A few weeks ago, my boyfriend visited his parents in Manhattan and seemed on the verge of not coming back to California. I flew out to fetch him from the east coast, and squeezed some tremendous fun into the weekend, all without breaking the bank.
So here’s my list of Things to Do in NYC for less than $20.
- Kayak in the Hudson River. This is run by a non-profit out of Pier 40, you can kayak around the marina and are sheltered from the busy river traffic. You can stash anything you don’t want to get wet in their lockers for free. Cost: Free
- Batting cages at Pier 25. Walking down the esplanade still dripping from our kayaking, my boyfriend gallantly bought us a couple of rounds of pitches. My lifetime batting average was not improved by 60-mph balls hurtling eye-level at me, but it was entertaining and I swear I smelled peanuts and beer nearby. Cost: $2 for 15 pitches
- Play pool on the the outdoor pool tables along the Hudson River promenade. Cost: Free when you show photo ID
- Cruise past the Statue of Liberty. Definitely the most fun way to see NYC’s harbor. Cost: $20
- Explore Red Hook, Brooklyn, one of the last quiet corners of NYC. The water taxi terminal ($10 for a trip to Manhattan) is right next to one of the wonders of the world– Fairway Market. Need 800 cans of baked beans? 300 packs of paper plates? Fairway is the place to go. From the taxi terminal, head down to Coffey Park right on the waterfront, which offers great views of the Statue of Liberty. Cost: Free
Washington Square Park on a sunny day
- Hang out in Washington Square Park. On a hot Sunday afternoon, nothing beats sitting in the fountain, listening to street musicians and people-watching. Cost: Free
- Tour the NYC public library. I hear great things about the reading room in the library at 5th & 42nd, but I was denied entry when Fashion Week took over the building during my visit. Cost: Free
- Celebrity sightings on the street. Ethan Hawke is constantly afoot in the Village, and we also spotted Alan Ruck (Cameron from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off). Cost: Free
- Over on the Viator site there are more than a dozen tours and activities in NYC for less than $20, including a Rockefeller Center Tour, an ‘On Location’ tour to Central Park’s film and movie sites, tickets to the Empire State Building’s observation deck, the Ground Zero Museum Workshop Tour, an NBC Studios tour and more (also check out Viator’s complete list of things to do in New York).
And of course, when you’re back home, you can make a Blurb book with pictures and notes about your trip. Blurb has free software that makes it easy to create your own quality book. I’m putting together a book as a thank-you gift for my hosts for the weekend. Cost: $13 and up.
What are you doing with your travel photos… why not make a Blurb book to show them off? Laura has created a special promo code for all Viator travelers. Simply enter the promo code gotravel on the Blurb checkout to receive $7 off shipping through the end of the year. Thanks Blurb!
If you need a place to stay, check out New York City Hotels on Planetware.com.