How To Explore NYC On $100 & Still Have The Time Of Your Life (Because It's Possible)

by Kristin Corpuz

It's no secret that New York City can be ridiculously expensive. Going out for drinks can make your wallet want to cringe, and the variety of trendy restaurants — although they're delicious — can put a serious dent in your bank account. But when all is said and done, there is only one New York City. And luckily, there are still a ton of things you can do in The Big Apple that won’t break the bank. Here's a little guide on how to explore NYC on $100 so that you can have the time of your life.

Whether you're coming into the city for a day trip or are a resident who's trying to find fun activities, you can definitely find things to do that'll ensure a packed itinerary that won't cost you too much money. You and your friends can split one of those rainbow cakes at Flour Shop (and take pics in front of the rainbow mural), walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, or see a cabaret concert at 54 Below.

I'm pretty sure it's impossible to run out of things to do in NYC, even if you're pinching pennies. Here are a few of my favorite spots to hit up when I'm on a budget but want to have some memorable NYC fun. Pick and choose to create the ultimate itinerary that's $100 or under.

Take In The Views At Top Of The Rock
ACALU Studio / Stocksy

Rise up 70 floors to Top of the Rock, and take in the pristine views of New York City. Being up there is an incredible feeling that can't really be described in words.

Tickets are $39.20, and you can even upgrade to a sunset viewing ticket for $10 more. And if you're willing to drop a little more cash on this experience, the "Sun & Stars" ticket is $54. It allows you to visit the Top of the Rock deck twice in one day so you can experience it in two different ways.

Embrace Your Inner Carrie Bradshaw On The 'Sex And The City' Tour
Getty Images/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

If you've ever wondered what life was like for Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte from Sex and the City, you can get a taste of it on the Sex and the City tour. For $56, you'll visit the bars they drank at, the stores they shopped at, and learn more about your favorite OG gossiping girls.

Stop At The Moxy Times Square For Drinks And Golf
Warren Jagger / Courtesy of Moxy Times Square

If you're longing to visit Times Square, don't leave the area without stopping at Moxy Times Square for a bit. Their rooftop bar, Magic Hour, is a hotspot for locals and tourists alike. Browse the extensive drink menu, and play miniature putt-putt on the Insta-worthy course, if you're game for some healthy competition.

Visit Any Of NYC's Famous Museums

I'm a firm believer that everyone should visit The Met at least once in their life. Adult general admission is only $25, and if you're a NYC resident, consider applying for a state ID so you can visit the museum for free.

Additionally, the famous museums in New York are actually pretty affordable to visit. The Guggenheim is $25 for adults and $18 for students with a valid ID. The MoMA is also $25 for adults, and $14 for full-time students with an ID. The MoMA even offers free admission on Friday nights from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m through their UNIQLO Free Fridays. Admission to the American Museum of Natural History is only $23 for adults and $18 for students.

Watch A Musical Theater Cabaret At 54 Below

If you're really into musical theater and Broadway, 54 Below is the place for you. Broadway legends have all performed their own cabarets on the stage. Ticket prices vary per show, but are often less than $50. Also be sure to check out their late night series (shows that start at 11:30 p.m.), because tickets are often significantly cheaper for those shows.

Snap A Ton Of Pics For The 'Gram In Freeman Alley

If you're into graffiti and street art, Freeman Alley is a must-see. The alley features an ever-changing array of displays from Instagrammable NYC artists, from rainbow hearts to plastered posters. You can snap a pic in front of all of the murals to build up #content that will last for weeks after the trip is over. The best part is that looking at — and taking pictures of — the art is totally free.

If you want to stay in the area for a bite, head to Freemans for a yummy lunch and Morgenstern's for dessert (both of which are moderately priced and will definitely fit within your $100 budget).

Enjoy A Sweet Treat At Flour Shop

Flour Shop is perfect for anyone who has a major sweet tooth. The spot has become famous for its multi-layer rainbow cake with candy literally pouring out of the center. (The smallest size of the Explosion Cake is $150, but if you're splitting between a bunch of friends, then it'll fit in your budget.)

Their other desserts, including their cookie cakes and cake balls, are also worth trying. While there, snap a pic in front of the storefront's iconic rainbow mural or with their giant gummy bears.

Walk The Brooklyn Bridge

The beauty about visiting the Brooklyn Bridge is that it's one of NYC's most famous landmarks, and you can visit it for free. (Or rather, for the price of a subway swipe.)

If you're staying in Manhattan, my advice is to take the subway to the Brooklyn side, and then walk across the bridge back to Manhattan. It's as remarkable a view as they make it seem in the movies, and it'll be an unforgettable trip that you should heavily document on the 'Gram.