10 Cheap Things College Students Can Do in NYC

College students looking to explore the vibrant city of New York on a budget can breathe a sigh of relief. This city may have a reputation for being expensive, but there are plenty of ways to experience its iconic sights, sounds, and flavors without breaking the bank. From exploring famous museums to strolling through popular parks, here are some of the best affordable activities college students can engage in here in NYC.

Fall in NYC

1. American Museum of Natural History
Many of NYC’s museums have free admission or pay-what-you-wish options for area residents, but none is more notable than the American Museum of Natural History. Whether you like dinosaurs, the solar system, or curiosities from the depths of our oceans, this museum has an array of exhibitions to pique the interests of just about anyone. https://www.amnh.org/

2. MoMA PS1
While the original Museum of Modern Art is relatively inexpensive, MoMA PS1 is free for New York residents and only $5 if you have a student ID. If you’re interested in supporting some groundbreaking, experimental work by modern artists, make sure to add this to the itinerary.

3. The Bronx Zoo
If you are interested in seeing some of the most spectacular animals from all over the world, look no further than the Bronx Zoo. Similar to the museums, the Bronx Zoo has free admission on Wednesdays, and these tickets can be reserved as early as Mondays after 5 p.m.

4. Bryant Park
Whether it be ice skating during the winter, free movie nights during the summer, or taking free juggling lessons year-round, Bryant Park has a bit of everything for everyone. With dozens of food vendors and daily events, there is no better place for a college student to go to explore and learn something new. (Not to mention, it’s just a couple blocks from LIM’s campus.)

5. Rockaway Beach
If you’re looking to get away from your busy work environment or the noise of the city, a trip to the city's only legal surfing beach to catch some rays or swim in the ocean will melt your stress away. Accessible by public transportation via subway or ferry, this is a great way to end the spring semester or start fall.

6. Central Park
This 843-acre park has many sites to see, like the Egyptian Obelisk, Bethesda Terrace, Strawberry Fields, Belvedere Castle, and many more. They also hold free concerts during the summer, featuring artists like Demi Lovato or shows like Hamilton. Whether you want to tour the park on foot or by bike, Central Park has plenty to offer so you always find something new to do.

7. NYC Ferry Service
If you don’t mind exercising your sea legs, the NYC Ferry Service is an extremely affordable way to travel around New York and visit hot spots along the Hudson River, East River, and Jamaica Bay. For just $4, you can travel to places like Williamsburg, a neighborhood in Brooklyn that is a cultural hub for food, music, and art—or Governors Island, an island park with breathtaking views of the city skyline.

8. Staten Island
The 25-minute free ferry ride to Staten Island is filled with amazing sites of the downtown skyline and a magnificent view of the Statue of Liberty. If you feel like spending the day, Staten Island attractions include the Chinese Scholars Garden at Snug Harbor Cultural Center, the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art, and Fort Wadsworth, a former military installation that's now open to the public.

9. Brooklyn Botanical Gardens
A great way to get in touch with nature on a budget. They offer many different admission options, like free community tickets, a pay-what-you-wish option during the winter, and $12 anytime with a student ID. If you’re interested in learning about flora and fauna, this is a must-see.

10. The High Line
The High Line is a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. A favorite place to walk for both New Yorkers and tourists alike, the High Line is a hybrid public space where you can experience nature, art, and design all the same time for free.