FREE & BARGAIN NYC MUSEUMS
Paying for admission to NYC Museums. They are very expensive, but offer free days or times.
African Burial Ground Memorial Site
The Bronx Museum of the Arts
Federal Hall National Memorial
The Federal Reserve Bank
General Grant National Memorial
The Harbor Defense Museum
The Hispanic Society of America
Irish Hunger Memorial
Leslie–Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art
Museum of Biblical Art
The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology
National Museum of the American Indian
The New York Public Library Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
New York Transit Museum Annex & Store, Grand Central Terminal
Queens County Farm Museum
Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America
Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden (grounds and botanical garden only)
Socrates Sculpture Park
Soldiers and Sailors Monument
Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace
Museum at Eldridge Street (tours, 10am to noon)
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Morgan Library and Museum (The McKim Rooms only)
Wave Hill (free all day, November through April and July and August; 9am to noon in May, June, September and October)
Bronx Zoo Pay what you will for grounds access. Does not include admission to special exhibitions like Butterfly Garden, Congo Gorilla Forest and Jungle World.
Museum of Jewish Heritage (4 to 8pm)
New York Botanical Garden - Free grounds access all day. Excluded access to the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, special exhibitions (such as The Orchid Show), Everett Children’s Adventure Garden, Rock, Native Plant Gardens or Tram Tour (April–October) .
Staten Island Zoo (after 2pm)
Queens Botanical Garden (April through October, free hours on Wednesdays from 3 to 6pm and Sundays from 4 to 6pm. November through March, free at all times)
Museum of Arts and Design (pay what you will, 6 to 9pm)
New Museum (7 to 9pm)
Museum of Chinese in America
Museum of Modern Art (4 to 8pm)
Whitney Museum of American Art (pay what you will, 6 to 9pm)
Morgan Library and Museum (7 to 9pm)
The New-York Historical Society (pay what you will, 6 to 8pm)
New York Aquarium (pay what you will, after 3pm)
International Center of Photography (pay what you will, after 5pm)
Museum of the Moving Image (4 to 8pm)
Japan Society (6 to 9pm)
New York Hall of Science (2 to 5pm, September through June)
Rubin Museum of Art (6 to 10pm)
Asia Society (September through June, 6 to 9pm)
Historic Richmond Town (1 to 5pm)
FIRST FRIDAY OF THE MONTH::
Neue Galerie (6 to 8pm)
Children’s Museum of Manhattan (5 to 8pm)
The Noguchi Museum (pay what you will, 10am to 5pm)
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden (10am to noon)
Museum of American Finance
New York Botanical Garden (free grounds pass, 10 to 11am)
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (pay what you will, 5:45 to 7:45pm)
The Jewish Museum
Wave Hill (9am to noon)
FIRST SATURDAY OF THE MONTH
Brooklyn Museum (admission and programs, 5 to 11pm)
THIRD SATURDAY OF THE MONTH:
El Museo del Barrio
Frick Collection (pay what you will, 11am to 1pm)
The Morgan Library and Museum (The McKim Rooms only, 4 to 6pm)
New York Hall of Science (10 to 11am, September through June)
Queens Botanical Garden (4 to 6pm through October 31)
Studio Museum in Harlem (noon to 6pm)Related to:
- Museum Visits
- Budget Travel
Less Expensive Restaurant Recommendations
NYC Restaurants are expensive; dining in most of the world is significantly less expensive. We recommend:
1. Eating in ethnic foods in ethnic enclaves, ex. Chinatown, Little Italy, Harlem has excellent food for a fraction of the price.
2. Supermarkets such as Fairway, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's have a prepared food section and hot food bar. Pizza, salads, sandwiches, salad bar, Indian buffet, Italian buffet ... food is weighed by the pound. Tables are set aside with utensils to dine in. The food can be prepared to eat out, reheat or picnic in the park. Markets are near Central Park at Columbus Circle, Greenwich Village at 14th St., the east side, west side, Harlem, Brooklyn, downtown.Related to:
- Family Travel
Do not order just a beer in the pub, you might get some mild draft beer or bad Bud.
Check out what they have on the tap as they call it here, they have many regional breweries as well as in some pubs even micro breweries that make very good quality beers.Related to:
- Beer Tasting
On off digital world 485 5 th ave was a great lovely store great help and great prices
Unique Suggestions: Do not go to best buy there all liars do not buy the extenuated warranty it's all a lie on off digital world is much more honest
Fun Alternatives: Make sure u go to on off digital
Museum of Modern History.
