10 cheap New York attractions under $25

Thank goodness for cheap New York attractions like museums and parks that offer plenty to do without emptying your wallet
MoMA Sculpture Garden
Photograph: Shutterstock
By Annalise Mantz and Time Out contributors |
Advertising

Consider this list of cheap New York attractions under $25 your guide to exploring NYC on a budget. Remaining thrifty while visiting NYC isn’t as difficult as you might think. Many of the iconic landmarks we think of when we think of Gotham don’t cost a thing to visit and all NYC parks are blessedly free. You can also often find cheap ways to get into art museums, even if you aren’t around for any of the free museum days in NYC. Skip the pricey bus tours and stick to these cheap New York attractions! Your wallet will thank you.

RECOMMENDED: Full list of cheap things to do in NYC

Cheap New York attractions under $25

Central Park
Photograph: Shutterstock

Central Park

The best way to experience as much of Central Park’s natural beauty as possible over one trip is undoubtedly by bike. Pick up a rental and spend a few hours riding to landmarks like the Loeb Boathouse, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir and Strawberry Fields. Just be sure to ask for a lock so you can park your bike and explore on foot when the mood strikes. $8

Grand Central
Photograph: Shutterstock

Grand Central Terminal

With its star-spangled ceiling, imposing clocks and elegant Beaux Arts structure, Grand Central Terminal qualifies as a bona fide architectural landmark. Though you can certainly marvel at the building’s gorgeous lines on your own, a little history and background information helps you take even more away from a visit. Rent a headset for a half-hour audio tour so you can get the full backstory of this iconic building. $9

Advertising
New York attractions
Photograph: Jessica Lin
Shopping, Department stores

Macy’s Herald Square

icon-location-pin Midtown West

It’s true that there’s no entry fee required to visit Macy’s iconic flagship store, but browsing on your own doesn’t really give you a sense of the place’s history. Shopaholics might want to join one of the official tours to learn the ins and outs of the 11-story behemoth. Your guide will give you the scoop on the wooden elevators, original layout and beloved Christmas displays. $12

Attractions, Monuments and memorials

National September 11 Memorial

icon-location-pin Financial District

The two reflecting pools at One World Trade Center serve as a somber reminder of the tragedy of September 11, 2001. Visiting the breathtaking memorial is a must for any traveler. To fully grasp the history and symbolism of the site, join a two-hour walking tour. The expert guide will explain the architectural significance of the pools and share some little known facts about the memorial before leaving you free time to pay your respects. $19

Advertising
New York Botanical Garden
Photograph: Shutterstock
Attractions, Parks and gardens

New York Botanical Garden

icon-location-pin The Bronx

The second you step through the gates of the New York Botanical Garden, you’ll forget that youre in the Bronx—or anywhere in the five boroughs, for that matter. The 250-acre retreat is filled to bursting with flora and fauna from all over the world. You could easily spend an entire day exploring the Haupt Conservancy and the extensive grounds, so the ticket price is well worth it. $20

New York attractions
Photograph: Alex Strada
Museums, History

New-York Historical Society

icon-location-pin Upper West Side

For some Gotham-centric history, look no further than the New-York Historical Society. Artifacts on view include 100 Tiffany lamps, Victorian toys and games, 15 historic carriages, and signed copies of the Emancipation Proclamation, the Thirteenth Amendment and the Constitution. Adult tickets go for $20, but if you’re going with a few friends, you may want to check Groupon for discounted group tickets. $20

Advertising
Attractions, Parks and gardens

Prospect Park

icon-location-pin Prospect Park

Central Park’s Brooklyn counterpart isn’t quite as big (only 526 acres), but plumbing its depths can still feel like a gargantuan task on your own. Sign up for a guided foraging hike led by self-described “wildman” Steve Brill to wander some of the less popular areas over four hours. He’ll show you how to pick out wild, seasonal foods like oyster mushrooms, burdock root, and sweet parsnips along the way. $20

American Museum of Natural History
Photograph: Marielle Solan
Museums, Science and technology

American Museum of Natural History

icon-location-pin Upper West Side

Between the 94-foot blue whale and the 122-foot Titanosaur fossil, the exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History have some serious wow factor. Take in the wonders of the animal kingdom at this mainstay on the Upper West Side. But buyer beware: Once you start adding on special exhibits and visits to the Hayden Planetarium, the ticket price goes up quick. You’re better off sticking to the general admission price for the sake of your budget. $21.99

Advertising
MoMA Sculpture garden and design rooms
Photograph: Michael Kirby
Museums, Art and design

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

icon-location-pin Midtown West

As the country’s premier museum devoted to modern art, MoMA always draws quite a crowd—particularly during free admission hours on Friday nights from 4pm to 8pm. Those looking to spend a little more time taking in Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night or Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans might want to spring for the full-priced ticket with skip-the-line access. Since it also includes admission to MoMA PS1 within 14 days of your first visit, it’s well worth the money. $25

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Photograph: Wendy Connett
Museums, Art and design

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

icon-location-pin Central Park

The sprawling, 13-acre museum on the eastern edge of Central Park has the most encyclopedic collection of art in the city. Start in 8,000 B.C. with carved alabaster beads, work your way through the famed Egyptian galleries, then move into the exquisite collection of ornate Medieval altarpieces and forward through history. Though the museum used to only charge a suggested donation of $25, it recently restricted that policy to New York state residents and New York, New Jersey and Connecticut students. Even though tourists will have to pay the full admission fee, your ticket still gets you into three museums for the price of one: Use it to get free same-day admission to the Met Breuer and the Met Cloisters as well as the original Fifth Avenue museum. $25

Looking for more cheap things to do?

Advertising