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Things to do in the USA for $1 or less

Published January 7th, 2015

They say America is the land of opportunity, and we're here to tell you some ways you can make your buck stretch even further. Supersize your USA stay for just $1 with our exclusive Black Market Flights deals. If you're a full-time student or aged under 26, for a limited time only you can nab a cheap flight to Los Angeles with Qantas, and for just $1, you can add-on an extra flight to New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas or even Cancun in Mexico! Want to know how to get more bang for your buck? Here's our list of things to do in the USA for $1 or less.

New York:

 

 

People watching in Times Square

Brash, bold and infinitely American, spend an afternoon taking it all in, from the bright lights of the electric neon billboards, to the whacky iconic fixture of the Naked Cowboy. Located on Broadway, you’ll see all sorts of people in Times Square from busy New Yorkers, wannabe actors, camera-clicking tourists and maybe even a famous face or two.

 

 

Dollar pizza slices

When hunger strikes, bypass New York’s swanky, pricey restaurants and make a beeline for one of New York’s $1 pizza joints. New Yorkers are huge pizza lovers and Mamani Pizza, located at 151 Avenue A in the East Village, gets a big thumbs-up for their classic $1 slices.

 

A dose of culture at MoMA Sculpture Garden

We’re not gonna lie - New York’s legendary Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has a hefty entrance fee. But if you’re on a tight budget, you can still visit the museum’s sculpture garden free of charge each morning between 9:30am and 10:15am. Entry to the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden is via the museum’s main lobby.

 

 

A walk in the park

Central Park is a true icon of this grand city, and a wander through the green space will lift your soul after the mad hustle of the city. Best of all, there’s heaps of free attractions from watching the model boats in Conservatory Water, relaxing in Shakespeare Garden and admiring the famous Bethesda Fountain to waving at the horse-drawn carriages passing by.

 

San Francisco:

 

 

Sea lion spotting at Fisherman’s Wharf

Among the heaving crowds, street performers and tacky souvenir shops of Fisherman’s Wharf, the flip-flopping of the cute California sea lions around Pier 39 will make you feel all warm and fuzzy. Allow at least half an hour to get your fix of sea lion cuteness, with hundreds of the little fellas providing free entertainment as they sunbake, frolic around and push each other off the pier.

 

Grab a (cheap) cuppa at the San Francisco Art Institute

It’s free to visit this cultural icon of the San Francisco art scene, so check out contemporary student art exhibits and hit the epic futuristic concrete rooftop café, which is open to the public. You’ll be wowed by the unbeatable views of Coit Tower and the whole bay spread out below. The San Francisco Art Institute is located in Russian Hill near North Beach.

 

 

Get groovy in Haight-Ashbury

The birthplace of America’s counter culture still rocks the hippie vibe in a big way. Wandering the streets of Haight-Ashbury is a real eye-opener, from the colourful bohemian residents to the brightly painted Victorian houses. At the end of Haight Street, head to Hippie Hill on the eastern edge of Golden Gate Park for the true Haight-Ashbury experience of drumming circles and questionable smoke swirls.

 

 

Sunday arvo hangs in Delores Park

Get off the tourist trail and hang with the locals at vibrant Mission Delores Park, which is sprawled across a hillside in the multicultural residential neighbourhood. Bring a picnic blanket and kick back as you soak up the happy vibes with kids breakdancing to old-school beats, young lovers frolicking in the sunshine and families enjoying the playground, topped off with amazing views over the city.

 

Los Angeles:

 

 

Star spotting in Hollywood

The ritz and glitz of the film industry, the promise of stardom - Hollywood has it all. Wander along Hollywood Boulevard, even if you don’t spot any famous faces, you’ll see many of your idols emblazoned on stars along the pavement on the Hollywood Walk of Fame - all under the watchful eye of that sign high up on the hills above.

 

Take a selfie with a star

You never know who you’ll bump into at the entrance to Madame Tussauds in Hollywood. Sure they’re made of wax, but no one on Instagram is going to know that, are they? This free photo op features random stars, so rock up and see who’s come out to say hi!

 

 

The spectacle of Venice

Dive into LA’s beach and alternative culture at legendary Venice Beach.  Wander along the beachfront and boardwalk and you‘ll see people from all walks of life with an anything goes attitude. From entertainers juggling chainsaws, street-dancing performances and rollerblades galore to the jocks of Muscle Beach, Venice is hours of free fun.

 

The high life at the Getty

Fancy a high society hangout with views over the LA skyline alongside sublime architecture and some of the world’s best-known artworks? Well you can, even on a $1 budget, thanks to the generosity of one of the world’s richest families. The exceptional J. Paul Getty Museum Villa is located high in the Pacific Palisades neighbourhood surrounded by beautiful gardens, and entry is always free.

 

 Las Vegas:

 

Try your luck

It might be pointing out the obvious, but Vegas is one place your $1 can quickly turn into $muchmore$. Throw yourself headfirst into the eternal dinging of the slot machines and try your luck. Some casinos even bring you free drinks to keep you playing on.

 

 

Sign selfie

The ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ sign, you know that one? Nothing says “I’m rocking Vegas” like a selfie with the sign, so grab that phone and say cheese. ‘The Sign’ is located on the strip just south of Russell Road and it’s free to visit.

 

Get floral at the Bellagio Conservatory

Another of Vegas’ free public attractions, the luxury Bellagio casino and hotel’s conservatory is bursting with a stunning display of flowers, plants and trees. Get your fix of nature right in the centre of the concrete jungle of The Strip.

 

 

The Dancing Fountains of the Bellagio

Another of Vegas’ most famous sights, the sky-high fountains outside the swanky Bellagio are simply mesmerising. The dancing water show switches up every 30 minutes, so you’ll be happily entertained for hours.

 

Amy Dalgleish

Wanderlust pommie, currently living the dream in sunny Byron Bay.