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WorldPride NYC: Visiting New York on a Budget in Summer

WorldPride is set to be the biggest, boldest LGBT Pride event in history. Throughout the month of June, New York City will host millions of out-of-town guests, particularly the weekend of the Pride March (June 30). If you’re headed to the city for WorldPride, here are some tips on how to save money in the inclusive—and expensive—city that is New York.


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Photo by Joseph Pearson on Unsplash


Enjoy free WorldPride events!

Luckily, many of the WorldPride events on the calendar are absolutely free. This includes the Pride March on Sunday, June 30, which will feature live music, dancing, ostentatious floats, humanitarian organizations, and public figures coming out to celebrate Pride. Family Movie Night on June 21 will be a free outdoor event with a movie screening on the banks of the Hudson River, as well as the rally on June 28 commemorating the Stonewall Riots 50 years ago. Youth Pride, the outdoor event for teens on June 29, will also be free for youth and adults.


Skip the cab to & from the airport

Don’t let the long line of yellow cabs entice you once you exit the airport. Yes, they’re convenient, but you’ll pay around $50 minimum for the ride to your hotel. Consider more cost-effective options like GoAirlink NYC, a shuttle that transports passengers to and from the airport starting at $13 per ride. If you dare, you can also take a bus-and-subway combo ride to your lodging for only $2.75. However, unless you’re staying near the airport, you’ll pay in time what you saved in money. Do some research about your route beforehand, and make sure you know exactly where to get on and off the bus and subway. It’s easy to get confused if you’ve never experienced New York public transit.


Stroll in a Park

New York boasts an incredible range of parks from Brooklyn to the Bronx, and they’re all completely free! The most famous, Central Park, probably offers more free activities than any one location in the city (here’s how to spend an entire day there). Other popular parks include the High Line in Chelsea, situated above the streets on an antique rail line, and The Battery at the very tip of Manhattan with perfect views of the Statue of Liberty. You can also watch the chess players at the southeast corner of Washington Square Park, where there are an awful lot of buskers and bands playing free concerts as well. Here are the best parks in NYC, as well as under-the-radar parks if you’re looking to skip the crowd.


Don’t buy full-price Broadway tickets

There are a multitude of options for Broadway on a budget. If you do a little research, you can enjoy discounted tickets from many services like TodayTix and TKTS. The theaters themselves also offer rush tickets at very low prices and lottery tickets just hours before the performance. Options like TKTS and rush require you to wait outside in long lines, but with June weather, you’re in for a much more tolerable wait than you’d have in January. Here’s how to score discounted Broadway tickets.


Invest in a Sightseeing Pass

If you’re looking to spend less but still want to see major sights like the Empire State Building, consider a sightseeing pass. You’ll pay a fee up-front but enjoy big discounts later for admission to tour boats, buses, and museums, as well as money off at certain restaurants and retail stores. There’s the popular New York Pass, as well as these other sightseeing passes recommended by City Guide.


Visit free & pay-what-you-wish museums

Some lesser-known museums offer free admission at all times, while others like the Museum of Modern Art let visitors in for free on Fridays from 4 to 8pm. The National Museum of the American Indian in The Battery is always free, while the Museum of Jewish Heritage invites visitors in at no cost on Wednesdays from 4 to 8pm. The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in Soho, like many other museums, recommends a donation of $9 but does not enforce a ticket price for entry.


Another effort is the “pay-what-you-wish” option offered at many city museums at certain hours on a weekly basis. In other words, you could visit the New-York Historical Society for just $5 during pay-what-you-wish hours every Friday night. See our comprehensive guide to museums with free and pay-what-you-wish hours. FYI: the Museum Mile Festival is June 13, 2019, offering free admission for one night only to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museum, among others.


Watch a movie outside

The city offers an impressive range of movie screenings in summer, most of which are free to attend. There’s the popular film series at Bryant Park and other screenings under the Brooklyn Bridge, on the beach at Coney Island, on the banks of the Hudson at Hudson RiverFlicks, and at the NYC Pride Family Movie Night.


