Are you looking to spend one month in New York City?
As someone that has lived in New York City for most of my life, it holds a special place in my heart.
New York City, known as the city that never sleeps, offers an incredible experience for anyone looking to spend a month exploring its diverse neighborhoods, iconic landmarks, and vibrant culture. I am, of course, biased since I live here. But visiting NYC and living in NYC can be a life-changing experience.
Planning a whole month's stay in NYC can be daunting, though. Where will you live? How much do you need to budget? What will you do?
During your one-month stay, you'll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in New York's unique atmosphere. From wandering around world-famous museums and iconic parks to sampling diverse cuisines and attending live performances, there's always something to pique your interest.
But you have probably heard that New York City's living costs can be pretty high. And that is very true.
However, there are plenty of ways to save money while still taking in all the New York has to offer. I like to say this is a personal specialty of mind. You will be surprised at how much you can experience in New York at an affordable price.
So let's dive into everything you need to know about spending a month in New York City.
One Month New York City Itinerary
Even if you have visited NYC before, planning and developing a New York Itinerary for your trip is essential. Instead of planning each day, I recommend planning week to week to allow yourself time to experience the big apple.
Your itinerary will, of course, depend on the time of year you visit. For example, if you are visiting during the holiday season, you may want to enjoy seasonal activities like ice skating in Rockefeller Center.
In the summer, spend the evening in Yankee Stadium or take a walking tour of lower Manhattan. The great thing is that with a month in New York, you have some flexibility on how you spend your time.
Here are some suggestions to get you started.
One Week in NYC
Your first week in NYC will be exciting, and if it is your first time visiting, you will want to see all the sites that most people talk about. So this week is all about visiting all the iconic sites in New York City, such as the World Trade Center, Lady Liberty, and, of course, the bright lights of times square.
To get you started, here is a rough breakdown of what you can do in one week in NYC.
Days 1 & 2: Arrive and explore Lower Manhattan. Visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, take a walking tour of Chinatown and Little Italy, and enjoy fantastic Italian food. Pick a night to do a NYC night tour.
Day 3– Spend some time exploring Brooklyn. Take a walk across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge and explore some of the vibrant neighborhoods.
Day 4: See the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. You can also take a ferry ride around the harbor to get a fantastic city view from the water. Before or after your trip, grab a seat in Battery Park for a few hours. It's a great spot to people-watch.
Days 5 & 6– Visit Central Park, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Times Square, and the Intrepid Museum.
Day 7: Spend time relaxing, shopping, and eating in one of New York's eclectic neighborhoods like Soho or Harlem.
Two Weeks in NYC
During your second week in New York City, you may want to slow down a bit. If there are any other spots you didn't get to see your first week, you can add them to your week two itinerary. Otherwise, this is a great time to enjoy and explore the city.
Day 8: Take a guided tour of Grand Central Station and St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Day 9: Explore the Bronx, including the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Garden.
Days 10 & 11: Check out some of the iconic attractions in Midtown Manhattan, like Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center, and The High Line.
Day 12: Head to Queens and visit Citi Field for a Mets game or see one of the many off-Broadway shows in and around the city. There are plenty of opportunities to find discounted tickets at tdf.org.
Day 14: Hit the shops on Fifth Avenue and grab some souvenirs to take home with you. Or just wander from Union Square to Bryant Park and get lost in the shadows of the city's iconic buildings. After shopping, grab a drink at one of NYC's rooftop bars.
Three Weeks in NYC
You may not be ready to leave New York City after two weeks! And if that is the case, consider staying an additional week. This will give you plenty of time to explore uptown Manhattan and check out some off-the-beaten-path attractions like The Cloisters or Wave Hill.
Here's a suggested itinerary for your third week in NYC:
Day 15: Catch a show on Broadway and explore the famed Theater District.
Days 16 & 17 – Take an educational tour of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or explore some of the lesser-known theatres in Greenwich Village and the West Village.
Day 18 – Head uptown to visit landmarks like The Apollo Theatre, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and Grant's Tomb.
Day 19: Spend a day in Harlem, tasting delicious soul food, listening to live jazz music, and browsing art galleries.
Days 20 & 21: Explore the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn, checking out diverse neighborhoods like Jackson Heights or Bay Ridge.