Most people recommend this place as a must see. Quite frankly it does have some cool points to it; like the dinosaur bones and there is a wall of life that features some qiant jelly fish and other gross creatures, but over all I found this place to be a waste of time. I am all for museums but nothing in this place is real. It`s all stuffed animals. My husband wanted to see the dum dum want gum gum statue from the movie: Night at the Museum and that isn`t even real. It`s foam or some replica. To me this was a waste of a day that could`ve been spent doing something else.
Unique Suggestions: go see the dinosaurs, then leave.Related to:
- Museum Visits
- Family Travel
I cannot believe I parted with $11 for a gin and tonic in the bar of the Radisson Lexington. It is not even a very smart hotel.
"Service charge" of 18% was added, and the tab still left a gap for tips!
Fun Alternatives: For that price, a drink at the Bleekman Tower Hotel (qv) is much better value.
Woodbury Common - WHAT A RIP OFF!
Woodbury Common was sold to us as the best place to shop for less, a place to get those designer clothes for less and it had also been recommended to me by a few people so you can imagine my horror when I arrived there and found that most of clothes were about 2 years out of date!! and we had the pleasure of spending $40 to get there on the bus that goes from the Port of Authority building and back again. I spent more money getting there and back then I did actually in the place.
The United Nations, why?
Why would anyone go here? Why did I go here? As an attraction I could find no redeeming value, it's ugly, it's empty, it's cold, it's boring, it's... I guess if you're an aspiring diplomat...
Unique Suggestions: Jump in the river, it's close.
When we were walking along the harbour, there was a man playing a game on a table with a bean and 3 thimbles. Basically, he would move the thimbles around really fast and you would have to guess which one the bean is under. There were two people by the table who we saw winning hundreds of dollars for guessing right each time.
We come to realize it was scam, and the people guessing were actually WITH the man. So if you see anyone playing any type of game like this, don't trust it unless you have a really good reason to.
At various locations like the Top of the Rock Observatory and the Empire State Building in particular you will discover that as part of the tour they want to take your picture.
There reason is at the end of the tour they will try to sell you your picture at an exorbitant price, clearly not worth it in my humble view or have much value.
Fun Alternatives: As an alternative when you are at these places look for a great photo opportunity and take your own pictures for free!
Unfortunately the 'ol Lindy's makes the tourist trap list. Now located adjacent to Pennsylvania Hotel (another tourist trap) - we sauntered into the bar for their legendary cheesecake - sat down just in time to watch a rat scurry across the length of the room. Perhaps he'd just been evicted from Taco Bell & KFC in the Village! Don't bother - there's better cheesecake almost everywhere in Manhattan.
Babbo ... it doesn't seem to be 'in the cards'
this isn't really a tourist trap tip
it's a sarcastic / sour-grapes-whiny rant from someone who constantly finds it impossible to pull off a "walk-in" into what is supposed to be a great restaurant.Babbo (for me) is like catch 22 - requiring "up to" one-month-in-advance reservations.
Yet when I'm close by in the village evenings
(5 minutes away by foot), & I call on my cell phone, they say:
"oh Shuurre, no problem ... tables are reserved, but we have room @ the bar right now, just come on by and we'll seat you & serve you right away. "
5 minutes later (this has happened more than once) I walk in (dressed for dinner-not slobbed out), only to find the bar seats completely full.
Both hostess & bartender (though pleasantly polite) smile gratiously with empathy in their eyes and apologize:
"they just all walked in a minute ago and took all the seats; ... I've never had that happen before" .... ( yeah, right...)
and tell you if you don't mind waiting for an hour or so (standing, no seats anywhere) you can have a glass of wine & eventually something might open up. "So sorry..."
I am not making this up. This happens to me almost every time I goto Manhattan and try a walk-in / eat @ Babbo.
MMmerrdaah ! I KNOW I can make reservations a month ahead,
but then in a great food town where I know some guaranteed good places, I'm committed .... and the prices @ Babbo are high & the waits are long:
is the risk, time and trouble WORTH IT??
and why do they always lie and tell me "come onnnnn DOWN...." then pull the Lucy / Charlie Brown football gag when I get there?
(to the staff):
next time, please just say "NO",
there's lots of great / other places to eat in Manhattan without risking priceless Manhattan restaurant time for a famous yet unknown commodity.
Maybe you never have this problem (is it my breath ...)
