My Favorite NYC Activities on a Student Budget

New York City is magical but also expensive

After spending the last three years in this concrete jungle I call home, I’ve come up with a list of my favorite places to visit and food to try on a student budget. These places are not too far from campus and are a mix of non-touristy and touristy things—because I still feel like a tourist!

Places to Visit

Brooklyn Bridge Park and Dumbo

Brooklyn Bridge Park at sunset

Brooklyn Bridge Park: You’ll get an amazing view of lower Manhattan. During the summer, the park puts on a variety of outdoor movies!

Picture of Dumbo neighborhood

Dumbo: One of the most photographed places in NYC! You can easily walk from the Brooklyn Bridge Park to Dumbo.

Long Island City Park

Picture of Long Island City Park

Long Island City Park: Also a waterfront park but less touristy! Lots of grass and chairs, with views of midtown Manhattan.

The Whitney and the High Line

Picture of the High Line and the Whitney Museum

The Whitney Museum of American Art is right next to an entrance of the High Line so it’s very easy to do both in one day! (NYU students get free admission to The Whitney as well as a few other museums around the city.)

Food to Try

Joe's Pizza

Picture of Joe's Pizza store front

I go to Joe’s Pizza whenever I crave a slice! With locations conveniently around the NYU campus, you can be in and out in a few minutes.

MacDougal Street

Picture of MacDougal Street

MacDougal Street is a one-way street in Greenwich Village (five-minute walk from campus!). It has a variety of different places that are great for lunch/dinner under $10.
My favorites are the infamous Artichoke Pizza, Kati Roll (Indian street food), and by CHLOE (plant-based food and vegan desserts).

Chelsea Market and Dekalb Market

Picture of Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market (75 Ninth Avenue), the famous food hall, is a foodie paradise like no other. Encompassing an entire city block (and once home to a biscuit factory!), it houses over 45 different venues with flavors from around the world.
Check out LOS TACOS No.1

Picture of Dekalb Market

Dekalb Market (445 Albee Square W) is a new market hall in Downtown Brooklyn that opened in 2017. Similarly to Chelsea Market, it houses 40 vendors who reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the borough.
Check out Pierogi Boys

Chinatown/Little Italy

Street in Chinatown/ Little Italy NYC area

Chinatown and Little Italy are neighborhoods that border each other. Both offer amazing options for food as well as dessert on a student budget! I recommend:

Ferrara Bakery and Cafe in Little Italy
Joe’s Shanghai and Fay Da Bakery in Chinatown.

Starbucks Roastery–NYC

Photo of Starbucks Roastery

Starbucks Roastery is a 23,000-square-foot immersive coffee destination for coffee lovers. It is located close to Chelsea Market (61 Ninth Ave) and roasts coffee beans distributed along the East Coast. The other US location is in Seattle with locations internationally in Shanghai, Milan, and Tokyo.

“With premium coffees, teas, mixology, and the iconic Milanese Princi Bakery, it serves as a Starbucks brand amplifier and a platform for future innovation.”–Kevin Johnson, Starbucks CEO

I’ve tried the Whiskey Coffee: coffee aged in whiskey barrels (does not actually contain Whiskey) and have had nothing else like it!