#TourGuide on a Budget

Somehow October turned into the month of traveling, parties, and events.

In other words, expensive.

A close friend of mine enjoys semi-annual trips here to NYC and usually we see shows, eat amazing food, go shopping, e.g. spend money and enjoy doing so.  This time around, I explained to her that my budget (yes, I’m starting to learn what that is) was not as flexible.  However, NYC bursts alive with Fall – am I the only one who found the NYC summer kinda quiet and slow?  I was confident I could find fun stuff and not totally blow my budget.

Our itinerary:

Friday afternoon – rainy and cold!  First, we went for drinks and hors d’oeuvres at Eataly’s La Birreria.  The Eataly brews are under $10 and with olives and a cheese plate we filled up heartily.  We grabbed a scoop of gelato on the way out.  After wandering over to the Strand – we’re book nerds at heart, we hauled uptown to the Tatzu Nishi Christopher Columbus exhibit – it is free, you just need to sign up in advance.  The weather cleared up crisply and the “circle” was breathtaking.  Walking up the 6-7 flights of stairs provided a cardio challenge and then we were inside the elevated living room with Christopher Columbus himself as the coffee table decor.  People were just chilling out on the couch!  It was pretty funny.  Back downtown, we headed to National Underground which has a great happy hour (we were too late for that) but their regular priced drinks aren’t too bad, plus you can enjoy live music with a low-key crowd.  After relaxing at the bar, we grabbed a slice of pizza before seeing Weird Shit/Cool Shit at UCB East for $5.  It was okay…the pizza was better than the comedy.

Fountain at Columbus Circle

Saturday – I love to start the weekend (when I have visitors) with a walk on the Highline and a cup of coffee.  We walked downtown and found Good restaurant in Greenwich Village for brunch.  My friend and I split the breakfast platter – the best eggs ever.  She made plans with another friend to do a couple things (she really wanted to see Sleep No More, but since I’m in the entertainment industry I’ve found that eventually someone will give me a ticket or a really good deal on a ticket, so I don’t spend more than $40 on a ticket unless it’s someone realllllllyyyyy awesome).  I caught up on some work stuff and then we met up for the Global Citizen Concert in Central Park – free – love me some John Legend and Black Keys!  I bounced over to Dumbo for the White Wave Festival to see a friend’s choreography – donation only, yes, I donated!  We all met up at Blockhead’s for drinks and dinner.  Saturday kicked our butt and we were still tired from Friday.

Sunday – I don’t usually indulge in tourist-y things but my friend really wanted to do Madame Tussauds.  FYI, resident New Yorkers get $10 off the All Access pass for up to four people.  We hung out with our favorite celebs, browsed Sephora next door, then hurried off to Alice’s Tea Cup II for brunch.  A spot of tea, anyone?  {I took the advice of another friend on simply making reservations for places you want to go, even if you don’t know exactly who you want to go with, have an occasion, etc.  Alice’s usually has a huge wait – at least the couple times I’ve tried to walk-in.  I randomly made a reservation for four about six weeks ago, and it coincidentally turned out to be the weekend of my friend’s visit!}  We planned to hang out in Brooklyn a bit, but the weather took to raining again, so we went to Century 21 (I had some $$ in my clothing budget to update on fall necessities).  We had reservations for the 9/11 Memorial – free – but time to kill so we had a drink at Fraunces Tavern.  The Financial District really isn’t as fussy as I always expect it to be.  We had beers for about $7 each and a comfortable chair to sit in.  The memorial, as I anticipated, was sobering but beautiful.  My visiting friend’s birthday is 9/11 and my aunt was working at the Pentagon the day of the attacks, so this day is not without personal significance to me.  We were totally exhausted at this point and our other friend picked out Pete’s Tavern, one of NYC’s oldest drinking establishments.  The menu was a little pricier than I usually go for, but the portions were generous and I was able to make a couple more meals out of my leftovers.

Busy, fun weekend!  All in all, aside from Madame Tussauds I mostly spent money on food, and some of that I was able to stretch.  We packed it on a budget, without feeling deprived.  Give it a try!  NYC has so much to offer.

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