... and maybe the food is even better than advertised
but I don't think Babbo is in the cards for me
Unique Suggestions: Take a qualude and pass out leaning against the wall to kill time while you wait for a table or a seat at the bar
(Don't forget to generously tip the hostess for brushing the cobwebs off you every once in a while ...)
or maybe walk in naked ... (that oughta' get you a seat!)
Fun Alternatives: F*g# it
Go to Il Mulino for lunch (you can usually always walk in for lunch here) a few blocks away at 86 W. 3rd St between Sullivan and Thompson.
Hey, if you live somewhere other than NY and you get into Babbo without hassle all the time, good for you. This is nothing more than a frustrated, sour-grapes / whiny rant anyway.
Mario, I loved your relatives' great little place (Salumi) in Seattle.
but for Babbo, I think I give up ...Related to:
- Wine Tasting
- Food and Dining
Leflac - A Store on 42nd St. near 5th Avenue
The prices of everything they sell are really really high. I was in a hurry to get a pair of binoculars to watch the broadway show '3 Days of Rain' and wanted a close up view of Julia Roberts (of course!). So I did not do my research. Bought 2 pairs, one for my friend. Paid $390+. Later that night, surfed online for the same model. Found out most stores sold them for $17 apiece! Went back to the store but they would not accept returns. Had to settle for them crediting me back $240. Still I paid over 4x too much! But I had to take what I could.
I later found a lot of complaints online about this store from tourists who have been victimized.
Don't Get Taken For A Sky Ride
I like roller coasters, but the closest I've got to Disney World is Blackpool Pleasure Beach on a rainy weekend.
Fair to say no comparison.
When I think of the striding achievements the US has given the world, amusement parks have got to be up in my top ten.
So when I heard about a "motion-simulated, big screen theatre" attraction called Sky Ride inside the Empire State Building, I thought this would be $15 well spent.
How wrong was I.
This is one big embarrassment to the city. God knows why the average American tourist puts up with this rubbish after they have been to the Epcot Centre, and up the Tower of Terror.
Basically a back slapping 10min intro about how great New York is - where they compare the NY fire department to some baseball players (don't remember their outstanding contribution on 9/11), followed by a pitiful excuse why they haven't updated the film since the Twin Towers fell - apparently out of respect).
After enduring this poorly disguised ploy to make the experience last that little bit longer (to try and justify the cost), you are ushered into a small cinema for a Kevin Bacon voiced movie of the city.
Ridiculous, embarrassing, and not in the least bit funny (as it trys to be in places), the film ends with a pilots view of flying towards the Twin Towers, only to swerve past them at the last minute. In such bad taste it is almost comedic.
I presume at least one relative of someone who died that day has been here since 2001, and why they haven't complained I don't know.
Unique Suggestions: Don't botherRelated to:
- Family Travel
- Theme Park Trips
Dylan's Candy Bar
First of all, I have to say, by criticizing Dylan's Candy Bar as a tourist trip, I feel as though I'm betraying a close friend. Dylan's Candy Bar was created by Ralph Lauren's daughter and Ralph Lauren, I'm sorry, is the greatest designer ever. Period. I 3 Ralph Lauren. Ooh the little polo man...
Anyway, this is about Dylan's. It's an incredible tourist trap. According to my brother, "white-sneaker clad, hip-bouncing bag carriers wearing scrunchies are the only ones who could possibly frequent such an overrated place." (Great minds think alike?)
Save your money and get your licorice and hershey kisses somewhere else. Parents, save your tempers and give your kids a book instead. (Or go across the street to 360 Brassiere. Fantastic little bistro).
Unique Suggestions: Don't bother with the chocolates (or any of the other edibles. You can visit virtually ANY other candy shoppe in Manhattan and get the SAME EXACT sweeties for 1/5 of the price!) Instead, pick up the 'dirty' t-shirts they sell, like 'Lick Me' or something. At least that'll last you more than 2 minutes and doesn't go to your hips.
Fun Alternatives: Get some excellent chocolates at Charbonnel et Walker on the 8th Floor of Saks Fifth or downtown in SoHo at Vosges Haute Chocolate. Far classier than Dylan's Candy Bar.Related to:
- Family Travel
New York City Hotels
This is a Hotel /Bed and Breakfast. It is a oasis in the middle of Times Square. It is quiet inside...more
If your pocketbook can afford it, the Sherry-Netherland is one of New York's poshest luxury hotels....more
The Library is a good little hotel but the frustration is it could be a great hotel. Great concept...more
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