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How to have the best day in New York City for $40

From cheap eats to free museum exhibits, here’s your ideal-scenario itinerary when you’ve got 40 bucks in your pocket

New York skyline
Photograph: Shutterstock
Written by Time Out for Visible |
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If you live in New York, you know that at least $20 is deleted from your pocket almost any time you walk out onto the street. No matter how you slice that pie, it never seems to be enough. Iced coffee? That’ll be $6, please. An Uber downtown? There goes another $10. And good luck finding lunch for less than four bucks in Manhattan.

But what if you shelled out an extra 20? For just $40, a fantastic day in the city is well within reach, whether your priority is eating at the best cheap-eats joints in town, taking a nature break in Central Park, or checking out a free art exhibit.

Incidentally, $40 also gets you unlimited messages, minutes, and data at speeds up to 5 Mbps on Verizon’s 4G LTE Network—thanks to Visible: a new consumer-centric app-based phone service saving you lots of time (and money) so you can enjoy a day out on the town. Simply download the user-friendly app and forget the hard-to-navigate phone plans, complicated bills, and clunky terms and conditions.

In the spirit of maximizing our newfound time, we’ve teamed up with Visible to show you the real magic of $40 in New York City. Here’s the perfect forty-buck itinerary for tourists and locals alike.

10am: Pick up a bagel at the Time Out-approved standby Ess-a-Bagel. Cost: $1.35

12pm: Explore the flora and foliage at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. On Fridays from 8am to noon, admission is free. Cost: Free

1pm: Enjoy lunch at New York’s oldest dim sum hotspot, Nom Wah Tea Parlor, open in Chinatown since 1920. We highly recommend the house dumplings in soup ($6), the rice roll ($3) and the house special roast pork bun ($4.95). Cost: $13.95
3pm: Soak up contemporary art at MoMA PS1, the Long Island City, Queens outpost of the Museum of Modern Art. Cost: Free (for New York residents)

5pm: People-watch at Central Park’s Sheep Meadow, a 15-acre spread of grassy field ideal for a picnic. Toss a frisbee or just lay out on the grass to catch a tan. Cost: Free

6:30pm: Sip on five-dollar happy hour margaritas at the tequila-and-mezcal temple Casa Agave. Note that the discounted price only applies to your first round. Cost: $5

9pm: Grab a late dinner at NYC’s homegrown burger chain Shake Shack. Don’t forget to consult our handy guide to every Shake Shack item, ranked. Cost: $8

11pm: Head to Club Cumming for a gratis cabaret show. Hosted by industry legend Catherine Cohen and piano maven Henry Koperski, the show recalls the arts-forward East Village of yesteryear. Cost: Free

Travel costs: Our itinerary takes into account four subway rides, at a rate of $2.75 per ride.

Total cost: $39.30.

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