I spent a week in New York City last September, and I simply didn’t want to go home 🙂
This city just inspires and amazes you endlessly! We stayed in a budget hotel, which was really nice & clean & offered free continental breakfast on their terrace, which was lovely. It was called the Hudson New York and is often offered by those “travel-pirates” and “cheap-traffel-offer” sides.
Due to the jetlag we had coming from Europe, we got up super-early every day and went exploring. This are the 10 activities I loved most.
1.) Picnic in Centra Park
Even though this is a cliché, you should really try and grab yourself some food from a supermarket (some of them even offer buffets there!) or buy yourself some streetfoot and head to Central Park. We sat down on a meadow near the baseball-field and enjoyed watching locals doing all kinds of sports, a typical NYC sunday afternoon! This lovely experience is really cheap as well, as the Central Park doesn´t charge entry fees.
2.) Times square
If you don´t come from any other megacity, you´ll be astonished by this mind-blogging square. There´s huge adverts anywhere, for Broadway musicals, well-known brands, and, most famous of all: the permanent Coca-Cola ad in the center. Famous brands have huge stores at Times square, there is for example a three-storey M&M shop, a huge Toys-R-us with a Ferris Wheel inside, Multi storey H&M, Sephora and many more. Just take a day´s time, let your eyes wander and enjoy the New York lifestyle !
3.) Broadway Musical
Even if you normally don´t go to musicals, you´ll definitely have to try one on Broadway, because they are simply unique and unforgettable! I convinced my boyfriend to go to “Aladin” with me, and even he could´t stop talking about how funny and well-made it was! For me, it was the best musical I´ve ever seen, real magic 😉
4.) Statue of Liberty (important info!)
First of all, to get up to the famous statue itself, you´ll have to book tickets a week in advance (www.statueoflibertytickets.com), which hardly anyone knows, neither did we. The first person to tell you would be the ticket guy at the socket of the statue, so we were so disappointed. But anyway, wandering around the Island on a early September morning was incredibly lovely. My second advice for you is to go there as early as you possibly can. We took the first ferry leaving mainland and could enjoy the historic land in peace, but when we left at around 10 a.m., the crowds were just arriving in masses.
5.) Do a Helicopter Tour
Small Tour: about 15-20 min (~150$)
Middle Tour: about 20 min (~220$)
Large Tour: about 30-35 min (~320$)
Even if the prices (above are the average prices, the companies are nearly all the same) might sound horribly expensive, I´d save all the money I could to do it again! A good tip is to always book the tour with one of those advertising guys running around near the helicopter station, because they always give you discounts of about -10%. My second recommendation would be to do the largest tour you can afford, it´s so worth it!
6.) Yankee Stadium
This incredible baseball stadium, full of patriotism for the famous New York Yankees is really worth visiting, even for non-baseball-fans like me. If you want to see a game, I´d definitely recommend booking tickets in advance, ´cause when we went there just before the start of one, it was already sold out. Theres a second, less known Hard Rock Café there as well, if you are a Hard Rocker like me 😉
7.) Walk the Brookly Bridge
Best thing to do on an early September morning. I´d suggest taking the subway to the first stop on the Brooklyn side of the bay and walk back to Manhattan. Comfy sport clothes allowed, as many people jog, cycle or do yoga on it.
8.) Top of the Rock
Cheaper (~30$) but equally dazzling alternitive to the Empire State (~65$), and of course, from the Top of the Rock you have an amazing view of the Empire State. I´d suggest going there at sunset, so you can see the skyline by day & night. Also, as this is the most romantic time you just might happen to witness a proposal, as I did 😉
9.) Katz´ Delicatessen
A real treasure in the jungle of NY, as it offers traditional jewish food, which is really tasty! As an Austrian girl I thought it really funny that we have a tradtional dish so similair! I recommend trying the Pastrami Sandwich – yummy!
Shopping heaven for any tourist from abroad, as at the info-point you get a -10% voucher on ANYTHING you buy in there. I got myself a new Michael Kors bag, as they are more expensive in Europe, and I got the Discount on that as well! Macy´s huge, and they have a great sortiment of shops, including a Starbucks for a coffee-break 😉
I hope I got you inspired to explore NYC yourself and let me know if there´s places you´ve already been to which you loved 😉