It’s official… New York is the most expensive city in the world according to the 2022 Economist Intelligence Unit’s survey. So I thought it would be helpful to share some money saving tips that will hopefully help you while you’re on holiday in NYC!
I also asked our Instagram community to share some tips they picked up, so feel free to have a read of them, at the end of this post.
My guess is that you’ll spend most of your spending money on food! If you were to eat out in NYC 3 times a day, every day, it would seriously cost you! So to switch it up a bit, and give yourselves a little break from the bills, here are some food tips:
- Food trucks: Don’t fear the food trucks! The food is delicious. I recommend the halal trucks for a lamb/chicken over rice or salad and the bacon, egg and cheese rolls (NYC rolls are basically Irish baps)! The coffee isn’t bad at all either.
- Chinatown: Chinese is my favourite food! You’ll find some of the best Chinese food in Chinatown and it’s such a cool place to walk around!
- Benares: A delicious Indian restaurant in Tribeca. For the location and the quality of the food, it’s very reasonably priced.
- Pizza at John’s: The best pizza in New York City (according to yours truly) is the meatball pizza from John’s on Bleecker Street (no other pizza on the menu will do!).
- Joe & the Juice: The “rye” sandwiches and the coffee are delicious. It’s also a good option if you’re looking for something healthy.
- Street Markets: On Sundays, as part of the city’s “Open Streets” program, some streets are pedestrianised. There are loads of food vendors, some of which are from local restaurants, and the food is usually very good.
- Consider Sharing: Everything is bigger in the US including the food portions! Before you order, have a look around to see what the portion sizes are like, you might prefer to share.
Observation Decks in NYC
In my opinion, you do not need to do all of the observation decks, one is enough. Here are my thoughts on the most popular:
- Top of the Rock: The view just can’t be beaten in my opinion. The difference here is that the Empire State is in your view as well as my fave… Central Park!
- Empire State Building: I really loved the audio tour. I learned a lot about New York as well as the positive impact Irish immigrants had on the city.
- The Edge: Darren loved it! I didn’t go because I’m not great with edges or glass floors 😮
- The Summit: I wasn’t a fan of The Summit at all (sensory overload! lol) and it didn’t help that it was foggy.
- One World Trade: The view is incredible but to be honest, I think it might be too high to really experience the skyline. With the others, you’re a lot closer to the skyline so you can see it better (I hope that makes sense…). Also, one of our favourite restaurants “The Manhatta” shares a similar view with One World Trade. The food and drinks are fabulous, so I would recommend that instead.
Besides the observation decks, there are many cheaper, and even free, ways to experience the famous New York City skyline. Here are some recommendations:
- Pier A in Hoboken (in New Jersey): Get the ferry from Battery Park City (if you’re Downtown) or from the W. 39th St. ferry terminal (if you’re in Midtown).
- Staten Island Ferry: You’ll see the Statue of Liberty for FREE!
- Greenpoint (waterfront) in Brooklyn: Get the water ferry from Wall Street (if you’re downtown) or from the ferry terminal at E. 34th St. (if you’re in midtown).
- NYC Ferry: The NYC Ferry is the cheapest way to see the skyline by water. It costs the same price as the subway and, if you get it from Wall Street to Uptown or across to Brooklyn, it will go under the Brooklyn Bridge!
NY City Passes
The City Passes are not something I’ve ever used. They could save you a lot of money OR they could be a total waste. It really depends on what you’re looking to do. So I always recommend writing out your “must do” list and then adding up how much it will all cost. Then, see how many of those “must do” attractions are included by the City Pass. That way you can see if you’re saving or not.
Before you book anything “touristy” in New York, I highly recommend you search the Groupon website. They do deals all of the time on New York attractions including the observation decks, bus and walking tours, and the museums.
Shopping in NYC
Between the exchange rate, inflation and the nearly 9% sales tax in New York, the shopping here is not what it was back when Darren and I first started visiting in 2010! Big ticket items, like designer bags and shoes, work out significantly more expensive here and so does almost everything else. There are obviously exceptions to this but I’m speaking (writing :p) generally.
My point is, I wouldn’t be waiting to shop in New York, it will more than likely cost you more compared to shopping in Ireland. I also think there are so many better ways to spend your time here than in the shops but that’s just my opinion (“,).
If you’re looking for some bargains, Jersey Gardens and Woodbury Common are very popular outlets. I prefer Woodbury Common, I find Jersey Gardens very overwhelming (it is HUGE). Macy’s also does great deals so it’s worth popping in there.
I’ve a whole blog post on Broadway recommendations here but in short, you don’t need to pay full price for your Broadway tickets and you don’t need to queue at TKTS, on the day of the show, to bag discounted ones.
We use an app called “Today Tix” for discounted tickets. If you subscribe to their emails, which I highly recommend you do, you’ll receive offers and sales notifications.
We use an app/ website called “GameTime” for discounted tickets on sports events. Unfortunately, I’ve been advised you can’t access this app from Ireland, so you may have to wait until you’re here to book.
Free Things to do in New York City
Honestly, the very best things to do in New York are FREE. I have a full list of them here.
- Walk: My #1 tip for those visiting New York is to WALK EVERYWHERE! You literally never know what or who you’re going to see and you’ll feel like you’re in a movie lol!
- Subway: During the day, grab the subway to those places you can’t walk (it gets a bit “animated” at night).
- Yellow Taxis: Use the yellow taxis, rather than the likes of Uber and Lyft, which are much more expensive.
- NYC Ferry: I mentioned this above, but in case you skipped to this part, this is the best way to get to the likes of Brooklyn and New Jersey and the cheapest way to see the skyline from the water!
- Airport Transfers: The subway is the cheapest way to get to and from the airports but the yellow taxis are definitely the most convenient, especially if you’ve luggage. Depending on which airport you’re going to/ coming from, you can expect to pay between $60 and $80 (plus tip). NB: please don’t accept offers for transfers from random people in the airport. Follow the airport signs for “Taxis” (you want to take the yellow ones).
- Renting a Car: Sometimes renting a car can be cheaper than tour operators! We use ZipCar and Turo, they’re both very handy.
Tips from our Instagram Community
I asked our Instagram community to share any tips they’ve picked up and I’ve included some of them below (thank you all!!!). Some of the tips I gave above were submitted so I didn’t include those again.
- Dollar pizza slices.
- Consider adding breakfast to your hotel reservations because breakfast out is expensive.
- Bring snacks with you (cereal bars, etc.).
- Consider a 7 day subway pass.
- Get the subway to and from airports.
- “Never order a starter, meals are huge!”
- Get drinks from places like McDonalds rather than in the shops.
I hope you find the above helpful and if you have any other tips, please write them below!
Thanks for reading,