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SmellyBoy's avatar

What are some fun, cheap activities to do with my girlfriend in NYC?

Asked by SmellyBoy (242 points ) April 16th, 2011

Going to New York City tomorrow to see a show with my girlfriend at 7:30 in the evening. She bought the tickets as a graduation present so I want to plan some nice things to do with her before the production to show my appreciation! We’re on a pretty tight budget so the activities will have to be kinda cheap, but we’re also both college students so anything with student discounts will definitely be considered

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16 Answers

unused_bagels's avatar

If you took the metro in (PLEASE DO THIS) to Manhattan Island (there is never any parking), I’d suggest go to the financial district, or wander down Broad Way to Times Square. Chinatown is also very fun, as is Central Park. There are so many local places to check out, and so much fun architecture, I’ve wasted a whole day doing that until I stumbled upon something I liked.
Also, there are tons of art museums, like The Met and the Guggenheim, but I forget if they’re free. They’re probably cheap, most museums are.

Mamradpivo's avatar

How long will you be there? If you have the whole day, walk from Soho or Tribeca up to Times Square area. I’ve been to NY maybe 10 times and I still enjoy this walk. If you have only a few hours, go for a drink at the Top of the Rock. It’s the best view in town, less crowded than the Empire State and rather romantic. Good luck.

marinelife's avatar

Student admission to the Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art) is only $10.

Stop at a grocery store/deli, buy some cheese, some bread, something to drink and some dessert and have a picnic in Central Park.

creative1's avatar

If you and your girlfriend happen to have a Bank of America Debit Card,you can both get into the following museums for free: The Met, The Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, Intripid Sea Air & Space Museum, El Museo Del Barrio, International Center of Photography, Museum of the City of New York, and New York Hall of Science.

I would highly suggest walking around times square as well and if you can afford it they also have a booth over by broadway that you can buy tickets for broadway shows for half price. They are selling the leftover tickets from that nights proformaces. Makes seeing a show affordable.

Don’t forget to get a good slice of New York Pizza they have some of the best pizza places there.

Have fun and enjoy the walk around the city I think I enjoy that the most when in NYC. People watching can be some of the best form of entertainment to me.

XOIIO's avatar

Go to a hotel and order some strawberries, whipped cram and chocolate sauce?

lawl

aprilsimnel's avatar

Written last year, but still applicable.

mazingerz88's avatar

Visit one of thousands of souvenir shops and buy a hat or key chain or shot glass?
Kiss spontaneously as you walk hand in hand
Eat street food
Eat hotdogs at Gray’s Papaya
Try cheap but tasty Yoshinoya meal across Madame Tussaud’s
Watch a subway performer
Gawk at the dancing naked cowboy
Stay awhile at Times Square, look up and turn around and around
Tap a local new yorker on the shoulder, the ones mostly just looking straight ahead while looking with disdain at tourists and ask them where you can find a bathroom or the Sex Museum or better yet, if they are a jelly in Fluther? And then take a photo of their reaction with your cellphone. Ok goodluck!

Kardamom's avatar

Check out this post on Chowhound. This person talks about a delicious and inexpensive deli called Katz’s, he also mentions a place where you can get an egg cream another place that sells knishes and another place for donuts. The most interesting thing they mentioned is the Tenement Museum, where you can take a tour to see what it was like for the immigrants that came to N.Y. in the early 1900’s. Student tickets are $15.

If you have any interest in The Beatles, you can go to the Strawberry Fields(memorial) John Lennon memorial in Central Park or to the Dakota Apartments where John Lennon breathed his last breath. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a remarkable example of gothic looking architecture.

Here’s a listing for some of the best pizza in New York.

Here’s a listing of inespensive places to eat in Chinatown.

The New York Public Library has free tours and exhibits.

You can ride the Staten Island Ferry for free and see the harbor and the skyscrapers. This is often called the “cheapest date in New York.”

If you enjoy seeing history for yourself, you might enjoy visiting some of the places on this list of the 12 oldest buildings in New York City At least one of them is a tavern/museum in Manhattan.

If you would like to pay your respects to the victims of 9/11, you can visit Ground Zero. This link tells you how to get there and suggests that you also visit St. Paul’s Chapel of Trinity Church which served as a relief station during the attacks.

