How to visit New York on a budget, from hotels under £200 a night to steak and chips for £23

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New York is expensive. But with planning and know-how, it’s possible to eat, drink, explore and sleep in this wonderfully bustling city without burning a big hole in your wallet. Some things are even free…

Stays at less than £ 200 a night

Walker Hotel Tribeca

It is possible to explore and sleep in New York without burning a big hole in your wallet. Above is a room at the Walker Hotel Tribeca, where rates start from £180 a night

This hotel prioritizes all the right things: huge, comfortable beds; soundproof walls; luxuries and stunning city views in a vibrant neighborhood within walking distance of a Canal metro station.

Creamy white dishes and giant pastries are served on the ground floor of the brilliant Blue Bottle cafe. Beds are hard to leave but you should – not the right city to visit if you’re hoping to spend most of your time in a hotel.

Rooms from £ 180 (walkerhotels.com).

freehand new york

Pictured is one of the bunk rooms at Freehand New York, a trendy hotel in the Flatiron District

Pictured is one of the bunk rooms at Freehand New York, a trendy hotel in the Flatiron District

This trendy hotel in Manhattan’s Flatiron District is one of four created by the same team behind the NoMad. Original artwork is painted directly on the walls of its 395 spacious rooms (which include bunk rooms that sleep four). Guests can enjoy the hotel’s rooftop cafe, restaurant and bar with great city views.

Double from £ 160 (freehandhotels.com).

Boro

A short walk from Midtown Manhattan across the river is the Boro, a 108-room boutique hotel in Queens’ trendy Long Island City neighborhood. Each room has floor-to-ceiling windows, rustic hardwood floors and plush bathrobes. Chic restaurants, bars and boutiques are on its doorstep.

Double from £ 159 (borohotel.com).

Things to do

High Line for free

Follow the path along the High Line (above), which stretches for 1.5 miles - it doesn't cost a penny

Follow the path along the High Line (above), which stretches for 1.5 miles – it doesn’t cost a penny

Raised above the streets of Manhattan’s West Side, the High Line is a 1.5-mile-long public park built on a former freight railroad. The path weaves its way past intriguing buildings and past art installations, landscaped gardens and lounge chairs.

Free entry; open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. in summer and until 7 p.m. in winter.

The madness of museums

Many museums in New York offer free admission day and night. The 9/11 Museum, for example, is free on Mondays. Tickets are available on the site every Monday from 7am. Mobile memorial pools are always free – and well worth a visit (911MEMORIAL.ORG/VISIT/MUSEUM).

The Whitney Museum of American Art offers paid tickets on Fridays from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. (whitney.org).

The New York CityPass includes admission to the likes of Guggenheim, American Museum of Natural History, Empire State Building, Top of the Rock, Statue of Liberty Ferry and Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise ( £ 110, citypass.com).

Take the plunge

Board the Staten Island Ferry and enjoy picture-perfect views of the Statue of Liberty

Board the Staten Island Ferry and enjoy picture-perfect views of the Statue of Liberty

Join locals and tourists alike as they commute on the Staten Island Ferry that departs from Lower Manhattan and offers picture-perfect views of the Statue of Liberty and the dazzling skyline as it crosses New York Bay and vice versa. Versa. Grab bagels at Zucker’s Bagels as you walk to the ferry port.

Free ferries run in both directions every 30 minutes, siferry.com.

Eat and drink

bib

Lines of hungry carnivores meander around the block to dine at Skirt Steak, a new restaurant in New York's Chelsea neighborhood (pictured)

Lines of hungry carnivores meander around the block to dine at Skirt Steak, a new restaurant in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood (pictured)

Above is a £23 serving of mouth-watering cuts of skirt steak with thin, crispy fries at Skirt Steak, the restaurant named after the only meat on the menu

Above is a £23 serving of mouth-watering cuts of skirt steak with thin, crispy fries at Skirt Steak, the restaurant named after the only meat on the menu

Steak and New York is a combination that can make you lose hundreds of dollars, even before you command drinks. But there’s a new place in town where a delicious cut of steak is the only thing on the menu.

Lines of hungry carnivores meander around the block from this Chelsea restaurant (it doesn’t take reservations) for the set menu, which starts with bowls of salad with Boston lettuce, followed by mouth-watering cuts of skirt steak (or cauliflower steaks for vegetables) served with pepper béarnaise and all-you-can-eat thin, crispy fries for £23.

Be sure to leave room for the pudding. The guests choose from a rolling wooden cart and Paris-Brest filled with pastry cream with hazelnuts and the chocolate raspberry pie are not to be missed (skirtsteaknyc.com).

Panoramic room

Observation decks such as the Empire State Building can cost a fortune, so why not visit a rooftop bar instead? There’s no shortage of these in New York, but the last one is unique.

On the 18th floor of the first hotel on Roosevelt Island, the Panorama Room offers breathtaking views of Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx, arguably the best in town.

Enjoy a cocktail (£14) on the terrace as the sun sets, then head to a vintage velvet sofa for prawn cocktails (£18) and huge bowls of truffle chips (£14) as you watch the city light upgraduatehotels.com).

Valerie

Iconic: For a classic New York brunch, head to Valerie's near Times Square (pictured)

Iconic: For a classic New York brunch, head to Valerie’s near Times Square (pictured)

In the heart of Midtown Manhattan, near Times Square, this is the place to go for a classic New York brunch.

Bloody Marys, Mimosas and Negronis (from £ 9) are served with Benedict smoked salmon (£ 15), Lost Banofee (£ 14) and Steak and hanger (£ 20) in the dining room , which has antique smoked mirrors, burlesque murals and leather seats (valerienewyorkcity.com).

Gotham

Do you want to visit a New York culinary institution for almost four decades without spending a fortune? Head to Gotham, once described by architect and designer David Rockwell as “the living room of New York,” and order the famous cheeseburger for lunch.

Businessmen, residents and tourists come from the whole city to sit in the traditional dining room, with white tablecloths and touches of colored art on the walls. The burgers (£23) are served dry-aged with crispy shallot aioli, redmond cheddar and fries (gothambarandgrill.com).

western light

Admire the view while sipping a cocktail at the Westlight, a bar with the glass facade of the Williamsburg district in Brooklyn.  Above, the Williamsburg Bridge that crosses the neighborhood

Admire the view while sipping a cocktail at the Westlight, a bar with the glass facade of the Williamsburg district in Brooklyn. Above, the Williamsburg Bridge that crosses the neighborhood

There’s no better place to have a drink while admiring the view than with a Manhattan cocktail at Westlight, a glass-fronted bar with a panoramic terrace, located on the 22nd floor of the William Vale Hotel in the Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn.

The food is also worth trying – the “clogged” menu of the bar goes from cashews of cashews to coconut curry (£ 7) to the delicious beef hamburgers (£ 18).

If time does not play ball, you can head to the chic closed bar – each table offers a magnificent view (westlightnyc.com).

How to get there

Virgin Atlantic flies daily between London Heathrow and JFK. Returns from £ 389 (virginatlantic.com).

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