Day 22: Take a scenic road trip upstate for fresh air and a change of scenery.
Finally, no trip to New York would be complete without taking in the iconic skyline views. So take an evening off and enjoy the sunset over Manhattan from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade or Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Four Weeks in NYC
If you have the time and budget to stay for an entire month in New York City, then you are in for a real treat! An extra week gives you plenty of time to get beneath this vibrant city's surface. Here's a suggested itinerary for your fourth week:
Day 23: Hop on a ferry to Staten Island and explore one of NYC's lesser-known boroughs. The Free Staten Island Ferry is also a great way to see the Status of Liberty for free.
Days 24 & 25 – Check out the galleries and museums in Chelsea, or take a leisurely walk through Prospect Park. Get lost in the East Village.
Day 26: Check out some of New York's iconic landmarks like The Empire State Building or The Brooklyn Bridge.
Day 27: Take a yoga class at one of the many studios in the city, or go on a bike ride and explore some of the parks.
Day 28: Visit one of NYC's many ethnic neighborhoods like Flushing or Little Odessa.
Days 29 & 30 – Take a day trip to Long Island or upstate New York for beach time, wine tasting, and scenic hikes.
Tips for your first time in New York
New York City can be overwhelming for first-time visitors, but it doesn't have to if you do you're homework. Here are some tips and tricks to remember for your trip to NYC.
Plan your Trip Wisely
New York is one of the busiest cities in the world, and planning your trip wisely is essential to make the most of your time there.
You should plan out your itinerary in advance, including the major attractions you want to visit, the restaurants you'd like to dine in, and the shows you want to see. Booking your accommodations and tickets to attractions in advance will save you time and money.
Get Ready for Some Walking
New York City is a walking city, and you should expect to do much of it. It's important to wear comfortable shoes, bring comfortable clothing, and pack some snacks and water bottles for those long walks around the city.
Know Your Neighborhoods
New York has many unique and distinct neighborhoods with flavor and personality. It's essential to research and familiarize yourself with the different areas of the city, their main attractions, and what they're famous for.
For example, SoHo is known for its fashion boutiques, while the Upper West Side is famous for its museums. You will miss out if you don't take the time to explore the different neighborhoods in NYC.
Use Public Transportation
New York has an extensive public transportation system, including buses, subways, and ferries. It's an inexpensive way of getting around and essential to experiencing the city like a local. Be sure to get a MetroCard and know how to use it to avoid confusion.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
New York City is known for its hustle and bustle, which can be overwhelming for a first-time visitor. Being aware of your surroundings is essential, especially in crowded areas.
Embrace the Food Scene
New York has a reputation for having some of the best food in the world, and you should embrace it. The city has something to offer everyone, from hot dogs and pizza to fine dining. Be sure to try out famous street food, like hot dogs and pretzels, while seeking hidden gems in different neighborhoods.
Be Prepared for the Weather
New York City experiences a fluctuation in temperature and weather conditions throughout the year, so it's essential to be prepared. Bring appropriate clothing, like warm coats and boots in winter and light clothing in summer.
Know the Peak Season
New York City is a popular destination and can get crowded at any time of the year. However, peak season is during the summer months (June to August), and booking in advance is essential when planning your trip. The holiday season (November and December) is also a popular time to visit the city.
Stay in a central location.
New York City has five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. Manhattan is the most popular tourist borough, with famous landmarks.
Stay in a central location to minimize travel time, and ensure your hotel or Airbnb is close to a subway station.
This doesn't mean you have to say in the center of it all. For example, there are great locations outside of Manhattan that are very convenient to all the major sites in the city.
New York can be expensive, from food to entertainment to accommodation. Be sure to budget accordingly and research affordable places to eat and stay.
There are plenty of free or low-cost activities in New York, like visiting museums during their off-peak hours (many have discounted or free entry) or exploring Central Park.
If you are wondering how to live cheap in New York, start by researching free things to do in New York City. You will be surprised to find that you don't have to spend much in order to have a good time in New York.
Learn to tip
Tipping is a common practice in the U.S., and it's essential to learn the proper etiquette. In New York, it's customary to tip 20% of the total cost for services like restaurants, taxis, and delivery drivers. Always carry small bills, so you don't have to worry about making changes.
