New York City: Make Your Dollar Go Further

You probably already know that the Big Apple can be a tad pricey. Don’t worry! Just add these budget-friendly spots to your family trip and enjoy.

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Planning your family vacation to New York City? You probably already figured out that the Big Apple can get pricey. But don’t throw in the towel just yet. Add these budget-friendly spots to your trip to squeeze the most out of your dollar in this world-class city.


There are tons of reasons to love Brooklyn — like, tons! — and this cool diner is just one of them. Kids will flip over the granola Belgian waffle, and anyone with a hearty appetite can also dig into rib-sticking eats like steak and eggs and biscuits and gravy.

Times Square

This busy, buzzin’ hub has something for the kids all the way up to the grannies. From blockbuster Broadway shows to shopping that hits all the bases, it takes the concept of a town square and ramps it up a few thousand notches. When it’s time to refuel, there are plenty of spots to grab a bite to eat, from hot dog carts to sit-down restaurants.

Aerial view of Central Park and surrounding Manhattan neighborhoods on a partly cloudy day.

Central Park

Ride the carousel or catch a free concert in NYC’s most famous 843-acre park. Check out the views of the park and the city from Belvedere Castle, or take a kid-friendly tour to learn about different kinds of trees. The park is free, but there are fees for some of the activities on the grounds.

Colorful display of cupcakes at the Chelsea Market in New York City.

Chelsea Market

Satisfy even the pickiest eaters at this marketplace that’s packed with all kinds of vendors just waiting to dish up some amazing chow. Burgers, pizza, shakes, tacos, cupcakes — whatever you’re craving, you’re sure to find it here. Cool history note: The building used to be a Nabisco cookie factory. Sweet!

Whitney Museum

Get lost in an awesome collection of modern art at this museum near the High Line, where you can already find loads of cool stuff to talk about. Swing by Untitled restaurant on the ground floor or Studio Café on the eighth floor when those bellies start to growl. Kids 18 years and under get into the museum free.

Distant view of Statue of Liberty from the water on a sunny day.

Statue of Liberty

Hop a Statue Cruises ferry from Battery Park to check out this famous lady who stands 305-feet high. Kids can learn about the statue’s history and also how to become Junior Rangers while they’re here. For a special treat, book a visit to Lady Liberty’s crown in advance.

People walking along the High Line Walkway in NYC on clear day.

High Line

Some of the coolest views of the city and the Hudson River are totally free at the High Line. Walk this 1.45-mile-long, 30-foot-high park built on an old freight rail line. Odd but true: It’s a great spot to see wildflowers, plants, and trees, grab a bite to eat, check out art, and take in some rays on the sundeck.

American Museum of Natural History

This gigantic museum has 45 halls and the Rose Center for Earth and Space, which basically means you could easily spend the whole day here checking out amazing exhibits about dinosaurs, meteorites, gems, animals, forests, oceans, human history, space, and much more. Don’t miss the 122-foot-long Titanosaur! When hunger hits, swing by the museum’s food court or one of the two cafes.

Large group of people shopping at Union Square in NYC on a sunny, summer day.

Union Square

Check out the statues of George Washington, Gandhi, and Abraham Lincoln at this popular park. It’s quite a mix! Grab a fresh snack at the farmers’ market that sets up here four days a week, or hit Kellogg’s NYC Café — yes, the cereal guys — right across the street from the park, for cereal any time of the day.

Cowgirl SeaHorse

Start off with the rattlesnake bites — roasted jalapenos stuffed with grilled shrimp, wrapped in bacon, and served with buttermilk ranch — at this Western-themed restaurant. All kinds of hearty eats, like corn dogs, chicken and waffle fingers, ribs, nachos, fish and chips, burgers, and tacos are on the massive menu, so your crew is sure to leave full.

For more free and fun activities in the Big Apple, check out this guide to New York City’s street art.

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