I’m not going to spend all month writing about the usual New York City tourist destinations, but I do want to touch on the budget traveler’s best option for seeing the Statue of Liberty up close. And that would be the Staten Island Ferry.
The Staten Island Ferry is the poor man’s alternative to paying the $15 or so to take the ferry to Ellis Island and the Statue. The Staten Island method is entirely free!
Simply head to Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan and wait for the next ferry. Then, hop on and enjoy the slow ride across to the island. You’ll be leaving Manhattan behind you, and you’ll probably be followed by a bevy of seagulls.
On your way, you’ll see the Statue of Liberty on your right.
The ferry has both indoor seating and outdoor standing areas. So if it’s winter, sit tight inside and peer out the window. If it’s warm or if you want pictures, stand outside and get your camera ready.
You’ll need to take the return ferry back to Manhattan, obviously. You have to de-board before you can get back on the next ferry. Soon enough, you’ll be pulling into port in Manhattan again.
You can make the whole trip in less than 45 minutes and won’t have to pay a penny to see Lady Liberty. Combine this with staying at one of the cheap hotels in New York and checking out some of the city’s other affordable attractions, and you have yourself a budget vacation in NYC!
Plus, you get to cross Staten Island off your list of New York City boroughs to see. Make sure to visit Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, and you can say you’ve been to all five boroughs.
I didn’t find any reason to stick around in Staten Island, but several sites offer lists of things to do there. I wouldn’t recommend that tourists hang around all day in Staten Island, as you have much more exciting places to see, but those living in the city or on an extended stay may want to spend a day on the island.