New York City (NYC) is known to be one of the most expensive cities in the world. It has absolutely everything - from famous extravagant buildings to luxurious places to eat. It is no surprise then that NYC has been one of the top 10 destinations for travellers with money to spend. However, most everyone can agree that the majority of the city’s attractions can break the bank for a traveller on a budget. For this reason, I have created the most perfect 3-day itinerary for those visiting NYC on a budget.
Really, you don’t need to be rich or spend tons of money to have an authentic and real city trip to New York. You will be able to visit the most famous attractions, such as the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge and others, and go home with some money in your pocket at the end of your trip if you follow some of the suggestions in this itinerary. So forget about booking an expensive tour, and take a look at this relaxed 3-day itinerary for NYC for the cost-conscious traveller.
Brooklyn is a famous neighbourhood in NYC that faces Manhattan’s skyline and is located on the west side of Long Island. The most famous attractions in Brooklyn are the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, and the stunning neighbourhoods of Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO, which lies between the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges. These historic neighbourhoods are filled with lovely alleys and old buildings. You will have a chance to enjoy a long relaxing walk around the historic and trendy areas in these neighbourhoods, which also offer the best views in the city. So get prepared to see and explore two of the four most popular bridges in New York City without spending too much money.
The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most famous bridges in New York City. It is a suspension bridge that connects Manhattan and Brooklyn. The bridge was built in 1883 and is about 2.9 km long. You can enjoy a spectacular view while walking over the bridge at any time of the day.
After crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, be ready to explore the historic and posh neighbourhood of Brooklyn Heights. It is well-known for its several promenades that overlook the East River, the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty. Roam around the neighbourhood for several hours to find a big shopping mall, stunning parks, a transit museum, cosy little dinner places and old majestic buildings.
DUMBO stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, which is located just a short minutes walk from Brooklyn Heights (in between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges). It is a very trendy neighbourhood filled with art galleries, bookshops, boutiques, restaurants, and offers great views of the iconic bridges. The most famous place in DUMBO is Jane’s Carousel (built in 1922), which is located by the waterfront. It is a famous spot for kids, adults, locals and tourists.
The Manhattan Bridge connects Brooklyn and Manhattan Chinatown and is the perfect place to end your first day in NYC. It is a gigantic suspension bridge that was built in 1909. While crossing it, you should walk on the pathway on the south side as it offers amazing views of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty and the New York harbour. The best time to cross the bridge is during the evening as you will be able to see a magnificent sunset and New York City skyline.
Your second day in New York City will be filled with visits to the buildings that played a big role in American history and tells the story of the nation. You will explore the famous Ellis and Liberty Islands (where the Statue of Liberty is), and visit Lower Manhattan, which is crowded with skyscrapers and deep history.
Lower Manhattan is most well-known for Wallstreet and its skyscrapers. However, you will also visit something more meaningful – the World Trade Center site and the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, which is dedicated to all the victims of the 9/11 terror attacks. All these sights will help you get to know more about America's history, so be prepared for a very meaningful and informative day.
Start your morning with what will be an incredible visit to the Statue of Liberty, which is located in New York Harbour. This statue is one of the most iconic landmarks in NYC. It is around 93 m high and can be visited by taking a tour from Lower Manhattan (Battery Park Harbour). It is highly recommended booking tour tickets (even if you are on a budget, it’s pretty inexpensive) in order to see the statue up close and personal. In addition, tours include a visit to Ellis Island, which is known as the busiest immigration inspection station. It is worth a visit to this site too.
Trinity Church is located in the busy Wallstreet area, which is easily accessible from Battery Park Harbour. The church was constructed in 1698 and played a big role in taking care of people on September 11, 2001. It is recognized as one of the most beautiful churches in the USA. In addition, Trinity Church has a cemetery and mausoleum that you can enter if you buy admission tickets. Otherwise, you can enjoy the church from outside or attend a service to see it from the inside.
The 9/11 Memorial is located in Liberty Park, which is in the World Trade Center area. The memorial is in the exact location where the Twin Towers used to stand and lists all the names of the people that were killed in the 9/11 attacks. The plaza is very beautiful and peaceful and is free to enter. However, if you want to visit the museum, you will need to pay an admission fee. The museum is free, however, on Tuesday evenings. There are also many other free museums in NYC that you can enjoy as well.
Just a couple of a minutes walk from the 9/11 Memorial is a massive skyscraper called the One World Trade Center. It is the main building in the rebuilt World Trade Center. It used to be known as the Freedom Tower and is 546.2 m high. It is also the tallest building in North America. Beyond, there is an observatory that has magnificent views of Manhattan, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. Sadly, you need to purchase tickets. So, if you are on a budget, I would suggest you skip the observatory and adore the building from afar.
After a more carefree two days in New York City, it’s time to experience the busy city life. On this day, you will be travelling to busy Upper Manhattan and Midtown, which is where you will have a chance to see and walk through the most happening and busiest places in New York City. This day gives you an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful and massive Central Park, see the chaotic Times Square, walk through the colourful Theatre District and take a glimpse at the Empire State Building. Spend all day walking and adoring the busy streets of Manhattan. These sights are sure to make your last day in New York City unforgettable, especially the views from the Empire State Building as they are incredible!
Central Park is the most famous and biggest park (843 acres) in New York City. It is located in Upper Manhattan - the heart of the city. It is open daily from 6 AM to 1 AM and it is highly recommended to visit the park during sunrise. The park has absolutely everything you could ever imagine - from an ice skating rink to a swimming pool and Zoo. Spend a couple of hours walking around it by starting on the upper side of the park.
The Broadway Theatre District is located in Midtown and is made up of 41 theatres. Collectively, these theatres are called Broadway – a place that has the best concerts, musicals and plays. The district itself is a great landmark as it’s filled with eye-catching advertisements and colourful lights, making it a great spot for photos. If you want to attend a show, take into the mind that the tickets can be pretty expensive.
Times Square is part of the Theatre District and is nicknamed ‘The Center of the Universe’. It is the busiest square in the city as more than 300 000 people walk through this square every day. Times Square is filled with advertisements and various shops and is equally beautiful day and night.
Further down in Midtown, the iconic Empire State Building stands. It is a 102 story art deco style skyscraper that was built in 1931. The Empire State Building gets lots of attention from visitors as it offers tons of free and paid activities. The building has two observatory decks on the 86th and 102nd floor – you will need to get tickets for these two floors however if you wish to go up there.
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