I just got back from a two day stay in NYC and I was so sad to leave! It's such a beautiful city with something to offer everyone. I was so inspired by the creatives and also by the city itself. I felt like I was back in London for a bit because I was surrounded by diverse people and hearing several different languages at once. It had a sense of home to it for me.
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In this post, I'm going to be a bit about the hotel I stayed at and why I can't recommend it enough. I'd also like to share a few tips that I have about not spending all of your money in the city and how to blend in like a local and not stick out as a tourist.
Stick with me, I'll show you why NYC should be on your 2017 travel list! Find a cheap, roundtrip flight from your city to New York for this year!
*This post was partially in collaboration with the Wellington Hotel in Manhattan. As always, all opinions are my own.*
When I arrived at the airport, I knew I needed to purchase a Metro card because I was taking the bus + the subway to get to my hotel in Manhattan. This can easily be purchased right before you exit the airport.
The cost of a Metro Card is $1 + whatever you decide to put on there. I refilled mine a few times while I was in the city and MTA says you get an 11% bonus each time you add $5.50 or more to your card. I'm not sure if this is true or not, as I didn't check, but either way the process is simple and easy to understand.
It's paper material, unlike the oyster card in London, and you swipe it instead of tap it. If you are flying into Laguerdia airport, you will take the Q70 bus to Jackson Heights/Roosevelt Avenue and then take the subway into Manhattan!
I used the New York Subway app which includes an MTA map as well as a route planner. It helped me so much on my trip and I couldn't recommend it more!
I couldn't have asked for a better location for my hotel to be in. It's nestled perfectly in between Central Park and Times Square. It took me about five minutes to walk to each! The hotel conveniently had a coffee shop, souvenir store and Greek restaurant attached. It was also across the street from a Starbucks and had a subway entrance right outside the door! Talk about convenience!
I arrived around 1pm and wanted to explore the city before the 4pm check-in. I was able to go ahead and register, leave my bag with the bell hop and head out! All I needed to do when I arrived back was pick up my keys and go to my room.
One of my favorite things about this hotel, other than it's location, was my room's view (and room itself)!
I couldn't get over how perfectly 'New York' my view was. Large skyscrapers and Times Square right down the street.
The rooms had a charm to them and offered plenty of space and storage to keep your belongings, depending on how long your stay is for.
I could've sat at the desk all night and just adored the views out my window. It felt like no matter what time of the day it was, there was always something going on in the city and I love that feeling.
This is the perfect place to situate yourself to see famous sights like Radio City Music Hall, Times Square, Central Park, Columbus Circle, Rockefeller Center and much more!
I had a really jam-packed few days in NYC. I didn't give myself nearly as much time there as I should have (but that's okay, it means I have to go back) and I would have loved to explore more of Soho & Chelsea neighborhoods. However, my time in NYC was still amazing and I can still show you how to realistically see it in two days!
Like I said earlier, the best thing to do is purchase a metro card. I mean sure you could take an uber or a taxi, but this often costs more than the metro does (or just walking).
My first afternoon in the city, I wondered over to Columbus Circle, Central Park, Times Square and Radio City Music Hall.
For me, I was exhausted from waking up early to fly to NYC, that I called it an early night on my first day there. However, you could easily go check out the bar/dining scene in Soho & Chelsea. I hear it's great and they have some fabulous places!
Radio City Music Hall looks spectacular at night. I suggest if you are staying at the Wellington (or anywhere in Manhattan) go see it at night! It's lit up perfectly and the fountains in the front make for a beautiful picture! I took this in the pouring down rain and it was well worth it!
If you'd like more information about shows, tickets and more regarding Radio City Music Hall - check out their website!
Also, right next door is where Jimmy Fallon shoots his show - in case you're interested in that!
I had a 'pinch me' moment as I walked through Central Park. You see all of these movies that have been shot there and the history it encompasses - I just couldn't believe I was walking through it. It was a gloomy day but I think Central Park is beautiful no matter what time of year you go or the weather.
