Contributed by Jennifer Polland And Melissa Stanger
New York may be one of the most expensive cities in the world, but many people don't realize that it's entirely possible to enjoy even the city's swankiest spots for free or cheap.
From a subterranean food court inside the Plaza Hotel to little-known lunch deals at some of the city's best restaurants, here are 14 ways to enjoy New York City's fanciest venues without spending a fortune.
Jean-Georges is known as one of the best restaurants in New York City, but a meal there can cost hundreds of dollars — except at lunch, when there's a $38 price-fixed menu, one of the best deals in the city.
Each year, millions of visitors pass through the Metropolitan Museum of Art and pay the full admission price of $25. But many people don't realize that admission is "suggested." (It actually costs as little as a penny to enter the museum.) The best time to visit is on a Saturday night, when the museum is open late and has live music without the crowds.
Located in the basement of the Plaza Hotel, the Plaza Food Hall is home to dozens of food vendors selling everything from sushi to macarons at (relatively) affordable prices.
King & Grove, a boutique hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, has a gorgeous rooftop pool with a spacious deck that's open to the public for a small fee of $35 ($45 on weekends).
Manhattan's biggest spenders drop millions on priceless works of art at Christie's Auction House, but the masterpieces are open for free public viewing before each auction.
People drool over the dry-aged steaks at Brooklyn's iconic Peter Luger Steakhouse, but steak for two costs about $100. What most people don't know is that at lunchtime, Peter Luger offers a hamburger made with the same premium-quality meat for $11.50—a fraction of the dinner price.
With cover fees and jacked-up drink costs, a night at a jazz club can cost a hefty amount—but not at Dizzy's Club at Jazz at Lincoln Center, a beautiful upscale jazz venue inside the Time Warner Center with large windows overlooking Central Park. Top acts play at the late-night sessions on Tuesdays and Wednesday for a fraction of the price of a normal session. (There's a $5 cover and a $5 menu.)
Hidden inside the elegant lobby of midtown's upscale Le Parker Meridien Hotel, there's a raucous hole-in-the wall burger joint (aptly called the Burger Joint) that's tucked behind a heavy red curtain. The menu is simple—burgers, fries, beer—but cheap.
The historic Empire Hotel serves classy cocktails at its rooftop bar, which has views of Lincoln Center and the Upper West Side. Overtime NYC, a happy hour deals site, offers great deals at this hotel, like half-priced drinks at the bar.
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) houses the latest and greatest modern art exhibits, including the infamous Rain Room. Admission normally costs $25, but on Friday nights visitors can pay what they wish.
Tickets to performances by the New York Philharmonic are typically expensive and hard to come by. But the world-renowned symphony orchestra plays for free in several New York City parks during the summer Concerts in the Park series.
The price of Broadway tickets has skyrocketed in recent years, but it's still possible to get discounted tickets to the hottest Broadway shows at the TKTS booth in Times Square, which offers discounts of up to 50% off to same-day performances.
New York is home to some of the most exclusive—and most expensive—restaurants in the world. Twice a year, dozens of the city's best restaurants offer affordable price-fixed meals during NYC Restaurant Week. Summer Restaurant Week starts on Monday.
The hipster-friendly Ace Hotel in Manhattan's trendy NoMad neighborhood is home to Michelin-starred restaurant The Breslin, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, and luxe rooms that cost upwards of $250 a night. But it's possible to enjoy the hotel's cool ambiance—and free Wi-Fi—by hanging out in the lobby.
Vivian Giang/Business Insider
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