A New York City Weekend for Under $100

 Photo: Jonathan Percy via Flickr

Photo: Jonathan Percy via Flickr

There’s no time like summer for an epic weekend trip. With a majority of Mochi’s staff based in New York, we thought we’d welcome our readers by showing you that you don’t have to spend a fortune to visit. Assuming you can crash with a friend, here are some of our favorite things to do and places to eat during the summer, with a few tips for getting around. Welcome to the concrete jungle!

How to get around
Public: $2.50 to $30
One of the best ways to get around New York City is by subway and local bus. You can buy a regular Metrocard ($2.50 per ride) or a seven-day pass for $30. If you need more than the eight rides that a $20 pay-per-ride Metrocard would cover, it’s worth it to spring for an unlimited pass. (Keep in mind there’s a $1 fee to buy a new Metrocard rather than to refill an old one, so save it for future use.) The Metrocard works on the bus system as well.

What to do
Central Park: $10-$20
Pack a picnic of your favorite sandwiches and refreshing iced drinks for a relaxing afternoon at Central Park, the city’s most famous park that’s much-loved by locals and tourists alike. (You can stock up at Whole Foods, located in the Time Warner Center near the southwest corner of the park.) In the park itself, choose between bouldering and paddling, biking and tennis, rollerblading and running. During the summer, you might even be able to catch a concert in addition to visiting the zoo ($18) and riding the carousel ($3). A boat rental at the Loeb Boathouse is $15 per hour.

Go kayaking: Free
NYC is home to six boathouses that offer free kayaking. The Downtown Boathouse and Manhattan Community Boathouse operate programs off the Hudson River in Manhattan, while Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse and Red Hook Boathouse are based in Brooklyn. In Queens, L.I.C. Community Boathouse offers free kayaking on the East River, and Kayak Staten Island provides a free kayaking program on Staten Island’s South Beach.

Spend the day at Coney Island: $12-32
Another way to soak up the summer sun is to hit the beach in Coney Island. After laying out, head over to Surf Avenue, the main street where you’ll find Luna Park—an amusement park off the boardwalk with thrill rides, games, and snacks. A $32 unlimited wristband gives you access to 22 rides for four hours, but note that summer weekends can be crowded, especially since the new Thunderbolt roller coaster has just opened. Another attraction here is the New York Aquarium, where you can make friends with sea lions, penguins, and other sea critters for $11.95. Finish off your Coney Island day trip with a late afternoon Brooklyn Cyclones baseball game at MCU Park. Bonus: Many of their summer games end with free firework displays.

What to eat
You don’t have to go far for cheap eats in the city. In Manhattan, enjoy a slice of authentic New York style pizza at Joe’s Pizza (slices begin at $2.75) or go for a burger, fries, and frozen custards at Shake Shack ($10-$15). To satisfy your sweet tooth, try a dessert crepe from Eight Turn Crepe (from $6.50), waffles and ice cream at Wafels and Dinges (from $5), doughnuts from Doughnut Plant (from $3) or Dough (from $2.25). For a one-stop shop, Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg food fair is your foodie go-to, with more than 100 food stands every Saturday and Sunday in the East River State Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park (from under $10).