Hit up happy hour

Restaurants and bars offer cheap drinks at happy hour (hours vary, but it’s typically 4-7pm). But don’t stop at the drink menu, as many establishments serve discounted food too! You’ll find bar snacks like wings, tacos, and $1 oysters on these menus. We can’t guarantee you’ll get a full dinner out of the deal, but it’s better than paying for expensive cocktails and sliders at a later hour. Here are 6 happy hours to get you started. And for night owls, here’s a list of late-night happy hours in NYC.


Visit a market

There’s no substitute for perusing a craft fair in the sunshine. Whether you purchase something or not, it’s still a great chance to rub shoulders with locals and see the city’s indie entrepreneurs at their best. The flea market/craft fair Brooklyn Flea posts up under the Manhattan Bridge in DUMBO every Sunday in the summertime, while its sister market, Smorgasburg, sells a wide variety of foods in Williamsburg and Prospect Park every weekend. Other great flea markets include Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market and Grand Bazaar on the Upper West Side. Other craft fairs are listed here.


Go to Shakespeare in the Park

The beloved summer tradition in Central Park never fails to disappoint each year. Shakespeare in the Park, sponsored by the Public Theater, offers free tickets to its nightly performances at the open-air Delacorte Theater inside the park. The catch? These tickets are in high demand and not always easy to come by. You may have to wait in a long line in the park (a pleasant sit if it’s a nice day!) or roll the dice with a lottery. Here’s your guide to getting tickets.


Laugh at the Upright Citizens Brigade

The UCB is not the only place to see free comedy in New York, but it just might be the best. On Sunday nights, the Upright Citizens Brigade in Hell’s Kitchen puts on a live improvised show called ASSSSCAT 3000 for free at 9:30. Again, expect to wait in line for this performance, but know that you’ll see a hilarious show with a special celebrity guest, which rotates at each performance. UCB, which was started in part by Amy Poehler, stages improv and sketch performances throughout the week. Many of them cost $13 and under.


Explore an outer borough

New York City is made up of five boroughs: Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. Most people think of Manhattan when they think of the city; that’s where all of the major sights are, after all. But the other boroughs have major attributes like museums, great food, and nightlife. As more residential areas, these boroughs don’t charge the inflated prices you’ll often find in Manhattan. If you’re looking to save money, you’ll probably pay less for the same bottle of beer in the Bronx than you will in the West Village. This also goes for food and lodging, which are typically less expensive across the board outside of Manhattan. Go to Staten Island for the ferry ride alone. It’s free and offers spectacular views of the Statue of Liberty!


Tour a brewery or distillery

Another outer-borough activity is to visit a brewery or distillery. You can sample local beer, scotch, gin, and other spirits as you learn the history and science behind these fascinating businesses. Brooklyn Brewery offers popular free tours in Williamsburg on weekends, as does Bronx Brewery and Transmitter Brewing in Queens. Here are brewery tours and distillery tours to try during WorldPride.


Kayak for Pride!

While kayaking isn’t an official WorldPride event, it’s a great way to take advantage of the lovely summer weather and do something a little different while you’re in the city. There are many places offering free and cheap kayak rides, as well as rowboats, throughout the city. Go to Brooklyn Bridge Park and The Downtown Boathouse near Tribeca for free rides, or row a handmade rowboat off Pier 40 in Manhattan. Here’s a breakdown of terrific paddlesports in New York.


Take a walk

There’s a million ways to get around the city, but walking is by far the cheapest—and, in our opinion, the best. Particularly in downtown neighborhoods, you can walk easily from Soho shopping to dinner in Chinatown, all while people-watching, picture-taking, and window-shopping on your way. Great walks are in endless supply, whether along the waterfront in Riverside Park or across the Brooklyn Bridge at sunset. Any New York visit will test your legs, but it’s worth it for all the surprises you see on the street!


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