return if you book by February 8.