Dive Right In

Recommended for : Budget & Bargain
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Arrive at LaGuardia Airport in NY and follow the signs to the M60 bus. $2.50-you'll need either a Metrocard or exact change-will get you into Manhattan at 106th Street and Broadway. From there you can transfer to the subway and head downtown to drop your bags at the Hotel Wolcott on 31st St, a budget-friendly option housed in a turn-of-the-century building and conveniently located close to LGBT-centric neighborhoods like Chelsea. 
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Get back on the subway and grab the 6 train down to Chinatown, for dim sum at the Nom Wah Tea Parlor on Doyers St. A traditional Chinese establishment, they have been open since 1920, and claim to be the first dim sum parlor in Manhattan. Their dumplings, noodles, and pork buns will fill you up for under $20. 
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After dim sum, walk east on Canal Street. The shops and stalls lining this major thoroughfare offer some of the cheapest and most entertaining shopping in the city. Among all the imported plastic tat and counterfeit handbags you'll also find classic Asian discount stores with unbeatable prices. Try the Pearl River Mart on West Broadway, a mecca for inexpensive housewares, ceramics, cotton basics, teas and spices.
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Fifteen minutes east and just off of Canal you'll find the Leslie + Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, a free museum focused on the queer artistic experience. With over 20 years of advocacy in this field, this was the first museum in the world solely devoted to gay artists and their work. They also host a number of community events, most recently including a fundraiser for the NYC Anti-Violence Project and a screening of "The Ladies Almanack," a feature-length film based on the work of lesbian author Djuna Barnes.

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Now walk north towards Bryant Park to stake out a place on the lawn in preparation for the Bryant Park Film Festival, a free classic movie series that runs all summer long. While you're waiting for the lawn to open, try your hand at a free lesson in p├ętanque, a French form of boules, or join in an impromptu ping pong session on the free park tables. There are also several food vendors on the premises so you can put together a picnic to eat with the screening. 
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After the movie, a fifteen-minute walk from Bryant Park you'll find Barracuda Bar, a friendly neighborhood gay dive with no cover where you can drink on-the-cheap at their happy hour, and mingle with the locals. With a pool table, nightly drag shows, and comedy hours, there's plenty of entertainment to be had. 
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It's only a short walk back to Hotel Wolcott from here, about ten minutes, where you'll want to rest up from all the New York-style strolling you've been doing. If you're up early enough the next day, you can start off with their free breakfast muffins and coffee in the lobby.