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How Much Does It Cost to Visit NYC?

3 + 7 Day Trip Costs

Updated: April 25, 2024

Is New York expensive to visit? Well, that depends on when you visit and what you want to do here.

This post lays out the costs of both a 3-day trip and a 7-day trip for low and moderate budgets. With these numbers, you can estimate 4, 5, and 6-day trips.

As a walking tour company offering pay-what-you-wish walking tours, our local tour guides know a thing or two about keeping costs down in NYC.

We've led hundreds of thousands of people throughout the city and often our guests talk to us about what they've spent and what they should anticipate spending in NYC.

This insight, together with our knowledge of how much things cost, informed this post.

We also include suggestions on how to keep costs down from members of our NYC Travel Tips Facebook group.

Our group consists of roughly 240,000 members and consists of locals (like our tour guides), travelers and newcomers to the city.

You don't have to join the group to read the posts, comments and recommendations, so take a look when you're done reading this post! You can even ask a question yourself!


HOW TO USE THIS GUIDE

When reading this guide, keep in mind the following:

(1) the prices are for one adult traveling in March. This is a non-peak time of year with moderate to pleasant weather. 

To find out about other good times of the year for your trip, take a look at our posts on the best time to visit NYC or the cheapest times to visit NYC.

Also, before booking, take a look at our post, How Many Days Is Enough For NYC?

(2) Prices are per day so you can use that amount to budget for whatever number of days you plan to come to NYC. We also list, in parentheses, the total cost for a 3-day trip and a 7-day trip.

(3) We include two price points: budget and moderate.

Budget is for someone who wants to spend as little as possible but still get a lot out of New York City.

This means staying at very inexpensive accommodations (most likely a hostel in a shared dorm), not dining at full-service restaurants, and spending money on activities unique to New York City. 

Moderate is for someone flexible with the amount of money to spend.

This means staying at mid-range accommodations in a convenient location, eating some meals out, and spending money on some of the best attractions in New York City.

(4) We do not include airfare since prices will vary greatly based on your departure point. Take a look at our post on how to find the cheapest flights to NYC

(5) In our summary of costs, we do not include the price of traveling to/from airports since this can vary depending on what airport you fly into. We did include prices in our transportation section anyway so you have the information.

TIP: Our New York City on a budget post is an excellent complement to this post.


HOW MUCH DOES IT COST FOR A TRIP TO NYC?

This summary of the overall cost of a trip is based on the detailed calculations just below this summary. Again, this does not include the costs of to/from airports

Budget Traveler

3-day trip (per person)

  • Accommodations $375
  • Transportation $17
  • Attractions and activities $150
  • Food $60
  • Total $602

7-day trip (per person)

  • Accommodations $875
  • Transportation $34
  • Attractions and activities $300
  • Food $140
  • Total $1,349

Moderate Traveler

3-day trip (per person)

  • Accommodations $600
  • Transportation $41
  • Attractions and activities $388
  • Food $150
  • Total $1,179

7-day trip (per person)

  • Accommodations $1400
  • Transportation $79
  • Attractions and activities $776
  • Food $350
  • Total $2,605

ACCOMMODATIONS

These are off-season prices per night, per person. In the parentheses are the cost of 3 nights/7 nights).

Budget

Double Occupancy room for one person in a budget hotel in a non-central neighborhood: $125 a night ($375 / $875) 

Tip: Want to keep the costs of accommodation way down? Consider staying in a hostel. NYC doesn't have a lot of them but the quality has been improving. Some are quite stylish!

Moderate

3-star chain hotel in a less popular neighborhood in Manhattan at $200 per room per night ($600 / $1400)

Regardless of your budget, our posts listing 21 inexpensive hotels in NYC and affordable accommodations in NYC can help you find a hotel suitable for your needs, tastes, and the amount of money you can spend.

TIP: Check out The Pod Hotels. They have locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn that are fun, well-rated, and reasonably priced. A few of them have rooftop bars with great views!


TRANSPORTATION COSTS

Prices are standard regardless of your budget when you ride the subway and buses. 

The only variation is if you take several taxi rides. Find out more by reading our post on how to use taxis and Uber in NYC.


To/From airports via public transportation

These are not included in our summary above since each airport's transportation costs vary.

Before purchasing your airport transportation, read our post on which MetroCard to purchase since a subway ride is involved in getting to/from both JFK and LaGuardia airports. 


