New York consistently ranks as one of the most expensive cities in the world, but it doesn't always have to be so tough on your wallet. That’s why we’ve rounded up the 100 best things to do under $100. Tour one of the most famous New York attractions, taste the local cuisine on a food tour, or wander through one of the many museums in NYC. You can even score tickets to some of the best Broadway shows, concerts and sports games without breaking the bank. No matter how tight your budget is, there’s something for you on this list.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to cheap things to do in NYC
The 100 best things to do in New York under $100
Beyond the iconic, show-stopping displays–the grizzly bear in the Hall of North American Mammals, the 94-feet long blue whale, the prehistoric Barosaurus skeleton rearing up as if to scare the adjacent Allosaurus skeleton–is an expertly curated, 150 year old-plus museum that fills visitors of all ages with a curiosity about the universe. Whether you’re interested in the world below our feet, or the cultures of faraway lands or the stars light-years beyond our reach, your visit is bound to teach you a few things you never knew. $22 per person
One heralded as the "Showplace of the Nation," this famed Rockefeller Center venue has razzle-dazzled patrons since the 1930s with its elaborate Art Deco details, massive stage and theatrics. Though best known as the home of the Christmas Spectacular, which stars the high-kicking Rockettes and a full cast of nativity animals, many musicians consider Radio City a dream stage to perform on, including a recent extended stay from Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett. No matter what you see, just sitting in those seats is awe-inspiring. Tickets start at $33
It would take multiple visits to fully appreciate this sprawling–as in 13 acres sprawling–collection of over 5,000 years of art from every corner of the world. As one of the biggest museums in the world, the gorgeous late 19th century neo-classical institution displays some of the finest examples of art spanning from mummified royalty of ancient times to avant garde fashion couture from last year’s runway. Visitors young and old are mesmerized by the Temple of Dendur, an Egyptian temple from 10 B.C. that was transposed from its Nile-side location to the bright, sun drenched Sackler Wing overlooking a reflective pool. After hours of exploring, relax by a fountain in the indoor sculpture garden or ponder what it all means in the Astor Chinese Garden Court, nestled off the Asian Art galleries. $25 per person
There’s no way you could explore all 843 acres of Central Park on foot. Not in one day or even one weekend. To take in as much of the park as possible, rent a bike and cycle up and down the serene paths. You’ll see it all: waterfalls, castles, carousels, bridges and more. $8 per person
Take a walk in the area south of Broome Street and east of Lafayette, and you’ll feel as though you’ve entered not just a different country but a different continent. Mott and Grand Streets are lined with stands selling exotic foodstuffs such as live eels, square watermelons and hairy rambutans. Plus, Chinatown offers some of the best restaurants in the city—although out-of-towners can rarely find them. To be sure you're tasting the best, sign up for a guided food tour. It's worth it for the samples alone. $60 per person
While there is much debate on how Wall Street originally got its name–some claim it was because of a wall the Dutch erected to keep Native Americans away from their growing colony at the southern tip of Manhattan, while others believe it to be an Anglicization of a common Dutch surname–few people can argue what the street’s name is synonymous with today: wealth and capitalism. Since the late 19th century, Wall Street has been home to many of the city’s most important financial institutions and stock exchanges, including the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ. Lean about the markets, banking history, and the lavish Wolf of Wall Street lifestyle on a guided tour. $35 per person
Formerly an industrial area, Chelsea has now become a hotspot for art galleries. Warehouses and garages now play host to museum-quality exhibitions. Navigating the endless options yourself could take ages, so why not let your tour guide do the hard work for you? $25 per person
While the Guggenheim’s collection of modern art is certainly impressive, it is impossible to separate the museum’s contents from its form with architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s brilliant and controversial design. Opened just months after Wright’s death in 1959, the concrete inverted ziggernaut (a Babylonian step pyramid), stomped on the expectations and tradition of clean square galleries exemplified and cherished by the neighboring Upper East Side museums, like the nearby Metropolitan Museum. Instead Wright combined his use of geometric shapes and nature, to create a gallery space that presented art along a flowing, winding spiral, much like a nautilus shell, with little in the way of walls to separate artists, ideas or time periods. Best experienced as Wright intended by taking the elevator to the top of the museum and following the gentle slope down, the art is revealed at different angles along the descent and across the open circular rotunda in a way that even the most well known Monet landscape might seem like a revelation. $25 per person
Let the world believe the Empire State Building has the best view of New York City–it keeps the crowds slightly more manageable at 30 Rockefeller Center’s spectacular open air observation deck. The bird’s eye view of Gotham from 70 stories up allows visitors to not only see other landmark skyscrapers around midtown–including the aforementioned Empire State building–but also to see the full sprawl of Central Park. If you’re willing to spend a little more, don’t forget to dress up and stop by the Rainbow Room–the historic lounge on the 65th floor–for exceptional cocktails, fine dining, live music and spectacular sightlines that rival the deck’s, albeit a few stories lower. $34 per person
There is no place in New York that better welcomes commuters to the Big Apple than this gorgeous Beaux-Arts train station. For the past century, the 44 platforms–the most of any train station in the world–have kept New Yorkers rolling in and out of the city with 700,000 commuters walking through it’s storied halls each day. The grandiose station is packed with significant architectural features—an audio tour gives you the highlights. $9 per person
Looking for more things to do?
From Brooklyn to the Bronx, we've mapped out the very best things to do in NYC as chosen by you! Whether you're looking for an awesome new hang out spot, one of the best clubs in NYC or just some good free things to do in NYC (including plenty of delicious cheap eats), look no further than our curated list of happenings for the guaranteed best time, no matter the borough.