MEGAGUIDE for Broke Bastards: How to Survive New York City When You Have No Money

Ofcourse, New York is awesome, but it can also wear you down financially in the blink of an eye. But your smart ass found it’s way to this MEGAGUIDE to New York for broke bastards, so no worries for you my friend. Here we go.

Free (or very cheap) sights, culture and activities
  • Free Museums
    • MoMA // Free on early Friday nights. The queue seems endless, but isn’t that bad if you keep in mind all the dollahs you’re saving. Find out the drill. Oh, and while you’re there, work your way through MoMA top down instead of bottom up to avoid the main crowds.
    • Museum @ FIT // Small, but great place for all the fashionjunkies out there. Con: make sure you keep your cellular device in your pocket and don’t even think about taking any pictures because the security guard WILL hunt you down. Kidding aside, entrance is always free though. Plus, the collection at the Fashion Institute of Technology is amazing most of the time.
    • 9/11 Memorial Museum // Memorial plaza alone is already breathtaking and free, but with a little bit of planning ahead, museum entrance is free as well. Opt for Tuesday night (5PM – 8PM) tickets (always reserve in advance).
    • Sony Wonder Technology Lab // Great for children, but also great for the gadget minded who want to let their inner geek out. Play around in tech-heaven all day long.
    • Check out GoNYC for more information about museum admissions. There’s a list of great, free (more authentic) museums that will never end.
  • Free Culture
    • Summer Screenings // Movie lover? Aw, you lucky thing! During summer, the City of New York offers tons of FREE screenings in the parks and in the streets of New York. Once it is the time, check out websites like NYC Parks or Time Out for a more detailed movie guide.
    • Free Music // Not only can you treat your eyes to free beauty, there’s also a lot of free prettiness for the ears. Go to for a list of all free concerts in town.
    • NY Public Library // If you decide to go touristy with a camera and take stunning pictures of the beautiful building, NYPL is more of a sight. If you decide to go native and read a book in the Rose Main Reading Room (you’re Carrie! you’re Carrie!), it’s pure culture!

The New York Baby - Rose Main Reading Room









  • Free Sights
    • Statue of Liberty // Why pay a ***load of money when you could actually get a pretty good look for free? Nah, I don’t know either. The Staten Island Ferry takes you across the Hudson for free. If that isn’t attraction enough on its own for you, then let me mention that Lady Liberty will be waiting in the water for you somewhere during the ride.
    • The High Line // One of the all-time favorite attractions New York has to offer. The High Line is an above the ground park, in the surroundings of the very cool Chelsea architecture. Check out High Line Art for current art projects in the park, and you’re done.
    • Grand Central Terminal // Being one of the biggest train stations in the world and all, Grand Central is one hell of a go-see. It’s that kinda spot that doesn’t cost a dime, but with it’s pace, dynamics, beautiful architecture, hidden treasures (I say: Whispering Galleries) and hugeass foodcourt, it’s worth a million. Don’t forget to check out the free tour possibilities.
    • Brooklyn Botanical Gardens // Surround yourself with some greens on Tuesdays or Saturday mornings (’cause that’s when it’s free, duh).
    • Coney Island // Stroll the boardwalk, eat hot dogs at Nathan’s and maybe even catch a ride.
    • Brooklyn Bridge // Walk it, stroll it, bike it, board it.
    • Roosevelt Island // Even if your not interested in Roosevelt Island itself, the trip that gets you there alone is already worth it. An aerial tramway that takes you to the Island offers awesome views for just $2,75 (that’s right, the cost of a regular metrocard). So hop on and get lifted.

The New York Baby - Roosevelt Aerial Tramway


  • Free Activities
    • Attend a live taping (or at least try to) // New York is the hometown of the late night talk shows, and lucky you, most of them are free to attend. So get in line and let Jimmy entertain you. Here’s how to try for tickets. For more suggestions: Google is your friend.
    • Kayak the Hudson river // Visit Down the Boathouse for free kayaks.
    • Bronx Zoo // Feeling like soaking up a little fauna? Visit the Bronx Zoo on a Wednesday and it doesn’t even set you back a dime.

TIP! NYCGO is a great source for checking what’s up, so make sure to take a look and plan visiting free events in the City in advance.

Cheap Shopping

Cheap shopping in New York is like Utopia: everyone knows it’s heaven and everyone knows it doesn’t exist. Fashionista has made a great thrift shop list that comes close though.

TIP! Go strolling around some Farmers Markets and indulge yourself in the delicious samples they are offering you. Go to Markets of New York for an overview of some fine marketplaces not to miss.

Cheap Foods
  • One word: PIZZA! Head to just about any corner and grab a slice. It will set you back $5 at the most and it will never be bad because it is, ofcourse, New York’s signature food.
  • Feeling a little bit more sophisticated today? Then please check out Time Out for a perfect listing of cheap foods categorized by kind of food, neighborhood and more.
  • Don’t forget about them food trucks // New York is literally loaded with them. Prepare yourself and see where they are located before you even get out the door @ Roaming Hunger or NYC Truck Food
The New York Baby - Wafels & Dinges
I am a little biased (since Belgium lies next to the Netherlands), but these delicious ‘Waffles & Dinges’ waffles from Belgian descent you should definitely try!

TIP! For cheap meals check out (one of the best foodiewebsites I’ve ever seen. It offers not only the best restaurants with cheap eats under $10, it also offers complete themed guides about where to eat. I swear this is cheapo heaven.

Not in the mood to screen all these heavenly options? Congratulations! These are the best cheap suggestions for the empty stomach: Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings // Ivan Ramen // Cocoron // Hale & Hearty // Veniero’s // Glasers Bakeshop // Snowdays // Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company // Empanada Mama // Doughnut Plant // Taqueria Diana // Cheeky Sandwiches // Prosperity Dumpling // Artichoke Pizza // Beyond Sushi //

Cheap Sleeps

I won’t bore you with tips like “you should go couchsurfing” or “visit during low-season”. No. There actually IS a normal hotel, downtown Manhattan that’s pretty affordable for City standards. On East 51st St (or 39th if you want to go low) you will find the Pod Hotel, a great, almost luxury hotel (ok, I might be exaggerating a little) in the midst of all happenings. They were also very, very helpful when it came to me being a superstupid tourist losing her passport in the middle of the New York streets.

The New York Baby - The Pod Hotel

Furthermore, don’t forget the option to broaden your horizon and take a look at staying in one of the other borrows. Especially if it’s not your first time around, it could work refreshing to see the City in a Queens or Bronx perspective. How local!

Cheap Getarounds

The best way to not molest your feet and still get around for almost nothing is ofcourse public transportation. With a 7 day pass for around $30,- dollars, the subway system will get you about everywhere. The best part? These metros run all day long!


In a 7 days for $100,- New York guide, Broke Tourist shows you how you can stay in the city for a week on a $100 dollar budget, without sleeping on the streets or flipping garbage cans upside down.

Sources: Thrillist // My Domaine // Creating Really Awesome Free Things // Broke Tourist // To Europe and Beyond



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