NYC tips & recommendations

Above pictures taken from the Circle Line Landmark cruise tour

Now I know international travel is not really an option at the moment but I thought I would post about this in the hopes of getting you all hyped up for your next vacation. After my last trip to NYC in December, I can officially say I’ve fallen in love with this city. 

Every season in NYC offers a completely different tourist experience. From ice skating in Central Park to walking the Chelsea Market Skybridge, but I do have to say there’s something special about the holiday season in New York. There’s a Christmas market at every corner and even the air smells like mulled wine. The locals are out of the city visiting family and all the tourists are happy to have the place to themselves.  

My top tips

Tip #1 Get a metro pass. Walking around NYC is great during the summer season but in the winter you’ll really enjoy the warm underground metro stations and unless you’re planning on running everywhere to be able to visit all the attractions in a few days then I’d recommend getting a metro pass. The metro can get you from one side of Manhattan to the other in less than 30 minutes and it also includes Brooklyn. You can find a station at every 2-3 streets so wherever you’re staying you know you will most likely be within a 5-minute walk to a station. I always get the 7-day unlimited rides for $33.

Tip #2 Staying outside Times Square. Don’t get me wrong Times Square is amazing and you definitely have to check it out while you’re in NYC but it can get quite hectic and busy 24/7. I found that hotels around that area tend to be very expensive for what you get. Instead, stay in Lower Manhattan. You will find that hotels are less expensive, you also get more for your money (including more room space) and you can find a bunch of quirky little restaurants around.

Tip #3 Buy a GO explorer pass, giving you the option to choose between 2 to 10 different attractions to visit. Not only is it a good value for your money, but it also gives you the opportunity to pick and choose the attractions as you go. We ended up saving over 30$ each by purchasing the GO explorer pass. If you’re a Costco member I would recommend keeping an eye out on weekly deals as they sometimes have them at a discounted price.

Views from 230 Fifth Rooftop

Things to do in NYC

Visit some Speakeasies! Please Don’t Tell is a small quirky cocktail bar hidden behind a phone booth, that’s if you can find it. Cocktails cost around 16$ but are definitely worth it. Now let’s talk about Beauty & Essex! If you’re into brunch then look no further, the food is out of this world and so are the cocktails! The speakeasy is hidden behind an old pawn shop, it looks minuscule from the front door but is nothing but extraordinary once you walk through the back. I do recommend you book for both of the speakeasies to save on being disappointed. Whilst PDT only takes same day bookings as of 3 pm, Beauty & Essex do offer bookings up to 45 days in advance.

If you’re into rooftop bars then you have to check out 230 Fifth rooftop! It’s New York’s largest outdoor rooftop and is open year-round. They have large umbrellas during the Summer for the sunny or rainy days and heated igloo’s in the Winter. Ohh and I guess I should mention the food and cocktails are to die for!! 

Time out Market in Brooklyn was definitely a place I wished we had spent more time. We found this place by luck while walking around Dumbo on a cold windy day. While it’s not very impressive from the outside it offers a great waterfront view from inside as well as boutiques, a food hall, and a few upscale restaurants. I would say it’s a trendier version of Chelsea Market and way quieter. 

If you need a break from walking around the city definitely check out the Circle line from Landmark cruises. The 90 minutes cruise gives you views of Manhattan that you really can’t get from being on land. It also includes a live narration full of interesting bits about the city. Don’t forget to add it as one of your attractions for the GO explorer pass if you’re looking to save money.

View of Manhattan from Circle Line Landmark cruises
Inside of Time Out Market in Dumbo

Let’s just hope this travel ban gets lifted and we get to travel again soon. If you would like more tips and recommendations for NYC leave a comment below.

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