Is New York expensive to visit? Well, that depends on when you come and what you want to see.
This post lays out the costs of both a 3-day trip and a 7-day trip for low and moderate budgets. You could also estimate 4, 5, and 6-day trips.
We include tips for saving on hotel rooms, attractions, and more.
As a walking tour company offering pay-what-you-wish walking tours, we know a thing or two about value and NYC.
We've led hundreds of thousands of people through the 5 boroughs of NYC and many of our guests have asked us in advance about how much to bring to the city.
We also used our experience with our NYC Travel Tips Facebook group to understand what other travelers consider enough per day.
Our group consists of roughly 200k members, including our tour guides, who all share their experiences.
- How to Use This Guide
- Snapshot of Costs
- Attractions and Entertainment
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.
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 that are unique to New York City.
Moderate is for someone who is 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. We do include costs to/from airports. Take a look at our post on how to find the cheapest flights to NYC.
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.
3-day trip (per person)
- Food $60
- Accommodations $135
- Attractions and activities $150
- Transportation $17
- Total $362
7-day trip (per person)
- Food $140
- Accommodations $315
- Attractions and activities $300
- Transportation $32
- Total $788
3-day trip (per person)
- Food $150
- Accommodations $600
- Attractions and activities $375
- Transportation $50
- Total $1,175
7-day trip (per person)
- Food $350
- Accommodations $1400
- Attractions and activities $745
- Transportation $70
- Total $2,565
Budget: Hostel or Airbnb outside of Manhattan $45 per person per night ($115 / $315)
Moderate: 3-star chain hotel in non-tourist neighborhoods of Manhattan -$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.
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
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
- 3-day trip, take subway/buses twice a day - $16.50
- 7-day trip, unlimited MetroCard - $33
- 3-day trip, 3 subway rides per day ($25) and splurge for one taxi ride ($15) - $50
- 7-day trip, unlimited MetroCard ($33) and splurge for 3 taxi rides ($45) - $77
Before you take your first ride, 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.
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.
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 conceivably spend NOTHING!
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.
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 discount passes will save you money on sightseeing in the long run.
Take a look at our post comparing NYC tourist discount passes to see if getting a pass is right for you.
If you plan on seeing a number of NYC attractions, we recommend that you consider buying a tourist discount 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.
3-Day Trip - $372
We reached this amount by using the below 3-day itinerary designed to get the most out of a short visit.
To see a lot of the city in just 3 days, we suggest you buy a ticket for a 2-day (or 3-day) Hop-on, Hop-Off bus tour.
- Day 1: Lower Manhattan
- Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island $18
- 9/11 Museum and Memorial $26
- One World Observatory $35
- Pay-what-you-wish Lower Manhattan tour
- 48-Hour Hop-on, Hop-Off bus tour $54
- Day 2: Midtown Manhattan
- Museum of Modern Art $25
- Madame Tussauds or other attractions $37
- Pay-what-you-wish Midtown Manhattan tour
- Broadway Show with discount 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 $52
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-Day Trip - $745
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 discount tourist pass. For example, you could save up to 55% with a New York Pass.
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.
- Breakfast - a bagel and coffee
- Lunch - a slice of pizza or deli sandwiches
- Dinner - a meal in either Chinatown and Little Italy
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 so-so 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!
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:
- Discount Shopping in NYC
- Shop at an Outlet Center
- Shopping at Grand Central Station
- Gramercy Thrift and Vintage Shopping Day Tour
- East Village Vintage & Boutiques Tour