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When it comes to cheap travel destinations, New York City does not usually top the list. And, admittedly, the daily cost of living while on vacation in the Big Apple is hardly at a level considered affordable. You were going to work those expenses into your budget wherever you vacation, however, right? So when you subtract the cost of free or bargain basement fees associated with things you can do while on vacation in New York City, it really does become the most surprising of cheap travel destinations.

Central Park

Central Park
Central Park

One of the most glorious of free vacation attractions in the entire country is New York’s Central Park. A mere leisurely stroll is utterly without charge and provides you a whopping 843 acres to explore. Exploration is part of the fun of Central Park as it includes the Strawberry Fields memorial to John Lennon, Belvedere Park, take a occasionstrip through Wonderland with the statues of Alice and her friends, ride the old-fashioned carousel and take a ride in a paddle boat. That’s just the beginning of the low-cost entertainment here.

The Museum at FIT

The Museum at FIT
The Museum at FIT

Got a taste for fashion or an eye for style? Then nothing beats the cost of taking in the breathtaking collection of fashions through history at the Museum at FIT. The cost to enjoy all exhibits? FREE.

Governors Island

Governors Island
Governors Island

During the summer season, take advantage of a ferry ride out to a ghost town in the middle of the world’s busiest city. Admission to this National Park is free, but there is a small charge for the ferry. The island is home to a rich military history and offers picnic areas, mini-golf and bike paths.

The Staten Island Ferry

The Staten Island Ferry
The Staten Island Ferry

Set aside the clearest day of your trip to New York City to take advantage of the things that make it one of the greatest cheap travel destinations in the world. The spectacular view of the iconic skyline of Manhattan Island is a thrill that can last a lifetime when you come equipped with a camera and remember to charge the battery. In addition to that skyline, this is also a terrific way to get incredible pictures of Lady Liberty standing with her beacon in the middle of the harbor. Then return for trip during the evening to get the same view lit up with millions upon millions of glittering lights dancing across the surface of the water. Staten Island itself offers up the chance for more exploration on the affordable side of vacation plans.

Times Square on New Year’s Eve

Times Square on New Year’s Eve
Times Square on New Year’s Eve

Attend the biggest New Year’s Eve party in the country absolutely free. You’ve watched it on TV and always wondered how exciting it would be, right? Crowded, sure, and the hotel costs will skyrocket, but NYC on New Year’s Eve offers the chance to share in a communal moment of hope unlike anything else on earth for less than the cost of reserving a table at one of the best restaurants in your hometown on this night of nights.

Rockefeller Center at Christmas

Rockefeller Center at Christmas
Rockefeller Center at Christmas

Rockefeller Center in New York is perhaps the cheap travel destination during the holiday season. One of the most incredible sights of the season is the annual ceremony at which the enormous Christmas tree lights are turned on. Throughout the rest of December is the opportunity to skate past the iconic statue of Prometheus that looks out over the ice skating ring. While not exactly as cheap as watching the tree lighting ceremony, it is nevertheless a once in a lifetime vacation opportunity to skate on the same rink made famous in so many holiday movies and TV specials.
 
With an almost endless supply of museums, parks and iconic sites made famous through history and media, New York City really can be a cheap travel destination. In fact, a vacation in the Big Apple could actually serve up as much fun at less than half the price of taking the family to Disney World.

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