Photo by Baron Reznik

Photo by Baron Reznik. cc

With a population pushing eight million, Manhattan is a vibrant collection of histories, peoples, and cultures. To a newcomer, the city can be overwhelming, and rightly so. With an intense network of underground travel and constant crowds, it can be easy for someone to get turned around. But don’t let the large population dissuade a visit. In this article, we will show you where to stay, play, eat, and travel to get the best bite out of the Big Apple in less than 48 hours and with only $250.


A decent hostel with high ratings and rewards is NY Moore Hostel in Brooklyn. For $35 a night, visitors can comfortably sleep in a private room, mixed dorm, or female-only dorm. The hostel comes with complimentary towels, linens, Wi-Fi, and a fully equipped kitchen. It’s clean, safe, and close to the subway, which gets visitors into Manhattan faster (about a half-hour trip). Some neat and inexpensive places to check out in Brooklyn include the Brooklyn Museum and Brooklyn Bridge.


New York has something for everyone. People-watchers should head to Central Park; museum lovers can hit up the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Guggenheim Museum, to name a few. Some museums have a “suggested donation price,” but they won’t kick visitors out if they don’t pay. However, it’s always nice to donate a few dollars to each museum because they are nonprofit organizations.

If visitors crave a more wild excitement, check out Luna Park on Coney Island. It’s a 45–60 minute ride from mid-town Manhattan and is filled with fun things to see like a Ferris wheel and some roller coasters. Admission is free into the park, but getting onto or into the amusements will cost some money.

For visitors who want a taste of Broadway without the high prices, check out Off-Broadway shows—just as entertaining for a quarter of the price. TKTS is the best source for ticket prices. Visitors can find a show for as low as $35 a ticket! Or visitors can try their hand at Broadway lotteries, where they can enter a drawing the morning of a show for two tickets to great seats in the house (which may only be applicable to high-profile shows).


If you aren’t a foodie, and all you care about is fueling up to see the sights, then Two Bros. Pizza is your best bet. For a dollar a slice and a grab-and-run style, these New–York–style pizzas are what the locals eat in a rush. They aren’t glamorous restaurants; people stand at bar-height counters to eat their pizza on cheap paper plates or fold the big slice in half and eat on the go.

For more variety, head to the food trucks: you can find a filling meal of just about any type of cuisine for under $7—a quick search on your phone or asking a local will point you in the right direction. The other great part is that Two Bros. and food trucks are all over Manhattan; however, some places only take cash, so make sure to keep a couple bills on hand.


One word: subway. The signs are easy to follow, but having Google Maps on a smartphone makes it even easier to navigate. A seven-day unlimited pass costs $29, but for a visitor traveling around Manhattan and between Brooklyn in a 48 hour period, getting on the subway at least twelve times is guaranteed (the cost of a one-way ride is $2.50). The subway is faster than buses, cheaper than a taxi, and more fun than either option. (Remember: subway surfing.)

—Kiersten Cowan