Getting around NYC

Most likely you will be using the subway at some point, though we say NYC is best seen on foot (plus it's free!)

Budget  

  • 3-day trip, take subway/buses twice a day - $17.40 
  • 7-day trip, unlimited MetroCard - $34

Moderate

  • 3-day trip, 3 subway rides per day ($26.10) and splurge for one taxi ride ($15)  - $41.10
  • 7-day trip, unlimited MetroCard ($34) and splurge for 3 taxi rides ($45) - $79

We highly recommend that you look at our post, Which NYC Subway MetroCard to Buy to get a detailed explanation of the costs.

And if you are new to using the subway system, read up on navigating the New York City subway!

TIP: One way to combine entertainment and transportation costs is to take a Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour.

Since you have to pay for transportation anyway, it may be worth it to you to pay a bit extra to travel from site to site while enjoying an entertaining ride between stops.

Check out our post on which New York bus tours are best.


ATTRACTIONS AND ENTERTAINMENT COSTS

When calculating these costs, we considered your budget and the amount of time you had to spend. 

On a 7-day trip, you will be doing more than you would if you were here for a quick 3-day trip. See our suggested itinerary for 3 days in New York

Also, be sure to read our post on things to do for free in New York City.

If you are traveling with children, see our post about free things to do with kids in NYC.


Budget Traveler

3 days - $150 per person

If you take advantage of free museums and attractions, ride the free Staten Island Ferry instead of a Statue of Liberty cruise and take one of our pay-what-you-wish walking tours, you could spend NOTHING!

Add on the cost of visiting one of NYC’s observatories for breathtaking views of NYC and a deeply-reduced ticket for a Broadway show, you can keep yourself entertained for 3 days and nights for $150 or less.


7 Days - $300 per person

You are here for twice as long, so you have more time to occupy. Your budget will be about double your cost for a 3-day trip.

In addition to the above activities, add on a few paid attractions and activities such as the Bronx Zoo, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and a Statue of Liberty cruise.

With an additional night of paid entertainment such as a show, comedy, or pub crawl, your total is $300.

TIP: Even for those on a tight budget, you may find that some of the less expensive tourist passes will save you money on sightseeing in the long run.

Take a look at our post comparing NYC tourist passes to see if getting a pass is right for you.


Moderate Traveler

If you plan to see several NYC attractions, we recommend buying a tourist deal pass.

These passes aren't cheap, but they can save you up to 55% of the cost of tickets to NYC attractions and activities. 

See our guide, Which NYC  Tourist Pass is Best? to compare what is available and if a pass is right for you.

Regardless of your budget, take advantage of the many free things to do in NYC so you can spend your money on attractions that charge admission.


3 Days - $388

We reached this amount by using the below 3-day itinerary designed to get the most out of a short visit.

TIP: To see a lot of the city in a short amount of time, consider taking a Hop-on, Hop-Off bus tour. They are available in increments of 24 hours, 48 hours and 72 hours. 

  • Day 1: Lower Manhattan
    • Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island $25
    • 9/11 Museum and Memorial  $33 (Memorial is free)
    • One World Observatory $44
    • Pay-what-you-wish Lower Manhattan tour
    • 24 Hour Hop-on, Hop-Off bus tour $54
  • Day 2: Midtown Manhattan
    • Museum of Modern Art $25
    • Bronx Zoo or similar attraction $27
    • Pay-what-you-wish Midtown Manhattan tour
    • Broadway Show with a cheap ticket $100
  • Day 3: Uptown
    • Pay-what-you-wish Central Park tour
    • Metropolitan Museum of Art $25
    • Rockefeller Center - free
    • Top of the Rock at night $55

TIP: There are a few tourist passes, like the CityPASS and the Smart Destinations Build Your Own Pass that can save you up to 25% even if you are here for a short stay.  

Since many passes include “skip the line” privileges, you will also save on time. 


7 Days - $776

In addition to the above activities, take advantage of even more free activities like walking the Brooklyn Bridge, visiting the High Line, and exploring Soho, Chinatown, and Little Italy.

We offer pay-what-you-wish walking tours of these neighborhoods and more!

We also offer pay-what-you-wish food tours and night tours. See our calendar of all NYC tours.

Even with so many free things to do, you will still spend double on attractions and entertainment as you will have more than twice the amount of time to fill with activities.