You might enjoy one of these walking tours. The Big Onion tours are $12 for students.

And here are som Free Walking Tours

BarnacleBill's avatar

This doesn’t fit your timeframe of tomorrow, but a great thing to keep in mind is Target First Saturdays at the Brooklyn Museum with free admissions and dancing at 6:00 pm. Reasonably priced cash bar. Makes for a fun date.

Pandora's avatar

Go for a walk around Cental Park on the east side. Lots to see. This is the perfect time of year to do that. You’ll get to see all kind of buildings and the park is full with different people and pets. My favorite thing to do was watch the people who matched their pets. :)
Sunday afternoon was the best time. You can sometimes spot someone famous walking around.
Lots of food from street venders and snacks and the park is usually in full bloom this time of year. There are museums near by as well. It was always a great place to go for a romantic stroll.
Eat a New York hotdog while your there from the street vendors. They are so good.

jaytkay's avatar

Another vote for the Staten Island ferry for the views and a good look the Statue of Liberty. Or ride the subway across the East River to the Brooklyn Bridge station and walk back across the bridge. for the skyline view.

@creative1 The Bank of America free deal is a great tip, but only the first weekend of each month.
http://museums.bankofamerica.com/

creative1's avatar

Sorry they have changed it since I last went, used to be for around this time of year and run for only a month or 2 where it was totally free as long as you used your debit card. It was a something they adopted from Fleetboston when they merged.

dabbler's avatar

walk walk walk ! and don’t forget to look up at the fantastically humongous buildings !
fooled ya – that’s how we know you’re tourists. just kidding I’m still impressed by the grandness of the place and you will find me agog and agape regularly. On the other hand if the whole family walks side-by-side on down the sidewalk we will know for sure you are tourists, the kind that make us cranky, we will huff at you trying to get where we’re going around/past/through your family, do NOT do that ! Pair up ok?
+1 @Kardomom ref the Best Deal in town: Staten Island Ferry.
Right next to the Staten Island Ferry building to the NorthWest is Battery Park and while you’re strolling through there along the waterside look for a 3×3 set of bells set into the ground west of the wood concession hut. Facing south using the locations of # on the phone the pitch increases in this sequence 986532147. Two or three people can play going around the perimeter and the notes are ingeniously arranged that lots of combinations work nicely.
Beyond Battery Park is the little Wagner Park distinguished by a red brick arching bridge.
Best view of New York Harbor and just about the prettiest little bit of Manhattan you could hope to find.
If you keep going up the gorgeous esplanade of Battery Park City you’ll reach the World Financial Center. If it’s nice weather sit by the waterfall fountains, or if you can spring for it have a long island ice tea at SouthWestNY at a lovely table with the same view. Gawk at the lovely yachts that might be parked at the North Cove in front of you.
Inside the Winter Garden visit the sixteen California palm trees while you can (these are spares that had been grown in Indio, CA for a decade and shipped in to replace the ones smashed up on 9/11), we hear they will take them out while remodeling in a year or two. Ground zero is just east of The World Financial Center, these days is a huge construction site with the “Freedom Tower” rising on the northWest corner. Never mind the cranes and cement and holes at ground zero, take the footbridge over the west side highway up Varick Street and just past Church St is St Paul’s which has within the best memorial you’re going to see for the 9/11 event.
St Paul’s faces Broadway and diagonally across from it is City Hall, same one you saw in Ghost Busters.
Some of the oldest buildings in downtown are in front of you next to J&R’s new computer building. Up broadway on the left with a green roof is the Woolworth building for many years the tallest building in the world. the terra cotta facia of this building are incredible.
If you head down Broadway do take a look at the sub-baby grand piano over the door inside the McDonald’s. They often have someone playing it, have fries in style.
At liberty St you’ll get another look at the construction a tWTC/ WorldTradeCenter/ground zero. While your at it notice the buildings you were next to back at the World Financial Center beyond WTC. Imagine the twin towers, they were twice as tall as those. Turning around at 140 Broadway you see the big red cube by Naguchi. Just South of 140 Broadway is 120 Broadway, notice how it makes an unrelenting vertical assault on the space – that set of buildings inspired zoning renovations that require the setbacks on upper floors as the buildings rise and require the public spaces that you see around the bases of the largest buildings. looking east past 140 Bway is Chase Plaza with one of the first and still one of the largest modern Skyscrapers in the financial district. in the plaza to the south of the building are the Dubuffet ‘Group of Four Trees’ sculpture and if they finally get the scaffolding out of the way check out the sunken fountain in that plaza, that’s also a Naguchi.
Wall St is another block south of Chase Plaza. At Broadway and Wall is the lovely Trinity Church. The NYSE is a block down Wall, don’t miss the lobbies of the two buildings at 1 and 2 Wall, You should be able to go into the bank on the north corner and gape at the scope of it. On the south corner it’s often closed to the public but you can admire it’s exquisite graduated fiery mosaic on the walls of the ground floor room, one of the loveliest buildings downtown overall as well. Wall St is over 50% residential now as the big old financial district buildings don’t support enough telecomm to carry out modern office work. Cipriani hotel is on the right at William St. The space has a 60 ft high domed ceiling and galleries around the main room. It gets rented for swanky events like the Victoria’s Secret tv specials, weddings, and a bar mitzvah that featured a live camel out front (I’d seen the same camel the year before outside Radio City Music Hall there for the Christmas show – they are in it – with two camel buddies and their handlers out for exercise morning walkies).
Further down Wall street you will get to Water Street. Soak up the hugeness of the phalanx of modern skyscrapers up and down Water St. Looking south at the end you’re back where we started at the Statem Island Ferry building next to 1 NewYorkPlaza that looks like a huge grey waffle.
On the way find the big staircase in the front of 55 Water and go up it to Elevated Acre probably the nicest treatment of the top of a parking structure you will ever find. The view from there across the East River faces Brooklyn. To the north is the brooklyn bridge to the south governors island. just below you the FDR drive rises to edge the eastern side of Manhattan . On the right is the Wall Street heliport, when the president is headed for the UN there are police and coast guards boats surrounding that and marine 1 and 2 come in with two big cheyenne gunships and they all fit there easily. They close the FDR and a motorcade of a few dozen vehicles go rocketing up the FDR to the UN building about four miles up.
Downtown tour’s over, go back down the stairs (get your harmonica out and enjoy the acoustics on the two side platforms) to Water St and take the M9 bus up to chinatown.
Go to Pell St and have a snack at the Vegetarian DimSum Restaurant.
Museums aren’t free but there are student rates and the Met and MOMA have a pay-what-you-will policy, if you need to don’t be shy just do that.

