This article was published on July 21st, 2013
Budget-conscious travellers are always looking for fun things to do while on vacation. While New York is perceived to be an expense place to visit, it doesn’t have to be. There are so many things to see and do at little or no cost.
Start off by getting a weekend transit pass. This will give you the ability to tour the city and get to many sites quickly and easily. Most places in Manhattan are within walking distance or a quick subway ride away.
The first must-do on any trip to New York is a stroll through Times Square. From the moment you arrive it becomes overwhelming – the bright lights, giant screens, thousands of people, and “worlds largest” everything all within just a few blocks – it is an experience you’ll never forget.
Next, head to Central Park for a stroll through the largest urban park. Just outside of Central Park, on the south-west corner is one of the many towers owned by Donald Trump. It’s right next to Columbus Circle, another great place to visit, with water fountains and benches. Central Park has lots of great places of interest to see, including Imagine circle, a tribute to John Lennon, who was fatally shot in his home right across the street. Central Park has great grassy areas perfect for picnics. Throughout the summer there are any free events and festivals too.
Along your subway journey’s, stop off at Grand Central Station. Inside you’ll find a Rolex clock worth thousands of dollars, which has been keeping time in the historic stations for decades. You’ll also want to look up at the ceiling. Recently a restoration was done on the famed station, which had coal-burning steam-trains passing through for years. When the renovation was done on the ceiling, crews discovered the ceiling had a beautiful mural hidden from years of coal dust and smoke with had turned the ceiling black. Now fully restored, the ceiling is an amazing piece of art once again crowing the station.
Make Brooklyn Bridge part of your afternoon plans. Not only is the bridge and important gateway to the city, it’s also a beautiful piece of architecture. There are fantastic views of lower Manhattan. Imagine as you walk up the bridge how many thousands of people walked the bridge on September 11, 2001 as the World Trade Center buildings came crashing down. It’s a powerful feeling.
Speaking of the World Trade Centre, about a 10 minute walk from Brooklyn Bridge is Ground Zero, which is currently being redeveloped. You don’t have to stand in line and pay to see the monument and fountains at Ground Zero; instead, go see the new Freedom Tower. It’s very impressive, as it reaches high above the skyline.
Also located near Ground Zero is the American and New York Stock Exchanges. The famous “Bull” is where visitors go to get their photo taken with the iconic statue, which is also free to the public.
Take the ferry from south Manhattan over to Governor’s Island. On the way over there are great views of Brooklyn. Once on the island you can get up-close views of the Statue of Liberty. On the ferry ride back, the classic skyline image of New York City is right in front of you. It’s breathtaking.
Jump on the subway and head to Highline Park. Originally an elevated train track, it has recently been converted to a park. The heritage of the railway has cleverly been incorporated throughout. It’s a great spot to relax and enjoy a cold bottle of water and a snack.
From Highline Park head to Chelsea Market. Inside you’ll find an amazing selection of hand-crafted artisan pieces, fresh baked bread, hand-made sandwiches, and other great locally made items.
Finally, end your day with a walk down Christopher Street to see the world-famous Stonewall Inn. This is the site of the horrendous Stonewall Riots, which took place June 27-29, 1969. These riots would become the birthplace of the modern gay and lesbian rights movement.
A good tip for visitors is not to purchase souvenirs and gifts at the gift shops at tourist attractions. There are hundreds of stores throughout Manhattan that offer the same or similar souvenir items at a fraction of the price that you can bring back for your own memories, or as gifts for friends and family.
There you have it! A jam-packed weekend in New York, to important sites, landmarks and places, all at little or no cost!