With the world famous ball drop in Times Square, the dazzling tree at Rockefeller Center, and the fashion shops gone ham on 5th Ave, spending the holidays in New York can seem like an unaffordable fantasy. But it doesn’t have to be. Here’s how to have a real New York New Year’s on a budget.

Chargers at Jets (Dec. 24)

Tickets starting at $24

For the last decade, the Giants have been New York’s NFL team of choice, but the city may have just re-anointed the Jets this season. With running back Matt Forte and the newly-ascended tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (sporting 26 receptions over the last five games), the Jets are truly fun to watch for the first time in a long time. Meanwhile, the Chargers are fighting for the heart of L.A. behind QB Philip Rivers and last year’s Defensive Rookie of the Year (and professional menace) Joey Bosa. These two teams have the same record right now, and one of them might be vying for a coveted wild card come December 24. Get tickets here.

As you make your way back from East Rutherford, you’ll hop off the PATH train just a short walk south of Dough Donuts, an artisanal donut shop with a bevy of mouthwatering treats.

Harlem Gospel Choir (Dec. 29)

Tickets starting at $52

You’re cheating by two bucks on this one, but it’s too good to pass up. The Harlem Gospel Choir is America’s most historically renowned gospel choir, having been the first to perform in China, Russia, Australia, and more. With singers aged 17 to 70, their harmonies will fill the B.B. King Blues Club and Grill with goosebumps. As Pope John Paul II once said about them, “It is more than a show. It is a feeling.” Gets tickets here.

After the performance, you’re only a few blocks from Xi’an Famous Foods, a Chinese spot with legit traditional dishes at under $10 a plate.

The Phantom of the Opera (Jan. 1)

Tickets starting at $36

Coming off a late night navigating the hordes to watch the ball drop in Times Square, you’ll want a quiet evening of theatre to calm your mind and warm your heart. What better than Andrew Lloyd Webber’s masterpiece musical from 1986? The Phantom of the Opera is the longest-running show on Broadway by a long shot, and the only show to surpass 10,000 performances so far. With Broadway regulars James Barbour and Ali Ewoldt in the lead roles, your first evening of 2018 is in very good hands. Get tickets here.

If that wasn’t enough classic Broadway on a budget, check out Miss Saigon on Jan. 2 with tickets starting at only $38, and grab a slice of pizza from John’s of Times Square, a converted church space serving brick oven pies by the slice.

Timberwolves at Nets (Jan. 3)

Tickets starting at $26

As of my writing this, the Brooklyn Nets have the number one offense in the NBA. While it’s not expected to last, it’s a sign that the young studs are clicking on all cylinders. On the other side of the ball is future MVP contender Karl Anthony Towns and All-Star guard Jimmy Butler gunning for Minnesota’s first playoff appearance since 2004. Watch D’Angelo Russell take it to the T-Wolves with tickets starting at only $26. Get tickets here.

While you’re there, take halftime to patronize one of the many mom-and-pop Brooklyn eateries that were franchised into the arena, like David’s K Deli and their delicious Hot Pastrami on Rye sandwich.

Penguins at Islanders (Jan. 5)

Tickets starting at $40

You had to go back to get a taste of the Lobster Monster sandwich from Boomer and Carton Kitchen’s Barclays Center location, so you got some cheap tickets to see the back-to-back Stanley Cup champs face the beloved hometown Islanders. Veteran John Tavares is still leading New York after eight years with the team, and after barely missing the playoffs last season they are dead set on contention. On Jan. 5, they’ll need everything they’ve got to get passed the masterful goaltending prowess of 23-year-old Matt Murray and the superb Pittsburgh squad. Get tickets here.

PBR Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden (Jan. 5, 6 & 7)

Tickets starting at $49

You don’t associate rodeo with Madison Square Garden, but what’s the beauty of New York if not the unexpected? Professional Bull Riders (PBR) is the foremost bull riding organization in the world and has seen a recent rise in popularity since CBS started televising their events in 2013. In this NYC contest, Montana’s Jess Lockwood will attempt to defend his MSG rein after an impressive 310-point win over Brazil’s Marco Eguchi earlier this year. An event at Madison Square for under $100 is hard to find, so this is really a steal at under $50. Get tickets here.

After the event, Texas-style BBQ awaits just one stop south on the R-W train at Hill Country Barbecue Market. Get their smotheringly smokey brisket by the pound.

Apollo Music Cafe: ABIAH Tribute to Nina Simone (Jan. 12)

Tickets starting at $35

Listening to jazz in Harlem is as New York as pizza. More. Spend your final evening at the legendary Apollo Theatre watching ABIAH tribute Nina Simone. ABIAH is a renowned vocalist that’s worked with John Legend, George Michael, and on the Academy Award-nominated documentary “What Happened, Miss Simone?” So order a Manhattan and let the soulful (and socially-relevant) stylings of Nina take you on a trip you won’t forget. Get tickets here.

Top off the evening with the unreasonably delicious mac and cheese from Harlem hot spot Red Rooster, and rest assured – you just did New York with style.

(Image courtesy Thomas Hawk via Flickr.)