We love freebies, but sometimes you have to spend a little money to have a great time – emphasis on a little. Once you’ve made the rounds of New York City’s finest freebies, pull out the piggy bank and pamper yourself with these cheap treats.
1. Get a massage in Chinatown.
Don’t expect scented candles and aromatherapy, but you can get an hour-long massage for $30 at places like the Relax Foot Spa. I recommend waiting until your feet have swollen to twice their normal size from all the urban hiking to really get your money’s worth.
2. Eat dumplings in Chinatown.
OK, it doesn’t have to be dumplings, but if you’re local Chinese takeout joint doesn’t offer these deliciously inappropriate-looking yummies, take this opportunity to try them out. Anything you eat in Chinatown is going to be cheap and (most likely) the best Chinese food you’ve ever tasted. Joe’s Shanghai is a tasty experience and a great place to try dumplings for the first time.
3. Visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
It’s hard to believe that one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city is also one of the cheapest. You can take the Staten Island Ferry for free and do a drive-by of the Statue of Liberty, but for just $13 you can hop a ferry to Liberty Island and Ellis Island. If you want to visit the statue’s museum, pedestal, or crown, you’ll need to make reservations ahead of time – but there’s no additional cost for these added experiences.
4. Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art
The museum has a suggested donation of $20 per person, but only a super green tourist would pay full price. Many New Yorkers pay a penny and enjoy the day gazing at some of the world’s greatest artworks guilt-free. Feel free to do the same.
5. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. The hike across the bridge is free, but the subway ride back will cost you $2.50 per person. For an extra $7 a slice you can grab pizza in Brooklyn before heading back to Manhattan. Helpful hint: those massage parlors in Chinatown are nearby and will look really good after this long walk.
Photos by Britt Reints