Note: In some touristy areas, restaurants and hotels may automatically include gratuity in your check. Be sure to review your bill before paying to ensure you are not double tipping (unless you want to).
Take a walking tour.
New York City is a walking city, and it's an excellent way to explore different neighborhoods and landmarks.
Many walking tours are free or inexpensive and offer a unique perspective on the city's history, architecture, and culture. You can find walking tours online or through tourist information centers.
Enjoy the city at your own pace.
New York City can be overwhelming, and it's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the city. Remember to take breaks and enjoy the city at your own pace.
Don't feel pressured to see every attraction on your list or rush through your meals. Take the time to appreciate the city's energy, culture, and people.
Getting to New York
New York City is easily accessible by plane, train, and car. The three major airports are John F. Kennedy (JFK), Newark Liberty International (EWR), and LaGuardia (LGA). There are also several bus and Amtrak stations in the city.
Driving in New York City is not recommended because of the traffic, and parking can be a nightmare. If you choose to drive to New York, you can consider leaving your car in a long-term parking space outside of the city; however, keep in mind that parking costs can quickly add up. It's best to leave your car at home.
Choosing the best time to visit New York
Choosing the right time to visit is essential to have the best experience. You may prefer the winter months for a cold yet festive atmosphere or the summer months when the city is thriving with outdoor activities.
Whatever season you choose, factor in any potential influences on accommodation and transportation costs. For example, living in New York City in January would be cold, while July would be hot.
Also, depending on the time of year, accommodations may be higher. So, for example, during the holiday season, fall and spring prices can be higher as these are the most popular times of year for people to visit.
While summer is a popular time of year for visitors, it can be great as many New York City residents leave for the summer, so longer-term accommodations may be easier to find.
Cost of Living
In New York, specifically Manhattan, the cost of living is significantly higher than the national average. Even as a visitor knowing the salary expectations is important because it accounts for some of the increased expenses you may encounter. The minimum wage in New York is currently set at $14.2 per hour in 2023, which is higher than the federal minimum wage.
Remember that salaries in New York may vary depending on the industry and job position. Highly competitive fields like finance, law, and tech generally offer higher salaries to compensate for the increased cost of living in the city.
Estimated Monthly Expenses for a Month in New York
When living in New York or visiting, be prepared for the substantial monthly expenses accompanying life in this bustling city. Here is what to expect regarding expenses.
Housing in New York
In Manhattan, the median rent for a 2-bedroom apartment is around $4,645. As you move to other boroughs, rental prices may decrease but are still considered among the highest in the United States.
For short-term rentals or extended stays at New York City Hotels, the rates can be significantly higher and will most likely be where you spend most of your budget when visiting NYC. You can expect to spend at much as $10,000, depending on the property, location, and amenities.
Transportation: Getting Around New York
The good news is that New York City transportation is relatively inexpensive. Walking, biking, and public transportation are the top three ways to get around.
There are plenty of options for bike rentals through ride-share programs like CitiBike, which offer daily and monthly subscriptions.
You can also get a 30-day unlimited metro card which gives you access to the MTAs buses and subways for approximately $127/month.
Food and Groceries in New York
Food prices in New York City can be higher than in similar cities; fortunately, you have plenty of options and ways to save money on your grocery bill. For example, you can shop at local farmers' markets and grab discounted items from bodegas.
You can find fruit, and vegetable stands all over New York City, where you can buy fresh produce for cheap almost anywhere in the city.
Also, take advantage of stores like Trader Joe's and discount supermarkets to get great grocery deals. If you shop around, you can easily keep your grocery bill in check.
Food and Entertainment
In New York City, you are spoiled for choice regarding cuisine options. From delicious street food to fine dining establishments, the city offers endless food experiences for your taste buds. Some popular options include:
- Pizza: You can't visit New York without trying its iconic pizza. Grab a slice from one of the many pizzerias scattered throughout the city.
- Bagels: Another NYC classic, bagels can be enjoyed with various toppings, such as cream cheese and lox.
- International cuisine: As a melting pot of cultures, New York City is home to many international cuisines such as Chinese, Italian, Mexican, Indian, and many more.
To save money, use apps like Seated, Too Good To Go and MealPal.
What must you know before visiting or moving to NYC for a month?
