New York Itinerary – Budget and Places to Visit in 10 Days
New York City is a dream destination to many. It is home to wonderful museums, historic landmarks, incredible sights and buildings, and iconic tourist attractions. Its vibe, craziness and charm captivate many visitors and tourists alike. One of the greatest cities in the world, it’s also an expensive destination to visit. Hotels and restaurants are pricey. But when you do your research in advance and prepare a New York itinerary ahead of time, affordable New York trip is still possible. There are plenty of ways to save money on a trip to the city. Just like when my friend and I did.
With 18 days in the United States, my friend and I allotted 10 days for New York City. The number of days might look too long just for the city but it has been our greatest dream to visit this place. We also had several tourist spots that we wanted to see; hence, we decided to spend most of our time here. Preparing our New York Itinerary was a little complicated though because we set a budget for our 10-day trip (excluding flight ticket). We had $1,000 (~Php53,000). We took into consideration what are important for us to see and experience in the city and what are the things that we can give up. After searching online for some tips, we were able to come up with a realistic New York itinerary.
Places to Visit in New York City
New York is a vibrant city with lots of things to see and do. It has dozens of attractions, museums, and offers a variety of activities. Following our New York itinerary, here are some of the places we were able to visit.
An urban park that is 843 acres, getting around this park in the heart of Manhattan might need a half or whole day. It features several points of interest for arts, architecture, wildlife and history. The park also has several attractions and leisure tours that visitors will surely enjoy. Some of the places that we’ve visited inside the Central Park were Bethesda Terrace & Fountain, Bow Bridge and Gapstow Bridge. It took three visits for my friend and I to the Central Park to check out those places.
This is one of New York City’s most beloved architectural buildings. It is best known for its distinctive triangular shape that resembles a cast-iron clothing iron. This iconic building is popular for tourists and a great place for photography.
New York Times Square
If there’s one place that made us excited when we were planning for our New York itinerary, then it would be the Times Square. One of the world’s most visited tourist attractions, it is a major commercial area in Midtown Manhattan that has several restaurants, shops, buildings and flashing billboards around it. It is an amazing place even with a busy crowd. Just be cautious though when visiting and avoid those people wearing costumes or Disney characters. I’ve read and heard stories that these people try to rip off tourists.
Times Square is also the hub of the Broadway Theater District in New York.
Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central Terminal is a commuter rail terminal known for its grand façade and main concourse. It features distinctive architecture and interior design that makes it a famous spot for tourists. The train station also offers shops and dining places.
Morgan Museum and Library
Just a short walk from Grand Central, The Morgan Library & Museum is a major exhibition venue for arts, literature and music. It’s a magnificent place with several historical items, unique collections, books and paintings on display.
DUMBO, which is short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, is a neighborhood in New York City borough of Brooklyn. This place offers spectacular views of Manhattan and New York’s beautiful bridges, making it popular for tourists and photographers alike. To avoid the crowd, make sure to visit early.
A major part of our New York itinerary was a visit to the Brooklyn Bridge. It is a suspension bridge connecting the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn. The bridge is a primary symbol of New York providing spectacular views of the city’s skyline. It’s also a famous spot for tourists. One of the activities to do is walking across the bridge.
We walked across the bridge after visiting DUMBO. With several stops for photos, it took us an hour and a half to reach Manhattan Island.
One World Trade Center
One World Trade Center is the main building of the rebuilt World Trade Center complex. It is the tallest building in the United Stated and the sixth tallest in the world. The building features One World Observatory where you can have an incredible view of New York’s iconic skyline.
The complex of One World Trade Center also includes the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. It is located where the original Twin Towers stood.
Statue of Liberty
If there’s one landmark that is easily recognizable that it is New York, then that would be the Statue of Liberty. An iconic national monument, the Statue of Liberty was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States. It is also a universal symbol of freedom and democracy.
Tickets and guided tours to the Statue of Liberty are available. But if you would be satisfied already to just see the monument, I suggest taking the free ferry going to the Staten Island. This is what my friend and I did.
After riding the free ferry to Staten Island and back to Manhattan, my friend and I went to the Wall Street. It is the main street of the Financial District of New York. The area is also famous for its buildings such as the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Halls. Trinity Church and the Charging Bull sculpture are also among the attractions to see in the area.
American Museum of Natural History
New York City is also home to several museums. If you are fond of incredible exhibits and displays and to learn more about the natural history, then a visit to American Museum of Natural History might interest you. One of the largest in the world, this amazing museum features 45 permanent exhibitions and houses millions of artefacts. It is also home to renowned scientific collections and show-stopping displays from dinosaurs to outer space.
Part of our New York itinerary, my friends and I allotted 3 hours for the museum. It is a huge place with four floors showcasing science, nature and history. Some of the highlights inside the museum are the Titanosaur, Fossil Halls, Hall of Biodiversity, and Human Origins and Cultural Halls. General admission ticket to the museum is US $23 per adult. Ticket price for senior, child and student varies.
A famous location in New York City, I dropped by the Rockefeller Center. It is where a seasonal ice rink and the iconic Rockefeller Christmas Tree can be found. The center is also a popular area for shops, boutiques and restaurants. It is also the home to TV studios. Other attractions to check out in the area are the Top of the Rock and Radio City Music Hall.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Located across the street from Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick Cathedral is considered as a prominent landmark in New York. It is a towering Neo-Gothic church with twin spires that reach 330 feet into the sky. It features intricate architecture, rich heritage and history that also mirrors the city itself. The cathedral church is the seat of the archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York.
