The competitive nature of New York means it can be quite expensive. Luckily the US has plenty of other big cities along the East Coast with a beautiful skyline, great attractions, but with a significantly cheaper urban lifestyle.
Foreign tourists seeking a unique American city experience need to first obtain a visa.. Travellers from countries in the Visa Waiver Program obtain this through the esta visa application. A straightforward online procedure with a detailed questionnaire, and once the American administration approves your application, it will give you a two-year window to visit the US.
Feet Do Travel know New York is expensive, so we share budget friendly alternatives to New York City, USA.
Chicago is often compared to New York City due to it’s size and impressive skyline. It has numerous huge attractions like the observation decks at the Willis Tower and 360 Chicago in the John Hancock Building. Lakeshores are bustling with people in summer, Millenium park can act as Central Park, and there are some excellent museums. Chicago also boasts an impressive art collection, and many Michel Starred restaurants to suit every palate.
Philadelphia (also known as Philly) is considerably smaller than New York, but has great historical importance to the United States. The City was founded in 1682, and was a meeting place for the Founding Fathers of the United States where they signed the Declaration of Independence. National Geographic named Philadelphia as one of the top 20 places to visit in 2020.
With a diverse community, Philadelphia has an urban American feel, and for street art lovers it has more outdoor sculptures and murals than any other City. Hang out in the Italian Market, try cheesesteaks, go to the Liberty Bell, and the Independence Hall. For fans of the “Rocky” movies, recreate the iconic scene by running up the 72 “Rocky Steps” to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and view the bronze Rocky Statue.
Baltimore is another East Coast city with impressive architecture, and the oldest railroad in the US. Its also a historically significant city with well-preserved early United States architecture. Between Fort McHenry National Monument and historic ships in the harbour, Baltimore highlights include National Aquarium, Fell's Point historic area, and numerous museums, including the world’s largest collection of Henri Matisse which you can see for free!
Atlanta is significantly cheaper, and among the bigger cities in America. Although its skyline is nowhere as attractive as New York, Atlanta's culture and economy do compare with the Big Apple. Almost the entire City was burnt to the ground during the American Civil War, however it rose from the ashes to become a national centre of commerce, ranking in the world’s top 20 Cities. It has earnt the nickname “the City in a forest” because of it’s dense tree coverage and rolling hills, Atlanta also has better weather than New York and cheaper accommodation.
If you still plan to visit New York or any big City, there are ways you can save money. City cards can be a real saver, with discounts available for multiple attractions and transportation under one card.
The best way to experience a City is on foot, so walk as much as you can. Most huge towns in America have free attractions, for example New York has public beaches, Central Park, Times Square, as well as many other free places to visit. When walking around at night, try to avoid the worst neighborhoods in nyc.
Food can eat up your budget. Street food and fast food are one option, or food courts in shopping malls are another great cheap alternative to expensive restaurants.
As for accommodation, hostels, Airbnb and motels outside of Manhattan or other City centre areas are the cheapest options.
One of the most visited attractions in the state of New York is Niagara Falls, on the US Canada border. If you want to visit the Falls for longer than a day trip from NYC, there are some cool towns nearby where you can stay.
Just 44 kms from the Falls is Lincoln. Famous for its vineyards and views of the Toronto skyline, Lincoln is a small community which hosts Lincoln County Fair, and the Beamsville Strawberry Festival.
Buffalo is the biggest city near Niagara Falls. There are plenty of accommodation options, and if you visit in football season, you can check out red hot Buffalo Bills.
Port Colborne is 40 kms from the Falls. It's on the Lake Erie shores, which means there are great hikes and views available. Lockport and Ransomville are two other close townships.