During the winter, they have the ice skating rink up with spectacular views of the city.
Next time I go back, I want to explore the rest of Central Park and see the fountain, Balto statue and much more! It's home to several, several iconic spots and I want to see each of them.
If you're a budget traveler, like myself, Central Park is the perfect place to spend a pretty afternoon. Take a picnic, enjoy the views and enjoy the city!
The Next Day
Once I got a good night's sleep and was ready to conquer the day - I woke up and headed to the Brooklyn Bridge!
I have, forever, wanted to get my own pictures of the Brooklyn Bridge. I've seen so many great photos take place on this bridge as well as many, many movies filmed. For me, it's an iconic part of NYC and I just had to see it for myself.
The location of the bridge is near the One World Trade Center, so shortly after you explore the Brooklyn Bridge (if you don't go into Brooklyn or Williamsburg afterwards) head back to the WTC and pay respects to the 9/11 Memorial!
This was a heavy, heavy process. I passed several people who were choking up and holding back tears. I think that it's a heavy process because of how many lives were lost during the 9/11 attacks and how the community pulled together and got through such a difficult time.
This area is still under construction and there is constantly work being done but in the midst of all that work, there is this silence and remembrance of the people we've lost and the people that risked their lives.
I remember just standing there for a bit looking at this massive hole in the ground that water was flowing into and trying to picture a building being destroyed. If you are ever in NYC, please visit the 9/11 memorial and take a moment to remember those lost. Always remember, never forget.
Once you visit the 9/11 Memorial, a few blocks away is Wall Street. I didn't stay there long, simply because I'm not super interested in this particular area, but it was nice to see. I then took the subway to the Highline - which is a 1.45 mile linear park built in Manhattan on an older railroad line.
I didn't stay long on the highline because I had quite a few other places I wanted to see this day but when I go back (because I will) I want to walk the entire walk.
For all you budget travelers, this is the perfect afternoon walk because it's free! You can have a picnic up there, grab a cup of coffee and just enjoy each other's company AND the city!
I entered the Highline on W 23rd street and if you take this all the way down, towards the city not the pier, you will end up at the Flatiron District/Building. For some reason, this was my favorite district I had visited. I grabbed a hot dog & coke from a local vendor and sat in front of the Flatiron Building with the other locals. I felt very much at home and felt very much like a local as I sat there and ate my hot dog.
Afterwards, you can have a walk around the Flatiron district and see all the shops, eateries, cafes and much more! If I had more time, I would have easily spent an afternoon here.
I remember when I met with the Sales lady at The Wellington, she told me two days in New York isn't long enough and I totally agree. I would recommend spending at least a week here so that you aren't completely exhausted and have as much time as you need to see the city!
My last morning in the city, I decided to go to Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Center). It was the first, sunny day that I got while I was in the city and I was so glad because the views were perfect.
I prefer the Top of the rock because you get the Empire State building in the picture as well as Central Park. It's 360 degree views of the city and it just can't be beat.
Adult tickets start at $34 and I think that's a fairly reasonable price for the view/experience. If you'd like more information on what it includes, visit the Top of the Rock website!
During my time in New York, I carried my brother's Herschel Supply daypack and it was perfect! It allowed me to blend in a little more as a local instead of wearing a fanny pack or anything else that might draw attention to me. Plus, a lot of New Yorkers are carrying backpacks and briefcases, so it's relatively common to see people with backpacks on. I also want to point out that I never once was scared someone was going to pickpocket me or anything. Everyone, for the most part, sticks to themselves and if you have gone to London - it's really similar.
For more of my favorite travel products, check out my Travel Shop page for inspiration!
I'd like to end this super long post (sorry) with a tip - don't try and do New York in two days! Sure, it's doable if you cut off a few things from the list but it's a bit of a rush. You don't really get to sit down and soak things in...so my advice would be to extend your stay for at least a week and really get to know the city!
Have you ever been to NYC? What's something that you would recommend for first time visitors?
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