Lower East Side Tour
A free tour organized by the hostel that we stayed in New York, my friend and I joined the Lower East Side Tour. This tour is about the history of immigration in the neighborhood of Manhattan. We went to some popular areas such as Chinatown and Little Italy. During the tour, we also visited some museums, government offices and other historic places.
The High Line
The High Line is an elevated railway transformed into a public park. The park features lush horticulture, artworks and cultural attractions. It hosts temporary installations and performances. The park also boasts wonderful views of the city and the Hudson River.
It was already on the latter part of our vacation in New York when my friend discovered about this place. It would be nice to walk above the city streets but it was already nighttime when we visited. Nevertheless, we had a nice time checking out some of the areas of the park and taking photos of the busy street below.
These are the places that my friend and I were able to visit. Almost all of these tourist spots are free and easily accessible by subway. There are still a lot to see in New York and activities to do. When making your own New York itinerary, I suggest include the following places; namely, Coney Island, the Observatories at Empire State Building, Top of the Rock, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Guggenheim Museum and Union Square. Watching a Broadway is also one of the highly recommended things to do. Too bad, my friend and I weren’t able to find time to watch any show.
Sample New York Itinerary
Here’s a sample New York itinerary that you may use as a reference when planning for your trip.
- Arrival in New York
- Check in at the hotel
- New York Times Square
- Watch a Broadway show
- American Museum of Natural History
- Central Park
- Brooklyn Bridge
- One World Trade Center
- Charging Bull
- Wall Street
- Statue of Liberty
- Grand Central Terminal
- Flatiron Building
- Union Square Park
- Lower East Side
- Greenwich Village
- Morgan Museum and Library
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Guggenheim Museum
- Rockefeller Center
- Top of the Rock
- St. Patrick’s Cathedral
- Coney Island
- The High Line
- Hell’s Kitchen
- Observatory at Empire State Building
Day 9 to 10
- Side trip to Boston and/or Washington DC
- Flight to Manila, Philippines
Flights – From the Philippines to New York, USA
My friend and I were lucky to be able to save a lot with our flight tickets to the United States. We were able to score a super cheap roundtrip ticket from Hong Kong to Washington DC with Air Canada. Then, from Washington DC we took a bus going to New York. The bus ride is only about 4 to 5 hours. Going to Hong Kong from Manila, we took a Cebu Pacific flight. The total for all our flight tickets was around Php14,000 (~US $265).
To find cheaper fares for flight to New York, you may use the flight search below.
My friend and I stayed in a hostel and an apartment room through Airbnb. These types of accommodation are best options if you are on a budget for your vacation in New York. We stayed for 5 nights in HI Hostel New York, then in an Airbnb apartment in Astoria for 4 nights.
For other stay options in New York, please find accommodations using the Agoda search box below.
Tours – Book through Klook
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New York Itinerary – Budget for 10 Days:
To help you plan out your New York itinerary, here’s the estimated breakdown of our expenses (per person).
- Cebu Pacific roundtrip ticket from Manila to Hong Kong – Php5,000 (US $94)
- Air Canada roundtrip ticket from Hong Kong to Washington DC – Php9,000 (US $170)
- Roundtrip bus ticket from Washington DC to New York – Php2,650 (US $50)
- HI Hostel New York Accommodation for 5 nights in a mixed dorm room – Php13,500 (US $255)
- Airbnb Accommodation for 4 nights (room is good for three persons but the price shown here is already divided by 3) – Php5,800 (US $109)
- New York City Transit 7-day Unlimited Pass – Php3,816 (US $72)
- Uber and Lyft Rides – Php5,300 (US $100)
- American Museum of Natural History General Admission Ticket – Php1,219 (US $23)
- Morgan Museum and Library General Admission Ticket – Php1,166 (US $22)
- Food and Drinks (estimated cost for my breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in 10 days) – Php15,000 (US $283)
- Travel Insurance – Php1,500 (US $28)
- Tep Wireless WiFi Rental – Php3,392 (US $64)
Total per person: Php67,343 (US $1,270)
- Ferry service to Liberty & Ellis Islands if you want to visit Statue of Liberty
- Museum Passes for The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Guggenheim Museum
- Admission Tickets for observatories in Top of the Rock and Empire State Building
- Shopping and souvenir items
- Broadway show
Some General Tips for New York City
- Get the cheapest tickets or test your luck on the digital lottery for Broadway shows by visiting the website of Broadway for Broke People.
- Ride the free ferry to Staten Island to see the Statue of Liberty
- Take advantage of Uber and Lyft promo codes for first time users. I also suggest booking shared-ride instead in Uber or Lyft if you are one or two persons traveling.
- When it comes to food, some of the fast food restaurants that I was able to try are Shake Shack, Panda Express, The Halal Guys, McDonalds and Jollibee. There are also Asian restaurants if you are craving for rice and Asian meals. Average price for a meal is US $8 to $12.
Got some tips? Share it in the comment section below!
New York City on a budget is possible with proper planning and research. With US $1,000 allowance for our 10-day trip, we survived staying in New York and we enjoyed getting around the city. We were able to visit most of the places that we had in our New York itinerary and did some of the activities that we planned.
Note: Additional photo by www.elaljanelasola.com
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