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New York for 8 days with teen DD in June. How much to book in advance? (And top tips please)

(56 Posts)
YoScience Sun 10-May-15 21:06:18

DD and I are of to NY for our summer holiday and we are starting to plan things to do.

I'm not sure of how much to book in advance, as torn between getting cheaper prices and wanting a bit of flexibility.

I have booked a show and a baseball game so far.

I've looked at the New York ass but it seems really pricy and not sure how much we would use it to get value for money

Have seen some group in deals for open top bus rides which I think might be worth it and I was going to book transportation from airport to hotel each way.

Just after advice really on whether it's worth booking other stuff in advance of playing it more by ear once we are there.

We also would like to go to Ellen's stardust diner and a trip to Coney Island.

Any other top tips or must dos(we will do Central Park, Empire State, Staten Islands ferry to see Liberty)

YoScience Sun 10-May-15 21:06:57

Sorry posted too soon but any other tips or advice on advance booking much appreciated smile

YoScience Mon 11-May-15 20:37:11

Bump smile

Stroan Mon 11-May-15 20:59:56

We had an amazing week in NYC in June last year, such a lovely time of year. Not too hot to be out but warm enough to enjoy the sun.

We also booked a show and baseball in advance, plus a Mafia walking tour (excellent and very interesting, even if you have zero mob knowledge), FAO Schwarz Breakfast Tour (we didn't have kids with us, it just appealed to our silly sense of humour!) and the Liberty/Ellis Island ferry. Other than that, we kept it quite casual.

If you want to do Top of The Rock or Empire State, I'd pre-book. There were long queues at Top Of The Rock, which we skipped with our times ticket. Plus, it meant we could time it to be up there for sunset - so we saw the city in daylight and then watched as the sunset all the lights began to come on. Loved that.

Some of our highlights:
Smorgasburg food market in Brooklyn (Sunday mornings)
Walking the Brooklyn Bridge
The Highline - such a lovely park and nice places to stop along the way
Central Park - went several times just to escape Midtown, great for people watching.
In general, just exploring different neighbourhoods - they are all so different. We liked Soho, Greenwich Village and Chinatown.

We also did Intrepid and the Museum of Natural History, which were both good.

There's actually nothing that I would change, other than to stay longer!

We planned a lot around food and had a huge list of places we wanted to visit or specific food we wanted to try. So that helped plan our days and meant we spent time in lots of different areas.

Ellen's Stardust Diner is good fun, we waited about 45 mins but we're happy with that.

The Subway is really easy to use, and only $31 for a week of unlimited travel - it'll let you cover much more of the city and quickly. We didn't use any open top buses, but I think they would be good to see all the landmarks relatively quickly.

YoScience Mon 11-May-15 21:12:33

Thanks very much, that's lots of great information!

I really think the breakfast tour would appeal to DD as she's keen to see the piano from Big! smile I'll definitely look into that.

I'll look into your other suggestions too, I think my problem is there is so much to do and not really enough time to do everything! grin

Our hotel overlooks Central Park so we'll definitely spend some time there too.

Subway pass sounds like a good deal too, although think we will maybe do an open top bus too! Thank you smile

HermioneWeasley Mon 11-May-15 21:17:11

The museum of natural history is amazing - if either of you are remotely into science you really need 2 days there.

If you're near Central Park, Astro diner on 6th Ave does a great breakfast

Pre book Empire State/ top of the Rock and Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island, but otherwise I reckon you're good

Stroan Mon 11-May-15 21:30:32

If she's keen to see the piano, then the breakfast tour means she's also guaranteed a go on the piano. It was my highlight! A lot of the tour was for kids, but we enjoyed it!

That was my problem when we were trying to plan, we had to make a huge list then prioritise! You will have an amazing time.

Wheelerdeeler Mon 11-May-15 21:33:47

9/11 tour was excellent
$44 but worth it pre book

fleecyjumper Tue 12-May-15 00:52:35

Pre book Empire state building with a fast pass, it was worth the money to us as the general queue was horrendous. Also if you want to go up to the crown of the statue of liberty you have to pre book with your names as on your passport and remember to take your passports with you.

CQ Tue 12-May-15 16:45:52

I just went to NYC at Easter with DD & grandma. Shopping on 5th Avenue was a HUGE hit - exchange rate good at the moment so everything seemed cheap - there's an enormous Uniqlo flagship store where DD went wild and bought loads of funky t-shirts.

For a cheaper day we walked down the Hi-Line to the Meatpackers district, went to the Chelsea Market which is a foodie haven - go hungry.

9/11 Museum is amazing - DD was only 18 months at the time the Twin Towers were hit, so she's a bit clueless about what happened, and it was all a huge eyeopener to her, though she was not as interested in the detail as we were, so she raced through it a bit.

Grand Central Station is amazing - beautifully restored and a great meal to be had at the Oyster Bar there. There's also a cool deli/market in an adjoining arcade where we stocked up for picnic lunches.

Our biggest disappointment was evening meals - it was hard to find places near our hotel that were mid-range - it seemed to be either MacD's, crappy diners or really pricey. Worth doing some research on this before hand - we went with a couple of recommendations from the concierge - one was ok and the other was inedible. Breakfasts in any diner were good.

