NYC 1-Day Tour (On a Budget)




After living in New York City for close to six years, I perfected the art of touring visiting guests around on a limited budget. Since I didn’t have money myself during this time period of my life, I created a must-do tour list that was as cheap as possible but as fun as possible.

Last week, I went back to New York and had the chance to take friends and family around on what I call my updated tour. During this mini-adventure, I re-visited favorite spots but also witnessed first hand how much has changed in the last 10 years. My suggestions for one day in NYC:

Breakfast- Clinton Street Bakery

Heaven on a plate.

Without question, Clinton Street Bakery is my most favorite breakfast. Ever. Here you will find the best pancakes. Here you will find maple butter. I love butter! Take that first bite of the blueberry pancake dipped in maple butter and you will see why this place can be worth a 2-hour wait.

Note: The original restaurant space has grown and expanded to the bodega on the corner so hopefully the wait isn’t quite as long. We only waited 20 minutes!

Brooklyn Bridge

When did the lock craze start?

I usually start my “tour” with a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge from the Manhattan side. I love seeing friends and family experience the simple moment of crossing over the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. Equally important, this walk is FREE!

Tour DUMBO Neighborhood

Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass aka DUMBO

Wow. What the heck happened over here? Wander the parks, the resturants and just marvel at the magnificent view of the city from across the river. When you are right in the middle of Manhattan you forget how beautiful the skyline looks. This view from the Brooklyn side allows a chance to take everything in.

Lunch: Love&Dough

Pizza everywhere.

Obviously there are so many great pizza spots all over DUMBO. During last week’s visit, I tried Love&Dough. This place offers really good neapolitan style pizza with not nearly a long wait to get served as the more “famous” nearby restaurants.

Sweet Tooth Fix: Jacques Torres

You are here, why not try something?

My go-to spot in DUMBO for fancy desserts and a warmed up chocolate chip cookie.

Sweet Tooth Fix (alternate): Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory

Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory stop.

Ice cream + Views never go wrong. Unless of course it is 90+ degrees with extra humidity and your ice cream cone starts melting rapidly.

East River Ferry

The Ferry makes multiple stops in Brooklyn.

Instead of taking the subway back to the Manhattan, return to the city via ferry. Not only do you get amazing views but also get to be on the water. It’s a $4 one way experience worth taking. The subway will get you where you want to go swiftly, but the ferry ride allows you to enjoy the journey.

Madison Square Park

Best park in the City.

After the ferry drops off at 34th Street, take a walk down to Madison Square Park. Madison Square Park is my favorite park in the whole city. Eat at the original Shake Shack (best one in my opinion) or walk across at check out Eataly.

By this point after more than five miles of walking, the tour is usually complete. More importantly, by this point, everyone wants to shower and go home. Or better yet maybe find a bar and drink the rest of the night away in the city that never sleeps.


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