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How to Spend $1,000 on a Vacation in New York City

Edited By: Scott Sidders

Updated on November 6, 2023

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New York City is a sophisticated and cosmopolitan destination that offers an array of attractions for everyone. The food, shopping, and nightlife are world-renowned and the iconic NYC landmarks never fail to inspire. No matter what you prefer, New York City has it all.

There is a place to eat in NYC for all types of food from Thai, French, Italian, and Latin American. With the variety of shopping options, you're sure to find something that suits your taste whether it's high-end fashion or souvenirs from various tourist attractions. And if entertainment is what you crave then New York City has everything from Broadway shows, to dance clubs, and bars with live music. It doesn't matter how many times you've visited The City That Never Sleeps, there's always something new to discover. The sheer number of world-class museums, galleries, and cultural institutions offers enough variety to fill your schedule for a lifetime.

However, with so many options to choose from it can be difficult to narrow down the top attractions if this is your first time visiting or you've been before but want to experience NYC in a new way. To help make your stay as enjoyable and stress-free as possible, we've put together a list of the best ways to spend $1000 on vacation in New York.

Things To Do In New York City Under $1000

Banks of Hudson River and Freedom Tower

There are many things to do in New York City for under $1000. In fact, you could probably spend a whole week or more exploring all the different neighborhoods and attractions on offer without spending a penny over that amount. From world-class museums and theaters to iconic landmarks and amazing shopping, NYC has something for everyone. Here are just a few of the top suggestions for things to do in The Big Apple on a budget.

1. Guided Tour of the City

Gray Line New York City Tour Bus

Although New York City is full of iconic landmarks, the best way to see them all in one day is via a guided bus tour. Hop on an open-top double-decker bus and listen as your guide explains the history behind every significant area you pass.

Taxis in Times square with 7th avenue, New York City, Manhattan

If you want to go deeper into some particular areas or neighborhoods, your bus may stop at designated spots so you can explore on foot. Some tour operators also offer hop-on/off services for more convenience.
There are a variety of different guided bus tours to choose from, catering to all interests and budgets. Whether you want to explore the famous landmarks or delve into the history and culture of specific neighborhoods, there's a tour for you.

Journey Through New York City

For a more intimate experience, consider opting for a walking tour instead. These usually focus on a specific area or theme and give you the opportunity to ask questions and get to know your guide better.
The cost of this tour is approx. $100, depending on the operator, duration, and number of people involved.


2. Fly Over the City

Helicopter flying over New York City skyscrapers and Brooklyn Bridge, USA

If you've never tried it before, New York is one of the world's best spots to indulge in a helicopter tour. While you may have to save up for this one, it's definitely worth it if you want to get a bird's-eye view of the city. Fly over the Brooklyn Bridge, see the Statue of Liberty close-up, and experience every corner of the city from above. Whether you want to book a tour of the city at night or during the day, there's no shortage of options.

Helicopter flight in Liberty Island. New York. USA

To get the most out of your time, consider hiring a private helicopter for yourself or booking an exclusive tour. You can pick almost any destination you want to visit, whether it's the Statue of Liberty or an aerial view of Times Square. Hiring a helicopter for your tour will cost around $220 for 15 minutes. Exclusive tours with set itineraries may be more expensive than that, but they're still often well under $1000.

3. MoMA – Museum of Modern Art

MoMa New York City - Museum of Modern Art

If you love the arts, then a visit to MoMA – Museum of Modern Art is a must. It's one of the most popular art galleries in the country, hosting amazing exhibitions from renowned and upcoming artists alike.
But it can be a total pain to wait in line for hours at the Museum of Modern Art, but thankfully you can get a convenient skip-the-line ticket online and, avoid all that.

The entrance of MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art, one of the well known art gallery in New York

With artists like Andy Warhol, Vincent van Gogh, and Jackson Pollock on display, it's definitely worth a visit. Your ticket even includes admission to MoMA PS1, which is a contemporary art center in Long Island City. So you can enjoy even more art after you leave MoMA! Your skip-the-line ticket to MoMA will cost around $25. Children under 16 can get in free, so it's a great way to spend time with the kids and nurture their artistic spirit.

4. One World Observatory

Crowd people at ONE WORLD OBSERVATORY main entrance one world trade centre or Freedom tower skyscraper famous landmark

For one of the best views of New York City, you can't go past One World Observatory. With floor-to-ceiling glass walls in some sections, you can enjoy a view of up to 80 miles outside the building. It's not just a great way to see the city, it's a really fun experience as well! At One World Observatory, you can learn about skyscrapers and amazing engineering feats before you get up to the top.

East view from One World Observatory. Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, East River, Williamsburg Bridge and Brooklyn can be seen.

See excellent views of Lower Manhattan like the one depicted in the picture above. One World Observatory also has some great additional features, like a theatre where you can watch videos on the history of New York City. There are also plenty of interactive displays to keep you busy for hours, plus a restaurant with incredible views. At $45 per person, One World Observatory is a great deal for the amount of fun you can have here. And if you want to combine it with one of the other top attractions in the city, you can get a combo deal as well.

5. Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Tour

Liberty Island overlooking Manhattan Skyline

For a trip back through time, consider a tour of both the Statue of Liberty and nearby Ellis Island. These are two of New York's most treasured landmarks, and they're steeped in history. The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France to celebrate 100 years of friendship between the two nations. And Ellis Island was the entry point for over 12 million immigrants who moved to America.

Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, New York with morning blue sky

Both destinations are easy to combine into an awesome tour package, and you get to cruise around the harbor on a private boat. You'll also get an audio guide that tells you all about both of these historically significant sites. The cost of a Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island tour depends on your exact itinerary, but it's usually under $50 per person for a half-day trip. There are lots of other options too, so you can choose anything from a ferry ride to an evening cruise with music and a buffet dinner.

6. Broadway Shows

Broadway Theaters billboards in Times Square New York

Broadway shows are incredibly popular in New York, and there's a great range of affordable options to choose from. But if you want the best seats, be prepared to part with some serious cash!
It can cost $150 or more for tickets to popular shows like The Lion King, but you can find tickets to lesser-known productions for as little as $30. And that's still a great price for quality entertainment.

Broadway theatres in Times Square New York city

Some theaters also offer rush tickets, which are available when the box office opens and can sell out fast. If you want to be sure of seeing a show, get your ticket in advance or book online so you can print it out at home. And if you're visiting New York for a special occasion, then you should definitely splash out on a Broadway show. It's the perfect gift when you want to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, or other milestones. After all, nothing beats an evening of live entertainment with the person you love!

7. The 9/11 Memorial and Museum

Rose placed on the 9/11 Memorial in New York City

September 11, 2001, was a day that changed New York City (and the world) forever. It's one of the darkest days in American history, and the 9/11 Memorial Museum remembers those who lost their lives when terrorists attacked New York City.

National September 11 memorial waterfalls

Established by former President George W. Bush, the memorial is an incredibly moving experience for tourists and New Yorkers alike. Once you pay for your ticket, you can visit the memorial from 8:30 AM until 8 PM most days of the year. Visitors are encouraged to take their time as they walk through the exhibits, which include videos about how 9/11 changed America.

911 memorial museum outlook in New York

You'll also see a memorial wall with pictures of all the victims, plus the names of everyone who was affected by the attack. The museum tour costs $28 per adult, which is a small price to pay for such an unforgettable experience.

8. Cruise Around Manhattan

Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises is a harbor cruise company in Manhattan

If you want to see New York from the perspective of a local, then consider taking one of the popular boat tours around Manhattan. These trips can last anywhere from an hour to half a day, depending on how many stops you make along the way. You'll get to enjoy up-close views of New York's incredible skyline as well as famous landmarks like the Brooklyn Bridge.

New York City skyline by night view from Hudson river, New York, USA, America

You can even opt for a night cruise when you'll be treated to stunning views of the big city's skyscrapers, plus lots of twinkling lights. These longer trips include dinner and sometimes even a bit of dancing!
The cost depends on the length of your trip, but you can find cruises for under $45 per person. Many companies also offer discounts when you buy tickets online in advance, so be sure to check that option if possible.

9. NYC TV & Movie Tour

Carrie Bradshaw apartment used in the film series "Sex and The City"

Are you a big fan of the big screen? Then you'll love this TV and movie tour of New York City! You can choose from several different options depending on your budget, but most tours cost around $60 per person.

The iconic studio at 64 Perry Street, that was used for the exterior of Carrie Bradshaw apartment in New York City USA

You'll get to visit lots of iconic film locations like Carrie Bradshaw's apartment in Sex and the City, Jay Gatsby's house in The Great Gatsby, and the restaurant from When Harry Met Sally. You'll get lots of information about each movie or TV show, plus photos so you can see how these locations look on screen. Some tours also include visits to famous New York landmarks like Grand Central Terminal as well as a guide who offers lots of interesting facts about the city.

10. Little Italy & Chinatown Food Tour

People and cars move alongside the Little Italy Mulberry street by evening in the New York City

Looking for an excuse to indulge in some of New York City's fabulous food? You can do just that with the help of one of the city's popular food tours. You'll get to try all kinds of tasty traditional dishes like pasta, chicken parmigiana, and cannolis, which are a sweet Italian dessert filled with sweet cream.

Streets of Chinatown in New York City

Most of the food tours cost under $125 per person and include lots of different dishes from both Chinatown and Little Italy, so you get to enjoy a wide range of flavors from all over New York City.
Your tour guide will also tell you about how these neighborhoods have evolved over the years, plus where the best places are for you to buy even more delicious food! You can also add a pub crawl or a guided photo tour of Manhattan's skyscrapers, which are two popular add-ons.

Final Thoughts

Brooklyn Bridge and skyline New York City USA Manhattan

So there you have it! Ten fun things to do in New York City for under $1000. Whether you're a history buff, movie lover, or foodie, there's something for everyone on this list. And don't forget that these are just a few of the many amazing things the city has to offer.

We hope this article has given you what you need to go ahead and start planning your trip. If you're already in NYC, we hope this has given you enough ideas to try before you leave. If you're looking for more ideas and would like to continue reading about things to do in the city, we recommend reading our article on "The Hottest Spots to Visit in New York City." There is some overlap, but there are also lots of new ideas not mentioned here. Nonetheless, we'd like to wish you all the best on your journey, and have safe travels!

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