Empire State buliding- we went early on a Sunday morning and there were no queues at all.

cathyandclaire Tue 12-May-15 17:11:13

If you walk the High Line there's a fabulous foodie market in the Meatpacking district.

claraschu Tue 12-May-15 17:56:55

Chelsea market between 15th and 16th st on west side of 9th ave. Get a picnic and take it up the High Line.

claraschu Tue 12-May-15 17:58:36

MOMA (Museum of modern art) and the Metropolitan Museum (the Met) are both amazing, and VERY different from one another.

Heels99 Wed 13-May-15 19:14:35

Stroan, how did you book the schwarz breakfast tour? Am taking my kids t new york next week they would love that!

Heels99 Wed 13-May-15 19:15:15

And did you bother with the New York City pass?

MyFriendsCallMeOh Wed 13-May-15 21:20:00

Do the Top of the Rock rather than the Empire State - if you go up the Empire State building, you can't see it as part of the skyline which is a shame. Book and go early or at sunset.

The Met and MOMA are normally frantic and packed. Try the Guggenheim for contemporary art and the Frick collection (in a huge mansion with indoor gardens), both 5th Ave, for older art. Both gorgeous, smaller and more intimate with the same big names as the huge museums.

Yy to Chelsea Market for food, browse and find something that appeals (it's ALL good!). I also love a shop there called Artists and Fleas, a big space with lots of little stalls selling vintage, jewelry, art and fashion.

Theres also a revolving restaurant on the top of the Marriott Hotel in Times Square (called The View. You'll need to book but food is great, let them know you're not in a rush (unless you have theater tickets) and you can spend the whole evening taking in the changing views of the city as the sun goes down.

Been to NY a few times, mostly guided by a good friend who used to live there, love it.

claraschu Thu 14-May-15 12:13:53

I don't think the Met and MOMA are always frantic and packed. In fact, the last few times I have gone, I have hardly had to wait to get in. I also love the Frick and the Guggenheim, though, but would check out what exhibits they have on when you are there, as sometimes the special exhibits are much more interesting than others.

thisismadness77 Thu 14-May-15 16:05:42

Macy's. That is allgrin

thisismadness77 Thu 14-May-15 16:07:17

Macy's. That is allgrin

squeaver Thu 14-May-15 16:18:50

Having just done 5 days with a 10 yo at Easter, here's some thoughts.

- Do get the New York Pass. It is totally worth it. We got a five day one for the three of us. Cost just under $500 which seems a huge amount I know but we calculated that everything we did with it would have cost over $1000. It'll cost you $50+ to go up the Empire State Building, e.g. You can get them for 1/3/5/7 days. It also gives you discounts in certain stores e.g. Macy's

- BUT...order and get it in advance so you don't have to queue and have a good look at what they offer and plan your itinerary before you go. E.g you can use the pass to hire bikes for Central Park, then ride around the park and hit four or five museums/galleries on the way.

- Do The Ride. A bus tour with entertainment on the way from people on the streets. Very touristy but very worthwhile.

- Do Top of the Rock during the day - we went first thing in the morning - and Empire State at night.

- I see you've booked show tickets already but if you want to do more, Broadway Box (online) give you good discounts. We saw On the Town and Blue Man Group - both excellent.

- We also did: Cruise out to Statue of Liberty and back (don't do the whole of Manhattan cruise - too long); the High Line, FAO Schwarz (dd made her own muppet); Dylan's Candy Bar; Moma; the Converse store in Soho (great for teens); the Guggenheim; the 9/11 memorial; took bikes over Brooklyn Bridge and loads more - will post more if I remember.

squeaver Thu 14-May-15 16:21:10

Also, don't go up the Statue of Liberty - waste of time.

Heels99 Thu 14-May-15 17:16:24

Ah, we have tickets to go up the Statue of Liberty, but waste of time?

fleecyjumper Thu 14-May-15 19:47:24

Going up to the crown of the statue of liberty was brilliant and teen ds enjoyed it too. Then you look at the statue afterwards and think wow, I was up there behind one of those little windows. I posted earlier for the procedure for crown tickets. Even if you just go up the plinth and then walk around the island the views are lovely. Why go all the way to New York and not go to the Statue of Liberty.

SwedishEdith Thu 14-May-15 20:06:51

Mine thought the Big piano was really disappointing (so did I) but the teen loved going to Brooklyn(Williamsburg) and looking in the second-hand vintage stores.

The jetlag works to your advantage if you want to go up the Empire State. You'll be up at 6 (or earlier!) so can get there early on your first morning - no real queues and a great start to NYC.

Other things that the we all liked - walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, Staten Island ferry and getting pizza over there before coming back. Felt completely different from Manhattan.
The area around the 9/11 memorial - very peaceful. We didn't go into the museum but I would like to.
Liked the High Line
Liked looked for trainers at every opportunity (not me, teen only).
Couldn't get excited about Macy's - just like House of Fraser really.
Loved Bryant Park but we were there in Autumn so there was an ice rink (much better than the one at the Rockefeller Centre, I thought) and lots of little stalls - bit like a xmas market.

Heels99 Thu 14-May-15 20:28:24

Fleecy I am unfit. I have crown tickets will I make it to the top?

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