The ‘post-holidays’ slowdown is an ideal time to visit NYC
The ‘post-holidays’ slowdown is an ideal time to visit NYC

Cheap New York breaks: Why January is the most affordable time to visit NYC

Go now, says Lilit Marcus, while everything’s on sale

Lilit Marcus
Friday 05 January 2018 17:42
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As January-sales destinations go, New York packs a punch. The savings are huge, the shops are easily navigable, and the tourist count is at its lowest after the peak period in November and December.

Best of all? Your shopping’s not the only thing that’s discounted. Hotels, restaurants and even Broadway shows drop their prices in this lowest of seasons – so you can get even bigger bargains. From $100 (£75) hotels to $21.50 meals, here’s how to do NYC on the cheap.

Discounted Manhattan hotels

Now in its seventh year, Hotel Week NYC takes place every January, timed for the post-holidays travel slowdown – this year it runs from 5-15 January, and several great Manhattan properties are offering rooms for $100 and $200 per night.

If you’re looking for a chic downtown stay, the new 50 Bowery opened in Chinatown in May to much fanfare, and rooms are on sale for $200 a night. Too cold to venture outside? Good news – the Dale Talde-helmed Rice & Gold restaurant is downstairs (on a chilly day, the matzo ball ramen is perfection).

For a posher experience, the Upper East Side’s gorgeous Library Hotel (also $200 a night) is the perfect base for a cultural trip. It’s close to the city’s finest museums, including the Met and the Guggenheim.

Down for a bargain? The Paul – a cute boutique hotel in Midtown – and the Frederick in Tribeca are both $100 a night.

Cheap Broadway seats

Gone are the days when the only way to get cheap last-minute Broadway tickets was by standing in a long queue on a freezing day. Download the TodayTix app, where you can find deals on tickets for up to a week in advance. The revival of Miss Saigon, which closes on 14 January, has seats for as low as $39. Meanwhile, Bernadette Peters’ star turn in Hello, Dolly! kicks off on 20 January with tickets starting at the same price.

Couples will want to take advantage of NYC Broadway Week, which has two-for-one specials on Broadway plays, runs from 16 January to 4 February and is bookable online.

If you’re an opera buff, the Met has a few last-minute deals, and a few of its big winter hits winding up their runs: The Marriage of Figaro has its last performance on 19 January and The Merry Widow on 11 January. Both have tickets as low as $25 via TodayTix. And that’s not the only musical offering for New York visitors this month: Winter Jazzfest holds concerts in intimate venues around Greenwich Village between January 10-17.

New York Restaurant Week

New York’s biannual Restaurant Week kicks off on 22 January, with reservations opening up on 8 January. Participating restaurants offer prix fixe $29 lunches and $42 dinners for a two-week period (excluding weekends), and there’s no better way to experience some of the city’s most exclusive tables. Though the official list has yet to be released, previous participants have included Michelin-starred Gramercy Tavern, Tribeca’s beloved Italian joint Locanda Verde and trendy French-Vietnamese Indochine. This year’s participants will all be bookable via online-reservation site OpenTable.

While hotel rooftop bars are so plentiful they nearly constitute their own genre in New York, some are enclosed, meaning you can get insane Instagram photos and be so warm you can wear a sleeveless top. Good options include the Refinery Rooftop in the Garment District and Spyglass atop the Archer Hotel, which has a secret-agent theme (yes, like that Archer).

Manhattan sales shopping

With holiday madness over, most major New York stores have big sales in January to get rid of overstock and make way for the new year’s inventory. Nordstrom Rack (which has two locations, one in Union Square and one in Chelsea) has its massive “clear the rack” sale every January. (The exchange rate – the pound has climbed against the dollar since its post-Brexit referendum dive – doesn’t hurt, either.)

Best Buy, the 24-hour outlet of the electronics chain in Union Square, is offering $75 off iPad minis and other deals on electronics throughout the month. And if you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to finally get a good night’s sleep, upscale home goods store ABC Carpet & Home is running a sale on linen, bathrobes, pillows in lush fabrics like velvet, and other bedroom necessities during its “Transformation Sale”, on until the end of January.

For an ongoing list of sample sales from designer brands, keep an eye on Racked.com’s coverage.

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