Weather and Climate
When spending a month in New York, it's essential to consider the weather and climate. The city experiences a humid continental climate with four distinct seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter.
Temperature and Humidity
In New York, temperatures vary significantly throughout the year. The hottest month is typically July, with average highs around 88°F, while the coldest month is January, seeing temperatures just above freezing, often affected by cold spells that can dip as low as -5 °F.
Humidity levels also differ depending on the season and location within the state. In the city, summer brings an average humidity of 72 percent. If you plan to be in New York during the warmer months, like June, July, or August, be ready to embrace the occasional heatwave and higher humidity.
Seasons in New York
Spring (March – April – May): As the climate transitions from winter to summer, you can expect mild temperatures throughout the city. Spring usually brings rainfall, which results in beautiful blooming in parks and gardens. April and May see average temperatures in the high 50s and mid-60s, perfect for exploring the city.
Summer (June – July – August): The summer typically features hot days and warm nights, with temperatures in the 70s and 80s Fahrenheit. June often marks the official beginning of the summer season, with July and August being the hottest and often the most humid months.
Autumn (September – October – November): New York's fall is characterized by comfortable temperatures and stunning fall foliage. September welcomes the arrival of autumn, with October and November offering average temperatures in the mid-60s to mid-50s.
Winter (December – January – February): Winters can be harsh, with cold temperatures and occasional snowfall. December marks the beginning of winter, while January and February typically have the coldest days of the year. The wind chill during these months can make the air feel colder than it actually is, so be prepared with proper winter clothing.
Knowing the typical weather and climate conditions during your stay in New York will help you pack accordingly and maximize your enjoyment of all the city offers.
Housing in New York
It's time to find a place to stay. Keep in mind that there are limitations on short-term rentals in NYC which can sometimes make it hard to find affordable options. There are, fortunately fewer restrictions if you plan on staying 30 days or more.
Types of Apartments
When searching for housing, you'll come across various types of apartments in New York, such as:
- Studio apartments: Compact living spaces designed to accommodate a single occupant. These typically have a combined living and sleeping area, a separate bathroom, and a kitchenette.
- One-bedroom apartments: Suited for solo residents or couples, these apartments have a separate bedroom, living room, kitchen, and bathroom.
- Two-bedroom apartments: These could be ideal for a small family or roommates, offering two separate bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room, and a bathroom.
For a more comfortable stay during your month in New York, consider furnished short-term rental apartments with all the essential amenities and utilities. Many of these furnished apartments are located in popular neighborhoods like Manhattan, Midtown, and SoHo; some are pet-friendly.
Finding a Neighborhood
Deciding where to stay during your month in New York depends on many factors, including your budget, preferences, and location needs. To help you find the perfect neighborhood, consider the following:
- Lower Manhattan: Known for its iconic landmarks and vibrant atmosphere, Downtown Manhattan and the Lower East Side offers convenient access to shopping, dining, and entertainment options.
- Midtown: As the heart of New York City, this bustling neighborhood features many attractions, such as Times Square, Central Park, and the Museum of Modern Art.
- SoHo: Known for its chic boutiques, art galleries, and upscale dining, SoHo is an excellent choice if you enjoy a lively urban atmosphere and a touch of sophistication.
- Jersey City: If you're looking for a quieter and more affordable alternative to the city, Jersey City is just across the Hudson River and offers excellent commuting options.
Assess the neighborhoods based on your priorities, such as commute times, access to public transportation, and proximity to amenities.
In New York City, you have access to various public transportation options. The subway system is the most popular and efficient way to get around.
The fare for most riders on subways and local, limited, and Select Bus Service buses is $2.75. You can pay with a MetroCard, contactless credit/debit card, smartphone, or OMNY card. A monthly transit pass costs $127, helping you save significant amounts during your stay.
Express buses are another option, with a higher fare of $6.75. These buses are especially helpful for quicker travel across the city.
City Toll Rates
Driving in New York City may be challenging due to traffic and tolls. Numerous bridges and tunnels have toll fees which vary depending on the route. Typically, the cashless tolling system, E-ZPass, is used to pay the fees and manage payments efficiently.
Parking is notoriously difficult in New York City, especially in busy areas like Central Park, where public transportation is encouraged. There are metered parking spaces on the streets, but they often have time restrictions and limited availability. You will need luck and strategy to secure a parking spot.