wildpotato's avatar

I hang out mostly in the Village, so these are all there:

Go to Fat Cat – 3 jazz bands a night, many games (table shuffleboard, pool, table tennis, scrabble, checkers/chess, Magic), and cheapo PBR – all for a $3 cover.

Or try Spain, an excellent little bar with cheap Estrella Galicia and all the free tapas you can eat.

The Comedy Cellar is great fun and only like $10 on weekdays – and the Olive Tree bar/restaurant above it is nice, too. Dave Atell and some other well-knowns are at the Cellar on a regular basis.

Go to Cones for some crazy ice cream flavors – corn flavor is my favorite.

Chill with the cornucopia of dogs that is Washington Square dog park. It’s amazing how many different shapes dogs can have.

Go see the Free Hugs man in Union Square for a free hug. And while you’re in the square, spend $2.25 to get into the subway station so you can catch all the buskers down there; that’s the station to see some really good acts at. I’ve seen breakdancing mimes, an awesome funk bass player, a guy who can cut your likeness out of a tiny piece of paper in 75 seconds flat, pan-flute bandbaas fantastic banjo player, a string quartet, and many other buskers there – not to mention, the station sometimes smells like brownies. I kid you not.

XOIIO's avatar

You could climb that wall of text that’s two answers above me

XD

dabbler's avatar

if I might add while you’re walking down Broadway below city hall notice there are stripes set into the sidewalk with dates and names of people for whom ticker tape parades have been held, not all of them but the most famous. The ticker tape parades go from Battery Park up Broadway to City Hall.

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