Que Alicia Keys- “Neeeewwwww Yooorrrrkkkk, concrete jungle where dreams are made of….”
So let me give you a little background. Ever since my 8th grade trip to Washington D.C/New York I’ve had the biggest obsession with New York. Heck, I almost went to college out there, if it weren’t for my lovely parents, lol. But I’m not bitter about it at all! I’m so grateful I didn’t go and have the opportunity to admire and love New York from afar.
Being in New York City is unlike being anywhere else. Have any of you been? The feeling of being in NY is like having this restlessness of wanting to do so much and be so many places at once and at the same time being so content and just happy to be in the moment. At least that’s how it felt for me. I was overwhelmed with the excitment of exploring the city with the love of my life and having 4 (semi-full) days to do so!
So here we go, my list of do’s and don’ts for New York City!
- Stay outside of NY- We saved a ton of money by staying in a hotel just off the coast of Manhattan and staying in Jersey City, NJ instead. It’s nothing but a 10 min/$3 ferry ride away and most hotels have buses/cars that will take you straight to the ferry. If you insist on staying in the city, do your research and plan ahead to get the best rate.
- Prepare for the weather- For us, in the winter, that meant tons of layers, beanies, and some hand/feet warmers.
- Experience New Year’s Eve in Times Square- This one makes both lists! For sure knock it off your bucket list, like we did. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever done.
- Experience a Broadway show- We actually didn’t have time this trip to see one, I wanted to see Spider Man- Turn off the Dark! But it just didn’t work out. I have seen Phantom of the Opera though, and would totally recommend it for anyone without kids (it’s very long and at times slow). The Lion King is another great show and awesome for kids!
- Take too many pictures!- I’m such a sucker for a city landscape and buildings completely lit up. We literally filled two SD cards with photos.
- Be aware of your surroundings- A big issue with NYC is the pick pocketing/ ticket scamming going on. I never carried a purse while we were in the city. Instead held valuables, walets, phone, camera, in the pockets of my coats along my chest.
- Buy those I heart NY shirts for all your friends- And get one for youself while you’re at it! They’re super cheap and make for a thoughtful gift to bring back home. I bought 3 for $10.
- Visit Central Park- at night & during the day if you can!
- Climb to the “Top of the Rock” at Rockefeller Center.
- Visit as many musuems as you can- Carnegie Hall, MoMA, Natural Hisory Museum, the Met, etc. You can get a bundled package from a lot of toursit offices that will give you admission to nearly every NYC attraction for one price, this includes access to hop on/off buses throughout the city. We ended up doing this, we each bought a bundle for $300, and we hustled to get as much out of it as possible. And we completely got our moneys worth and then some. This involves some planning as far as prioritizing where you’d like to spend more of your time vs places you’re okay with just doing a walk through. Ex- we walked through Carnegie Hall and MoMA pretty quickly, probably doing both within 1.5 hr. But then spent like 2-3 hours in the Natural History Museum.
- Visit Little Italy!– Seriously some of the best Italian food I’ve had to this day. (I haven’t been to Italy yet!)
- Look up some history pertaining to your favorite movies/singers- New York is such a celebrated city that holds tons of history. Both historical and fictional. I, for one, had to get outside the “Hotel Empire” which was used as the “Bass Hotel” in my all time favorite tv show- Gossip Girl.
- Visit the Empire State Building- I recommend doing so AT NIGHT! The city is so unbelievable at night. This was probably my favorite thing we did in NY.
- Take a ferry around Ellis Island & the Statue of Liberty- I’ll admit it, I froze my butt off on the top of the ferry. Sadly, while we were there, becasue of 9/11 they were no longer allowing anyone to step foot on Ellis Island or near the Statue, so we had to see it from the ferry as it went around.
- Drive- Duh, right? We were too early for our hotel check in and decided to drive into the city, which was totally fine for what we wanted to do. Just drive around, take some pictures, and see what we might want to visit. But if we had actually wanted to do anything that required getting out of the car, it would have been a total nightmeare! Parking is horrendous and $$$.
- Experience New Year’s Eve in Times Square- I wouldn’t trade our experience for anything in the world. However, I would totally not do it again! If you’re lucky enough to get a hotel located in Times Square, I can imagine it being so much more enjoyable, you know without standing in the same spot for 8 hours in the freezing cold and holding your bladder because if you get out of line, you lose your spot.
- Be too touristy- I wouldn’t recommend doing anything like the Ripley’s Believe it or Not or Madame Tussauds. Those are basically in every major city now and you can find much better places to spend your money unique to NYC.
- Get scammed- if anyone trys to sell you anything, a broadway show ticket, sporting event tickets, etc. just keep walking and don’t respond. We learned this the hard way!
I have so many more Do’s than Don’ts! That’s a good thing! If anyone has any questions feel free to ask! And if you have any tips to add to the list please let me know!
We really can’t wait to visit New York city again down the road.