Additionally, you can park at privately-owned parking garages and lots scattered throughout the city. These facilities usually charge hourly or daily rates, which is often a more reliable option if you plan to leave your car for an extended period.
Remember, when planning your visit to New York City, it's essential to consider the various transportation, toll rates, and parking options available to maximize your experience. By familiarizing yourself with these aspects, you will be better equipped to navigate and enjoy your month in this fantastic city.
During your month in New York, make sure to explore some of the city's most popular attractions to experience the best of its entertainment offerings:
- Broadway: Catch a show on Broadway, where you can watch world-class performances and musicals that have captivated audiences for decades.
- Museums: Expand your knowledge at some of New York's renowned museums, such as the Museum of Modern Art, the American Museum of Natural History, or the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
- Parks: Relax and take in the beauty of NYC's green spaces, like Central Park or the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.
- Landmarks and attractions: Visit iconic landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, and the Empire State Building. These popular tourist destinations are sure to leave a lasting impression.
Throughout your stay in the city, you will be surrounded by dazzling lights, vibrant food scenes, and diverse entertainment options, ensuring that there is never a dull moment.
Remember to balance your time between exploring the city's most famous attractions and discovering its hidden gems, creating memories that will last a lifetime.
Frequently Asked Questions: Spending a Month In New York City
How much money do you need for a month in New York?
It's essential to have a solid budget in place for your one-month stay in New York City. The cost of living varies significantly depending on your lifestyle choices. You can expect to spend around $10,000 per month, including rent, food, transportation, and entertainment.
Is $1000 enough for 5 days in New York?
It is possible to visit New York for 5 days with a budget of $1000. Accommodation, transportation, and food costs can all be managed at a reasonable amount. If you plan carefully, you may even have some money left over to explore the city's attractions.
How many days are enough to see New York?
It is difficult to answer the question definitively since there is so much to see and do in New York City. However, five days should cover the essentials such as iconic landmarks, shopping districts, and popular attractions.
Alternatively, a month will give you enough time to explore at your own pace and discover more of what NYC offers.
What are my housing options for a month-long stay in NYC?
Several housing options are available for a month-long stay in New York City. You can consider renting a furnished apartment, subletting from someone, or seeking temporary corporate housing.
Another option is staying at a long-term hotel, an Airbnb, or a house-sit. Be prepared to pay more for accommodations in desirable neighborhoods or close to city centers.
What must-see attractions should I visit during my month in New York?
During your month in New York, visit iconic attractions such as the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, Times Square, and the Empire State Building.
Other popular sites include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the 9/11 Memorial, the High Line, and the Brooklyn Bridge. Explore some of the city's diverse neighborhoods, like SoHo, Greenwich Village, and Williamsburg.
Which neighborhoods are best to stay in for a one-month visit?
Several neighborhoods offer excellent options for a one-month stay in New York, providing a mix of affordability, amenities, and convenience.
The best options include the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Brooklyn Heights, Park Slope, and Astoria.
What month is the cheapest in NYC?
The cheapest months to stay in New York City are usually January and February when prices for accommodations tend to be lower due to reduced tourist activity.
Remember that the weather can be pretty cold during this time, which may influence your travel experience.
How to commute efficiently during a one-month stay in New York?
New York City has a comprehensive public transportation system consisting of subways, buses, and ferries.
You can purchase a 30-day Unlimited MetroCard for $127, which allows you to travel on the subway and city buses as much as you need.
Additionally, consider using bike-sharing programs like Citi Bike or ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft for added convenience.
Final Thoughts: Planning One Month in New York City
Spending one month in New York City can be a thrilling journey full of exciting attractions, delicious food, and vibrant culture.
It can be easy to blow your budget during a visit to New York; however, you can enjoy New York City on a budget by planning ahead.
Take advantage of the many free things to do in the city year-round. Consider visiting during the off-season when accommodations can be significantly cheaper.
Make your stay as enjoyable as possible by taking advantage of the efficient public transportation system and exploring different neighborhoods.
Your month in New York City will be an experience you never forget! Looking for more budget-friendly things to do in New York? Check out our post about visiting New York on a budget.
Good luck, and have a wonderful stay!