TIP: With this high cost just for activities and attractions, we encourage you to consider a tourist pass. For example, you could save up to 55% with a New York Pass.   


MEALS AND RESTAURANTS

One of the most incredible things about New York City is that you can get incredible food of every type of cuisine at any price! 

You can eat three meals a day for $10 a day and it will still taste good! See our guide to cheap eats in NYC.

Prices are based on the below menu, which gives you the chance to taste several classic New York foods. 

Budget:  $20 per day ($60/$140)

Moderate: $50 per day  ($150/$350)

Note: Prices do not include tips, as you may only go to restaurants that do not have waitstaff. If you do have sit-down service, add a 15% tip for good service. See our post on tipping in New York City.

Alcoholic drinks

Prices do not include the cost of an alcoholic beverage. In NYC you will pay a premium for alcohol with your meals.

The average cost of a beer is $6, a glass of mediocre wine will be $8, and a mixed drink upwards of $10! Regardless of your budget, no one likes to pay $6 for a bottle of beer!

Take a look at our post on Happy Hour to find out how to save a lot for a good drink! We also have a self-guided tour of historic New York City bars.


SHOPPING

Because the amount you spend on shopping can vary wildly depending on your tastes and what you want to purchase (beyond souvenirs), we decided not to include costs in this guide.

But we do recommend that you check out the following posts:


TIPS FROM LOCALS AND TRAVELERS

We hope you found the above information and approximate calculations helpful to give you a sense of the cost of a trip to NYC. 

To help you keep costs down, we've included replies from members of our popular New York Travel Tips Facebook group to this question posted in the group.

Here, Yvonne covers all the best budget basics!

For food, Chinatown, pizza and food carts are the way to go. This is echoed by so many group members.

An interesting option she suggests is to go to Whole Foods (a chain of supermarkets throughout the city) and get their pre-packaged food. 

With tables and chairs, it's like eating in a restaurant. The food is great too!

In the second half of her comment, she notes that she used a money-saving tourist attraction pass, and to maximize her savings, she planned carefully what attractions to go to and which to skip. 

See our post on tourist attraction passes where we cover this planning process.

If you're on a 7-day trip, or if less, expect to use the subway a lot, get an unlimited MetroCard.

Lastly, she recommends our pay-what-you-like walking tours. We are so happy she enjoyed them and that we were able to keep her costs down.

Here, Dr Tracy lists just a handful of the fantastic things you can do for free or cheaply.

Robbee adds to Dr Tracy’s ideas with our favorite thing to do -- walk around!

NYC has so many neighborhoods with “unique flavors”, and visiting them gives you a true sense of what the real New York is like.

Read about NYC’s neighborhoods here.

Peter also backs the idea of walking around and taking in the city. It’s free and fascinating.

Take a look at our post on things to do for free in New York City.

Many people want to see a Broadway show when in town. This could be the one thing that costs you the most. But it doesn't have to be.

Here are the best ways to get inexpensive tickets.

We cover all these options: TodayTix, TKTS booth, Broadway Roulette, Off-Broadway shows and more in our post, How to Get Cheap Broadway Tickets.

Many replies offered advice on how to save on the cost of food as this was the most flexible aspect of a trip to NYC.

The biggest misconception about NYC is that food is expensive.

Jeff points out that he was happily surprised by how affordable food was, so long as you don’t plan to dine at the most expensive restaurants.

TIP: Want fancy food at a third or more of its regular price? Check out our post on Restaurant Week.

The most popular cheap foods mentioned were bagels, pizza and food trucks.

Keeping your breakfast and lunch simple will allow you to splurge on dinner.

Skip the drinks as NYC costs are pretty high in restaurants. If you want some beer, it’s pretty cheap in a supermarket.

What is so great is that these foods are pretty good if you know where to find the best.

See our post on NYC Cheap Eats for a list of the best, inexpensive food.

If you have any more questions about the cost of visiting NYC (or anything else about the city), check out the suggestions in our New York Travel Tips Facebook group!


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About The Author

Courtney Shapiro

Courtney is a lifelong New Yorker in love with the city’s history, culture and food. She's a world travel as well and enjoys sharing her travel expertise with others. She joined Free Tours by Foot in 2011, first as a guide and then as a writer. She still leads tours on a part-time basis. READ MORE...
Updated: April 25th, 2024
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