Admissions Blog

Karoline's Guide to Exploring NYC on a Student Budget

By Karoline Marum '23
Posted Mar 21 2023

For the first time in history, New York takes the top spot on the list of the world´s most expensive cities to live in according to the Intelligence Unit. Between Broadway shows, bottomless brunches and concerts, the list of things to do in the city is endless. One can easily get carried away and let the expenses add up. However, the good news is that New York can just as easily be affordable! Here are some hacks to make New York fun on a student budget.


  • BalletThe New York City Ballet offers $30 tickets to select performances for anyone between the ages of 13 and 30. I´m patiently waiting for tickets to the spring performances to go live!
  • MusicSign up to be a Student Insider and enjoy a variety of performances at Carnegie Hall for only $10. Since it opened in 1891, Carnegie Hall has built up a reputation for musical excellence and hosts some of the world´s finest artists. If not for the music, stop by to see the grand décor of the venue.
  • The Arts Initiative at Columbia UniversityColumbia students can get discounted tickets to many types of visual and performing arts experiences through the Arts Initiative at Columbia.
  • MoviesSign up to be a student insider and go watch a movie at the cinema on Discount Tuesdays for only $4.


  • GametimeGametime is my go-to for tickets to sport events and concerts. You can get great deals as they often offer last-minute tickets at discounted prices.
  • HockeyEscape the city for a couple of hours and enjoy a game of hockey! The New York Islanders play at UBS arena, about a 30 min train ride from Penn Station. Enter the student raffle and get access to discounted tickets:

Workout Classes

  • ClassPassThere are so many cool workout classes around the city. If you´re looking to shake up your routine, ClassPass is a great option allowing you to book different classes at studios around the city using credits. The first month of ClassPass is free.
  • YogaSweat it out and cool down in between lectures with a CorePowerYoga class.  CorePowerYoga offers a free week of unlimited classes for students.

Food and Drinks

  • Coffee SubscriptionPret a Manger offers a subscription to customers for $24.99 a month. The plan includes hot or iced drinks made in any size.  Grab a coffee on your way to class at Pret a Manger located on Broadway and 116th. This is a steal for all the coffee-addicts out there, but also for anyone who loves a cup of hot chocolate or chai latte.
  • Hungarian Pastry ShopThe Hungarian Pastry Shop is always packed with students, despite having no wifi or student discounts. The staff is friendly, the pastries are huge and coffee refills are free.
  • $10 Pasta at FUMOStop by FUMO for dinner after class. The Italian restaurant is only about a 10-minute walk from SIPA and offers a variety of pasta dishes for only $10 on Sundays and Mondays.


  • As a Columbia student you can access most museums around the city for free. Make sure to check out the rooftop at the Met during sunset.

Public Transportation

  • Chances are a New Yorker will suggest walking to get from A to B. No matter the distance. Great exercise and totally free! However, the public transportation system in New York is highly subsidized and any ride will only cost you $2.75.
  • For anyone stopping by New York, the best option will most likely be to get a metro card that´s valid for a week for $30.

For more discounts and free perks of being a Columbia student, read this blog post.