Experiencing art in NYC: A guide for students on a budget

Sightseeing in New York City can be expensive, but being a student has its perks.


Jae Jin

Affordable ways to enjoy art in a not-so-affordable city. (Illustration by Jae Jin)

Lea Filidore, Staff Writer

If I had a dollar for every time I heard the phrase “the city is our campus,” I could probably pay for one of my overpriced and underused textbooks. Still, how many students take the time to explore and enjoy the many artistic and cultural offerings of New York City? Between the overwhelming list of places to go and things to see, as well as the inevitably high cost, it’s hard to know what’s available and affordable for students. Being a student in New York City has its upsides, though: student IDs can act as a VIP pass — a key into theaters, museums, concerts and films for low prices.

Navigating the many different ways to save money while doing exciting things in New York City can be intimidating. WSN has made it easier for you. Regardless of what you may like music, theater, art or film — there’s something cheap, or even free, for every student to enjoy. 

If you like art

New York City is home to some of the most well-known art museums and galleries in the world. From Monet to Duchamp, students can explore historic works of art for $20 or less: 

The Museum at FIT at The Fashion Institute of Technology showcases fashion exhibitions and is free for everyone.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is home to many famous works by artists ranging from Van Gogh and Picasso to Vermeer and Caravaggio. The Met and The Met Cloisters the Inwood location housing European Medieval art are both pay-what-you-wish for students in New York City.

The Frick Madison houses pieces by celebrated artists like Titian and Rembrandt. Students can visit its new Madison Avenue location for free with an NYU ID.

At the Museum of Modern Art, students can see Warhols and Pollocks for free with an NYU ID.

Explore the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s famous winding staircase, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, for $18 on weekdays, and pay-what-you-wish on Saturdays from 6-8p.m.

At the Whitney Museum of American Art, students can see the works of modern and contemporary artists for free with an NYU ID.

The Museum of the Moving Image is the perfect spot for students interested in film and television. Tickets are free with an NYU ID.

The Museum of Arts and Design offers $12 rates, with prices half off on Thursdays, for students with ID.

The New Museum for Contemporary Art, New York City’s only dedicated contemporary art museum, offers free admission to NYU students with ID. 

At the Brooklyn Museum, a must-see for fashion and art lovers alike, NYU students get $10 general admission tickets — and those under 19 enter for free. For admission to ticketed exhibitions like the current Thierry Mugler exhibit, students with ID pay $12 for entry.

If you like film

New York City is full of opportunities to get involved with film and watch movies, and students can get a discounted price.

At AMC Theatres, check the box office for student discount offers. AMC has locations all across the city, including a conveniently-located theater across from first-year residence hall Third Avenue North, on 11th Street and Third Avenue. 

Discount movie passes are also available for purchase through the NYU Box Office. These exclusive student offers include:

AMC Black ($11.75)

Angelika ($10)

Regal ($10)

City Cinema ($10)

If you like theater

In addition to exclusive movie student discounts, the NYU Box Office also offers discounts for Broadway and off-Broadway tickets. Students can get half-price tickets to dozens of different shows. Past options have included “& Juliet,” “Life of Pi,” “Sweeney Todd” and “Twelfth Night.”

Students can visit the NYU Box Office Tuesdays through Saturdays from noon to 6 p.m. at 566 LaGuardia Place to stay up-to-date on new show offerings, or they can sign up for Scholastix, the discount ticket service.

If you like music

New York City is home to countless renowned music venues that students have access to for significantly discounted prices. From nights at the opera to jazz ensembles, this city has it all:

The famous Carnegie Hall offers $10 tickets in advance and day-of for students who want to experience instrumental music and other events.

The Metropolitan Opera is not just for posh adults! The Met Opera offers student ticket deals at their box office and online. All Friday performances at the Met Opera are available at a special rate for opera-goers 40 and under.

For all things cultural

For students in New York City, the Culture Pass is the ultimate access card to participating cultural institutions. With over 80 locations, including museums, gardens and concerts in all five boroughs, the Culture Pass is worth its weight in gold — and the best part is that it’s completely free! Any cardholding patron of the Queens Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library or The New York Public Library is eligible to reserve a pass for free admission to any of the available locations. Students attending school in New York City qualify for a free public library card.

Contact Lea Fildore at [email protected].