When I think of New York, the last thing I think of is affordable. Let's be honest, living here or even just visiting can be pretty expensive. People say it costs $25 just to leave the house in Manhattan and, in all actuality, that's not far from the truth. But thankfully, there are things you can do for free and they're pretty spectacular.
gallery hopping in chelsea
Looking at art is one of my favorite things to do and, in the city, you can see an abundance of incredible art for no cost. If you head over to West 24th Street past 10th Avenue, there alone you'll find gallery upon gallery. All around Chelsea, there are endless free galleries containing world renowned work from artists. Some notable spots to check out are the Gagosian, David Zwirner, Matthew Marks, Luhring Augustine, Paula Cooper, Sean Kelly, and Petzel.
spend the day taking photos
If you are at all interested in photography, New York is the place to be. I love spending a whole day going around to different neighborhoods with the sole intention of taking photos. All you need for the day is your camera or even just your iPhone. Take the time to get really creative in staging your photos and putting together a pretty Instagram story. You'll spend nothing and come out of the day with a ton of Instagram content.
take a walk
Yes, it's true that you can take a walk anywhere but walks in New York have so much more potential. Exploring by foot gives you all sorts of great opportunities for discovery! You'll be able to browse all sorts of stores and hidden places no matter which neighborhood you choose. I once walked 80 blocks one day in the summer just for the fun of it! If you want a more 'green' walk, try the High Line, anywhere in Central Park, Prospect Park, Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, or the Brooklyn waterfront in DUMBO.
try a free beauty treatment
Typically, a facial in the city will run you at least $100 but you can actually pop into several different stores for free mini-treatments. Ask the skincare team at Sephora for a mini-facial. At Rituals, they'll give you a hand treatment and meditation moment. Other places to hit include Fresh and Kiehl's.