Eat. New York is restaurant central. To get a deal, reporter Anne Lee recommends the weekday prix fixe lunches at chef Mario Batali's Del Posto and Michael White's Marea. In summer, though, the new local passion is street food. Use Tweat.it to find food trucks like Luke's Lobster (a lobster roll with soda and chips for $17) or Moshe's Falafel. On weekends, try the gourmet food vendors at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn or the Hester Street Fair.
Do. Leave Midtown! The action in New York is downtown, uptown, or, increasingly, in the other boroughs.
In Manhattan, see the Met Museum's medieval collection ($25) at the Cloisters in uptown Washington Heights. "Take in the view of the Hudson," says Ryan Mesina, a photo editor who grew up nearby. Downtown, the Tenement Museum ($22) includes a tour of the historic Lower East Side.
The easiest way to check out the now trendy (but vast) borough of Brooklyn is to cross the iconic Brooklyn Bridge on foot, or take the subway F line to York Street and hit the galleries and shops in the funky DUMBO neighborhood by the waterfront. The lively park below the bridge is a huge hit with kids, thanks to Jane's Carousel, $2 a ride.
Skip. Avoid the lines at the Empire State Building. The 70-story Top of the Rock ($25) offers timed tickets and a majestic view of Central Park.
They soar above ordinary trips and perform feats of vacation derring-do, all while nailing their budget. Here are their travel tips.