Date of stay: 4 days March 2008 & Xmas 2009
Where you stayed: Grace Hotel
Tour or pre planned: Pre planned
New York would have to be one of our favourite cities. The Big Apple as they say is definitely worth visiting and we can’t wait to return.
We spent four days in New York in 2008 and it was a great break from our busy London lifestyle. Some people think New York’s too far to fly for a few days but it really isn’t. Flying from London to New York is roughly 6-7 hours and maybe a little more on the return leg. New York is 5 hours behind London, so leaving at 6pm (UK) means you’ll arrive around 9pm New York time.
New York has it all, attractions, night life, shopping, Broadway shows, restaurants, museums, sporting events and diverse cultures. It’s one of those places you can visit and never want to leave.
During our stay we did the hop on/hop off bus which gave us more time to see everything on offer. We also used the tour bus as a way to get around the city. If you have longer in NY then grab a map and explore but for those trying to see as much as possible then I’d recommend the bus tour. You’ll have a few bus tours to choose from so shop around, check what each one offers. Our tour offered a free boat tour out to the Statue of Liberty and a few other discounts. I’d say doing the bus tour on your first day in NY is handy to get your bearings of the city. You can buy tickets from all main stops and around Times Square, the ticket people will stand out!
Some top things to do in New York:
- Statue of Liberty (Large Statue on Liberty Island symbolising freedom and democracy)
- Empire State Building (Large Skyscraper built in 1930 with viewing platforms over the city. Was once the world’s largest building until 1972)
- Times Square (Square filled with large bill boards, Broadway theatres and cinemas)
- Central Park (Huge public park in the middle of NY, roughly 843 acres of things to do)
- Madison Square Gardens (The worlds most famous arena, sporting events, concerts etc)
- Rockefeller Center (Huge centre with Ice Skating, observation deck and much more)
New York also has some great Museums like Metropolitan Museum of Art, Guggenheim Museum and National History Museum to name a few. If you have the New York Pass you get free entrance to almost all Museums.
The New York Pass is a card you buy that gives you FREE entry to over 55 tourist attractions. Click on the following link for details, New York Pass.
Experiencing the New York Yankees (baseball) or New York Knicks (basketball) games is great fun, sit back and enjoy you’re hot dog in true American style while cheering the teams, Madison Square Gardens has regular sporting events, click on the following link for the event calendar. Madison Square Gardens.
Our first trip to New York was booked through Last Minute.com and we booked our flights and hotel as a package deal. Although our hotel was not the best we’d chosen to book this way as it’s sometimes easier. You can easily look for the best offers and book separately; airlines will often have specials running. My advice would be to use sky scanner to compare prices and book in advance, check hotels or ask friends if they’d recommend their hotel. On our second visit to New York we stayed at the Grace Hotel (see details below). Click on the following link for cheap flights via Sky Scanner.
Grace hotel is a fun and light hearted hotel centrally located, just near Times Square. It’s a little out of the ordinary with a pool bar as you enter but the pool parties are great, breakfasts and rooms are also good. Click on the following link for the Grace Hotel.
JFK airport is good if your staying on the southern side, yellow cabs have a flat rate fee to Manhattan otherwise you can get a train but you’ll need to change one or two times. La Guardia airport is located on the Northside of long island, great if you’re staying in Long Island or on the Northside of Manhattan. Although you may not have a choice on which airport you fly into.
The fastest and most efficient way to get around Manhattan is definitely via Sub Way, getting a cab a few blocks can take up to 20+ minutes. Get yourself a metro card, it’s the cheapest way to travel.
Don’t be afraid to get out of Manhattan and see the surrounding area’s if you have the time. Places like upstate New York, Brooklyn, The Bronx and even New Jersey.
Points to highlight:
There’s loads of other sites we’ve not mentioned like Little Italy, having a New York slice (very large piece of pizza) Deli sandwich (not for the faint hearted- vegetarians beware) M&M world in Times Square, checking out Wall Street, Brooklyn Bridge, Ground Zero and Apollo Theatre. New York is such an amazing city and should be high on everyone’s to do list!
Would you recommend this Destination: Yes
Would you recommend your tour: N/A, Pre planned
Would you recommend your hotel/hostel: Yes, Grace Hotel
Overall destination rating: 5 out of 5
By: Nick & Jackie