Planned Trips: NYC

by Kevin on February 12, 2008

We are planning a trip to New York City in December of this year. We are consistently saving up for it with an end goal of having $3,000 by the end of August. We’re putting away $200 per month for it, and are right on target to wrap up saving in August.

We want this trip to be memorable, of course. On the other hand, we want to be as “travel frugal” as possible to get the most bang for our buck. We’re not going to be cheap about it because this is probably the only time we’ll ever go to NYC. We’re not afraid to drop some money on something really special, but we’re not here to see how quickly we can blow through the money. We are planning on staying 5 or 6 nights, if possible.

Some ideas we had. Do you know how much some of these activities might cost?

  • Statue of Liberty
  • Grand Central Station
  • Rockefeller Center
  • Broadway
  • Central Park (we want to go ice skating :))
  • Empire State Building
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim
  • Times Square
  • WTC Site
  • Radio City Music Hall
  • Wall Street
  • China Town
  • seeing The New York Philharmonic
  • shopping in general
  • great, unique restaurants
  • Maybe we’ll get lucky and see the Cash Cab…

We have no idea where we might stay. So I’m asking you — if you were going to New York City, where you would you stay, what would you do, and how much it would cost you?

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April 25, 2008 at 7:01 am

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Ricky February 12, 2008 at 9:43 am

The Unofficial Guide To New York City. $7.98 at http://www.powells.com. Money well spent my friend.

Nuggie99 February 12, 2008 at 11:05 am

You like sports? I’d take in a Yankees game, or a Mets game. According to the website, bleacher seats were 14 bucks for the Yankees. The Mets are concentrating on selling packages, but I’d expect it would be about the same.

FranticWoman February 12, 2008 at 1:51 pm

A Broadway show usually runs about $120 full price for the first level. Balcony is cheaper but you will not hear or see anything. I dont enjoy it up there so I pay more to really enjoy it.

To save -if buying ahead of time:
http://www.theatermania.com/discounts/

I’ve gotten tix for 1/2 price or so. Availability is limited though. You might not get your first choice.

Once you are in NYC, you can wait in line at the Tkts booth in Times Square. May take 2+ hrs in line (i enjoy it, and gladly do it, you meet sooooo many ppl that way). Tix can run 30-50% off list price, good for that day only. They have a matinee and evening line. Dont go in the morning unless matinee is OK for you. Again, availability is limited – very limited. The booth keepers also will not tell you what any shows are about and you might have only heard of 15% of them.

Conceirges in your hotel also have tickets – usually 30% off or so of the full price. They usually have the best shows. If you go this route, inquire as soon as you check in. The good ones get gobbled up.

And most of alll….enjoy your trip!

FranticWoman February 12, 2008 at 1:54 pm

I went to MOMA this past summer.
Cost: $20. Get there early. We waited in line over one hour when we arrived as the doors were opening (at 11:00 I think?)

FranticWoman February 12, 2008 at 1:58 pm

If you go to NYC in Dec – hotel rooms are 2 or 3xs the norm. THe hotel season starts this drive up. I would highly recommend you reconsider, or at least compare prices.

I usually stay at The Skyline. Right now I can get a big room with two beds for under $200. In early Dec., same room was $450+.

I find Jan and Feb the cheapest months for hotels.

Also – it is very hard to find affordable hotel rooms with more than one bed. I keep ending up at the Skyline simply because many rooms are two beds without a huge increase in rate.

I’ve never been to your blog before so I dont know if you are a family, a couple, etc…so I dont know how to tailor my responses to your needs.

(sorry for all the comments…I reread your list and then think of something else that is useful)

FranticWoman February 12, 2008 at 3:37 pm

ugh, edit above comment. HOLIDAY season (not hotel season) drives the rate way up Nov/Dec. but oooh does NYC do the holidays nice.

Nuggie99 February 12, 2008 at 6:45 pm

Duh. I read that as going in August instead of having the money in August.

Brad Ford February 12, 2008 at 6:58 pm

In December, weekend rates for hotels are off the charts. NYC is an extremely expensive city. If you have hotel miles, use them.

Broadway – Go to the TKTS booth. Otherwise, you are looking at $100 per ticket. They only take cash.

Radio City – Christmas Spectacular – great show. You can usually find a discount online.

Bridget February 21, 2008 at 11:13 am

I’m new to your blog, so I don’t know all your likes and dislikes. But when I went to New York I really loved the chance to look at architecture and the food available. The museums were fabulous too – I don’t know if any of them still have free days. The New York Public Library is beautiful (and free), and Grand Central Station was amazing too.

If you are a book shopper, there are tons of great book stores, especially The Strand.

Amber February 22, 2008 at 10:52 pm

A lot of the stuff you have listed is free. Also, a lot of the museums will have free days or hours, so decide which ones you want to go to, then check out their websites. The Metropolitan has a “suggested donation” to enter, but if you have the nerve, you don’t have to pay it.

I would suggest grouping your activities into geographic areas, that way you can walk around, instead of taking the subway or a cab. You get to see more stuff that way. Also, get a 7-day unlimited ride metrocard for the subway – $24 (the equivalent of 12 rides) – otherwise, you’re spending $2 per ride and it’s most likely that you will do more than that in a week, particularly if the weather is not so nice.

Finally, food. There’s a great website (www.menupages.com) that I used all the time when I lived in NY. You can search for restaurants by cuisine and neighborhood, and it tells you the price range. I’ve found that in general the reviews are pretty accurate. Also, I hope that you don’t, but if you want to eat at McDonald’s or some other such chain, avoid the ones on the major tourist thoroughfares (Broadway, etc.). They charge more than the ones on the sidestreets because of all the tourists.

I hope you have fun!

Rem March 18, 2008 at 9:04 pm

check out VRBO.com; you might find cheaper lodging there.

Mark @ TheLocoMono June 7, 2008 at 1:18 pm

Being a frequent visitor to NYC from out of town, I would recommend looking into Candlewood Suites in Jersey City, it is just across the river. It is one of those apartment style hotels where you can cook in the comforts of your room.

Look at it this way, if you are going for a whole week, you could take a few minutes to prepare a picnic in your “kitchen” to eat in Central Park or at the Met. Breakfast would certainly be cheaper since you can make it in your room. There’s a nearby BJ and ShopRite store with good quantity of food and prices.

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