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2 Day Trip in New York City on a Budget

How to spend a weekend in New York City if you're traveling on a budget. An itinerary filled with the best free and bargain activities, as well as the best cheap eats in the city.

Day 1

1. Soup Dumplings at Joe's Shanghai | 11 a.m.

46 Bowery St, New York, NY 10013


One of the most popular Chinese restaurants in the city, get here early within the first half hour so that you won't have to wait in sometimes hour long lines. While popular with tourists, many locals still swear by this restaurant and it hasn't lost any of it authenticity. Serving Shanghainese food, be sure to get its famed Xiao Long Bao (or soup dumpling), both in the original pork flavor as well as with the crab roe. The dumplings come hot in a steamer and the proper way is to nibble a bit to drink the soup first before eating the dumpling. The other dishes, including the appetizers like drunken chicken and jellyfish, as well as the Shanghainese noodles are not to be missed. The service is very rushed and curt, but is well worth it for the excellent food.

2. Latest Boba Craze at Tiger Sugar | 12 p.m.

197 Canal St, New York, NY 10013


While in Chinatown, don't miss out on getting some boba as an after-lunch dessert. Imported from Taiwan, Tiger Sugar is famous for its brown sugar boba, which is the latest popular boba of choice. The boba is placed into a cup with milk or milk tea on top and then sealed. When you flip the cup over, the streaks of sugar flow down the cup like a tiger's stripes, hence the name. You're taught to shake the cup 15 times to mix it well. It's a fun and delicious drink to sip on while you walk around and take in the sights of Chinatown.

3. Enjoy the Outdoors at Central Park | 1 p.m.

Take the green or yellow line north to midtown and get off when you get to Central Park South. Enter Central Park, which is one of the largest urban parks, and is a great place to relax, take a walk, and to absorb the lush green scenery. Many will rent a bike to ride through the park or bring a frisbee to play in the fields. For those looking for activities, there is the Central Park Zoo as well as the Carousel and a boathouse by the Lake in the northern part. There is also an ice skating rink during the winter months. Lots of locals and tourists can spend the whole day relaxing here.

4. An Education in Art at the MET | 3:30 p.m.

1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028


Take a break from the outdoors to visit the largest museum in the western hemisphere. The museum takes a suggested donation for entry, but you are free to pay your desired amount. Inside, you'll find halls complete with ancient Greek and Roman art, Renaissance and European paintings, American pieces, modern art, and so much more. Highly recommended are the Monet and Picasso pieces, but there is something here for everyone.

5. When Harry Met Sally at Katz's | 6 p.m.

205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002


Head down to the Lower East Side on the green line to get dinner at Katz's, which is one of the New York institutions. Get the pastrami on rye, which comes in huge portions and is enough to feed two. The pastrami is incredibly tender and flavorful and is a must-eat if you're in New York. The place is also famous for one of the scenes from When Harry Met Sally and they mark the actual table where they sat.