How to get the best out of your stay in New York, from the most popular and fancy attractions to the $1 slices of pizza eaten on the street. Here is my travel experience.
There is lots of great stuff to do in NYC, and trying to do everything in one go is almost impossible. In my previous post “2 cities, 3 countries, 2 weeks” I showed you how I managed all of my bookings and reservations online. Today instead, along with some useful tips, I want to list all the places I visited that made me fall in love with this fantastic city.
“Loving the Vibes”
I visited New York for the first time in September 2017 and I immediately loved the vibes around me. The atmosphere, the people, the huge skyscrapers, everything was on point and I couldn’t believe I was finally there. I still remember after all these months the amount of adrenaline inside me when I finally touched down at JFK after 8 long hours on the plane.
Once I got off the plane, I felt like I was living a dream!! Experiencing travelling – especially when you’re working so hard during the year – it rewards you with incredible sensations. That’s why today I’m here to encourage you to do exactly the same.
“The Way to Manhattan”
Having passed border control, I immediately bought the bus ticket to go to Grand Central Terminal from just outside the airport. The hotel room I reserved was only 7 mins walk away from the bus terminal so thankfully my experience was stress-free. I would recommend using this service at least to get into Manhattan, it’s cheap ($18 one way) and if you’re carrying luggage with you, you probably don’t want to spend too much time finding the different connections with the subway.
A service I probably wouldn’t recommend because of the price is the Taxi, as you might not know in America you are in charge of paying not only the ride from the airport to your destination but also all the bridges and the driver tips. So from $52 your ride can rise up to $80/90.
Moving around in New York on public transport is not so difficult as you may think. Once you understand a couple of things, especially how the subway works it will be pretty much easy for you to visit each corner of the city. According to the official MTA website the unlimited weekly pass costs around $32 per person. I personally have decided to not do the weekly MetroCard because having only 5 days available to spend in New York I preferred to walk around as much as I could, trying to find some non-touristy stuff to do.
Known as the green lung of the city, Central Park is one of the best places to see when visiting New York. Whether in winter or summer, this huge park has always something great to offer. With lots of history, famous memorials, fountains, baseball and tennis fields, Central Park is ideal for those who love outdoor activities and street art. It’s also perfect for visiting many iconic movie scenes!
“Top of the Rock”
If you made your way up to New York, there’s no way that you can miss the spectacular view from the top of the Rockefeller. Here is where over a million visitors come every year to admire New York with the best 360 view of the city. It might sound a bit expensive but it’s totally worth spending $34 to go up there and take some great pictures. The best time to go is always at the sunset, where the colours in the sky make the atmosphere magical.
“The Free Staten Island Ferry”
Did you know you could see the iconic American Statue of Liberty for free? Well, now you do!
Just outside Whitehall St. Station (Lower Manhattan), there is a free ferry service open 24/7. This is an easy way to get the best view of all New York City skyline and pass in front of the Statue of Liberty. Because this service now is getting more popular, I suggest getting there quite early in the morning so you can avoid the long queue to get on.
So artistic and diverse, Brooklyn is a “must” if you want to see how real new yorkers are living. This is also a great opportunity for you to walk across one of the most famous bridges in the world, The Brooklyn Bridge. You have access to the bridge 24/7 and if you’re walking from Brooklyn prepare your eyes to admire the amazing skyline of Manhattan.
“New York Public Library – Fifth Avenue”
Here you are, Fifth Avenue, considered one of the most expensive and elegant streets in the world. Fifth Avenue offers you an extreme variety of shops and restaurants, but shops are not all it has to offer if you walk along the south way you will be able to find the famous “Public Library”.
“Hudson Hotel Beer Garden”
Located in Midtown just a few steps away from Central Park, the Hudson Hotel offers a “secret beer garden” open to everyone. This charismatic place is perfect for those who want to have some drinks in a trendy and quiet environment.
This is an amazing and scenic path walk surrounded by plants and lots of artwork. The High Line is a public park built on a historic elevated rail line above the streets of Manhattan’s west side. This is a perfect spot for lots of photographers.
Before adventuring along the long paths of the high line, Chelsea Market is another must to visit in New York. This place has become extremely popular over the past 15 years and has been nominated the greatest indoor food mall in the entire world. Inside the Mall you will be also able to find not only food but several cool local shops that are worth seeing.
“The Secret Burger Joint”
If you’re near Central Park and you want to try a succulent burger in a “secret” location, Burger Joint is the best place to go. I mentioned “secret” because this quirky little burger place is hidden behind the red velvet curtains inside the fancy “Le Parker Meridien” hotel and that’s the reason this place is so special.
“The River Cafe – Brooklyn”
This may sound a bit far from a backpacking restaurant, but I couldn’t not share this beautiful restaurant with you. “The River Cafe” so far, is the best restaurant with the best view I have ever been to, and I truly recommend you treat yourself at least once to a meal here when in New York.
“2 Bros Pizza”
You might be broke after your previous dinner at The River Cafe, so 2 Bros Pizza will be your saviour. Once I found out this place I became addicted it to it. $1 for a slice of pizza sounded incredible especially in New York where food isn’t that cheap.