New York City is known for its extravagance, its fast-paced lifestyle, taxis, pizza, and last but certainly not least--the hole it can burn in one's pocket. However, the city offers a plethora of activities to choose from which won't break the bank. The summer provides a perfect occasion to frequent some true New York City hotspots. 

Leisure day activities

To begin the list is the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. Located in Prospect Park, the Botanical Garden offers both travelers and New Yorkers a relief from the hustle and bustle of life in Manhattan.

On Tuesdays, the park is free to all visitors. For the ambitious Saturday morning crowd who opt out of a late Friday night, the entrance is free from 10 to noon.

The garden hosts an array of flora and fauna, a lake, a Bonsai museum and beautiful fountains.

The Brooklyn Botanical Garden offers the convenience of being set in Prospect Park, a 585-acre urban oasis designed by landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, famed for their Central Park design.

If escaping to the Garden isn't an option or desire, New York is well known for its museums.

For art lovers, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a bargain at a suggested donation of $10 for students and $20 for general admission.

Fret not bargain hunters, as museum goers can donate whatever they can afford, and any donation will grant them access to the museum. Currently the museum is hosting the Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty, which celebrates the late designer and his contribution to the fashion industry. 

If fashion does not strike ones fancy, there are plenty of other exhibits, films, and lectures to attend at the museum. 

Music and nightlife

For the more musically inclined, head to Barbes in Park Slope, Brooklyn, to hear gypsy jazz guitarist Stephane Wrembel and The Django Experiment perform for a small crowd. Wrembel, who composed the theme track to Woody Allen's, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, is a Sunday night regular at Barbes.

There is no cover to get into the bar and no fee to watch the show. A $10 donation is asked, but it's up to the discretion of each audience member to choose whether to donate.

With a modest drink at the bar, it's possible to spend less than $20 on what could prove to be an entertaining and eventful night out.

Central Park's free annual SummerStage festival kicks off at Manhattan's main stage on June 7 with 'Night at the Caravanserai: Tales of Wonder' featuring Yo-Yo Ma, followed by 'Salute to Hip-Hop,' featuring EPMD and Funkmaster Flex. 

Notable performances not to miss include 'Passion of Tap' on June 10 at the Herbert Von King Park in Brooklyn. The show begins with soloist Omar Edwards and finishes with a full-cast freestyle jam session. 

SummerStage is a privately funded, nonprofit organization that offers park programs throughout New York's five boroughs. Check out their website to see all scheduled performances and activities. 


Where beauty is concerned, a great way to save a buck is to make an appointment at a beauty school. If it's time for that summer haircut, head to Carsten Aveda Institute, where a female haircut is $20, a bargain which is hard to beat.

If there are any concerns regarding quality, rest assure that the stylist will be monitored by an instructor.

The experience can be a stress free and affordable one. Services are not limited to one gender, nor are they limited to a simple haircut. Other services include discounted visits with an esthetician.